human sin, then human death

I’m reading a recent interview with Jonathan Sarfati, a well-known anti-evolution Christian author.((Australia’s Reformed Evangelical Periodical, Autumn 2012, 3-6.))

I’m not going to critique the scientific statements he makes, I just wanted to pick up on a theological/biblical claim that he makes, which I hear very often.  He claims:

The whole gospel of Jesus Christ depends on a literal happening in the Garden of Eden where Adam sinned against God and brought God’s curse upon us.  Evolution undermines this account of our origins by putting death before sin.

That’s a big claim.  He presents a choice between a) believing the gospel of Jesus Christ and b) affirming the evolutionary mechanism of natural selection in biology.  For Sarfati, there is no both/and.  He refers to Paul as telling us that “Adam brought death into the world”, and refers to Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15.  So what do these passages say?  And are they appropriate to bring to bear on conversations about animal death before humans?  What would Paul say about us doing so?

Well, it turns out that neither passage is talking about animals at all.  What they are talking about, however, is humans.  Both passages present us with two distinct representatives for, not animals, but humans.  We can either be ‘in Adam’ or ‘in Christ’.  The point is that human sin brings human death.  Adam, no doubt assumed to be the first human by Paul and the rest of his Jewish contemporaries, becomes the representative of all who sin and die, because he (whose name means ‘human‘ funnily enough) was the first human to do so.  Christ, on the other hand, did not sin.  And although he too died, he pioneered the way into a new, un-dying, eternal, glorified state of life that we call the Resurrection.  The physical death and suffering of animals before humans has literally no bearing on either passage.

Sarfati laments that “theistic evolutionists would have us believe that God used [evolution which involves the ‘last enemy’ of death] to create things which then became ‘very good’ “, but even ‘perfect and young earth’ folk like him have not only to recall that creation is brought from ‘tohu va vohu’ (formless and void) to a state of formed and filled by God’s very good ordering and creativity, but also to explain how a ‘very good’ creation can have a deceitful, crafty and lying serpent in it.  The Sunday-school picture of a ‘perfect’ creation doesn’t hold up, and it isn’t the point.

Sarfati continues:

Christians who believe in evolution also have to face the problem of restoration.  If Christ is going to restore or ‘regenerate’ the world, what will He restore it to?  …millions more years of death, suffering and disease? …evolution is opposed to the biblical ideas of creation, fall and redemption.  We undermine the entire message of Scripture if we try to introduce the idea of evolution into it. (emphasis mine)

Again, if a literal Eden is the prototype of the final restoration – the goal for all things – then it must have a lying snake in it, and we must be able to sin again, and it also might be formless and void and in need of forming and filling.  But in Scripture, it is not Eden that is the prototype.  It is Christ.  Our great hope is not to simply be like a pre-fall Adam, but rather that “we shall be like Him”, that is, Christ.  Our hope is not to be brought back to a state of posse peccare, posse non-peccare (possible to sin, possible not to sin), but to be brought forward to a state of non-posse peccare (not possible to sin).

“Restoration” in the sense of ‘going back to Eden’ is not the right concept.  We don’t go back to the beginning (for another replay?), but forward to the goal, our telos – Christ.  “Transformation” or “translation” or “metamorphosis” is the better image, and that given by the picture of Christ (not Adam) as the “firstfruits” of what is to come.  Moreover, to quote 1 Corinthians 15:49, “Just as we have borne the likeness of the man who was made from dust, we will also bear the likeness of the man from heaven.”  We don’t look back to Adam, but forward to Christ, who has come into human history as the ‘archetype’ of humanity.  We don’t look back to Genesis 1&2 and a ‘very good’ creation, we look forward to Romans 8 and Revelation 21-22 to a liberated creation, and a “new heaven and new earth”.  Or as the great maxim says, “more is gained in Christ than is lost in Adam.”

39 thoughts on “human sin, then human death”

  1. “…if a literal Eden is the prototype of the final restoration – the goal for all things – then it must have a lying snake in it, and we must be able to sin again, and it also might be formless and void and in need of forming and filling.”

