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Source: (consider it) Thread: Do you believe in a "Fall"?
Martin60
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My down and outs loved it when I said on Friday that unfortunately I need a reason to [try and] be kind and that reason is Jesus.

One of the 'leaders' went ballistic when I wouldn't play his game, he asked if I thought kind got us in to heaven. I said I wasn't interested in getting to heaven.

Talking of elliptical if not esoteric, what kind of question is 'So just to get this clear, death wasn't absurd before that?'. My answer stands. In the absence of Jesus, all we have is oblivion.

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Love wins

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Eutychus
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I think people were of the view that death was absurd before Jesus came along.

Which is not what you seem to be saying.

[ 16. August 2016, 19:08: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Martin60
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I'm intrigued. I'm not aware of any people expressing the absurdity of death before Jesus or since, apart from the tension in absurdism. I'm sure people have been saying something like there has to be something more than this for a while, feeling that without being able to articulate it since the origin of language at least. The absurdity of existence, not non-existence, seemed to bemuse David and the writer of Job before him.

Death IS absurd, yeah, it mocks us, our egos, we're so alive and th

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Love wins

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mousethief

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It seems to me that something is absurd when we expect it to have meaning, and it does not. Did people before Christ expect death to have meaning? I'm not so sure they did. Certainly Aristotle did not. Plato thought death did have meaning, so he did not think it absurd. Qoheleth thought life was absurd, but did he say specifically that death was absurd? I do not know. Much of the old testament gives the opinion that death is futile, but not that it's absurd. I'm not certain that any meaning of death is expected in the OT.

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Gramps49
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No such thing as a fall. To say that is to say that humans have made a tiny slip and are paying for it for all time.

No, what is taking place is open rebellion against God. This is something humans have noticed throughout time, so it it not hard to project it into pre historic myth. I define myth as a story that seeks to explain the human condition.

On top of that there is not only the open rebellion, but the refusal to take responsibility for what happened. "It was the woman, which you gave me." "It was the serpent, which you created." Poor serpent, it got the short end of the stick (who says there isn't humor in the Bible?).

If anything, the story, known as the fall is actually a story about the refusal to take responsiblity for our actions.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Death IS absurd, yeah, it mocks us, our egos, we're so alive and th

[Deleted Hellish post]

I give up. I'm really trying to grapple with the insights I glimpse from time to time in your posts, and thus potentially change my views, but what I get from this is that for you, the discussion is more of a game of intellectual hide-and-seek with the odd two-cent joke thrown in. If you're not taking it seriously, then neither should I.

I'm sure we're talking past each other quite a lot here, and that's probably as much my fault as it is yours, but sometimes I get the feeling you're cultivating that misunderstanding and not seeking to overcome it, and I just can't cope with obfuscation when I'm in search of clarity.

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The5thMary
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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
I don't believe in a literal Fall. It's quite obvious that death existed long before human sin. It's rather more of a failure to rise. At some point in human evolution our ancestors developed the imagination to stand outside themselves and realise that all their actions have consequences, sometimes unpleasant, for others. They also began to contemplate their origins, their destiny and their Creator. All of which left them with a knowledge, as it still does for us today, that we don't always live up to our highest ideals. That is our fall.

With that in mind, I don't see the Incarnation as being primarily about saving us from this fallen state, but more about lifting us closer to the state we should be in. It's about Christ uniting the human nature to the divine, and lifting our humanity into the Godhead. This may well be another step on the road of our evolution as creatures who co-operate with God in His creation. Though Christ's work is complete, it's far from complete in most of us as individuals, but He takes us by the hand and leads us.

This. Better than I could've put it.
[Overused]

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
I just can't cope with obfuscation when I'm in search of clarity.

Seems to me that's what God does all the time. Nothing is clear. Thus these endless discussions on God's intentions and purposes.

I also believe in the 'failure to become' model of the fall.

