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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Sin and salvation
Zach82
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quote:
The reason it's relevant is because Christians often say that the concept of "sin" is defined in terms of "original sin", which, in turn, they say they get from Genesis.

However, if we can show that Genesis doesn't actually say what Christians say it says, then it shows that there's a good chance that there have been other formative influences on the idea, which Christians aren't crediting.

Not that that in itself makes the theology of original sin "wrong" of course. Even if Genesis doesn't support original sin, that doesn't mean that the doctrine doesn't have other merits besides its supposed support in Genesis. However, it does mean that if you want to argue those merits, you've got to do more than simply say "but Genesis says so!".

Has anyone said "But Genesis said so!"? I don't think any of the Christians here are saying one ought to take Genesis literally. Therefore, expecting a universally agreed upon theme and significance of the myth is silly, not to mention completely irrelevent for an understanding of original sin.

Zach

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:

I'm not seeing it as God saying that Adam mustn't eat from the tree. Rather, I'm seeing it as God saying that Adam can if he wants; it's just that he will die if he does.

In which case you are totally ignoring what the text says:

"You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil..."

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Jessie Phillips
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:

I'm not seeing it as God saying that Adam mustn't eat from the tree. Rather, I'm seeing it as God saying that Adam can if he wants; it's just that he will die if he does.

In which case you are totally ignoring what the text says:

"You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil..."

... yes? .... and the next bit?

"... for when you eat of it you will surely die."

The word "for" introduces a qualifier to the previous clause.

If God was really saying that Adam can't eat from the tree, then the question of what would happen to Adam if he does eat from the tree is irrelevant.

But hey, don't proof-text a whole sentence, when half a sentence makes your point so much better. [Biased]

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
But, Christianity aside, I don't know of any culture or religion that celebrates self-centered behavior. While many if not most cultures celebrate materialism and material success, criticism of greed and of "the rich" is almost universal.

I agree with you there, but I think there's an irony in it. That's because I think it raises the question of what we mean by "celebrate".

You see, a culture might celebrate selflessness - however, an individual person might be motivated to be celebrated as an exemplar in that culture. Would such a motivation itself be self-centred?...

I don't know of any religious, philosophical or poetic tradition that has satisfactorily grappled with that paradox.

I think that you just grappled with it successfully right there. You immediately identified it as a problem. The simple answer is that if you behave altruistically for self-centered reasons, such as to benefit from being altruistic, then it isn't really altruistic. This means that we need to avoid reflecting on our own state of blessedness just because we selflessly refrained from using the f-word.

I have always marvelled at how sensitively and accurately Hollywood movies grasp this dilemma and search for sincerity in cinematic protagonists. Heroes and heroines need especially to be sincere. They can behave badly, but if they are insincere they lose all credibility.

Movie audiences unerringly detect these kinds of false notes. Audiences love sincere characters and hate characters who seem to take any kind of credit for altruism. People also love loveable rogues if they detect a sincere heart beneath their seemingly self-absorbed or self-centered exterior.

So I don't think that it is a dilemma. Altruism must be altruistic. At the same time people understand that it comes in degrees. That is why happiness comes in degrees, and is not a matter of the black-and-white judgment of an all-or-nothing God. Instead it is organic - woven by God into the fabric of existence.

[ 25. June 2011, 15:17: Message edited by: Freddy ]

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Jessie Phillips
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
Movie audiences unerringly detect these kinds of false notes. Audiences love sincere characters and hate characters who seem to take any kind of credit for altruism. People also love loveable rogues if they detect a sincere heart beneath their seemingly self-absorbed or self-centered exterior.

Of course, I agree with you. But I think it's worth pointing out that this is also a reason why some of the things that Jesus says about himself in John's Gospel may count as a black mark against him, in some people's minds.

"Before he was, I am". Really? That sounds a lot like taking credit for your miracles, in some people's imagination. But then, here's another theory: perhaps it's deliberate. After all, I'm sure there's another Gospel that has Jesus saying something about having come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword.

You could say the same thing about any legendary hero or saint, of course, historical or fictional. But I think there's a limit to how far you can push it. For example, if someone has just won an athletics contest, but then refuses to take the trophy award, saying "no no no, really, I don't deserve it" - then it can be seen as taking the piss out of the competitors who didn't do as well as the winner.

To make light of your own efforts is to trivialise the efforts of anyone who thinks they've done anything similar to you, but who haven't been given the spotlight for it. For that reason, there are times when you have to accept the accolades that get pinned on you with a little bit of grace.

