In my last post about contextualizing the OT in light of the ancient Near Eastern culture of the OT wrtiers, I was reminded again of the striking absence of Adam’s sin in OT theology. Other than Genesis 3 and then Genesis 4-5, where Adam is mentioned with respect to having children with Eve, the person Adam is mentioned only two times in the entire Old Testament. One reference is a genealogy (1 Chron 1:1). The other is Hosea 6:7 which reads: “But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.” Not surprisingly (to me anyway), there is no mention here of Adam’s original sin being transmitted to the rest of humanity. Instead, Adam’s transgression of his relationship to God is used as an analogy to covenant violation of Israel. Eve is never mentioned in the OT after Genesis 4:1.
What this means is transparent: There isn’t a single verse in the entire Hebrew Bible that produces the theology put forth by the traditional interpretation of Romans 5:12. The idea that Adam’s guilt was transmitted to all humanity is completely absent from OT theology. One would think that, given its central importance to the whole idea of salvation, if this view were accurate, at least one writer in the OT during the 2000 year history of Israel from Abraham to Jesus would have put the idea out there. But none did (under inspiration to boot).
What we do have is the simple story of the garden: Adam sins, humanity is removed from the tree of life and the direct presence of God which (apparently – in all views of this) was essential to Adam remaining without sin up to the Fall, and so humanity will thereafter die and sin. One is now his biological nature and destiny; the other is his spirtual nature–that all humans WILL sin, without exception.
Do you know what else we have in OT theology? The idea that humans are guilty before God because of THEIR OWN sins and transgressions. My detractors seem to have missed the fact that Paul’s statements in Romans 3, for example, either come irectly from the OT or are allusions to OT verses. Think about that. The verses that are supposed to convince me (and us) that humanity inherited guilt (as opposed to becoming sinners and producing their own guilt) comes from that document (the Hebrew Bible) that doesn’t have a single verse in it about humans inheriting Adam’s guilt. For sure we inherit the conditions and nature that will PRODUCE sin and guilt BY OUR OWN HAND, but that is different than the traditional view. How ironic. Using OT citations (through the mouth of a NT writer quoting them) to prove an idea that isn’t in the OT.
So why is it that Paul breaks the silence about Adam and the human race in Romans 5:12? Why did we have to wait until Paul for someone to say something? The answer is simple. It wasn’t until Paul — living as he was in “post Jesus” Judaism (and the birth of Christianity) that Adam became a useful ANALOGY for something. Paul brought up Adam and humanity for the specific purpose of comparing and contrasting Adam with Jesus, who in Paul’s thought became the “second Adam.”
I came across an article last week about Paul’s view of Romans 5:12. I now have two of them that discuss his theology in light of earlier Judaism (not the OT per se, due to the above difficulty). Both of them spend a lot of time talking about the Jewish sense of corporate identity. The idea that when one person does X the extended family and even a tribe might be cursed for it (or blessed). For sure this idea is part of Israelite culture (and the wider ANE). But neither article asks the question that logically extends from this observation: In view of how corporate responsibility is ingrained in Israelite thinking, why is it that not a single verse in the Hebrew Bible makes this point about Adam? The silence there is telling. Yes, I agree that what Adam did extended to the entire human race (there’s your corporate identity idea). But, as I noted several posts ago, I’m just asking HOW that is true. And of course, how that questioned is answered must deal with the Jesus problem – that Jesus is a lineal descendant of Adam.
Also, isnt there a verse in Jeremiah that says that God will not punish the sons/daughter for their parents’ sin? and that God placed a new covenant regarding this?..
don’t know if it would apply to this subject.
ps. i thought it was jeremiah 33 but its not…
ok it was jeremiah 31
27 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will plant the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the offspring of men and of animals. 28 Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the LORD. 29 “In those days people will no longer say,
‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
30 Instead, everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapeshis own teeth will be set on edge.
What are those two articles? I am doing a paper on Romans 5 so it would be very helpful.
Thanks for helping a detractor…LOL!