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by The5thMary:
quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
I don't believe in a literal Fall. It's quite obvious that death existed long before human sin. It's rather more of a failure to rise. At some point in human evolution our ancestors developed the imagination to stand outside themselves and realise that all their actions have consequences, sometimes unpleasant, for others. They also began to contemplate their origins, their destiny and their Creator. All of which left them with a knowledge, as it still does for us today, that we don't always live up to our highest ideals. That is our fall.

With that in mind, I don't see the Incarnation as being primarily about saving us from this fallen state, but more about lifting us closer to the state we should be in. It's about Christ uniting the human nature to the divine, and lifting our humanity into the Godhead. This may well be another step on the road of our evolution as creatures who co-operate with God in His creation. Though Christ's work is complete, it's far from complete in most of us as individuals, but He takes us by the hand and leads us.

This. Better than I could've put it.
[Overused]

Maybe, but what do we do with all the bits in St Paul which very clearly state that death entered the world because of human sin, and that we are saved from it by the sacrifice of a sinless Christ? We can re-interpret these old texts to suit any kind of situation, I guess, I think we would be better advised to simply revise the whole idea of a 'Biblical revelation.' Paul was wrong, wrong as wrong can be, and if our church(es) carry on basing their entire soteriology on this, we are doomed.

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Eutychus
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God might not always be clear, but I don't think he goes out of his way to obfuscate.

The "failure to become" model has appeal and merits, but talking in terms of "failure" and "ideal" nevertheless suggests something went wrong somewhere, and that some choices made are/were morally wrong.

Not only did we become morally aware, we made and keep on making morally wrong choices, as Romans 7 eloquently testifies.

Evil has got into the system somehow, and the Bible depicts humanity as having some responsibility in that. I don't think it's necessary to subscribe to the Augustinian notion of inherited guilt to acknowledge that. Even if sin is mostly about "missing the mark", I think there's something more pernicious at work too.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
Maybe, but what do we do with all the bits in St Paul which very clearly state that death entered the world because of human sin, and that we are saved from it by the sacrifice of a sinless Christ? We can re-interpret these old texts to suit any kind of situation, I guess, I think we would be better advised to simply revise the whole idea of a 'Biblical revelation.' Paul was wrong, wrong as wrong can be, and if our church(es) carry on basing their entire soteriology on this, we are doomed.

Hello again: we've been here before [Big Grin]

Paul is certainly doing the best he can with the light he had but if he was nothing more than utterly mistaken, there's nothing special at all about Biblical revelation, in which case I think churches themselves are pretty much a false premise.

However, I don't think the choice is quite as binary as you make out. Challenging assumptions about what he really said/meant is worth investigating, I think.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Curiosity killed ...

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

The "failure to become" model has appeal and merits, but talking in terms of "failure" and "ideal" nevertheless suggests something went wrong somewhere, and that some choices made are/were morally wrong.

Why can't those choices be those made by humans, individually and collectively, from their own free will? The less perfect choices we all make from our own human nature.

quote:
Not only did we become morally aware, we made and keep on making morally wrong choices, as Romans 7 eloquently testifies.
But isn't that just part of being a fallible human?

quote:
Evil has got into the system somehow, and the Bible depicts humanity as having some responsibility in that. I don't think it's necessary to subscribe to the Augustinian notion of inherited guilt to acknowledge that. Even if sin is mostly about "missing the mark", I think there's something more pernicious at work too.
Couldn't Augustine be expressing our ability to do the wrong thing, even when we have moral agency and awareness, as "inherited guilt"? Could it be that the difference between humanity and the animal kingdom be that moral agency and awareness*?

Why does there have to be something more pernicious at work?

Working with challenging families, the situation is often the result of several generations of dysfunction. Couldn't that be an expression of fall?

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Could it be that the difference between humanity and the animal kingdom be that moral agency and awareness*?

Why does there have to be something more pernicious at work?

