Saturday, February 20, 2010

Adam and Eve and Original Sin

I think that I finally figured out what Original Sin is, and the exact meaning of the story in Genesis 2 and 3.

So, here we go...

The Adam and Eve story is jammed with indicators that it is not intended by God to be viewed as an historical story.

The story affirms, for example, that God creates Adam in a "not good" state, by initially creating Adam alone, without a "suitable partner." See Genesis 2:18.

That is impossible.

Then it portrays God as erring by unsuccessfully trying to match Adam up with "lions, tigers and bears." See Genesis 2:19.

So, the story portrays God as "erring" after it accuses God of poor planning.

Then it has jokes built into it. For example, in Genesis 2:23, when Adam, after the creation of Eve and after she is introduced to him, says, "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called 'woman,' for out of 'her man' this one has been taken," the Hebrew actually reads, "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called 'ishshah,' for out of 'ishah' this one has been taken," because that is a pun in Hebrew: Adam is calling Eve a "HERMAN" for out of "HER MAN" she was taken. Ha, ha, ha.

The Satan serpent tells Eve that if she bites of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, she "will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad." Eve does it, and, voila, conscience kicks in. Suddenly she "knows" keenly that she is not "good" because she was "bad." Ha, ha, ha.

Adam's name "adama" is Hebrew for "red [clay]." Thus, God is portrayed as formed man out of clay like a potter.

Did God really make us out of red clay like a potter?

Eve is portrayed as having been made out of a "rib" of Adam.

Did God literally clone Eve like that?

Probably, not one of these things is literally true.

And, lo and behold, Catechism Paragraph 390 affirms that "the account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language," implying that other parts can also be figurative.

But, probably because the Church has difficulty ungluing itself from its own history (where our Protestant brothers are afflicted with that problem even worse!), the Catechism adds the critical words, "The account of the fall in Genesis 3...affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man."

The problem isn't that that is an allegation that the first two ensouled Homo sapiens sapiens sinned. Hey, no problem. Of course they sinned.

The problem is that that "primeval event" which was a "deed" is clearly being focused as "Original Sin."

The Catechism is teaching that an historical event is Original Sin.

Thus, the Catechism declines to view the Adam and Eve story as entirely non-historical, and it affirms that Original Sin, rather than being a state of being, only, began as an event and then mysteriously became a state of being -- "concupiscence."

I have to reject that.


Well, first, it makes God into a horrible sovereign, who does something we would have executed Hitler for doing had he not committed suicide first: Bringing death to millions of people -- descendants of Adam and Eve -- though they were innocent of wrongdoing (because they didn't exist yet), as a punishment for the sin of two people.

Suppose you are a sovereign, and you say, "Ah-hah! That husband and wife over there disobeyed the law. As a consequence, I am going to condemn their children, their children's children, and so on, for the next 10,000 generations, to an early demise, because of their remote ancestors' sin." Would God send you to Hell for that decision?


Well, Church theology accuses God of the same.

The Church's theologians have historically tried to get off this hot seat by saying, "Well, God didn't OWE non-death to Adam and Eve and their descendants, anyway. So He can take non-death away, if He wants! He's sovereign!"

Okay, then how about in utero death, crib death, lightning, volcanoes, etc.? God didn't just take away perpetual life of those innocent of the actual sin blamed for the taking away of perpetual life. He doles out pain and death very, very inequally.

And, no matter what, attaching not only mass future death, but also weakness and sin-proneness -- concupiscence -- to these things in effect has God "punishing" mankind by willing to do that which is ostensibly not "necessary" (because God's punishment is an act of sovereignty, right?): By willing to unnecessarily turn Adam and Eve's progeny into anxious mass-producers of sin.

God "punishes" mankind by using His will to "tickle" future mankind, with concupiscence, into committing vast, vast quantities of sin, kind of like Charles Manson presiding over orgies of sin in the Mojave Desert.

The whole thing doesn't explain anything; instead, it fills theology with giant troubling problems.

Then, there is the problem of "monogenesis" -- the insistence that every single human is a descendant of the first pair.

Apparently, this is to create an "unambiguous conduit of the stain of Original Sin" from Adam and Eve to ourselves.

Simple monogenesis, however, requires incest.

Historically, Catholic theology tried to get off this hot seat by saying, "Adam and Eve and their children hadn't finished falling. They were still morally superior to us, so incest was okay," or words to that effect.

Nah! I don't buy it.

What's the first thing Adam and Eve did in the story after Original Sin?

They put on clothing to cover their sex organs.

And how did God "punish" Eve? He made the reproductive process difficult.

And Cain was a cold-blooded murderer, for heaven's sake!!! How "morally superior" was that???!!!

Nah! Forget it! The initial families, after ensoulment of our species, absolutely needed the protection of the incest taboo, so that it would have evolved in families.

Otherwise, why did even Adam and Eve, in the story, need clothes vis-à-vis each other? In Deuteronomy, after teaching the incest taboo as a moral principle to God's people, Deuteronomy 27:22, Moses says this...

11 "For this command which I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. 12 It is not up in the sky, that you should say, 'Who will go up in the sky to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?' 13 Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, 'Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?' 14 No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out. Deuteronomy 30:11-14.

There it is -- the incest taboo is built-in.

So, God would not have made man such that the Original Sin stain willed by Him passed only if Cain and his brothers and sisters and their children committed incest.

Incest is out.

Strict monogenesis is out, too, as far as I can see.

The whole thing -- Original Sin as traditionally envisioned by the Church in theology still reflected a little bit in the Catechism -- just isn't workable, philosophically.

So, this is what I decided...

The Adam and Eve story is not the least bit non-fictional.

It is fiction.

It is a mere hypothetical, showing how man would handle every single moral decision if man were not graced.

After showing us the result of not being graced, the story promises a savior on a cross piercing the ground at Skull Place -- "he will strike at your head," Genesis 3:15 -- who would be nailed through the feet -- "while you strike at his heel," Genesis 3:15, who by that means would purchase grace.

Why is mankind like that? Why are we sin-prone, so that we need grace?

Answer: God's sovereignty.

God's sovereignty prohibits creation of a fellow God. God is one.

Therefore, we could not be substantially like God.

Being perfect vis-à-vis sin would have made us substantially like God.

So, God can't do that, because doing that is "against the shape of sovereign God."

But God can give us grace -- a participation of God, Himself, in ourselves.


So, God the Son said, "I WILL! I'LL PAY!"

So, the "final ingredient" of man, grace, had to be paid for by Christ's suffering and death. Those who speculate that Christ did not have to suffer and die are wrong.

John's gospel teaches the "final ingredient" concept by having the waters of salvation mixed with the activating sacrificed blood of Christ following Eve out of the side of the "New Testament Adam" on the cross.

On the subject of concupiscence passed-down by monogenesis, I accept that concupiscence is passed down, but not as a punishment non-native to our species as originally created.

Instead, concupiscence is innate to created flesh made less perfect than God because God’s sovereignty required that we be less perfect than God. It would have been "against God-ness" for God to create fellow perfect beings.

So, there is concupiscence, but it's innate -- not a punishment.

And, there is monogenesis -- but it's not strict monogenesis.

Instead, I think that God ensouled large numbers of our species all at once, after they descended from an unensouled common ancestor several generations back.

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