It’s so interesting that you should mention “the Jewish sense of corporate identity” and how it applies to understanding Paul’s theology. Just today, I finished reading a book, ‘What Paul Meant”, by Garry Wills. In it, Mr. Wills analyzes the authentic Pauline letters and attempts to separate the ideas of “original” Paul vs. “traditional” Paul.
He argues, based on a paper by Bishop Krister Stendahl (‘The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West’), that Paul saw God as the savior of whole peoples, not just individuals; thus, Romans 7:22-24 (e.g.) is “part of a complex interplay of “persons” in diatribe-exchanges, meant to show that Gentiles and Jews…have both failed to observe their covenant with God.” (Wills, 179). Of course, till now, I’ve only been exposed to the Luther-influenced interpretation of that text: that Paul was speaking autobiographically, and as such, we are entitled to find solace in our own struggles just as he did. But it seems clear that the original intent of this passage was just what Mr. Wills describes and not, as he states, the “historic misleading” brought about by “the brilliant but hypertrophic blending of late medieval penitential disciplines and the Renaissance’s subjective individualism.” (Wills 173-175).
Mr. Wills asserts that Paul, being innocent of such cultures, would’ve had an entirely different meaning in mind and I have to say, he makes a great deal of sense. We are products of these cultures and of post-Lutheran doctrines and need to stop acting anachronistically if we’re to get to the bottom of Pauline thought on the doctrines of Sin and Salvation-As-Its-Remedy. Mr. Wills states: “Luther was thinking in terms of the internal struggle of the individual sinner, not of the rescue of whole peoples, as Paul did–and as a prominent Lutheran bishop like Krister Stendahl does.” (pg.139)
Some Questions for Dr. Heiser/and readers: If you agree with Mr. Wills…does this then imply (and I wish I could ask the author) that Paul had no type of revelation about individual salvation? I know it seems a silly question, but if in fact Luther misunderstood Paul here (not ‘faith vs. works’ but as Wills says should be read: “a religion of the heart vs. external purity code (applicable only to those who impose rituals,etc as necessary for salvation…not to moral dilemmas)” Do we then say Luther knew BETTER than Paul what was inspired to and by him regarding the plan of salvation and continue preaching this ‘misdirected’ doctrine? Or do we travel back to the text and say “oops”? Anyway, any response would be appreciated.
There is the whole school of thought along this line called “the New Perspective on Paul”… Wright being one of the leading authors…
yes; we had a small reading group via the Naked Bible on the NPP a couple years ago.
Just returned from Iraq and was wondering if you had done any articles on “universalism” in the Christian sense. Didn’t know if it had already been discussed but in reading articles/books; it seems that universalism was a mainstream Christian tenet in that past and that it really mirrors alot of the Calvinism beliefs.
Mike, I appreciate what you’re doing with this series, both because I believe the usual concept of original sin is flawed, and because–having a son with a mental disability myself (though he does have the capacity for simple belief/understanding)–the notion of accountability proportional to ability is personal to me.
I do, however, have one question, based upon this comment which I believe you made at least once before:
What we do have is the simple story of the garden: Adam sins, humanity is removed from the tree of life and the direct presence of God which (apparently – in all views of this) was essential to Adam remaining without sin up to the Fall, and so humanity will thereafter die and sin.
In point of fact, Adam sinned during the period when he still had access to God’s presence and the tree of life. How, then, can you suggest that these elements had anything to do with humanity in general–or Adam in particular–remaining without sin?
This question is not crucial to the broader narrative you are painting, but it seems to me that it is a distraction that’s not quite on-target.
@david.brown1974: haven’t hit on that. I will at some point. I’ll touch on it in the next Romans 5:12 post, but a fuller discussion will have to be future.
@rode: you’re also thinking of Ezekiel 33.
@cwmyers007: funny 🙂 I’ll send them to you in an email.
@cwmyers007: I think I’ll go ahead and post them.