Well, the Genesis narrative posits a third-party instigator behind the wrong moral choice. On the face of it, there's more to it than simply becoming morally aware. Remove that from the narrative and a whole lot more falls out later on.

quote:
Working with challenging families, the situation is often the result of several generations of dysfunction. Couldn't that be an expression of fall?
Very probably. Working with inmates I get that impression 99% of the time. But do you never get the idea, be it 1% of the time or less, that you've seen something so utterly evil it surpasses mere human agency?

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Curiosity killed ...

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I see these children at 11 upwards, and even with the very, very challenging children at that age, I can see why. They build the defences as they go through puberty. It's much harder to see beyond the hard shell when those same youngsters are older. It's also harder to break through the defences to help them.

I read Genesis as telling truths through stories, rather than literal truth. So the description of the fall is a way telling that truth of humankind "falling" by going their own way rather than following the "higher path". Then that same imagery continues to be reflected throughout the Bible as a shorthand for that understanding.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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Eutychus
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Yes, I really don't have much problem with that.

That said, while I understand the difficulties of the term "fall", I balk at replacing it throughout with "rise". I think that to do so breaks the narrative beyond repair.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
Maybe, but what do we do with all the bits in St Paul which very clearly state that death entered the world because of human sin, and that we are saved from it by the sacrifice of a sinless Christ? We can re-interpret these old texts to suit any kind of situation, I guess, I think we would be better advised to simply revise the whole idea of a 'Biblical revelation.' Paul was wrong, wrong as wrong can be, and if our church(es) carry on basing their entire soteriology on this, we are doomed.

Hello again: we've been here before [Big Grin]

Paul is certainly doing the best he can with the light he had but if he was nothing more than utterly mistaken, there's nothing special at all about Biblical revelation, in which case I think churches themselves are pretty much a false premise.

However, I don't think the choice is quite as binary as you make out. Challenging assumptions about what he really said/meant is worth investigating, I think.

yes, we've been there before, but I have yet to read a convincing answer to the problem. If the whole old Adam/new Adam paradigm is reinterpreted as a matter of 'emergence' or whatever, the bottom-line remains that we are not saved from death by Christ's death, and yes, the biblical 'revelation' on this matter is demonstrably false and, therefore, no revelation at all, only a jumble of texts which are interesting when it comes to the history of Christian theology.

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Eutychus
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You're expressing pretty much what I'm thinking, although perhaps for different reasons.

However, I think there's some room between interpreting what Paul says in this respect in very Augustinian/PSA terms and rejecting what he says outright.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Martin60
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Then let me be clear. There was no Fall. There is a rise and there is no failure in it. There are limits. I can't make any sense of eternity with fallen angels in it, of human existence with transpersonal evil about. You have met people with brain lesions or other more subtle wiring and programming errors who manifest the dark tetrad. What has that got to do with transpersonal evil? Assuming it exists? Even Jesus was paradoxical about this: Tartarus is not a house divided but the NT is full of out of control, insane demons.

Jesus had a VERY strong narrative of transpersonal evil, some of which is easy to see as projection. Some isn't. Furthermore His existence was heralded by righteous angels.

If there is an angelic realm, then talk of a fall and the moral culpability of anyone for anything is even more chaotic. Like all claims of the supernatural in this life.

So, until they show their hand, any of them, for good or ill, angels, demons, Holy Spirit, in no uncertain terms, like Christopher Ecclestone's awesome miracle at the Maine Road ground in The Second Coming, I suggest we get on with our lives in the less chaotic light of Christ (who had to believe all manner of nonsense) and ignore all the chaotic bits.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
No such thing as a fall. To say that is to say that humans have made a tiny slip and are paying for it for all time.

No, what is taking place is open rebellion against God. This is something humans have noticed throughout time, so it it not hard to project it into pre historic myth. I define myth as a story that seeks to explain the human condition.

On top of that there is not only the open rebellion, but the refusal to take responsibility for what happened. "It was the woman, which you gave me." "It was the serpent, which you created." Poor serpent, it got the short end of the stick (who says there isn't humor in the Bible?).

If anything, the story, known as the fall is actually a story about the refusal to take responsiblity for our actions.