    Any free will in heaven..?

  2. I think the NT writers anticipated a ‘freed’ will – unhindered from the forces of sin and evil that dragged the will down and held it back or otherwise enslaved it. Now, I anticipate a “why not do that at the start then?” from you :) And those are fun questions: i.e. why did god create if he didn’t need anything. All i can say is that it makes sense to me that forcing requited love would be manipulative and thus God is ‘restrained’ by his own nature as a Lover to give humans an opportunity (in history, in time) to reject love rather than skipping to the end and making us in a state where we automatically love God. So the ‘good-bad-new-perfect’ progression is more fitted to non-manipulative love than an ‘instantly-perfect’ non-progression would be.

  3. Will citizens of heaven have memory of their ‘good-bad-perfect’ times during their stay?

    If yes – won’t this cause Negative Emotional Reactions in an apparently perfect NER free zone?
    If no – won’t it be like it was ‘instantly-perfect’, ‘robot love’, ‘manipulative’ all along anyway?

  4. I think you will find your statement “For Sarfati, there is no both/and” incorrect. He will have no problem with Natural Selection. But there is no scientific mechanism to create information from nothing.

    And do you realise that you have called God’s creation ‘imperfect’? Rather, a created being (Lucifer) fell, then entered the Garden of Eden. Do you get the sequence of events?

    Could you please explain how “the whole creation groans and travails in pain” (Rom 8:22) is “very good”?

    “We don’t look back to Adam, but forward to Christ”. Why not both? To learn from history as well as to anticipate the future?

  5. RossN,

    New information is regularly generated in evolution – whenever a novel mutation or gene duplication arises. Dramatic examples of entirely new, unique traits arising through mutation have been observed in recent years, such as the evolution of nylon-eating bacteria, which developed new enzymes to efficiently digest a material that never existed before the modern era.

    http://www.nmsr.org/nylon.htm

    In fact, when an organism is considered together with the environment it evolved in, there is no need to account for the creation of information. The information in the genome forms a record of how it was possible to survive in a particular environment. It is not created, but rather gathered from the environment through research—by trial and error, as mutating organisms either reproduce or fail.

    http://arxiv.org/abs/q-bio.PE/0510007

  6. Ryan,
    Interesting question re memory. I’ve not worked out my thoughts on that yet. One has to prioritise what they spend time thinking about :) I’ve heard and like the idea that our memory will be healed and transformed and freed. I think this was put forward by Miroslav Volf, a pretty heavyweight theologian working patiently with texts and theology. I think part of the point is that there must be a pretty huge discontinuity between our state of consciousness and memory now and any redeemed, freed and transformed consciousness/memory in the age to come. That’s not entirely shrouding the question in ‘mystery’, but we are talking about things nobody has experienced yet! :) I’m OK with not knowing with observational precision what the new heavens and new earth will be like :)

  7. Dale,

    Dale: Interesting question re memory. I’ve not worked out my thoughts on that yet. One has to prioritise what they spend time thinking about :)

    It’s okay, Dale, to admit when you’re stumped. No need to hand wave :D

    Dale: I’ve heard and like the idea that our memory will be healed and transformed and freed.

    Yes so essentially you’ve opted for

    Ryan: If no – won’t it be like it was ‘instantly-perfect’, ‘robot love’, ‘manipulative’ all along anyway?

    An external, robotic, manipulative “healing, tranforming and freeing”.

    I would’ve thought you’d opt for the other one and come back with some version of “where did you get the idea that there’s no negativity in the new heaven/earth?” But obviously that’s a non-negotiable for you then? Must be always perfectly positive where you’re going.

    My question still stands and holds weight. Why not have our minds healed and free in the first place?

    This is where literalists find it easy. They answer by positing a historical Adam and Eve who were initially ‘good’, ‘healed’ and ‘freed of sin’.

