Login Register

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 3   [ 48 posts ]   Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:04 pm 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:00 am
Posts: 6
Religion: atheist
I will break up my confusion so that it is easier to explain piece by piece.

1. My understanding of sin is that it is doing things God doesn't want you to do, which in turn makes those things bad.

2. Original Sin seems to be some sort of inherited contamination or blame that is different from normal sin. How is it justified to punish successive generations for an act by our forefather? I can see this as an allegorical teaching to explain the source of misfortune in the world, but I don't see how it works in a literal sense.

3. Did God give Adam and Eve free will when they were created, or did that come with knowledge of good and evil? It seems like the first couple were not given the choice of their jobs or whether to accept God's authority.


Thank you.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:19 pm 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:55 am
Posts: 77832
Location: 1.5532386636 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
That's three difficult questions. The first one goes all the way back into the pre-Christian era: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthyphro_dilemma

The Catholic answer is that sin is not an arbitrary list of dos-and-donts. Rather, the things that help a human flourish are good, whereas sin is always, one way or another, destructive of self. In other words, sin is built into what it means to be human.

The second question needs an answer that's longer than can fit in a message board post. I might be able to dig up a good link on it.

The third question misunderstands what "free will" entails. We don't for example, have a choice of whether or not to obey the law of gravity. If I step off a cliff, I will fall; I have no choice in the matter, but that doesn't deny my free will. We aren't free to evade the consequences of the choices we make. God's authority is a fact, like gravity. It's not something we (or our first parents) can opt out of without consequence.


Last edited by Obi-Wan Kenobi on Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:20 pm 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10159
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Byzantine Catholic
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
MiloHilltop wrote:
I will break up my confusion so that it is easier to explain piece by piece.

1. My understanding of sin is that it is doing things God doesn't want you to do, which in turn makes those things bad.


Is it simply a matter of God doesn't want you to do, or does it go deeper than that? If you look at any of the actions which are termed "sin" in the Church, including the 10 Commandments, you will see that the root of these actions is a lack of love - towards others and towards God. Scripture says that God is love. Love is not a mushy feeling about someone else. Love is self-giving, self-sacrificial living for the best interests of the other. Let's look at some examples:

How is it love, that is, acting in the best interest of the other, when you steal from that person? He/she has worked long and hard to acquire something, or perhaps what you take is a very dear and sentimental piece of family history. The person from whom you steal is devastated by that loss. Is that love towards them?

How is it love towards God to worship other "gods" rather than He as He has revealed Himself? How is it love to ignore Him (not go to Church to meet with Him). Are you getting my point? Don't think of sin as "law-breaking" but as lacking love. And lacking love does something to us - it separates us from God's love. God is love, and He wishes to share Himself in self-giving love with us. But in order to do this, we must become love. That is the whole direction of the Christian faith - becoming creatures of love rather than selfishness. It starts with repenting of our sins (selfish acts against God and man) and seeking through a slow process of change in our lives, to become like God. The more we become like Him (which is how we will be in eternity, and that makes us fit and able to receive His love) the more we can have fellowship with Him. We will also become more loving because He begins to live His life through us as we surrender to Him.

Quote:
2. Original Sin seems to be some sort of inherited contamination or blame that is different from normal sin. How is it justified to punish successive generations for an act by our forefather? I can see this as an allegorical teaching to explain the source of misfortune in the world, but I don't see how it works in a literal sense.


The idea you are talking about is that of a legal responsibility for Adam's sin. First of all, we are not "punished" for our sins or Adam's sins, but especially not for Adam's sin. What happened to Adam, and by extension, to the whole human race, is a consequence of what he did. Here's perhaps one analogy for it. Suppose I have a laboratory in which I am doing experiments. I tell you, as my son, do not go into my lab, for in the day you do, you will be contaminated. But you can't resist the urge and go in and sure enough, you are contaminated. Not only that, but the disease you catch contaminates your children as well.