@Jonnathan Molina: I can’t say I’d agree with Wills as you articulate him in the last paragraph. But I also would not be completely comfortable with Luther. I think this is yet another false dichotomy in theology (a false either-or proposition). Why can’t aspects of both be true? Are not grousp of people made up of individuals? Does not the exile teach us that the “elect” nation of Israel was basically composed of wicked people that were not followers of Yahweh? I just don’t like these few alternatives. Regarding works, I think the Scripture is pretty clear: Works are essential to salvation (there’s James) but they are NOT the meritorious cause (there’s Paul). We do not merit salvation, but if we have no works, we have no true faith.
@dwmtractor: My view: Adam was a contingent being; he was not deity. And so, he needed divine enablement to stay in fellowship with God, but even in fellowship with God, he had the ability to make a wrong choice (I believe free will is essential to divine imaging since freedom is a communicable attribute of God – this is tied to my view of imaging [the “image” of God isn’t a thing in us; it is a status and should be thought of as what we are and do]). Not sure that helps or not.
“I came across an article last week about Pauls view of Romans 5:12. I now have two of them that discuss his theology in light of earlier Judaism (not the OT per se, due to the above difficulty).”
You mentiond above you were going to post these – where could I find these, as I’m also looking at Romans.
@Robert Betts: Here’s the link:
Many thanks for the link
Kind regards, Rob
>>>…Yes, I agree that what Adam did extended to the entire human race (theres your corporate identity idea). But, as I noted several posts ago, Im just asking HOW that is true. And of course, how that questioned is answered must deal with the Jesus problem.
When Adam and Eve sinned and were expelled from the garden and tree of life, they constituted all of mankind, so “all sinned” and death “passed trough to all men.”
The curse on the ground was removed by the Noahic covenant.
gosh, MSH, I was all set to send this to a loved-one re: an ongoing discussion, then I saw your term “second Adam”. Huh? there is no reference in scripture to “second Adam”.
there is Adam, and there is “LAST Adam”. There is no other Adam.
if there is a last Adam and an Adam, there are two Adams. 1 + 1 = 2. The first Adam was a type of Jesus (Rom 5:14) who was the last Adam (the subsequent Adam, and so a second one; 1 Cor 15:45). That’s all the phrase means.
Couldn’t it be that Adam’s sin cut the rest of humanity off from the Tree of Life, therefore bringing death on the rest of humanity… Adam being the Steward of Eden for the rest of humanity somehow… his expulsion and subsequent Angelic intervention to ban us from that tree… that fits with the Genesis story… and I could see Paul viewing the story that way… that Christ brought a way back to the Tree of Life in heaven…
I think this is what I’m saying – that what happened in the Eden story is about death, not guilt.
Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Just because something is written once, does not mean it is not true. If you go with the understanding that each person sins individually, apart from Adam then you must also conclude by silent innuendo that at one time through birth we are without sin. But from the moment we are born we begin to die. And remember death is SINS last triumph.
Also to claim separation from Adam is to remove yourself not only from God’s promise in Genesis to send us a Savior but also from the guilt that put Christ upon the cross.
First, I’m not claiming separation from Adam’s sin, only Adam’s guilt. All humans need a Savior, whether to escape guilt or spend eternity with Christ without guilt (i.e., infants).
Psa 51 is easily understood in support of a “no guilt from Adam” view. To be created “in sin” and “in iniquity” is to be created “as a sinner.” These ideas are spelled out in the series on Romans 5:12 on this blog. For the “as” view of the prepositions, you could read what I have on Gen 1:26 – the image – and the discussion of the same preposition there. The language in all these cases (in my view) points to a status that is part and parcel of being human. Every human being, from conception, is destined to sin (if allowed to live). This sinfulness, waiting to burst forth as it were, is a human trait from the womb.
I think you need to read the Romans 5:12 series (I notice that this comment was on a different post).
Mr. Heiser you have created an even bigger problem, for your theory.
I took your advice and looked up references to Adam in the OT, very interesting.