  8. Ryan, we may have to leave it given how long we have talked about such things before, but the whole point here is that it seems God has chosen to let there be a *process*. History. Time – in which we are first broken then healed. A story where a world is rescued from it’s demise is to me better than a world instantly forced into the ‘happy ending’ state.

  9. Never fully rescued though. Never fully healed. Because to do that would be to have humans ‘living’ (if that’s what you call the afterlife) in a state of mind identical to

    Dale Campbell: a world instantly forced into the ‘happy ending’ state.

  10. it’s not the extent of healing/redemption that makes it forced or not. It’s whether or not there was any moment/time/process in which they were able to affect the outcome

    i.e.
    there is a) fully redeemed in an instantaneous, like-it-or-not moment
    and
    there is b) fully redeemed as part of a process in which one willingly trusts/believes/accepts the full redemption

  11. Dale,

    I don’t think you get it. It’s not about the forcefulness. It’s about what it feels like for the citizen of heaven. To a citizen of heaven – it won’t matter whether a) or b). Both are the same to someone who can “only remember the good times.”

    It’s a paradoxical concept my friend. One cannot subject good without bad. They’re each experienced only cos the other one is experienced at some point to counter balance. Complimentary opposites. Without one or the other you have one thing – neutral.

    Dammmnnn.. an eternity of neutral.. sounds real appealing..

    So, again, why not make it instantly perfect from the start? Makes no difference to Heaven’s Neutral Robot Residents.

  12. Once in Heaven, it doesn’t matter whether you ever ‘liked it or not’ or ‘accepted the full redemption’.

    Make sense..?

  13. I think you’re straw-manning mate? And whilst I’m happy to continue here, I worry we may be wasting one another’s time… Your complaint about “only remembering the good times” is a bit of a simplistic, one-dimensional way of thinking about what a fully liberated creational existence would be like. If the age to come is a realisation of full liberation and forgiveness and reconciliation, and where humans are judged justly and fairly, then the absence of memory of former evil will be achieved by passing through the gate of (total/genuine) forgiveness where the memory of evil (and with it, any desire to ‘get even’) is willingly let go of. Heaven’s citizens will be free/liberated, and thus will desire/choose (not be forced) to let go of these memories and accusations. That’s at the very least what full redemption, healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation means. For goodness sake, we’re talking about things nobody has witnessed yet, but these theological/philosophical quibbles of yours seem a bit strained.

  14. Your concept of heaven seems strained to me. Even with all your forward slashes and parentheses that fail to fill the cracks.

    Don’t think I’m straw-manning, not deliberately at least. Not into being intellectually dishonest.

    I was being simplistic for the sake of unnecessary length and detail. You say the memory of evil is willingly let go? That’s a different way of saying what I said. Problem being: you forget all things ‘evil’, you forget all things ‘good’ and you’re in for a wonderfully neutral eternity of existence.

    I still don’t see an answer to my question: “So, again, why not make it instantly perfect from the start? Makes no difference to Heaven’s Neutral Robot Residents.”

  15. Read the article. Isn’t really related to what I’m asking.

    The only question I want an answer to (forgetting the “why at all” question) is why the long and burdensome process full of pain and suffering and death and sadness that sentient beings are capable of subjecting?

    Could’ve made it all like heaven from the start. If we lose memory of ‘evil’ in heaven – we would never know the difference.

  16. I think there’s a big difference between
    a) the willful choice of participating in a redemptive work which ends in a state of forgiveness, reconcilation, liberated minds, incl. not-hanging-onto-memory-of-evil
    and b) being forced into ignorance of anything that happened.

    ((and I’ve no idea where you’re getting the unbreakable law of ‘forgetting-evil-must-be-accompanied-by-forgetting-good’…))

  17. There is no difference though. Absolutely NO difference to a citizen of Heaven who has had their memories manipulated in order to only remember certain ‘good’ events from their earthly lives.

    Dale Campbell: ((and I’ve no idea where you’re getting the unbreakable law of ‘forgetting-evil-must-be-accompanied-by-forgetting-good’…))

    If your mind is manipulated to forget the evilness of life – you will forget the goodness. They’re descriptive opposites. Good cannot be fathomed without having an opposing evil thing to compare it against. It all becomes neutral.