Open rebellion against who? What happened?

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Love wins

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Eutychus
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Why are you asking? Your mind appears to be made up.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Why are you asking? Your mind appears to be made up.

Why are you asking why am I asking?

Yes, of course my mind IS made up that there never has been a 'rebellion' against God. He was NEVER in charge. It's a meaningless concept. It's a STORY. Made up, funnily enough, in the Bronze Age.

Nobody has ever known God sufficiently, personally enough to rebel against Him in any way other than to be unkind, dishonest, faithless, merciless, ungrateful when they know they should be kind, honest, faithful, merciful, grateful.

You mean you have an open mind about that? 50:50? What? Humans have been around for 200,000 years or 6,000? It's a close call?

Our ancestress picked etz ha-da'at tov va-ra fruit, may be?

It's ALL stories, including Paul's of course therefore. He was working stuff out in the light of Christ from his enculturation. This is KID'S STUFF.

I've made up my mind about many things in the clear light of Christ in eternity. And yeah, some of it's taken 60 years, I'm a bit thick and deeply enculturated. You? It's called growing up.

So, as you can't POSSIBLY imply that you entertain wooden literal belief in myth, what do you mean? What are the myths metaphoric of in the human condition?

You're trying to make the myths work as psychology as the Greeks did in conjunction with logos? Try harder. A LOT harder. They DON'T work. One can see the evils that came with the benefits of social evolution. So? It's called hindsight. We otherize worse than ever whilst co-operating better than ever. Uh huh. Anything more? Where's the REBELLION against GOD?

Your problem isn't with me Eutychus. You MUST know all this. You MUST know that there is no magic and never was. And that we are nature's children and NOTHING is anybody's fault. Not even God's. NOTHING went wrong. Everything, EVERYTHING - all suffering - will be worked out, walked out, talked out, lived out for a thousand years if necessary; deconstructed, reconstructed. Unsuffered.

Thanks be to God in Christ Jesus SAVES.

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Love wins

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Why are you asking? Your mind appears to be made up.

Why are you asking why am I asking?
Because you seem to be in the habit of asking gratuitous one-line questions tangential to the thrust of a thread. Such as here, which is where we came back to this thread.

quote:
This is KID'S STUFF (...) You? It's called growing up. (...) Try harder. A LOT harder. (...) Your problem isn't with me Eutychus. You MUST know all this. You MUST know that there is no magic and never was.
I can't answer this attitude outside of Hell. And when I visit Hell I find myself very precisely here. That thread's locked, and I've no energy to start another one, so you'll just have to add me to the list of people who've given up, for the time being at least.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Martin60
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As I said mate, this about you, not me. Happy to go offline with you. Someone makes a comment ripe with fundamentalist assumption in Purgatory and I launch a one liner.

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Love wins

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Eutychus
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That is undisputedly about you and your apparent need to react to such statements.

Or at least, that's what I learned from reading the Hell thread, specifically here.

Now lay off pursing the personal angle before both of us get into trouble with another host (since I'm obviously recusing myself here).

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Martin60
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Ah, so it's about US. We should get a room.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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Eutychus

May I try and go back a little to go forward?

The stream was turbulent when we were discussing the end of death. I'm sorry for muddying the waters. We see tips of each others icebergs here and there are masses under the surface with local currents at work on them.

In theory death is just a mere formality since Jesus, implicitly since His first sermon and explicitly since His resurrection. We have eternal life, We're in it. We have to suffer in its light and we can love in its light. Once we pass through death's door, ALL our suffering becomes fully redeemable.

NOBODY I currently fellowship with, except my wife, agrees. My village home group LIKED such things being expressed, but they cannot even be expressed currently in the same community back now where we were before the village.

I find ALL the language of the Fall, of failure, of morality, of conscience - now, let alone Biblical, Pauline, Jesus' - problematic. In need of deconstruction.

Your discussion with Joesaphat is a good dialectic addressing that. Do you have anything more to add at this time?

