Paul and the Fall: What About Adam? | The BioLogos Forum

(system) #1

Christians have usually constructed a doctrine of the Fall with one eye on Genesis and the other eye on Romans, especially chapter five. However, in the opinion of Robin Collins, “it is primarily in Romans 1, not in Romans 5, that Paul gives his account of the ‘Fall’ of human beings.”

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Dr. Ted Davis) #3

Even though this series features Robin Collins, I am happy to engage thoughtful questions and comments about his ideas.

(Darach Conneely) #5

"If Adam is viewed as single individual, however, our connection with him
seems very remote, and hence it becomes difficult to see how or why his sin would have such devastating consequences on us.
Paul never suggests there was a spiritual or genetic connection passing the effect of Adam’s sin down to us. Instead he says that we share in the consequences of Adam’s sin because we all sin too. Rom 5:12 “and so death spread to all men because all sinned”. This lines up much more simply with the teaching found throughout the bible, the soul who sins will die.

(Phil) #6

Enjoyed the essay. It is refreshing to see the openness with which theological difficulties are discussed on this site.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #7

> Accordingly, this interpretation makes sense of why God would not eliminate the deleterious effects of the sin of “Adam” (as representing our remote ancestors). Further, in the process, it deepens the theological import of the idea of original sin by linking it with the fundamental interconnectedness of all human beings.

Here Robin Collins asserts that that all humanity is interconnected. I certainly agree, but the fact is that this world view is out of step with the philosophical tradition of the West and thus the traditional theology of our faith.

the traditional view is that God is absolute, which means that God is does not interact or is not interconnected.with humans. If you look at Karl Barth the champion of traditional theology, God the Father does not interact with humanity, but only acts through Jesus the Christ. Even here God does not interact with humans, but only acts on humanity. Humans are totally dependent on God.

Western theology and philosophy is traditionally dualistic, natural and supernatural. This is the issue when talking about science vs. faith. Philosophically there is a clear demarcation between God and nature, which is impossible to bridge.

However Christianity says that God has bridged this gulf. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God bridged this gulf through Love, the Holy Spirit, and the gift of reconciliation through the Logos, Love incarnate.

Christians understand that salvation is not possible if God were Simple or Two. God is revealed to be Triune to make salvation a reality. Christians should understand that Reality must be triune if humans are able to relate to each other, to the universe, and to God our Creator.

Western dualism contradicts the interconnected nature of Reality. This is why in part atheists like Dawkins and Dennett are able to attack traditional theology, but are unable to provide a viable alternative. This what we Christians must do.

God is love, so God is relational and not superficially relational, but by nature relational. There is no right relationship to God without the possibility of sin. Humans became sinners when they rejected love and chose their own selfishness way. Contrary to Dawkins life is not about selfish genes, it is about sharing genes. .

(Dr. Ted Davis) #8

Thank you for the kind comments about our site, James. We do what we can. I’m glad you found this essay helpful. I hope the rest of the series will prove equally helpful.

(Merv Bitikofer) #9

Was that Dr. Collins who wrote “… though I am not sure what to say about 1 Timothy 2:13-14.”? And is that a concession that this, as it is “traditionally” interpreted, remains problematic for Collins’ thesis?

I can anticipate why it shouldn’t necessarily be taken that way as it is probably more a showcase of the shared preconceptions of the time, and as such would be problematic for every modern understanding, including what is taken to be the “traditional” one. I.e. --what if Adam had remained faithful and refused to sin while Eve had fallen, what then? Obviously it’s a nonsensical question [at the level that Collins sees the story] that only shows how far off point the question can be taken by misplaced modern focus. Is that a fair reading?

(Dr. Ted Davis) #10

Yes, Merv, Robin says that in his article–it’s not my interpolation. I try to indicate clearly whenever I interpolate; using [square brackets] is part of that, but even then it’s usually Robin’s own material that I’m inserting, such as bringing a footnote into the main text (this is often the case). I interpret him here to be saying that the text in 1 Tim does indeed go against his view.

(system) #11

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