My method was this, knowing Adam is the word for man I looked up “man” in the strong’s then compared the usage of the word Adam to see how the translators applied it in CONTEXT.
Then, although there were several words used for man, the primary words were ADAM and ISH. Those OT quotes by Paul about sin from the OT and the way Paul applies them clearly reflect that he understood Adam (the man and mankind) as the context for sin, not sin as the context for wrongdoing. To put it another way all the sinners are ADAM and the elect are ISHrael.
It also seems that you are doing the exact opposite of what you teach about context when you link Jesus to ADAM through Mary, the ANE world did not know about genetics and DNA.
Because of the Virgin Birth we don’t know what DNA Jesus had, did God form by the Holyspirit 23 chromosomes to bond with Mary’s 23, how did that affect the formation of the mitochondria in Jesus? Does his mitochondrial DNA reflect the lineage to ADAM, since our MDNA apparently reflects lineage to subhumans,and 200000 years to mitochondrial eve.
So we must go back to the CONTEXT issue of ANE inheritance which was that the debts of the Father were inherited by the son, and this is both guilt and consequence. The estate is liable both in guilt and consequence, and ADAM is the estate of mankind. And that appeared in virtually all the OT uses of the word ADAM.
I don’t use genetics to link Adam through Mary (good grief). Mary was human. She had human parents. The biblical story has ALL humans descending from Adam. That would include Jesus and Mary. Jesus’ genealogy connects back to Adam. So was Mary an ET? A non-human?
I’m not using genetics. I’m using biblical genealogy and theology (all humans descend from Adam and Eve).
Jesus had human DNA. If you deny this, you deny the incarnation. You cannot have a non-Adamic human in the biblical world. You also can’t have it for biblical theology, since the whole point is to reverse the curse of Adam.
Jesus had human DNA. If you deny this, you deny the incarnation.
This is what I mean when I say you can’t have it both ways, you rely on the modern understanding of what is human. I don’t have a problem with that, but don’t tell me it doesn’t fit ANE context when it doesn’t fit your theory.
Where do you get Mary as an ET? Mitochondrial DNA is from the mother, not the father, but biblical inheritance is not matrilinneal. Without a human father you have HALF of the normal DNA of a NORMAL human in question.
Both matthew and luke make the genealogical point that Jesus was not the son of joseph (and possibly not from the line of jeconiah because of the virgin birth, so that he would’nt inherit that curse). That Jesus was born of mary doesn’t mean he had mary’s DNA any more than a surrogate today passes DNA to the child. We simply don’t know about Jesus DNA except that it was for the purpose of atonement human.
How is the curse reversed? For that you need a logical theory for how the “atonement” works. First establish how the cross “works” then you can establish what is required. You can’t put the cart before the horse.
I would suggest that human means human, and humanity having DNA is the way God made us (unless you want to deny a creator who used design — good luck with that).
Honestly, these are not coherent arguments in any respect. They are convoluted, trying to bring in all sorts of red herrings as distractors.
The whole point is that the text doesn’t have Adam’s moral guilt transmitted to anyone. Where’s the exegetical defense of that?
The Jeconiah thing has long been known and has resolutions. I doubt there’s a commentator on the genealogies that hasn’t addressed it.
You’re also missing the point of the atonement overall in my view, but I’m not going to reproduce it in comments. Folks can read it.
I would also note that your application is not simply getting “Jesus off the hook” but also unborn or aborted babies.
Of Jesus it was said “that HOLY ONE born of you” Luke 1:35,which signifies that he was different from normal babies which are not hagion. A closer look show genesis language applied, “the power of the most high shall overshadow/betzel/image you” (probably this language is responsible for the idea of immaculate conception applied to Mary because betzel as applied to imago dei is not contextual in the OT with regard to how betzel is used in other places). It appears from context we are on the hook being in the imago Adam Gen 5:3, while only Jesus is in the imago dei.