[ 18. August 2016, 10:45: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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Eutychus
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To return to Joesaphat's post above:
quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
If the whole old Adam/new Adam paradigm is reinterpreted as a matter of 'emergence' or whatever, the bottom-line remains that we are not saved from death by Christ's death


Paul certainly contrasts Adam and Christ in terms of the one bringing death and the other bringing life. This theme appears to me to run through so much of the Bible, not just Paul, that like Joesaphat I can't recast Scripture solely in terms of "emergence" or a "rise".

Something was lost; something is broken and needs mending. I can't for the life of me make sense of the incarnation if that's not the case.

(However, this does not mean I endorse a continual message of condemnation, which seems to me to be many people's takeaway from Augustine and inherited guilt and the term "fall").

PaulTH said:
quote:
At some point in human evolution our ancestors developed the imagination to stand outside themselves and realise that all their actions have consequences, sometimes unpleasant, for others.
I can countenance that scenario quite readily - up to that point.

But the Biblical narrative presents us with more than an emergence of self-awareness, moral conscience, or the realisation of the potential for "unpleasant consequences": it presents us with our incontrovertible tendency to actually make wrong choices, choices for which our own consciences accuse us. It tells us what we already know: we don't so much feel inadequacy "that we don't always live up to our highest ideals" as we feel guilt.

(This seems to me to be not so much something to be preached as something self-evident which we simply need to acknowledge, at least privately).

What is the death we are saved from? Spiritual, rather than physical death, I would venture; separation from our Creator. That is what Genesis seems to be telling us, anyway.

Physical death is not a problem in and of itself (as I think Mark Twain said, it's more the actual dying that I'm bothered about personally) - if there is a resurrection.

Resurrection on the other side of physical death opens up the prospect of hope, restoration, and resolution. Without it, there's nothing constructive or meaningful, or indeed anything at all.

So where have I got to in all this?

I don't feel compelled to believe in a literal Adam and Eve or garden of Eden. I see no interest in speculating in whether there was a time in creation where there was no physical death.

What I am fairly persuaded of is that "in the beginning", humanity enjoyed a state of relationship with God and with each other "as originally designed" that was not marred by moral failure or deceit.

Something happened, for which humanity was responsible and in which evil was an agency, which destroyed that state of affairs and had a lasting impact for the rest of us.

(I'm not at all wedded to the term "Fall", especially if it brings with it too many connotations of guilt-inducement and condemnation; In French I follow Henri Blocher's terminology and speak exclusively in terms of rupture, which might loosely be translated as "break-up" as of a relationship.)

The collective memory of that time "in Eden" resonates in us; we strive in various ways to recover what was lost; the steps we take away from it create a sense of guilt in us. I believe Christ came to restore the possibility of that relationship, of living in truth, and the hope of resurrection.

In the meantime, we muddle through between the unrecoverable state of the Garden of Eden and the as-yet unrealised prospect of the time when all things will be made new.

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Martin60
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Thank you very much for coming back to this thread Eutychus.

I failed to be liberal in my neo-liberalism, again, I see that clearly now.

I apologize unreservedly.

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Curiosity killed ...

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Something was lost; something is broken and needs mending. I can't for the life of me make sense of the incarnation if that's not the case.

Does the fact that something is broken necessarily mean that something has been lost? Could it be that the potential for being better is what is lost here?

Which ties into this point:
quote:
... the Biblical narrative presents us with more than an emergence of self-awareness, moral conscience, or the realisation of the potential for "unpleasant consequences": it presents us with our incontrovertible tendency to actually make wrong choices, choices for which our own consciences accuse us. It tells us what we already know: we don't so much feel inadequacy "that we don't always live up to our highest ideals" as we feel guilt.
Can that also be interpreted as we have the potential to live up to our highest ideals, but we do not manage to do so because of our fallen nature?

quote:
What I am fairly persuaded of is that "in the beginning", humanity enjoyed a state of relationship with God and with each other "as originally designed" that was not marred by moral failure or deceit.