  18. I don’t mean you will forget the events that you’ve been manipulated to remember (obviously). All I mean is that you will forget that it is good as you will have no evil thing to prefer it over or rejoice in it over.

  19. wow, you use the word manipulated a lot. have you not remembered (or been manipulated to forget – LOL) that I’m contrasting self-willed non-remembering and forced-to-not-know?

    And yes, there is a difference between the two. Even in this life, there’s a difference between, say,

    a) not being ABLE to remember being abused as a child due to amnesia or brain damage
    and
    b) choosing (via forgiveness/reconciliation/counselling, etc.) to not dwell on it… to ‘forget’ what cannot be changed.

    The difference between ‘non-remembering’ in this life and ‘non-remembering’ in the age to come will be the degree of both forgiveness (non-final v. final) and the causally-subsequent non-remembering (buried memory v. ‘healed’ memory).

    And I don’t think I agree with your good/evil thing. I don’t believe that good/evil are merely linguistic descriptive tools. I believe that good is an actual, real, quality for events and objects and states of affairs/relationships. And evil is the absence or diminishing of that quality. So if evil is banished, then the events/objects/relationships are freed to function in good ways. And this can be known.

  20. Dale: And yes, there is a difference between the two. Even in this life, there’s a difference between, say,

    a) not being ABLE to remember being abused as a child due to amnesia or brain damage
    and
    b) choosing (via forgiveness/reconciliation/counselling, etc.) to not dwell on it… to ‘forget’ what cannot be changed.

    Of course there’s a difference there. b) isn’t actually forgetting and you know this cos you scare quoted it.

    Dale: I believe that good is an actual, real, quality for events and objects and states of affairs/relationships. And evil is the absence or diminishing of that quality. So if evil is banished, then the events/objects/relationships are freed to function in good ways. And this can be known.

    You have to believe it… but it can be known??

    See the contradiction?

    It can’t be known, it can only be believed and you KNOW that, Dale..

    That paragraph was fine until that last sentence saying “And what I believe is right!” was tacked on.

  21. first of all, not perfectly knowing something (as we all have to do with a fair whack of stuff) a contradiction maketh not :)

    and whilst I grant that yes ‘forgetting’ in this life is not (usually at least?) total absence of knowledge of the past, I still say that the heavenly forgetting or non-remembering that is willfully participated in is still different than an erasing of memory against one’s will. And the ‘forgetting’ in this life doesn’t need to be total to make the point I was making anyway. All that is needed is simply to know the difference between the unforgiving, bitter clinging to the memory of someone’s act of stealing your french fry (or abusing you), and ‘letting go’ of the bitterness via forgiveness (or at best total reconciliation). Huge difference between those two, and I’d dare say we can get pretty danged close to total non-remembrance in this life. Hardly anything contradictory here.

  22. You don’t even partially know though. You only believe. If you did you could demonstrate the partial knowledge to me and I could share in the partial knowledge with you.

    Forget your idea of forgetting in this life for a moment. We both know it can’t compare and cannot be used as an analogy to illustrate the afterlife concept of full forgetfulness of evil that you believe in.

    Now.

    Do you understand how whether the person is willing or not to participate in selective memory erasing or manipulation that after the ‘operation’ it will not matter whether they were willing as they will not be able to remember being willing to have their memory altered in the first place. If they could remember that it would mean they could remember the evils that they were opting to have removed.

  23. HANG ON…

    Just coz the ‘post-operation’ condition might be similar or the same, doesn’t mean the ‘terms of operation’ are irrelevant. Sex that results in pregnancy is very different depending on whether it’s rape or consensual, etc. Sure, the ‘result’ is the same: pregnancy where there was no pregnancy before. But one is manipulative/evil and one beautiful/good.

  24. What…

    Why are we HANGING ON here.