As for babies Paul gets there with Jacob and Esau, before either had done anything Jacob was loved and Esau hated (jacob is Ish and esau Adam???). The context of the destruction of canaanite babies and ripped open wombs also questions whether these babies were “saved”. It doesn’t allow us to say all babies are saved, only that as Paul addresses any can be saved if God so wills because of the cross.
Yes, it does allow us to do that. I think you need to go back and re-read what I’ve said about the babies and aborted. It’s a theological argument that argues for salvation because of Jesus’ resurrection (which is tied to the cross as well — as is the whole gospel — you cannot separate cross from resurrection and still have the gospel). I don’t think you’ve understood my argument.
According to your theory then abortion could have saved Esau or Judas, this avoids Paul’s point that God has the right to create vessals for destruction. Would you say God can only create such vessals by allowing them to be born?? Your theory denies the potters right to do as he wishes with the clay, and it’s the same mistake Job’s three friends make in trying to defend God.
Your argument assumes the side of Euthyphro
Which socrates shows to be inadequate, so Paul address this dilemma on God’s righteousness by showing that God is beyond a space-time frame of reference, a necessary being, which allows him to righteously send aborted babies to hell if he wishes, and flatly denies that any have a right to heaven with being born again, a soveriegn work of God. The caveat injected is that if God so loved the world he will redeem the elect but we can’t say any must be in heaven or must be in hell. As Paul says in Romans 10:6-7
No. That isn’t my theory. Human life is sacred, and killing those innocent (i.e., those who have not violated God’s law in such a way as to forfeit life) is forbidden.
That was an amazing non sequitur on your part.
A better argument is that the word “guilt” is never used in the entire bible, the kjv adds it to two verses of deuteronomy to “give clarity”. Deu 19:13, 21:9
What we are then discussing is in modern legal terms (since we are using the modern word guilt) called mens rea, or mental state of culpability. Which dividing the laws contextually as you suggest in the ANE culture would more clearly apply an inherited guilt by mental state. See wikipedia for guilt, culpability, and mens rea, for a quick overview.
Paul discusses this very thing when he says where there is no law there is no sin, but only the mens rea which would be the same if the law did exist.
guilt occurs (Hebrew has a word for it). As does Greek.
sorry I added the reply to this to the reply above
as for coherence, I’m following Paul’s argument throughout Romans, your theory dead ends on your selected verse because can’t then move to Jacob and Esau as Paul does. this is apparently because of your imago dei theory which Paul did not subscribe to as he illustrates in his discussion of female head covering. Paul says Adam was in God’s image and eve was in Adams image 1Corinthians 11:7-9
and Jesus using son of man Cleary refers to this schema not DNA
as for red herrings what are you referring to, mitochondrial dna?
if you want to use the DNA argument you have to there if Mary’s DNA alone is involved because then Jesus must be either a xx male or an xxy male (Frank toppled discusses this in the physics of Christianity) either way it doesn’t put Jesus on your hook. in fact your hook is the red herring.
The point is not how Jesus’ DNA worked, but that he is truly human, related to Mary, and thus to Adam, like everyone else. If he’s not, there is no true incarnation – he must be genuinely human, and the genealogies can’t lie. The biblical writers aren’t describing DNA science. You’re trying to misdirect the discussion in such appeals.
the writers never link the construction of Jesus flesh to mary. they didn’t know about DNA or female eggs, they only link him to the genealogies by his birth, but all the NT writers seperate Jesus from her in his conception “THE WORD BECAME FLESH”
They knew Mary was a human, and that Jesus was born via that human woman – and was human himself, a human whose genealogy was linked to Adam. That’s what they needed to understand.
But all this (again) misses the point of the entire topic. All this stuff is peripheral and doesn’t matter to the actual topic — that Romans 5:12 does not teach that humans inherit *guilt*. Unless you can find guilt in Romans 5:12, and then explain why no passage in the OT points back to Gen 3 to explain human sin, I’ll be done with the discussion. I’m not interested in the peripherals so much as the actual topic.