Something happened, for which humanity was responsible and in which evil was an agency, which destroyed that state of affairs and had a lasting impact for the rest of us.

Can that also not be considered as potential to live in a "relationship ... not marred by moral failure and deceit"?

quote:
The collective memory of that time "in Eden" resonates in us; we strive in various ways to recover what was lost; the steps we take away from it create a sense of guilt in us. I believe Christ came to restore the possibility of that relationship, of living in truth, and the hope of resurrection.+

In the meantime, we muddle through between the unrecoverable state of the Garden of Eden and the as-yet unrealised prospect of the time when all things will be made new.

Which leaves this thought intact.

One of the hardest things to deal with is loss of hope - a miscarriage, children not turning out the way we hoped - all are losses of potential. But that is an abstract concept, and fall is a much more concrete way of explaining it.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Does the fact that something is broken necessarily mean that something has been lost?

I cannot make this make sense. If something is broken, then what has been lost is, at least in part, the previous unbroken state of the thing that is now broken. What am I missing?

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Curiosity killed ...

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That's sort of what I am trying to argue, that we are all potentially "unbroken" in a state of the Garden of Eden, but that is the potential, not the human state. I wonder if broken is a way of expressing of that not living up to our potential, in the same way that fallen nature is another way of expressing that thought.

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mousethief

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So the human state is not "unbroken"? By human state do you mean the ideal state or the actual state? I'm having a hard time unpacking your first sentence.

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Curiosity killed ...

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The human state is broken and fallen. Ideally, potentially, it could be unbroken. Those saints are those getting near to that state. It's what we are striving towards if we follow God and potentially can lead us to that higher plane. I don't think any of that is controversial.

I don't see why we have to have an actual event, other than just being human and fallible, to reduce us to this current fallen state. I would suggest that those descriptions of a fall are the analogies used to explain these concepts that have been taken as more than the idea they are trying to convey.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
The human state is broken and fallen. Ideally, potentially, it could be unbroken. Those saints are those getting near to that state. It's what we are striving towards if we follow God and potentially can lead us to that higher plane. I don't think any of that is controversial.

I don't see why we have to have an actual event, other than just being human and fallible, to reduce us to this current fallen state. I would suggest that those descriptions of a fall are the analogies used to explain these concepts that have been taken as more than the idea they are trying to convey.

My question is, were we ever in a state in which we weren't broken/fallen/however-you-want-to-put-it? If no, then it would seem we were created broken, which doesn't speak well of God. If yes, then we have undergone some kind of fall, however one terms it. That's the dilemma that seems to present itself when speaking of the Fall or lack thereof.

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Curiosity killed ...

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How about we were created with free will, but because humankind is fallible and weak and fails to follow God that introduces that division between us and God?

It doesn't work with the God who is completely involved in all aspects of all lives (every sparrow that falls and all that jazz), but I don't find that God works too well to explain the injustice of the disasters of the world.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
I don't see why we have to have an actual event, other than just being human and fallible, to reduce us to this current fallen state. I would suggest that those descriptions of a fall are the analogies used to explain these concepts that have been taken as more than the idea they are trying to convey.

I'm pretty much with mousethief in his replies to this.

I could add that I just can't make this work for Paul's discourses on Adam and Christ, for instance, and notably how they deal with death and life.

I'm with Joesaphat here, in his argument (if not in the conclusions he comes to elsewhere):
quote:
If the whole old Adam/new Adam paradigm is reinterpreted as a matter of 'emergence' or whatever, the bottom-line remains that we are not saved from death by Christ's death, and yes, the biblical 'revelation' on this matter is demonstrably false and, therefore, no revelation at all, only a jumble of texts which are interesting when it comes to the history of Christian theology.
And no, there's no way you can talk in terms of something being broken (or a relationship being broken off) that wasn't whole in the first place.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
How about we were created with free will, but because humankind is fallible and weak and fails to follow God that introduces that division between us and God?

Then the point at which it was first introduced becomes your "Fall."