    How do you manage to miss my point and run off down ‘strange sexually oriented’ Tangent Alley so often?

    You know full well I would not think the ‘terms of operation’ irrelevant. What I said and have been saying if you read again is that it makes no difference to the SUBJECT. The person who’s in Heaven. You say they volunteer to participate in a memory wipe of evil? Ok, therefore they have no memory of there ever being a conflict between good and evil. They have no opposite to contrast ‘good’ with so it is then ‘neutral’. They have no memory of what we call ‘the human condition’. They have no idea that they’ve been ‘fully restored/healed/redeemed/made new/whatever pretty theological whim you want to use’ from such a thing.

    Think of it like this if it helps drive the nail in – nobody will be singing Amazing Grace in your idea of Heaven, dude.

    “I once was… wait… I once was…. umm… I was, I mean, I am… always like…um…. neutral! Yass!! Woohoo!”

  25. well gee, i apologise for the ‘tangent’ of an analogy, goodness…

    I (still) don’t agree with your assumption the letting go of memory of evil necessitates the inability to do, recognise, and celebrate good. Remember, in a new heaven and new earth, it’s a wholly different mode of time, space, matter, meaning and yes memory. We’re groping to describe anything. But still I don’t see why you insist upon this ‘no-evil-means-no-good’ thing.

  26. Haha apology accepted. It was a terrible analogy and raised out of your misunderstanding of what I thought was pretty clear cut.. Ahh well. The nature of blogs, threads and comments I guess.

    I take it that you’ve dropped arguing this point?

    Dale Campbell: I think there’s a big difference between
    a) the willful choice of participating in a redemptive work which ends in a state of forgiveness, reconcilation, liberated minds, incl. not-hanging-onto-memory-of-evil
    and b) being forced into ignorance of anything that happened.

    I take it that you understand that there is in fact NO difference to the person in Heaven because:

    Ryan: …whether the person is willing or not to participate in selective memory erasing or manipulation that after the ‘operation’ it will not matter whether they were willing as they will not be able to remember being willing to have their memory altered in the first place. If they could remember that it would mean they could remember the evils that they were opting to have removed.

    While there might be a difference to God cos “he knows” that there was once a different place called Earth where the humans suffered.. THEY DON’T KNOW. He has ‘ignorant of the fact’, little robotic settlers living with him for eternity. Good Times.

    Once in Heaven, to them, it’s like they’ve always been in Heaven… Which is why I repeatedly ask… Why a creator god would not just have made it that way in the first place…

    Re: My Assumption. I don’t think it’s an assumption, it’s a conclusion I’ve arrived at due to what I think of as an easy to grasp thought experiment.

    Say you wake up on the first day of Heaven. You “walk out to check your letterbox and take out the trash” (I don’t know what the **** it is you do in Heaven in the “mornings”). Your “only remember good/can do good” neighbour walks past and compliments you.

    How do you respond? You probably say “Thanks, so do you.”
    But more importantly, how do you react?

    To answer this (according to your concept of memory in Heaven) we must consider the fact that you you only remember having ever received compliments…ever…. You have no memory of ever being insulted.

    Know what that means? It means the same to you as remembering that you’ve only ever seen green grass… EVER. Feel free to insert your own ‘utterly mundane repetitive constant’ in there if you’ve witnessed some sweet purple grass in your time.

    Dale, you like photography, you’ll like this analogy (maybe :D). Contrast makes for an enjoyable, striking, eye-catching image. Imagine you take a photo and you left out all the blacks. What are you left with? This dirty, flat, “unappealing” grey-white mess. Look at it long enough and you eyes will adjust, you’ll get used to the grey-white scale.

    And next time your neighbor walks past and says nothing – That will be the most evil insult you’ve ever felt… ever..

