What does original sin actually mean and what are its consequences?

(Randy) #81

@mitchellmckain, @aleo, I’m not dogmatic about this–but do you believe there was a real Adam and Eve? Thanks.

(Mitchell W McKain) #82

Yes. In fact, I think that most myths are rooted in historical fact. It is figuring out what the facts are which can be quite difficult.

Science is where I begin with truth. It always has been. So much so that it functions as a natural extension of my senses to perceive the world around me. So it is unavoidable that this is a filter through which I read a book like the Bible. Unless I was reading it as pure fiction, I would never have seen Genesis as a story of magical golems being the origin of the human species. But at the same time, I know very well that there is nothing science can say about the existence of two individuals over 6000 years ago. So I have absolutely no reason not to believe that there was a real Adam and Eve.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #83

First of all, if what you say is true, and it is then the information in the DNA comes from the environment. Who made the environment? It did not plan itself?

Who made an environment what Rewards intelligence and thus benefits hominids? The dinosaurs did not become extinct by chance, nor did some develop into birds by chance. They both responded to the what happened in the environment.

(Mitchell W McKain) #84

Indeed! This is where I see God in the same role as a farmer and shepherd (not a designer) in the creation of life. Life is a self-organizing phenomenon of growth and learning but they do not do so in a vacuum. It requires an environment in which there may be caretakers and teachers (or just one). Perhaps the right conditions could have come about just by chance and thus the atheist will believe so. But I believe in God and when the unexpected happens whether good or bad, I often see the involvement of a divine instructor. Not always, for sometime sh*t just happens, but often I do see a guide and my faith that life is worth living is strengthened.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #85

Life is not infinite. Life has a beginning, just as the universe has a Beginning. God created the universe in the Beginning, and so God created life through the universe in the Beginning.

Chance does not and cannot create intelligence. Only intelligence can design and create intelligence. Intelligence is evident in the laws of nature found in the Beginning of the universe. Intelligence is found in the conscious minds of humans, created in the Image of God.

It really does not matter what non-believers believe because there is no evidence to support the belief that all the right conditions for intelligence AND the possibility for intelligence came together by chance.

The idea that “emergence” proves that design is untrue is a myth. The truth is the opposite.

To get back to the question of the original or first sin, the gift of the conscious intelligence means that humans have the ability to make selfish or sinful decisions. That is the original Sin. That means the humans are often out of sync with God, each other, and nature.

(Mitchell W McKain) #86

The natural numbers have a beginning and yet they are infinite.

Prove it. You cannot. The objective evidence strongly suggests otherwise. But I do not believe that evolution is just chance. Living things, both the individual organisms and the species they are a part of, are an intentional agency in the process – learning, growing, and finding solutions to the challenges that their environment make to their survival. Intelligence is one of the solutions to this challenge. Evolutionary algorithms have proven that not only can they make complex mechanism but they do so in ways that greatly out perform those made by the designs of human engineers.

But like I have said numerous times, living things do not learn and grow in a vacuum. Their environment may have farmers, shepherd, teachers, or parents. I believe God is one of those things, but there is not and cannot be the slightest proof for this. I have subjective reasons for believing this and I have faith. What do you have? Faith or delusions, facts or lies?

Again this is something you cannot prove. You can only assume this. Perhaps you feel it. But that does not make it true. And even if it is true that God does exist, that still doesn’t make it true. Quite often the argument is wrong when the conclusion is true.

Other can say, it really does not matter what you and I believe because there is no evidence to support our belief that the right conditions for intelligence and the possibility for intelligence did not come together by chance. But I disagree with both you and them, to say that what we believe does matter. It does not matter to the universe but it does matter to us and we are alive. Life cannot be reduced to the objective observation of science, where what we want and believe does not matter. Life requires subjective participation, where what we want and believe is central.

The idea that life is designed renders Christianity unworthy of belief and makes its god into a monster. I am a Christian because I don’t have to believe in that garbage.