Scripture states that by Adam sin entered the world. In his actions, the human nature of mankind was changed from that of love to selfishness. We are all contaminated by this sickness. This is why the Early Fathers called the Eucharist "the medicine of immortality" rather than "the legal payment for sin." They saw sin as operating in mankind as a sickness, a contamination passed down from Adam to all mankind. Because of this contamination, our natures are bent towards acts of selfishness (sin). Salvation is a healing from this so that we might begin our journey into the love of God.

Quote:
3. Did God give Adam and Eve free will when they were created, or did that come with knowledge of good and evil? It seems like the first couple were not given the choice of their jobs or whether to accept God's authority.


I think that most theologians would say that Adam and Eve had free will upon creation, and this is the reason I think that: in order to love, you must make an act of the will. Adam and Eve were created to enter into the union of love between the members of the Trinity and in some way, unknown to us in depth or detail, participate in and enjoy that love forever. St. Athanasius spoke of this when he said "God became man so that man might become (a) God." Little gods who enter into the love relationship of The God. But in order to do this, the will must be exercised, for love is not an emotion, it is a choice of actions. Without free will, Adam and Eve could never have chosen to respond to God in love, even if they had ignored the wicked one's temptations. And I think (and this is just my opinion) that the temptation in the Garden was an opportunity to make that choice and express their love for God "God said not to eat of this...we shall not do it." That would have been an act of love.

I think they could have said "No, we won't tend the Garden." Tending the Garden was just one of many acts of love towards God in which they expressed their love to Him until the Fall. These ideas are my own and may or may not represent teaching from the Church. I do think they are in the area of being orthodox in thought.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:22 pm 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:55 am
Posts: 77832
Location: 1.5532386636 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
If they had said, "No, we won't tend the Garden," I believed they would have sinned in so doing.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:25 pm 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10159
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Byzantine Catholic
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
If they had said, "No, we won't tend the Garden," I believed they would have sinned in so doing.


Agreed. That's why I said that they must have had free will from their creation. They had to be able to choose to love and obey.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:35 pm 
Offline
King of Cool

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 1:30 pm
Posts: 75251
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
I think it is an error to interpret the opening chapters of Genesis in an overly literal fashion. The main point is that human beings were created without sin, they were given some kind of command (represented symbolically as a command not to eat fruit from a certain tree), became subject to temptation (represented symbolically as a serpent speaking to Eve) and they disobeyed the command.

Some people seem to think that the sin of Adam had something to do with sex, although where they got that idea I have no idea, there is nothing in the text to suggest that. Maybe it comes from the fact that it is only after the fall that the text explicitly says Adam 'knew' his wife.

I think the bit about 'having knowledge of good and evil' simply means that before the fall, they were completely innocent, their innocence represented symbolically by saying that they were naked and 'were not ashamed', even today, we often use nakedness to represent innocence.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:43 am 
Offline
Adept
Adept
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:25 am
Posts: 4374
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Religion: Christian & Missionary Alliance
    When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.

Humani Generis 37


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:13 am 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:36 am
Posts: 7590
Location: India
Religion: Syro Malabar Christian
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:


The Catholic answer is that sin is not an arbitrary list of dos-and-donts. Rather, the things that help a human flourish are good, whereas sin is always, one way or another, destructive of self. In other words, sin is built into what it means to be human.

Can you explain this, please?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:53 am 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:55 am
Posts: 77832
Location: 1.5532386636 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
This is a statement (perhaps overly simplified) of the basic principle underlying natural law.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:18 pm 
Offline
King of Cool

Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 1:30 pm
Posts: 75251
Religion: Anticukite Catholic
Light of the East wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
If they had said, "No, we won't tend the Garden," I believed they would have sinned in so doing.


Agreed. That's why I said that they must have had free will from their creation. They had to be able to choose to love and obey.



But it is possible to have free will and yet still be impossible for you to commit sin, both the Blessed Virgin Mary and Christ himself are examples that prove that. It is a fallacy to suggest that to have free will, you must have the option to commit sin.