  27. I’m happy (more or less) with the result being the same for humans, but I think the picture you paint of ” ‘ignorant of the fact’, little robotic settlers living with him for eternity” is a gross caricature. He has restored, freed creatures who have ‘let go’ of their claim to vengeance against others (because that justice has been achieved), who are enjoying rich, unhindered (and Good) relationship with Him, each other and the rest of the new creation. So no, I’ve not given up on the point that it’s a hugely different matter for this state to be willfully participated in, or manipulatively forced upon them. I’d say you could only call this heavenly state ‘robotic’ if it had been forced upon them.

    And re the photography metaphor – yes I like it. But it reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ analogy in The Great Divorce, where heaven is more solid, and more diverse than earth in terms of colour, the new nature to explore, and unhindered creativity of its subjects. Again, unhindered Good. Compliments won’t be token or half-hearted or forced, but genuine, meaningful and honest. My view is of an active Life with liberated meaningful work, roles and activity – including perhaps some kind of ‘new science’ where the new heavens and new earth are enjoyed and celebrated in such a way that current science in all it’s amazing achievement only whispers of. Unhindered Good.

  28. Dale. I’ve said several times now: the creatures don’t and won’t know they’ve been restored, freed or that it was their choice to ‘let go’. Therefore – and this is not my opinion but rather demonstrable logic that I’ve demonstrated several times now – It. Is. No. Different. For the person in Heaven.

    And because of this, God could’ve just started off without the life we converse in right now and could’ve began with your illogical ‘always good’ fanfic:

    Dale: where heaven is more solid, and more diverse than earth in terms of colour, the new nature to explore, and unhindered creativity of its subjects. Again, unhindered Good. Compliments won’t be token or half-hearted or forced, but genuine, meaningful and honest. My view is of an active Life with liberated meaningful work, roles and activity – including perhaps some kind of ‘new science’ where the new heavens and new earth are enjoyed and celebrated in such a way that current science in all it’s amazing achievement only whispers of. Unhindered Good.

    My thoughts on your fanfic:
    – Literal colors? If so, must not be utilizing human eyes in Heaven if you think there’s going to be “MOAR COLORS!” So whatever eyes you end up using will become accustomed to the new color scheme. Give it a couple of decades. But I get the feeling you’ll say “I meant color in a metaphorical sense” anyway…
    – I’ve shown to some extent now how compliments might be genuine, but they won’t at all ever be meaningful to anyone or considered ‘good’. Just neutral. Just normal. Mundane utterances. Think of how dull saying “How are you?” “I’m good!” already is here on Earth and multiply that by many trillions, considering the possibility to even say “Not doing too well at the moment actually..” will be eternally absent in your heaven.
    – Haha, why oh why do you say ‘perhaps’ only on the new science..? You got reason to believe that particular facet of your ideal afterlife fantasy might not be true…?

    I’m sorry man but I honestly find it hard to fathom how you can type all that stuff out, read it over perhaps, then press ‘Post’ believing every ounce of it sounds reasonable and logical and not at all like superstitious, fanciful wishful thinking..

  29. Ryan: Dale. I’ve said several times now: the creatures don’t and won’t know they’ve been restored, freed or that it was their choice to ‘let go’. Therefore – and this is not my opinion but rather demonstrable logic that I’ve demonstrated several times now – It. Is. No. Different. For the person in Heaven.

    Understand that I’m aware that you and I (and God) can see exactly how it would be different from each of our current vantage points. For Heaven’s residents however. Different story. *pun*

  30. I’m off to Tron for the weekend so won’t be replying until Sunday night at the earliest.

    Have a good one chief.

  31. Just quickly (coz I can only give so much time to going ’round the same carousel), again, for me it’s not about defending the difference of the conscious state of the person, but rather the difference of the manipulativeness (or not) of the process. We can squabble about how ‘boring’ (or not) Life In Heaven would be, but I don’t see anything manipulative or robotic about a person participating in a process by which they are healed with respect to memory of (and relation to) evil events. In short, if it’s forced – it’s manipulative. If it’s participated with freely, it’s not. And because the difference between forcing and not-forcing is something of a litmus test for being loving, then it’s not the sort of state to just force people into.