And it could be argued that this is all that Jesus was doing when he called himself "I am". Then again, maybe not. I don't think it's possible to prescribe hard-and-fast rules about this sort of thing.

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
To make light of your own efforts is to trivialise the efforts of anyone who thinks they've done anything similar to you, but who haven't been given the spotlight for it. For that reason, there are times when you have to accept the accolades that get pinned on you with a little bit of grace.

So right. It's really pretty amazing how clearly we all know these rules. When a celebrity or movie character does it even slightly wrong everyone knows - and it is pointed out mercilessly in the gossip sites (where people have no claim to any sort of high road!).

You have to be humble, but you also have to accept honors with joy. I don't know how to describe it, but I know it when I see it.
quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
... I don't think it's possible to prescribe hard-and-fast rules about this sort of thing.

That's right.

The point is that these things are tough to make rules about, but they are extremely important to people's sense of satisfaction and sense of well-being in life. It's hard to be truly content if you are insincere or greedy. These things interfere with the ability to be happy and at peace.

So it is not that God judges or punishes. It's that we make choices, and continually experience the results that are inherent in the intentions and actions themselves.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Barnabas62
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Freddy

The recent exchanges between you and JP are both interesting and illuminating. But I'm not comfortable with your views.

I think the reason is that ISTM, at least in Western world, we seem to have for the first time together both a narcissistic and iconoclastic culture. We both idolise the self-indulgent and knock them down. Fame is desired, admired and envied, all at the same time. The goal is to be successful.

I'm pretty sure these mixed signals abound and I don't think they underpin anymore a general cultural aversion to selfishness.

Of course, I'm getting old ...

But when Dylan wrote "your sons and your daughters aren't at your command", the backdrop was not just the sexual revolution; it was as much, if not more, Civil Rights and anti-war idealism.

Whereas we now have American Idol and the X Factor ..

Sure, I generalise. But I reckon there's been a shift.

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Sure, I generalise. But I reckon there's been a shift.

I wouldn't argue with that. I'm not trying to say that things are good or that the culture is headed in a good direction. I was just saying that we intuitively know how to deal with the apparent conundrum of self-centered altruism.

My points are:
  • 1. Good and evil are their own reward in the long run.
  • 2. God loves everyone and punishes no one.
  • 3. Our concepts of sin, salvation, hell and heaven are tragically skewed. These outmoded concepts rely on a literalistic interpretation of biblical images that have no chance of making sense or leading us to love God.
The problem is that people are confused by the understanding of God as a powerful man in the sky who is pleased by some things and angered by others according to some arbitrary system.

It would be much better to understand God as consistently loving. He created humans to be an object of His love and to make them happy, and so He provides means for them to find happiness. It's just that since autonomy is a prime requisite for happiness He also made it possible for people to follow their own ideas about what makes for happiness. If this means that they do things that are less inherently joyful this doesn't make Him angry or move Him to punish anyone. But He does warn us against these choices.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Jessie Phillips
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I think the reason is that ISTM, at least in Western world, we seem to have for the first time together both a narcissistic and iconoclastic culture. We both idolise the self-indulgent and knock them down. Fame is desired, admired and envied, all at the same time.

I agree - it's all over the celebrity gossip columns.

However, I don't think this quite constitutes evidence that modern culture is okay with selfishness. If the gossip columnists who think that a particular celebrity whose love life has been a bit public lately has behaved like a jerk, then they will say so. Indeed - it's what they do.

For example, there seems to have been no end of comment on Lindsay Lohan and the rehabilitation orders she's faced lately, and whether or not she's getting special treatment (either favourable or unfavourable) because she's a sleb.

Then there are the people who get into the spotlight off the back of a reality TV show. Then a bit of gossip about them goes round the press. This then causes a big family bust-up - which, in turn, generates more gossip. Thanks to reality TV, I think it's fairly clear to most people now that fame for its own sake is not necessarily a good thing.

Mind you, you could argue that if that was really true, then American Idol and X Factor would find it a lot harder to get contestants than they might have done in the past.

However, I'm not convinced that this is an entirely new thing. It looks to me as though there may have been a similar dynamic of status-shifts of popular Roman gladiator arena contestants. The arena glorified some people, but humiliated others - besides being a bit deadly from time to time as well.

Then again, we can't be sure of that. It's hard to see how ancient wisdom literature is directly relevant to the rapid yo-yoing between glorification and humiliation that people in the public eye have to face nowadays. The wisdom literature tries to offer sensible guidelines and advice - but, sometimes, the ups and downs of people's reputations and fortunes just seems to be uncontrollable.