Thanks for the hard, thought provoking work that has gone into all of this. As a “traditional” viewpoint-holder my whole life thus far (34 years), I find your work incredibly thought provoking and very clearly responsible scholarship that is attempting to understand Scripture for it’s own sake. What a breath of fresh air!
Not only do your viewpoints about original sin, personal responsibility for sin, and the nature of Christ make a lot of sense, it’s very clear that you have put a lot of thought into this, and you certainly know the languages and the context better than I do, although I consider myself an increasingly serious student of scripture. Saying that, I want to be clear that I am not attempting to accuse you of claiming anything you haven’t, or of not having thought through the implications fully, or to claim that I have some insight you haven’t had. Nevertheless, I’m hitting a wall I was hoping you could provide some perspective on.
If babies, toddlers, and the severely mentally underdeveloped get what amounts to a pass into heaven, why would we let anyone live past infancy? Yes, I know that this sounds monstrous, it IS monstrous (hence the difficulty I’m having), but if it is correct and this is actually how this aspect of salvation operates, wouldn’t the most loving thing Christians could do be never let children reach an age where they could consciously reject the Lord? If eternal destiny is at stake and can be secured as long as one doesn’t live long enough to consciously reject God, how could we risk that salvation?
I understand that there’s an explicit command against this in Scripture – life is sacred and infants (born, unborn, or disabled) are image bearers of God, but I’m having difficulty understanding how this does not make God into a monster: If there’s a way to avoid the suffering and sin that will inevitably occur if one lives, if we are not allowed to avoid this or allow others to avoid this, it seems to follow that one must inevitably suffer in this life, either choose God or reject him, and odds are good (cf: the broad vs narrow roads) that one end up rejecting eternal life when they could be spared had they never lived such a life. Again, monstrous. But I am having trouble seeing how to avoid either making us monstrous (by allowing people to suffer and reject God) or God monstrous (by providing a way to be saved without any suffering but disallowing it).
Again, I am not claiming to be smarter than you or have figured out something that you haven’t thought of… I’m genuinely trying to understand the implications of this viewpoint. Any insight you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
They don’t get a pass because they aren’t guilty. They are raised only because of the resurrection (see my post specifically on that — if it wasn’t clear, that’s my bad). Since God nowhere gives us the power or authority to take innocent life, the answer is no, it isn’t a good thing to kill everyone. (And the question on that level is absurd, but I think you already see that). Imaging God doesn’t mean we act as though we have equal authority to God. We aren’t him.
Are you related to Larry Pettegrew (a theology prof I know)?
Thanks for the reply. First, let me assert that I definitely see the question as absurd on that level, as you rightly indicate. I agree we are not God, nor do we have authority equal to his authority. My question didn’t stem from the thought that this is or ever could be an acceptable practice, but from what appears to be a problem with internal coherence in the model. Furthermore, I agree that Christ’s righteousness and resurrection is the sole basis for eternal life and that I WANT to affirm a position that does not condemn the preborn/infants/severely-mentally-disabled individuals for being UNABLE to turn to Christ in repentance (this INABILITY being what keeps this model from smacking of Universalism, thankfully).
I understand that this model doesn’t allow individuals in this INABILITY category into heaven on the basis of their own righteousness but only on the merits of Christ. I wonder, however, how this jives with your reply when you state “they don’t get a pass because they aren’t guilty” – isn’t the point of this reading of Romans 5:12 that they didn’t inherit Adam’s guilt but only his mortality? Perhaps I didn’t fully understand what you were asserting…
Nevertheless this model still seems to contain a logical contradiction I’m having difficulty reconciling:
A. God desires that none should perish (cf: 2 Peter 3:9), understanding this to mean the “second death” as the verse speaks of repentance.
B. God commands that life is sacred (cf: image bearing, etc.), therefore we are not to take human life (cf: Exodus 20. No problems here).