So is God conscious and intelligent or is God just a cog in your theology? Does God choose love and freedom or is God forced by your theology to swagger around in power and control? Does sin have its origin in the choices of Adam and Eve, or is the real origin in the self-absorbed meglomania of a controlling god? If the latter is the case then I hope we are indeed out of sync with such a demonic entity.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #87

If natural numbers are natural, they are physical and being physical, they are finite, they have a beginning and ending.

What objective evidence? Please provide some facts, rather than multiple assertions. .

By limiting evidence and proof to objective or scientific evidence, you are saying that humans are not rational, that they cannot make3 rational judgements based on personal experience and the experiences of others. You have a very low regard for the rationality of yourself and others.

This is not an assumption. Science is based on the fact that fact that rational things do not just appear out of nothing with no reason. If they did, nothing makes any sense.

Of course life require personal participation, however if what we want and believe is evil, then we must understand that we will fail in the long run, if not the short run, because God is in control.

Are you saying that life is a monstrous evil? If so, why? If not, what are you saying?

Please read my essay, God and Freedom, on Academia.edu to see exactly what I think about God. Why does power and control mean swagger? Are you in full control of your computer? Are the4 words that you write written by you or do you share control with someone else? Does this control make you per se swaggering and arrogant?

That is what the serpent said, but it was mistaken. It is said that great people do not have to claim greatness, but people like our president have to talk about it all the time. God does not have to prove God is good, because God is good. On the other hand God needed to show Adam and Eve that actions and beliefs have consequences, So God needed to act against their sin and us when we act selfishly.

(Mitchell W McKain) #88

You saying this brings me to the conclusion that making a response to anything you say is entirely pointless.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #89

You made a statement. I gave a response giving a clear reason why I disagreed. Now I know we have different views about the meaning of objective and subjective. Is that the reason why you think it is pointless to discuss with me?

What do you mean by natural? Does it mean physical and finite or do you have another meaning?

Dialog is not easy. It take work and give and take that tests our ideas and convictions. Iron testing iron. I commend those who participate in the BioLogos process for paying the price that this requires. I hope that you will be one of them, but it is up to you.

(Marvin Adams) #90

You might as well claim “God is dead”.
If like me you understand life to be the movement of energy or matter as a consequence of a will, you will understand how God lives through everything that follows his instructions, including myself when I pray “thy will be done”. With God imposing his will on energy and matter clearly life is eternal - or God is dead

(Marvin Adams) #91

This sentence does not compute. If everything in existence is a consequence of the ultimate cause, sin would have to have it’s origin in the ultimate cause as well. It is the logical consequence of free will and the requirement to consciously love God by consciously not committing a sin against him, e.g. not putting ones own self above him. I can however only love God once I have been given the freedom to disobey, e.g. if God has allowed me the freedom from his control as to be able to follow him out of free will.

you seem to live in the belief that you would have designed a better life as the current one is unworthy of praise and thanks to God as it is a monstrous. It only becomes fathomable because of what you belief. so you better thank your beliefs and not God for being alive :slight_smile:

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #92

Bro. @marvin, I clearly said that life is nor infinite, but finite, so that means that God does not impose God’s Will on energy and matter, at least in the way you are thinking. What God did when God created the universe was create a environment in which humans can live and flourish. He did not predetermine our lives and actions, but on the contrary like the story of Original Humans God created a place where we can create our own lives.

Christians believe that God is One and Three. God created the physical world as a home for rational beings created in God’s Image. God created human beings in God’s own Image to be rational and spiritual being to live in this universe. And God created rational and spiritual rules and structure so humans could live rationally in this universe and spiritually enjoy all its wonders with each other and with their Creator. Thus we have the Trinity where God works in many ways to fulfill God’s Will and help us to experience God’s Love.

God is not limited to acting on one way, just as we can relate to different people in different ways. God choses to reward people who love with eternal life, not to impose love on them so they do whatever God chooses.