A particular problem is that I think sometimes people are reluctant to take credit for something good they've done - or even do something good that might earn credit in the first place - because they fear that the public exposure they may get over the matter may cause their reputation to be trashed over some other matter at a later date. But perhaps it's only a minor problem, I don't know.

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Jessie Phillips
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
Our concepts of sin, salvation, hell and heaven are tragically skewed. These outmoded concepts rely on a literalistic interpretation of biblical images that have no chance of making sense or leading us to love God.

Hmm. I'm not sure that the concepts rely on a literalistic interpretation of biblical images.

I would rather say they don't rely on the Bible at all. However, literalistic interpretation - not just of the Bible, I might add, but also potentially of Dante - has the effect of making our understanding of those concepts tragically skewed.

This doesn't just come about as a result of fundamentalists deliberately chasing narrowly literal interpretations; it can also come about as a result of a half-understood piece of church liturgy, or a half-understood line of a Shakespeare play you did in school, which then becomes culturally normative, and is no longer questioned.

Whilst on the one hand I don't deny that Dante's Inferno is a great piece of literature, on the other hand, I don't think anyone can deny that shallow interpretations of it, that suffice for high school literature homework, has probably had a large effect on perpetuating inappropriate views of hell.

I'm not suggesting that cutting back on Dante in the school curriculum would solve that problem, though - because pop-culture still plays a part, regardless of what does and doesn't get taught at school.

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
For example, there seems to have been no end of comment on Lindsay Lohan and the rehabilitation orders she's faced lately, and whether or not she's getting special treatment (either favourable or unfavourable) because she's a sleb.

I have a special place in my heart for Lindsay Lohan. I saw "The Parent Trap" and base all my opinions about her, and her twin, on that. I can't imagine why they would send her to a rehab. [Biased]

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
You've missed a lot of the point - including the bit about the question of whether or not the choice to eat the fruit can be considered a form of disobedience at all.

No, I didn't miss your point, I just disagreed with it.

Geneis is part of the Torah. I know that you must find this frustrating but it is not and never has been part of Greek mythology. Throughout the Torah it is always assumed that when God speaks humans must obey.

The idea that men can test the gods in this way may be common in Greek mythology but it is not known in Hebrew Torah.

I repeat - we have no evidence that any Israelite, at any period of history, would read Genesis 1-3 and fail to conclude that the man and the woman disobeyed a direct command of God, and that this is a bad / evil thing to do.


quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
Christians don't believe that Jesus's decision to submit to arrest and crucifixion was evil. So what makes the choice that Adam faced any different to the choice that Jesus faced?

The answer is so obvious that I fear I must have misunderstood you - Jesus did not disobey a direct command of God.
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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
... yes? .... and the next bit?

"... for when you eat of it you will surely die."

The word "for" introduces a qualifier to the previous clause.

If God was really saying that Adam can't eat from the tree, then the question of what would happen to Adam if he does eat from the tree is irrelevant.

But hey, don't proof-text a whole sentence, when half a sentence makes your point so much better. [Biased]

Same with this bit - you make no sense here.

If a parent warns his/her child that they will get a punishment if they disobey are you really suggesting that the parent is encouraging them to make genuine choice? Surely what they mean is - "You mustn't do that!"

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
Your interpretation is one I have never heard before so it's interesting. But I don't think it stands up to the text.

You say Adam and Eve experience evil. This is not apparent from the text. Unless evil is becoming wise.

[Confused] How is directly disobeying a command of God not (in a Hebrew bible) supposed to be viewed by the reader as evil?

So disobeying God is evil because it leads to wisdom?

Is wisdom not celebrated in the Hebrew bible? Is it not present with God at the beginning of creation?

[Confused]

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:


If a parent warns his/her child that they will get a punishment if they disobey are you really suggesting that the parent is encouraging them to make genuine choice? Surely what they mean is - "You mustn't do that!"

So God doesn't give us a genuine choice?

What happened to free will?

Is God a benevolent dictator?

[ 26. June 2011, 06:20: Message edited by: Boogie ]

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
I think the reason is that ISTM, at least in Western world, we seem to have for the first time together both a narcissistic and iconoclastic culture. We both idolise the self-indulgent and knock them down. Fame is desired, admired and envied, all at the same time.

I agree - it's all over the celebrity gossip columns.

However, I don't think this quite constitutes evidence that modern culture is okay with selfishness. If the gossip columnists who think that a particular celebrity whose love life has been a bit public lately has behaved like a jerk, then they will say so. Indeed - it's what they do.

OK. Different motivations at work here. Gossip columnists are in the competitive business of selling news. Whatever their personal morality may be, their interest in a "jerk" story is that it sells. What sells it?