C. Humans, if they live, will inevitably sin, separating them from God (cf: Romans 3:23).
D. Humans, if they meet the INABILITY condition above will be resurrected with Christ.
E. We are told to “go and make disciples”, knowing that some will inevitably refuse the gift of Christ (cf: Matthew 28, Matthew 7:13, broad and narrow roads)
I’m wondering How this model reconciles the notions that: (A) God desires none should perish, knowing (D) there’s a way that would/could GUARANTEE salvation and none would perish (fulfilling condition [A]), yet COMMANDING (B and E) that we not use that route (which, again, I’m ok with), knowing that (A) some will inevitably perish? It seems to me that (A) and (B) are contradictory, given condition (D), yet both (A) and (B) are things we know to be fundamentally true about God. This is the problem I’m wrestling with as I contemplate the model in question.
To answer your other note, as far as I’m aware I’m unrelated to Professor Larry Pettigrew, although I’m continually surprised at how many Pettigrews there are across the country (given that it’s not a terribly common last name).
Thanks for your work and your time.
How does “they aren’t guilty” contradict no inheriting Adam’s guilt?
As to your logical chain…
God’s decision to make humankind like himself (as he did with the other non-human agents he made) needs to be set before all of your items. This means freedom is essential and intrinsic to imaging God; it is a communicable attribute without which we could not be like God. The problem is that we don’t have God’s character to use freedom as he does. So we sin. Creating humanity any other way (i.e., not being able to sin) would undermine creation of humanity as God’s imagers. God didn’t want robots. He wanted beings like himself. Consequently, God deemed the misuse of this (and other) shared attributes preferable to not having humanity at all. It’s inevitable that beings created this way who aren’t all their creator is will fall short of their creator’s character. You can call that sad, tragic, unfortunate, etc., but it isn’t contradictory. God knew what the result would be and still wanted humanity. He can grieve that it is what it is, but the alternative is creating a being who isn’t like him or who is him. Why God would deem this preferable to me is a testimony to his love for humanity. But short of that being satisfactory, you’ll have to ask him yourself some day.
Thanks, Dr. Heiser.
I was wondering if the notion of free will would factor into the answer here even as I was writing about the difficulty I was having with it. I find that although I try and embrace the notion of free will as a tenant of biblical truth and practical theology, my Calvinist background and education sometimes fail to assimilate it as an actual, viable point of data (I’m working on it!). One of the things I appreciate about your work is the commitment to think through issues using Scripture over and above (and instead of) any Creed. I called it a breath of fresh air in my first-ever comment here, and I meant it. The note about not possessing God’s CHARACTER while possessing his IMAGE is well put, and overall I find your answer compelling, although I want to dwell on it a bit longer.
In addition, I see that I framed the issue poorly in my previous response that you readdress in your first paragraph to me. Perhaps I misunderstood your statement when I was initially reading it. Sorry. I *think* I’m tracking here… I know you addressed the issue of the INABILITY category in some detail in that part of your post. I’ll re-read and if I still have questions, I’ll come back and ask instead of rehashing here so as not to cause you to re-type things you’ve already addressed. I know your time is valuable, and I’d rather read your continued thinking about other stuff than keep you tied up here.
In Eastern Orthodoxy Tradition what was extended is the Death itself ( not the original sin) and that is obvious anywhere in the Bible. Subsequently sin comes forth through death.
I’d quibble with the word “through” (asking for a better word), but since this series has been out there, I’ve had enough discussion with EO folks to know that they are in agreement with what I’m saying here.
Thank you for the reply. I am just new to the site. I hope I didn’t waste your time.
It should be obvious to all who study the Bible that Paul meant something other than all humanity inherited Adam’s sin because, had that been the case, then Jesus Christ – who was one-hundred percent human – would also have inherited this sin nature. If that were the case, then Jesus Christ Himself would have been guilty of at least one sin. Because scripture teaches us that Jesus Christ was “without sin,” then there can be no inherited sin by all humanity…
Jack Cottrell teaches that we suffer Adam’s consequences, but not his guilt. Humanity gets the shrapnel but we didn’t drop the bomb. Each man’s guilt is his own.
cool – can you give me a specific book or article reference? I’d like to read what he says.