(Mitchell W McKain) #93

That is what some people believe. I do not. I believe in a God who chose to value love and freedom over power and control and that is why He created life, a self-organizing process which makes its own choices. I can well understand if you find it incomprehensible that God would make such a choice, or cannot imagine how God could accomplish such a thing. But for me this explains everything. The universe is not just a stage of background props for a play He chooses to write, but is about the very essence of God’s objective to create something which exists and operates on its own apart from His will. God created something which is not just an extension of Himself but something which is truly other, with which He can have a relationship with the fullness of love, based on taking risks, giving privacy, as well as sharing power and responsibility.

I do not believe in the meglomaniacal god who like bad parents make everything about them. You may call it “God” but I call this creature the devil, and I reject Him and rejoice in His rejection of me because being a craven worm to such a Voldemort monster is worse than anything this godfather might threaten in this protection racket he is running.

The God of love as seen through the gold standard of Jesus is diametrically opposed to this. For Him greatness is not found in lording it over people like your devil-god does, but by service to other even as a servant of servants. Thus rather than being all about Him, sin is all about us, the self destructive habits which damages our free will, our ability to love, and everything else which makes existence worthwhile.

I love God because who He is and not because of what He can do to me, or for me. The dire threats and sweet promises of a mafia godfather does not interest me. Others may be willing to sell themselves to the devil for a comfortable existence but I am not. Instead I choose the discomfort of having all my bad habits cut from me however painful and however long it may take.

God is infinite and perfect. There is nothing He wants or requires for Himself. His only motivation is to give of Himself to others. God created life because its ability to become more through growth and learning is the basic formula for infinite potential and the perfect mirror image to God’s infinite actuality so that in a relationship between them there is no end to what God can give and no end to what we can receive from Him.

I can give thanks to God and praise Him because I know there is no truth in the devilish graven image some have constructed in order to serve their purpose of manipulation and control over others. I know that self-organization is the very essence of life and thus to wish for a better design is to wish for no life at all.

(Marvin Adams) #94

that is logically incoherent.you either believe in ultimate causality in God or you don’t. it does not make God self-absorbed meglomaniac or controlling. with giving is the freedom to sin he also gave us the freedom to love.

your comment seems pathological. Do you think all people believe in a devil God by default? Sin is about him in respect to our interaction with God. If there is no God, how can you commit a sin? This is why some people deny his existence as it gives them the freedom to define what is morally objectionable based on the majority opinion they think to be able to sway in their favour and than declare this action a “human right”. To those “brights” not to live is a human right, but it is their human right to live at the cost of others. The is what “love yourself” leads to. love is to give up yourself for the sake of others but in giving us the freedom to give up our"self" for others and ultimately to give our self back to him were it came from to be part of thus ultimate love, to be there for all others.

you still have not explained why the designed /created life renders Christianity unworthy. Could it be that you confuse designed with micromanipulated? Do you want to imply that life came about unintentionally, that God had an accident ? :slight_smile:

Stop thinking that others automatically believe in a devil-god because they use words you do not understand the way they do. Amongst the intelligent design people there are clearly a lot that believe that God is Santa, e.g. a personal God has to fulfill their wishes to show that he loves them. But instead of calling them devil worshipers just explain to them why such God does not exist, thus instead of alienating them you can convince them to see God in a different light and lern about the difference between “loving your neighbour like yourself” and “loving your neighbour like thyself” so they can find their self outside their own body in their loved ones.

(Mitchell W McKain) #95

That is logically incoherent.

My answer depends on what you mean by ultimate causality. As I usually use the term it simply means first cause not the only cause or determinism as you seem to assume. I am an incompatibilist, which means I do not believe that determinism is compatible with free will. We have free will because the future is not determined. The future only exists as a superposition of possibilities. God is not the origin of sin. God created life and life is free will, so you can say that God created the possibility of sin. It is the risk God took when He chose to share responsibility for what happens.