Let me claim that it is evidence in support of my concerns. Gossip columnists are playing on tendencies to prurience plus that most "enjoyable" temptation to indulge in moral self-righteousness at no cost to oneself. A combination of stone-throwing and gossip is pretty toxic to a selfless instinct. The hypocrisy seems pretty evident. Our fostered and expressed indignation, when it has the underlying value of "disgraceful, how could he or she do that?" simply fuels that delusion that somehow we don't fall into temptation.

Jesus' question when under question was as follows.

'When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."'

Recognising our propensity to lapse into judgmentalism and join in the stone-throwing is an important dimension of selflessness. We're hardly that switched on to the interests of others if we forget that.

The reluctance to get in the public eye to which you refer later suggests that folks do see the risk of exposure of the skeletons in their cupboard even if initially they get noticed for a very good reason. That may very well be enlightened self-interest, but it doesn't encourage me to believe in the prevailing power of social selflessness! Rather the reverse.

The interesting recent thread about the rapist who did really good social service during a natural disaster, got an award and then got it taken away, suggests that those who took the award away were going with a kind of self-righteous grain in social instincts, rather than a celebration of selflessness whoever demonstrated it.

I guess there are pointers in both directions, JP, and I recognise that you and Freddy have made good points. My concern remains that the trend is not good.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
]So disobeying God is evil because it leads to wisdom?

Is wisdom not celebrated in the Hebrew bible? Is it not present with God at the beginning of creation?

[Confused]

Yes wisdom is celebrated - and it beginnings with fearing YHWH instead of thinking you know better than him.
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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
God doesn't give us a genuine choice?

What happened to free will?

Is God a benevolent dictator?

Yes the choice is genuine, just as the choice of your children is. But the command means, "You mustn't!"
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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
]So disobeying God is evil because it leads to wisdom?

Is wisdom not celebrated in the Hebrew bible? Is it not present with God at the beginning of creation?

[Confused]

Yes wisdom is celebrated - and it beginnings with fearing YHWH instead of thinking you know better than him.
There is no fear of God in the Genesis passages. That comes later in Proverbs.

And there is no notion of knowing better than God at that point. Just a reasonable assertion that:

1) the tree was good for food,

2) and that it was a delight to the eyes,

3) and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise

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a theological scrapbook

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
There is no fear of God in the Genesis passages.

Who was the man afraid of Genesis 3 v 10?
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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
There is no fear of God in the Genesis passages.

Who was the man afraid of Genesis 3 v 10?
But that's after eating the apple. Before that there was no fear.

So that might confirm Adam and Eve became wise (according to Proverbs - if the fear of the lord is indeed the beginning of wisdom).

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Jessie Phillips
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:


If a parent warns his/her child that they will get a punishment if they disobey are you really suggesting that the parent is encouraging them to make genuine choice? Surely what they mean is - "You mustn't do that!"

So God doesn't give us a genuine choice?

What happened to free will?

Is God a benevolent dictator?

Very good point. There's a limit to how far the parent metaphor really works. Parents really don't want their children to come to harm, if they can possibly help it. And parents recognise that there's a limit to the extent to which offering rewards for obedience, and punishments for disobedience, can bring that about.

It's no good telling a two-year-old that they will be grounded and barred from Facebook for a month if they crawl across the motorway, without making at least some effort to look for bridges or subways first. No, the parent is not going to leave the matter up to the child's choice at all if they can possibly help it. The parent is unlikely even to allow the child to kill himself voluntarily.

It makes no sense to say that the child has done something "good" or "evil" unless that child has been given a choice. Likewise, it makes no sense to say that Adam has done something "good" or "evil" unless we acknowledge that God gave Adam a choice.

quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
Geneis is part of the Torah. I know that you must find this frustrating but it is not and never has been part of Greek mythology. Throughout the Torah it is always assumed that when God speaks humans must obey.

Define "must". Are you denying that humans have a choice?

quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
I repeat - we have no evidence that any Israelite, at any period of history, would read Genesis 1-3 and fail to conclude that the man and the woman disobeyed a direct command of God, and that this is a bad / evil thing to do.

We also don't have any evidence that Genesis actually existed in its complete form prior to the rise of the Persian empire. You can't use lack of evidence of historical support for one view as evidence that the opposite view must therefore be right.

quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
The answer is so obvious that I fear I must have misunderstood you - Jesus did not disobey a direct command of God.

Yes - but did he obey any direct commands of God? Put it this way - the tetragrammaton does appear in Genesis, but it doesn't appear in any of the Gospels.