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Eutychus
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[x-post]

quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
How about we were created with free will, but because humankind is fallible and weak and fails to follow God that introduces that division between us and God?

I think most evangelicals would agree with that - and go on to add that as a result, sin and death entered the world (for varying values of "death" and "world"*).

==

*For the latter, even if earthquakes couldn't be immediately laid at our door it seems they now may be and anthropomorphic climate-change deniers get about as short shrift here as six-day creationists...)

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Thank you very much for coming back to this thread Eutychus.

I failed to be liberal in my neo-liberalism, again, I see that clearly now.

I apologize unreservedly.

Sorry Martin, I missed this earlier. Apology accepted and much appreciated. As iron sharpens iron and all that.

[ 19. August 2016, 19:54: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Martin60
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That's MOST gracious of you Eutychus. I was being an arse. An illiberal. I failed to be inclusive, the nearly unforgivable sin in postmodern Christianity. I had assumed that you were ... on the same page. That was MULTIPLY foolish of me. And there is NO patronization in there, although it feels as if that's dangerously implicit.

That I failed you shows that I don't have a sodding leg to stand on.

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I believe that the first chapter of Genesis is a liturgical poem.
I believe that the next couple of chapters are a kind of poetic history(?)
But, as with all symbolism, they point to a factual but indescribable event/past.

I do believe in a Fall - humanity is in God's image but it is dreadfully marred and impaired and in desperate need of redemption.

As for the events surrounding the Fall - the curse and the expulsion - I think these are indicative of the seriousness with which God reacts to sin. We are SO good at minimising it, either because we want to live selfishly or because we don't want to be judged. But God sees sin as a dreadful thing that needs dreadful measures - why do we think the Messiah was killed?

Sin is serious stuff but the expulsion, I believe, was an act of mercy. Our first parents were expelled from the Garden not as a punishment, but in order to prevent them from eating from the tree of life, thus condemning themselves to an eternity of irredeemable sinful nature.
By blocking the way to eternal life in our fallen state God opened the way for redemption and grace to be provided and 'take away the sin of the world' and give eternal life to the redeemed.

However it happened, there was a Fall which has consequences for us sinners and yet, marvellously, there is the availability of grace to all who believe or who, having not heard, will be judged in mercy.

If there was no Fall, what point is there, what promise, of grace?
And therefore, what hope?

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I believe that the first chapter of Genesis is a liturgical poem.
I believe that the next couple of chapters are a kind of poetic history(?)
But, as with all symbolism, they point to a factual but indescribable event/past.

I do believe in a Fall - humanity is in God's image but it is dreadfully marred and impaired and in desperate need of redemption.

As for the events surrounding the Fall - the curse and the expulsion - I think these are indicative of the seriousness with which God reacts to sin. We are SO good at minimising it, either because we want to live selfishly or because we don't want to be judged. But God sees sin as a dreadful thing that needs dreadful measures - why do we think the Messiah was killed?

Sin is serious stuff but the expulsion, I believe, was an act of mercy. Our first parents were expelled from the Garden not as a punishment, but in order to prevent them from eating from the tree of life, thus condemning themselves to an eternity of irredeemable sinful nature.
By blocking the way to eternal life in our fallen state God opened the way for redemption and grace to be provided and 'take away the sin of the world' and give eternal life to the redeemed.

However it happened, there was a Fall which has consequences for us sinners and yet, marvellously, there is the availability of grace to all who believe or who, having not heard, will be judged in mercy.

If there was no Fall, what point is there, what promise, of grace?
And therefore, what hope?

The point as I see it, though, Mudfrog, is whether or not this reinterpretation of the fall as a marring of God's image in us entails that such a marring causes physical death. I do not think it does, death has been our constant companion and this since before there were any humans or humanoids about. To carry on, as we do, preaching salvation as a reversal of this state of affairs will not make much sense.
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Joesaphat
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Unless of course resurrection is a naturally occurring thing and has little to do with accepting Christ's sacrifice. Having been brought up an old Buddhist, I'm paradoxically happy with that. We rise and rise and unfortunately rise again, till we do it once and for all by putting our 'selves' to death as Christ did. But this is far removed from orthodox Western soteriology.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Joesaphat:
The point as I see it, though, Mudfrog, is whether or not this reinterpretation of the fall as a marring of God's image in us entails that such a marring causes physical death. I do not think it does, death has been our constant companion and this since before there were any humans or humanoids about.