  32. I’ve been watching you go round the carousel for some time now and have trying to call you off it..

    Dale Campbell: for me it’s not about defending the difference of the conscious state of the person, but rather the difference of the manipulativeness (or not) of the process.

    You don’t think the capability to discern the manipulativeness (or not) of the process is more important than whether the process was or wasn’t a manipulative one in the first place?? I’m sorry, what?

    Dale Campbell: I don’t see anything manipulative or robotic about a person participating in a process by which they are healed with respect to memory of (and relation to) evil events. In short, if it’s forced – it’s manipulative. If it’s participated with freely, it’s not.

    You don’t see anything “manipulative” or “robotic” about a person participating in a process by which their mind is “manipulated” to only behave in a “mechanical and unemotional manner”….??? I somehow don’t believe you..

    If the mind altering process you describe (“be gone with evil!”) occurs, participated in freely or not initially… it will not matter and will not be memorable to all God’s new minions who now (voluntarily in the first place or not) have no free will. And I’ve heard soooo many times that God doesn’t want that kind of company for eternity, he wants people actively choosing him over evil.. What if Heaven is like that instead..?

    Feel free to call the discussion quits if you want. I’ll let you do it. It’s your blog.

    For now, I’ll leave you with another thing that will mean nothing/will never be remembered by any person in your mind-control Heaven:

    Jesus’ death and resurrection.

  33. And if you don’t want to read the whole thing (you bastard) – at least read Chapter 10.

    Cheers bo :)

  34. You don’t see anything “manipulative” or “robotic” about a person participating in a process by which their mind is “manipulated” to only behave in a “mechanical and unemotional manner”….???

    I see no need to call such transition ‘manipulated’ any more than (if I might DARE use an analogy, nay, a sexual one… a thousand pardons…) a consensual act of sex leaves a woman being manipulatively pregnant. Nor to I see the need to call the proposed manner of behaviour “mechanical and unemotional”, any more than a runners manner of running is “mechnical and unemotional” when running free of any restraint (as compared with running with a 50kg weight on her back). The heavenly freedom is the same as our freedom now, only liberated (further freed, if you like) from the hindering restraint of evil. ((p.s. that’s where the critique of Plantinga’s FWD – whilst a fair attempt so far as it goes – falls short of being a knock down argument))

  35. Yeaahhhh…. you’re flat out making no sense to me.. But that’s alright, you make sense to others I’m sure.

    Dale Campbell: The heavenly freedom is the same as our freedom now, only liberated (further freed, if you like) from the hindering restraint of evil. ((p.s. that’s where the critique of Plantinga’s FWD – whilst a fair attempt so far as it goes – falls short of being a knock down argument))

    While you’re sneakily trying to have your cake and eat it too in that comment (“it’s the same but different”) – there are 3 responses whether it’s the same or different – each a spanner in the works of your world(heaven)view.

    (i) Different If heavenly dwellers do not possess morally significant free will and yet their existence is something of tremendous value, it is not clear that God was justified in creating persons here on Earth with the capacity for rape, murder, torture, sexual molestation, and nuclear war. It seems that God could have actualized whatever greater goods are made possible by the existence of persons without allowing horrible instances of evil and suffering to exist in this world.
    (ii) Different If possessing morally significant free will is essential to human nature, it is not clear how the redeemed can lose their morally significant freedom when they get to heaven and still be the same people they were before.
    (iii)Same If despite initial appearances heavenly dwellers do possess morally significant free will, then it seems that it is not impossible for God to create genuinely free creatures who always (of necessity) do what is right.

    Time to bury the hatchet perhaps and just agree to disagree once more..?

  36. Needless to say, I think the underlying difference between us that is frustrating this discussion is that same old:

    Ryan – Morality is subjective
    Dale – Morality is objective

    :D

  37. Yeah, I feel like I’ve already (more than once) responded to these points, hence the carousel metaphor :) Yeah, sounds like we’re both tired of this ride. Been aaaages since we’ve beer-ed, and I’ve always enjoyed face-to-face chats, so perhaps another beer would be in order. cheers.

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