My point is simply this; there are similarities between the story of Adam eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge, and the story of Odin drinking from the fountain of Mimir. But there are also contrasts. The question of which of those stories came first, and whether or not one of them may have influenced the other, and whether or not they may have derived from a common source, is utterly irrelevant and beside the point.

The similarities are that both the Genesis tree of knowledge, and the fountain of Mimir, are sources of wisdom. Both Adam and Odin are warned that if they partake of it, they will die. And in both stories, the protagonists are initially hesitant, but then they partake of it anyway. In both stories, the protagonists subsequently died - albeit not that quickly in the Genesis version.

But the differences are that in Christian tradition, Adam is deemed to have sinned, and given in to temptation, and that death is thus deserved. But in the Norse tradition, it's the other way round; Odin rises from the dead (a bit like Jesus), and he shares the wisdom he gained from the fountain for the benefit of all mankind. For that reason, the fact that Odin was prepared to die for something that ultimately benefitted all mankind, is considered to be a high honour - not unlike how Christians see Jesus's decision to accept his "cup of suffering".

The point this illustrates is that being warned that an action you might take, might result in your death, does not necessarily mean that the action is to be considered disobedient.

So the question we need to ask, then, is this: to what extent does Genesis really support the traditional Christian understanding of the story - namely, that Adam had sinned, God punished Adam, and that this was the "original sin" - and how much of this understanding developed later on? How much of "original sin" is actually in Genesis, and how much of it is the meta-narrative that has been imposed on it by subsequent Christian theology?

It's unrealistic to expect that any formal dogma of any religion can be supported in all its glory and all its minutiae, just by proof-texts of one or two sentences of the related ancient literature. However, that does not automatically make those dogmas wrong. It just means that if we really want to know where those dogmas came from, then we have to be honest about their historical development, including the doubts we might have that the dogmas are really as old as we might like to think.

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
But that's after eating the apple. Before that there was no fear.

You've side-stepped the issue here. Why would the man be afraid of God if it was not wrong to eat the fruit?
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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
Very good point. There's a limit to how far the parent metaphor really works. Parents really don't want their children to come to harm, if they can possibly help it. And parents recognise that there's a limit to the extent to which offering rewards for obedience, and punishments for disobedience, can bring that about.

It's no good telling a two-year-old that they will be grounded and barred from Facebook for a month if they crawl across the motorway, without making at least some effort to look for bridges or subways first. No, the parent is not going to leave the matter up to the child's choice at all if they can possibly help it. The parent is unlikely even to allow the child to kill himself voluntarily.

It makes no sense to say that the child has done something "good" or "evil" unless that child has been given a choice. Likewise, it makes no sense to say that Adam has done something "good" or "evil" unless we acknowledge that God gave Adam a choice.

Adam and Eve were not children in the story. I don't think your analogy holds up here.

Adult children don't have plastic protectors in electricity power points or catches on the sharp knives drawer. If they make choices to harm themselves they are free choices but they have been warned.

quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
Define "must". Are you denying that humans have a choice?

I've already answered that to Boogie.

Yes humans have a choice. Must is an imperative. I'm using it the way it is used in the English language. The subject of the verb demands obedience - the object still has a choice, however.

quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:

We also don't have any evidence that Genesis actually existed in its complete form prior to the rise of the Persian empire. You can't use lack of evidence of historical support for one view as evidence that the opposite view must therefore be right.

You do realise that you are supporting my assertion that you cannot read Genesis 1-3 as an isolated text don't you?

What I'm saying is that all the available evidence suggests that we interpret Genesis as part of a tradition in which disobeying a command of God is a very bad thing to do. And you are confirming that by saying that none of the evidence supports your view.

quote:
Originally posted by Jessie Phillips:
The question of which of those stories came first, and whether or not one of them may have influenced the other, and whether or not they may have derived from a common source, is utterly irrelevant and beside the point.

Beside the point?

Hardly. If they have no common source and similarities are purely coincidental then you have absolutely no grounds for using one to understand the other.

Honestly, this is straight from the Dan Brown school of theology. How can you turn your back on all the texts that are universally agreed to be relevant to our discussion in favour of another text where no one agrees it has any necessary connection?

The burden of proof lies on you to demonstrate that when author and readers of Genesis 3 came to the text they had any of these Viking myths or ideas in their heads.

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
But that's after eating the apple. Before that there was no fear.

You've side-stepped the issue here. Why would the man be afraid of God if it was not wrong to eat the fruit?
I think you've side stepped the issue.

Why was eating the fruit wrong if it led to wisdom?

Because God told them not to is not an answer.