A meglomaniac makes everything about Him. People often do this and then they create a god in their own image to make him just as self-absorbed as they are. Thus they imagine sin is all about their god and obedience. But the God of love and freedom is not like them. His only motivation is to give of Himself to others. He sees greatness as being a servant of servants. And thus He forbids sin not for His sake but for ours – and not like a mafia godfather paying lip service to love for those he murders and extorts. Sin is NOT defined by disobedience but by the self-destructive nature of these habits themselves. It is like telling children not to play the street, not play with matches, or warning them which things are poisonous and should not be eaten. To be sure, He hopes we will heed his warnings, but the danger is not in disobedience itself. Only an evil tyrant and bad control-freak parent makes it all about obedience and hurts his children just because they dare to make their own choices.

Your posts seem pathological.

I don’t think people believe anything by default. But I think what matters is not the name they use but the character of the thing they worship. If they describe the god they worship as having an evil character then they look like devil worshipers to me. Devils like criminals with a gun only care about whether you serve their interests and if you get in their way they will shoot you down, so yes for a devil god, sin is all about him and obedience to his desires.

Sin consists of self destructive habits, and they remain self destructive whether there is a God or not. The ethics of mature rational people does not require the arbitrary dictation of a tyrant. They can determine for themselves what is right and wrong by the good and bad effects that actions have on others.

Nonsense! What really happens is that people raised under an authoritarian religious system of morality try throwing morality with their religion away because they have been given no basis for understanding that things are right or wrong for a reason. When their life is messed up by their rebellion they snap back to their authoritarian mentality and thus this social disease is perpetuated for another sordid generation. But even when they do go back to their religion, it is never about doing what is right for its own sake but only about the threats and promises made to them and thus about what they get out of it.

Other people are raised to understand that things are right or wrong for a reason, and thus whether they see a good reason to believe in God or not, discarding the beliefs of their parents does not automatically turn them into a careless amoral self-indulgent hedonist like these others. Their belief or disbelief in God is a result of a rational evaluation rather than upon a self perpetuating sickness, which will accept any meglomaniac devil as their god. They do what is right for its own sake rather than grovel like worms to do whatever sick and depraved thing (e.g. genocide, human sacrifice, slavery, spousal abuse, racism, etc.) their demon god commands.

By making it all about obedience to their demon god, they can throw away human rights and do whatever they want (murder, enslave, and abuse) just by saying their god commands it. They believe themselves entitled to live at the cost of others because they are serving the demon god. This is what devil worship leads to. To love the devil is to give up your soul, self-respect, and respect for others to make it all about what your master wants.

First of all, the creation of life has nothing to do with design. Life is a process of self-organization. Living things are not manufactured, they grow. Living things are not programmed, they learn. Living things are thus what they make themselves to be not what they are made to be by a designer.

Second, what might make Christianity unworthy of belief is the character you describe for the god you believe in. I will not worship a criminal no matter how big a gun he points at me. I would not serve a devil no matter what his threats and promises. So don’t waste your time trying to get me to join the craven worms who make such cowardice and lack of integrity into a virtue.

Recall the ancient philosophical problem of evil and suffering first explained by Epicurus in 270 BC. This is the ultimate incompatibility of these assertions.

  1. God is all-powerful.
  2. God is good.
  3. Evil and suffering exists.

Of course there are ways around the conflict. Some discard number 3 and will pretend that evil and suffering is an illusion. Others discard 2 and decide they are fine with serving an evil devil god. Neither of these make Christianity worthy of belief. Others find better answers in number 1 and the assumptions behind it.

Consider the assumption that power is an effective answer to all problems and how the power of God is often taken to logically incoherent extremes. Does the omnipotence of God mean He can accomplish anything by whatever means someone cares to dictate? This is the magical thinking of a child who has no knowledge of what things are or the means by which things are accomplished, so they often make contradictory demands. One example of this is the failure to understand what life is and thus think of it as some kind of animating magic so you imagine living things can be made by design. Thus science gives a potent answer to the problem of evil and suffering in the theory of evolution by showing that the nature of life is incompatible with design.

Thus when you see a child suffering unbearable pain from some terrible disease, it is not because some sadistic devil god designed things this way. It is simply part of the way life works. When you stick hand into a fire you will suffer pain and damage and thus learn to be more careful. The learning process of evolution is exactly the same. The mistakes, suffering, and death are all the price of life itself. Machines and all products of design don’t have these problems because they are not alive.

(Albert Leo) #96

[quote=“marvin, post:91, topic:39404”]

[@mitchellmckain] Does sin have its origin in the choices of Adam and Eve, or is the real origin in the self-absorbed meglomania of a controlling god?

[Marvin Adams] This sentence does not compute. If everything in existence is a consequence of the ultimate cause, sin would have to have it’s origin in the ultimate cause as well. It is the logical consequence of free will and the requirement to consciously love God by consciously NOT committing a sin against him, e.g. not putting ones own self above him. I can however only love God once I have been given the freedom to disobey, e.g. if God has allowed me the freedom from his control as to be able to follow him out of free will.

The two quotations above illustrate the advantage of organizing the History of the Universe the way Teilhard de Chardin suggested: the Cosmosphere (freedom to evolve according to quantum physics); the Biosphere (freedom to evolve by ‘learning’ from ‘random’ mutations and environmental changes); and finally the Noosphere ( freedom to evolve according to rational ideas). Obviously the concepts of Sin and Morality were not applicable to the first two ‘Spheres’, and only became possible in the third when freedom involved the rational choice to rise above the selfish tendencies that evolution imposed on our animal roots. At this point–the beginning of the Noosphere–the creature, Homo sapiens, became capable of (but not guaranteed of) becoming God’s image bearer–capable of making a covenant with its Creator.

The Noosphere began relatively suddenly with a Great Leap Forward when the neural networks of the Homo sapiens brain were epigenetically ‘rewired’ (reprogrammed??) to operate as Mind. This event ushered in the ability to use the symbolism necessary for abstract thought and complex language, as well as the expression of art, music and a belief in afterlife.

Yes, Sin has God as its ultimate cause, just as he is the cause of Love, of Empathy, and of Goodness. What is so amazing is that he has invited us to become co-creators with him to achieve a New Kingdom on this earth where the latter three attributes dominate the first. In spite of the travails that the news media assails us with each day, I believe that Christ’s Second Coming is already ‘in progress’. Unfortunately I don’t think he will arrive suddenly on a bank of clouds (or even that his coming is absolutely certain), but we ought to look for (and support) the goodness in our world rather than dwell on its shortcomings that are so newsworthy(?).
Al Leo

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #97

You are right these three facts are difficult to reconcile. However God is smarter than we are.

I do not know what you mean by this. Evolution is a scientific process. That means that it is rational and is designed by God as the way God created human beings and all other species of flora and fauna. Design and determinism are not the same.

Again I recommend my essay God and Freedom at Academia.edu for another point of view.

(Marvin Adams) #98

So you postulate that life came about by chance or generated itself and that God is not a the creator of biological life - as if he were, he would have got it wrong as there is suffering. So what is your God good for?

(David Heddle) #99

Rats, now I need to go shopping…


That is not a problem at all, and in fact it is entirely accurate. All three statements are true.

This is the incompatibility you seek:

  1. God is omnipotent.
  2. God is omnibenevolent (or omnimerciful).
  3. Evil and suffering exists.

The bible, however, does not describe an omnimerciful god (there are uncountable examples of people who did not receive mercy.) Epicurus, in his formulation, presented a false dilemma: “Is God able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.”

However, let’s take your three points as you wrote them. How do you reconcile them? Based on your discussion, it appears that you would discard point #1. Is that correct? We can agree, arguendo, with your statement

If it is true that you jettison point #1 to resolve the incompatibility, I would like to ask if you actually believe that your god does not have the power to heal a sick child.

If it is not the case that you jettison point #1, I’d like to know, vis-à-vis the sick child example, which point you do sacrifice to resolve the conflict that you presented.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #100

Are suffering and even death evil per se? If they are then evolution is evil. If not then God is not evil.