Last edited by Doom on Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:21 pm 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:55 am
Posts: 77832
Location: 1.5532386636 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
Also the Blessed in Heaven, who remain free and yet cannot sin.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:23 pm 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:55 am
Posts: 77832
Location: 1.5532386636 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
Jack3 wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:


The Catholic answer is that sin is not an arbitrary list of dos-and-donts. Rather, the things that help a human flourish are good, whereas sin is always, one way or another, destructive of self. In other words, sin is built into what it means to be human.

Can you explain this, please?

Try this: If I own (and drive) a car, I need to change the oil regularly. That means that the injunction in the owner's manual to change the oil is not an arbitrary imposition--it's simply what's necessary to keep the car running. Likewise, sin in one way or another always leaves us running less efficiently, makes us less human.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:11 pm 
Offline
Adept
Adept
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:25 am
Posts: 4374
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Religion: Christian & Missionary Alliance
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Jack3 wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:


The Catholic answer is that sin is not an arbitrary list of dos-and-donts. Rather, the things that help a human flourish are good, whereas sin is always, one way or another, destructive of self. In other words, sin is built into what it means to be human.

Can you explain this, please?

Try this: If I own (and drive) a car, I need to change the oil regularly. That means that the injunction in the owner's manual to change the oil is not an arbitrary imposition--it's simply what's necessary to keep the car running. Likewise, sin in one way or another always leaves us running less efficiently, makes us less human.

Right. So is there a better word than "sin" for "acting contrary to one's nature"? Moreso given the fact that it is impossible to act against one's nature unless one has the power of rationality, meaning that not only are we acting against our nature in a broad sense but also in the narrow sense of acting irrationally, which is also against our nature in its own way.

I once tried to explain this to my brother by asking him if he'd ever heard someone accuse or being accused of "acting like an animal." Of course he had. My point to him was that the accusation is meaningful and offensive precisely because it is true. When you are "acting like an animal," you are debasing yourself. You are, rather literally, at least acting less than human. You are failing to be what you actually are, such that you have in that moment literally lost something. That "loss" is harmful (so I like the car analogy), but the nature of "loss" or "emptiness" is what makes it "sin." I only offer the extra comments because I don't want people reducing or misreading the car analogy, which is an excellent one, to justify a consequentialist ethic. I know you don't mean that, but some might get the wrong idea. I did at one point. 8-)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:06 pm 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 10:22 pm
Posts: 18554
theJack wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Jack3 wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:


The Catholic answer is that sin is not an arbitrary list of dos-and-donts. Rather, the things that help a human flourish are good, whereas sin is always, one way or another, destructive of self. In other words, sin is built into what it means to be human.

Can you explain this, please?

Try this: If I own (and drive) a car, I need to change the oil regularly. That means that the injunction in the owner's manual to change the oil is not an arbitrary imposition--it's simply what's necessary to keep the car running. Likewise, sin in one way or another always leaves us running less efficiently, makes us less human.

Right. So is there a better word than "sin" for "acting contrary to one's nature"? Moreso given the fact that it is impossible to act against one's nature unless one has the power of rationality, meaning that not only are we acting against our nature in a broad sense but also in the narrow sense of acting irrationally, which is also against our nature in its own way.

I once tried to explain this to my brother by asking him if he'd ever heard someone accuse or being accused of "acting like an animal." Of course he had. My point to him was that the accusation is meaningful and offensive precisely because it is true. When you are "acting like an animal," you are debasing yourself. You are, rather literally, at least acting less than human. You are failing to be what you actually are, such that you have in that moment literally lost something. That "loss" is harmful (so I like the car analogy), but the nature of "loss" or "emptiness" is what makes it "sin." I only offer the extra comments because I don't want people reducing or misreading the car analogy, which is an excellent one, to justify a consequentialist ethic. I know you don't mean that, but some might get the wrong idea. I did at one point. 8-)



"Anybody might say, 'Very few men are really Manly.' Nobody would say, “Very few whales are really whaley.'