Compared to the rest of the bible, God seems to be in the wrong in this passage.

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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
I think you've side stepped the issue.

As an attempt at not answering the question, this was not a very good one.

quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
Why was eating the fruit wrong if it led to wisdom?

Because that is a biblical definition of sin - being wise in your own eyes. Here's a good example of the OT view of wisdom,

quote:
"Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil."

Proverbs 3: 7

You're catching Jessie's ability to see Greeks everywhere. Hebrew wisdom is not some abstracted ideal that stands apart from God.

quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
Because God told them not to is not an answer.

Of course it is an answer. It just doesn't satisfy you, you mean.

What do you think the 10 commandments are? God's suggestions on how to acquire wisdom?

[PS We've been through all this before with Myrrh, why don't you did out some of the old threads?]

[ 27. June 2011, 02:44: Message edited by: Johnny S ]

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Evensong
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I know disobeying God is a sin Johnny. Just like I know wisdom is Godly.

You're not acknowledging the discrepancy in the text.

That's all I'm trying to point out.

There is a contradiction there.


quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:


[PS We've been through all this before with Myrrh, why don't you did out some of the old threads?]

Because I'd have to read all the same silly interpretations that Paul and Augustine have read back into a Hebrew text? [Roll Eyes]

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
You're not acknowledging the discrepancy in the text.

That's all I'm trying to point out.

There is a contradiction there.

There is no discrepancy or contradiction in the text to do with wisdom.

If you want to discuss the interesting questions - e.g. exactly what is meant here by 'wisdom' etc. then fine. There are many intriguing questions.

But, according to the text, there are no contradictions. You have to provide the contradiction from your assumptions.

quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
Because I'd have to read all the same silly interpretations that Paul and Augustine have read back into a Hebrew text? [Roll Eyes]

Mmmh. Interesting. Do you like Bosnians?
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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:

[PS We've been through all this before with Myrrh, why don't you did out some of the old threads?]

No-o-o-o-h!! Arrrrgh!! Have pity, please .. [Eek!] [Eek!]

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
You've side-stepped the issue here. Why would the man be afraid of God if it was not wrong to eat the fruit?

Why would the man be afraid of God full stop?

If their relationship (pre-fruit) was a good one, surely Adam could trust God to forgive him?

My son has done much worse and been able to come to me, confess and be forgiven.

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
Why would the man be afraid of God full stop?

You tell me.

The point is that it is in the text.

God commanded the man not to eat.

The man disobeyed.

The man is now afraid of God.


quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:

If their relationship (pre-fruit) was a good one, surely Adam could trust God to forgive him?

That may or may not be true but what textual reasons do you have for seeing it in Genesis 1-3?

I realise this is not a keryg thread but either we discuss this passage or we don't. (I'm happy either way). And if we discuss this passage then we discuss this passage and not 'how the passage would have looked if I had written it.'

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
You're not acknowledging the discrepancy in the text.

That's all I'm trying to point out.

There is a contradiction there.

There is no discrepancy or contradiction in the text to do with wisdom.

Sure there is.

Why did God not want Adam and Eve to become wise like him and the other Gods? (i.e. why forbid the fruit?)

Did he want them to remain foolish?

If so, why is wisdom so highly regarded elsewhere?

Doesn't put God in a good light.

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
Why would the man be afraid of God full stop?

You tell me.

The point is that it is in the text.

God commanded the man not to eat.

The man disobeyed.

The man is now afraid of God.



The man is not afraid because he disobeyed.

He is afraid because he is naked.

quote:
But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’

He said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’

That's an interesting question too....(what naked means)

[ 27. June 2011, 06:46: Message edited by: Evensong ]

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
You're not acknowledging the discrepancy in the text.

That's all I'm trying to point out.

There is a contradiction there.

There is no discrepancy or contradiction in the text to do with wisdom.

Sure there is.

Why did God not want Adam and Eve to become wise like him and the other Gods? (i.e. why forbid the fruit?)

Did he want them to remain foolish?

If so, why is wisdom so highly regarded elsewhere?

Doesn't put God in a good light.

Because it's not wisdom that lies at the heart of the prohibition - it's the knowledge (the intim ate experience) of good and evil. The sin of Adam and Eve was disobedience to God's instruction, not the gaining of this experience.

The opposite of wisdom in this context is not foolishness, but innocence.

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
The man is not afraid because he disobeyed.

He is afraid because he is naked.

quote:
But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’

He said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’

That's an interesting question too....(what naked means)
He was afraid because he KNEW he was naked - there was a knowledge of good and evil that Adam could not process, could not cope with intellectually, emotionally and spoiritually.

A mature Adam would have known that nakedness was not shameful; neither would he have hid from God out of fear. This is the point - Adam and Eve found the knowledge between good and evil without the capacity to understand it.

The nakedness, according to the text, is having no clothes on pure and simple. There is no need to make it mean anything deeper. The whole point is that they were embarrassed to see weach other's nude bodies and the unregulated knowledge of good and evil made them feel shame.

Now there's a thought!
Maybe the cause of their shame and fearm etc, was not that they didn't know the
difference between good and evil (which is not what the text says; but that by knowing good and evil, they were unable to distinguish between the two.

Is that not the human condition, that good and evil are confused? That what is good for some is evil to others and that we are incapable of fulfilling our good desires but so often fall into that which is evil?

Anmd that is why we have to hide ourselves from God.

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
Sure there is.

Why did God not want Adam and Eve to become wise like him and the other Gods? (i.e. why forbid the fruit?)

Did he want them to remain foolish?

If so, why is wisdom so highly regarded elsewhere?

Doesn't put God in a good light.

You change the goalposts so frequently you make me dizzy.

It is possible that it puts God in a bad light - that is a question of interpretation - but it is not a contradiction or a discrepancy within the text.

And to answer your question - what Mudfrog said.


quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
The man is not afraid because he disobeyed.

He is afraid because he is naked.

This is getting tedious. The text is explicit about the fact that the man and woman are hiding from God (see v 8). His nakedness may be the presenting issue (and worth discussing) but for some reason his nakedness makes him fear God, so that he hides. Even in the verse you quoted the man says that his fear was brought on by hearing the presence of God in the garden.
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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The whole thing sounds like a massive set-up designed by God to keep us dependent on Him rather than free to be and do what we want.

Did your parents, knowing and understanding a lot more about life, allow you just to do what you wanted?
No, but they didn't define absolutely what "adulthood" meant and refuse to allow me any freedom unless I conformed to said definition either.

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Because it's not wisdom that lies at the heart of the prohibition - it's the knowledge (the intim ate experience) of good and evil.

But the experience of good and evil is the experience of God and the gods.

Even if you think the serpent was wrong, you would have to say that God and the gods were not wiser than Adam and Eve.

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
You change the goalposts so frequently you make me dizzy.


I'm sorry if it seems that way but it's certainly not deliberate.

quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:

It is possible that it puts God in a bad light - that is a question of interpretation - but it is not a contradiction or a discrepancy within the text.


From memory, this argument came up because of the idea of theosis.

My original assertion was that God did not want us to become like gods in Genesis, so why would she want us to now?

I think you claimed it was because Adam and Eve were "grasping" at wisdom (whatever that means - and is it supported by the text?).

I just pointed out grasping at wisdom was very present in the Hebrew tradition (We spoke of Proverbs) so that boat doesn't float.

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
The whole thing sounds like a massive set-up designed by God to keep us dependent on Him rather than free to be and do what we want.

Did your parents, knowing and understanding a lot more about life, allow you just to do what you wanted?
No, but they didn't define absolutely what "adulthood" meant and refuse to allow me any freedom unless I conformed to said definition either.
Yes. Exactly.

Which is why many interpret this passage as a step forward in human development.

If you listen to your parents all the time, you don't become yourself. You just become one or the other of them.

If that's all God desires then that's rather weird isn't it? God just wants a bunch of little God clones?

No. Certainly not according to Genesis. God did not want us to become God.

No free will.

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Mudfrog
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Just picked up the first commentary on my shelf:

"The tree of life gives eternal life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, wisdom. the latter was forbidden for human consumption because the wisdom acquired through eating it leads to indepoendence from God, whereas true wisdom begins with 'the fear of the LORD'.

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Evensong
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Another interpretation that does not do justice to the text.

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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
Another interpretation that does not do justice to the text.

Sorry, what Phd in theology and biblical studies do you have?

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George Spigot

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Just picked up the first commentary on my shelf:

"The tree of life gives eternal life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, wisdom. the latter was forbidden for human consumption because the wisdom acquired through eating it leads to indepoendence from God, whereas true wisdom begins with 'the fear of the LORD'.

Well I'd imagin it was obvious that any being who says the only smart thing to do is fear them is not worth following.

But maybe that's just obvious to me.

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quote:
Originally posted by George Spigot:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Just picked up the first commentary on my shelf:

"The tree of life gives eternal life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, wisdom. the latter was forbidden for human consumption because the wisdom acquired through eating it leads to indepoendence from God, whereas true wisdom begins with 'the fear of the LORD'.

Well I'd imagin it was obvious that any being who says the only smart thing to do is fear them is not worth following.

But maybe that's just obvious to me.

Fear, in the Biblical sense, has nothing to do with being afraif; it's an attitude of awe and respect, of total worship asnd submission.

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George Spigot

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by George Spigot:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Just picked up the first commentary on my shelf:

"The tree of life gives eternal life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, wisdom. the latter was forbidden for human consumption because the wisdom acquired through eating it leads to indepoendence from God, whereas true wisdom begins with 'the fear of the LORD'.

Well I'd imagin it was obvious that any being who says the only smart thing to do is fear them is not worth following.

But maybe that's just obvious to me.

Fear, in the Biblical sense, has nothing to do with being afraif; it's an attitude of awe and respect, of total worship asnd submission.
Respect cannot be demanded it is earned. As for worship and awe I see too many problems in the way the bible and current Christian thought describes god for that. Now my interpretation of these things may be wrong and I'm happy to debate that. But so far I've not been convinced. Submission? Not really my thing but I'm always willing to experiment.

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
From memory, this argument came up because of the idea of theosis.

My original assertion was that God did not want us to become like gods in Genesis, so why would she want us to now?

I think you claimed it was because Adam and Eve were "grasping" at wisdom (whatever that means - and is it supported by the text?).

I just pointed out grasping at wisdom was very present in the Hebrew tradition (We spoke of Proverbs) so that boat doesn't float.

I think you said that you have studied some theology.

If so this is simple OT 101.

Any secular university theology department will teach you about the central role that covenant plays to ANE culture.

The OT (the Pentateuch especially) portrays the covenantal relationship between the Suzerain (YHWH) and his subjects (the Israelites). Any notion of wisdom is always seen in the context of the oath of obedience made to the Suzerain.

We may not like the image of God portrayed - pace George Spigot - but none of this stuff is controversial or disputed.

I used the term 'grasp' to contrast Adam with Jesus. Who, according to Philippians 2, did not see equality with God as something to be grasped. Theosis is about how the gospel makes us sons of God and therefore become like God. Sin, as exampled in the story in Genesis 3, is not to receive that as a gift but to try to seize it by force. There is only one God.

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by George Spigot:
I'd imagin it was obvious that any being who says the only smart thing to do is fear them is not worth following.

But maybe that's just obvious to me.

Perhaps parental analogies have lead us down a dead-end.

If we are looking at the text of Genesis 1-3 then rather than parent-child, a closer analogy would be that of sculptor and clay. This is more like the relationship you have to a barbie doll (or Ken if you prefer) than to any human-human relationship.

I'm not saying that I understand it fully but if there is a God (and yes, that is a big if) then he is a God.

If all you do is look around at other people I don't think it is surprising that you won't find anybody worth worshipping.

Of course the only exception I'd say to that rule is Jesus. Well, I would, wouldn't I? And interestingly Jesus also said a lot about how the only way we could avoid death was by obeying his word (e.g. John 5). And similarly people did not die straight away when they disobeyed his commands either.

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:


I used the term 'grasp' to contrast Adam with Jesus. Who, according to Philippians 2, did not see equality with God as something to be grasped. Theosis is about how the gospel makes us sons of God and therefore become like God. Sin, as exampled in the story in Genesis 3, is not to receive that as a gift but to try to seize it by force. There is only one God.

Another Christian interpretation.

The Genesis myth has been appropriated by Christians and changed to suit the Christian framework.

That's fine.

But it's certainly not OT 101. More like NT 101.

I was just trying to stick with an OT one. You know, like most historical-critical scholarship does?

You know, like they teach you at Uni? Or perhaps this is where the trouble lies. My theology degree is from a University, not a bible college.

Posts: 9481 | From: Australia | Registered: Apr 2009  |  IP: Logged
Evensong
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# 14696

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
Theosis is about how the gospel makes us sons of God and therefore become like God.

Theosis, according to many patristic writers (- the article IngoB linked to), does not mean becoming like God, but becoming god/s.

quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:

quote:
we cannot become God by nature,; yet in a certain sense the divinized do "become God" by grace since they participate in the Divine Nature). Saint Basil the Great taught that "the highest of all things desired (is) to become God" by the power of the Holy Spirit 3. According to Saint Gregory Nazianzen, the Risen Christ "still pleads even now as Man for my salvation, for He continues to wear the Body which He assumed, until He makes me God by the power of His Incarnation" 4.

Pure nonsense.

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a theological scrapbook

Posts: 9481 | From: Australia | Registered: Apr 2009  |  IP: Logged



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