I'm not sure how many people actually hold to such a view these days outside absolute literalists.

And even they would have to admit that Adam and Eve did not die physically at once on eating the fruit - whereas the relationship they had had with God clearly did.

The way I see it the old serpent, as ever, told a half-truth. Indeed, Adam and Eve did not drop dead on the spot; but something inside did die.

At least some prominent evangelicals (Roger Forster comes to mind) have put in writing that they believe physical death to have always been part of the created order.

I think most if not all of the evangelicals I know would say that the important new element in Eden is spiritual, rather than physical death, and set aside as unimportant the issue of whether physical death existed before the "Fall".

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Eutychus
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To put it another way, physical death only takes on horrendous proportions if it is viewed in the absence of a relationship with God.

I really don't think it's a stretch to understand Paul when he says "death came through one man" to mean "spiritual death".

If one has a relationship with God, death loses its ultimate absurdity.

As Roger Forster (again) memorably says of Enoch, who is depicted as having a relationship with God and indeed somehow apparently managing not to die: "he walked with God - and one day he walked so far God said 'it's too late to go back now, you'd better stay with me'".

[ 20. August 2016, 10:04: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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I don't at all think that physical death came with the Fall - spiritual death does.

Don't forget, God expelled the 'Guilty Pair' from the Garden lest they 'take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.' (Genesis 3 v 22)

It appears from that verse alone - or at least it's what I infer - that Adam and Eve were going to die anyway physically. In the pronouncement of the curse in verses 17 - 19 there is no mention at all of physical death being a result of the act of disobedience - pain in childbirth and hard work is all God cursed them with. Surely he would have said, "That's it, you're going to die physically when before you would have lived forever."?

If physical death were the result of the Fall it would be very explicit. It isn't. However, spiritual death is.
And what the atonement provides is resurrection, not a rescue from physical death.

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Joesaphat
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the fact that physical death was introduced by the sin of Adam is, by miles, the most widespread interpretation in Tradition, incl. in Judaism (Wisdom 2.24; 1Enoch 69.11; Genesis rabbah 8.11, 16.6; Sifra 27a, Life of Adam and Eve, Philo, Biblical Antiquities 13.8; and the Talmud pretty much everywhere. I'm not sure what you mean by spiritual death... a conditional resurrection? dying in a state of such implying annihilation? or do you believe that it's a metaphorical death which is mirrored by a metaphorical resurrection, something like feeling fully alive... I don't know. I don't mean to cast stones, I believe none of the above, I'm really trying hard to understand.

I think it's impossible to reinterpret these passages metaphorically or to spiritualise them. Paul seems to deny that his hope is 'for this life only.' "As was the man of dust, aka Adam, so are those who are of the dust.' (1Co 15.47 etc)

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Mudfrog
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I notice that none of those sources are Biblical.

Note also that when Paul talks about death, the 'antidote' is resurrection, not just life after death - i.e.spiritual life not just a return to physical existence.

Nowhere is there a reference to physical death caused by the Fall.

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Joesaphat
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
To put it another way, physical death only takes on horrendous proportions if it is viewed in the absence of a relationship with God.

I really don't think it's a stretch to understand Paul when he says "death came through one man" to mean "spiritual death".


On the contrary, Paul even envisages the death of all creation, any sentient being, being due to Adam's disobedience, in Romans 8. Creation was submitted to decay by the will of God 'in hope that the whole of creation itself will be set free from this bondage to decay and will also obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.'

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It's again a theological comparison... 'because Adam submitted himself to sin...' God submitted him and the whole creation to decay and death.

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