If you wanted to dissuade a man from drinking his tenth whisky you would slap him on the back and say, “Be a man.” No one who wished to dissuade a crocodile from eating his tenth explorer would slap it on the back and say, 'Be a crocodile.' For we have no notion of a perfect crocodile; no allegory of a whale expelled from his whaley Eden".

Chesterton


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:14 pm 
Offline
Adept
Adept
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:25 am
Posts: 4374
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Religion: Christian & Missionary Alliance
GKC wrote:
"Anybody might say, 'Very few men are really Manly.' Nobody would say, “Very few whales are really whaley.'

If you wanted to dissuade a man from drinking his tenth whisky you would slap him on the back and say, “Be a man.” No one who wished to dissuade a crocodile from eating his tenth explorer would slap it on the back and say, 'Be a crocodile.' For we have no notion of a perfect crocodile; no allegory of a whale expelled from his whaley Eden".

Chesterton

Ah, Chesteron. Few people were such so very clear while at the same to so very interesting. :clap:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:37 pm 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 10:22 pm
Posts: 18554
theJack wrote:
GKC wrote:
"Anybody might say, 'Very few men are really Manly.' Nobody would say, “Very few whales are really whaley.'

If you wanted to dissuade a man from drinking his tenth whisky you would slap him on the back and say, “Be a man.” No one who wished to dissuade a crocodile from eating his tenth explorer would slap it on the back and say, 'Be a crocodile.' For we have no notion of a perfect crocodile; no allegory of a whale expelled from his whaley Eden".

Chesterton

Ah, Chesteron. Few people were such so very clear while at the same to so very interesting. :clap:



From the writings most easily found as "The Blatchford Controversies".


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:59 pm 
Offline
Jedi Master
Jedi Master
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:55 am
Posts: 77832
Location: 1.5532386636 radians
Religion: Catholic
Church Affiliations: 4th Degree KofC
I've never read that, but I'm familiar with the quotation. I must have got it secondhand.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:55 pm 
Offline
Some Poor Bibliophile
User avatar

Joined: Thu Feb 20, 2003 10:22 pm
Posts: 18554
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I've never read that, but I'm familiar with the quotation. I must have got it secondhand.


Could be. It is one of the quotables he is known for. It appeared first in 1903, in one of the articles Chesterton wrote at Robert Blatchford's invitation, published in Blatchford's paper, THE CLARION, in response to Blatchford's attacks on religion there in. Chesterton was one of several writers who were invited to make reply; Blatchford, as Chesterton said, was an honest man, willing to let the opposition speak, in his paper. Chesterton's contributions there were rearranged and included in a book reprinting the controversy, RELIGIOUS DOUBTS OF DEMOCRACY/1904, in a chapter titled "Why I Believe in Christianity", one of four of Chesterton's contributions to the book.

That book is harder to find than the other reprinting I'm aware of, which is in Vol.I of the Ignatius Chesterton, as the "Blatchford Controversies".


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:04 pm 
Offline
Sons of Thunder
Sons of Thunder
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:25 pm
Posts: 10159
Location: As I understand it.....in God's will. This is the best place to be.
Religion: Byzantine Catholic
Church Affiliations: Past Grand Knight KoC 15107
Doom wrote:
Light of the East wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
If they had said, "No, we won't tend the Garden," I believed they would have sinned in so doing.


Agreed. That's why I said that they must have had free will from their creation. They had to be able to choose to love and obey.



But it is possible to have free will and yet still be impossible for you to commit sin, both the Blessed Virgin Mary and Christ himself are examples that prove that. It is a fallacy to suggest that to have free will, you must have the option to commit sin.


Did I say that their freewill was the cause of sin? No!

I was trying to say that in order to love, they had to have freewill.

I think you misunderstood me.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: I Don't Understand the Eden Story
PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:22 pm 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:00 am
Posts: 6
Religion: atheist
These responses have helped my understanding, I believe. Many more questions follow that perhaps only God could answer, because they are mostly 'why's.

A more reasonable question for mortal men, then. Does the Church teach the existence of Adam and Eve as allegory or literal truth?


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic Page 1 of 3   [ 48 posts ]   Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


Jump to: