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Question for non-YEC Christians

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I think the YEC may possibly have a point for once. In non-YEC Christianity, how does 'The Fall' work? Was man just always in a sinful state of being. If so, what is the point of the genesis fable?

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Man was created to have free will - that's the point. When Satan tempted Eve to eat the fruit, evil was introduced because she made that choice. I think the other key is the fruit they ate - from "tree of the knowledge of good and evil".

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but surely, without the knowledge of good and evil(ie, before the apple was muched upon) adam and eve may have commited evil acts(lets say drop kicking kittens) yet been un-aware of there evilness. then, by gaining knowledge of good and evil, could have utilized that knowledge to stop evil acts.

 

infact, before eating the apple, they would be unaware that eating the apple was a wrong thing to do despite god specifically telling them to as they had no knowledge of right and wrong.

 

really, the only conclusion i can come to from this is that god was being evil by punishing people who were deliberately kept unaware of the wrongness of their actions.

 

a hypothetical case removing the religious components. you have a true random number generator(to simualte free will) and a button. if the RNG returns a 1 the button is pressed and a punishment is doled out the the random number generator(deletion) if zero then nothing happens.

 

this is an inherently biased situation as the random number generator is always goign to get to the point where it pushes the button and is punished.

 

so, being all knowing god would have known that sooner or later the fruit would be eaten.

 

ultimate conclusion, god is a douche

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It could be read as a sort of coming-of-age story - with knowledge and awareness comes the human tendency to occasionally do bad things.

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i suppose, but i still cannot come away from the impression that it is saying that you should be punished merely for the ability to differentiate between good and evil. If anything having that knowledge should be encouraged as those people observed without it are usually deemed sociopaths and not good at all.

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Sociopaths know the difference between right and wrong; they just don't care about the difference. Some do care, but they revel in their wrongness. A (the?) primary purpose of criminal law is to protect the rest of us from those sickos.

 

Mentally insane and mentally infirmed do not know the difference. That is why the law treats them very differently than it does sociopaths.

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I can think of a few allegorical interpretations of "the fall." Like, with the ability to reason comes the responsibility to be moral, and the burden of inevitable failure. Eating the fruit could be the intellectual awakening of adulthood, or even of the evolution of higher mental processes.

 

Yeah, I know, none of the details really fit. I'm being generous. You could say it's mostly a fanciful tale designed to just convey that one main idea, in a way illiterate nomads might grasp. Or something.

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Generally they take the Genesis account non-literally (there are various ways to do so). This never sat very well with me as Jesus is specifically compared with Adam, not to mention the whole tracing of genealogies back to Adam. If I recall correctly, all people are born ceremonially unclean because menstrual blood is unclean -- so the story is not really necessary for every person to be imperfect by birth.

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On that note, it's worth considering that a lot of the Bible is included to give the history of Christianity. "these are the stories that our ancestors told each other".

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I think the YEC may possibly have a point for once. In non-YEC Christianity, how does 'The Fall' work? Was man just always in a sinful state of being. If so, what is the point of the genesis fable?

 

 

The Fall began with Satan. As the angels were God's children, so was Man. Both exist as beings, "persons."

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It could be read as a sort of coming-of-age story - with knowledge and awareness comes the human tendency to occasionally do bad things.

 

I agree. Jesus actually says at one point that children are sinless. It is only sin when you know it is wrong - when you have eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

 

For me, the garden of Eden is pre-sentience. Once we have awareness of ourselves as individuals, we have free-will, and can do evil acts. It is our free will, or rather our use of free will to perform acts which are against God's will, that corrupts us.

 

I think this concept is even built into our western world view. No-one blames a child for breaking a rule they don't understand. No-one blames a lion for eating a zebra.

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I think the YEC may possibly have a point for once. In non-YEC Christianity, how does 'The Fall' work? Was man just always in a sinful state of being. If so, what is the point of the genesis fable?

 

Genesis 2 is an allegory. This becomes clear when you realize that Adam and Eve in Hebrew are not names like "Paul", "Mary", "Joe", "Sue", etc. That is, words that are only used as names. Instead we have a story of Dirt and Hearth.

 

What is the "Fall"? It's disobedience of God, and thus being emotionally cut off from God. Adam and Eve are meant to stand for each and every one of us. At some point in our lives we all disobey God.

 

YEC makes a theological mistake because it misinterprets parts of some letters of Paul. It takes those letters out of the social and historical context and has them mean something Paul never meant. Paul was never trying to make a coherent theology. He thought the end of the world was coming in his generation and his task was to spread the gospel to as many Gentiles as he could. But Paul was also a Jew and wanted those Gentiles to accept parts of Judaism. However, Paul had already told them the Laws did not apply to them, and the Torah does not mention Jesus. So Paul tried to make a connection between Jesus and Adam. So now Biblical literalists (and YECs are all literalists) have the idea that if Adam and Eve were not real and there was no Fall, then there is no need of Jesus and salvation. However, in many other places Paul emphasizes that Jesus died for our sins, not Adam and Eve's.

 

Ironically, evolution by natural selection gives an explanation why humans tend to disobey God. As Darwin and others have pointed out, natural selection is incapable of absolute altruism.

"If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection." Origin, pg 501.

 

Natural selection always has a selfish component for the individual. Disobedience is based on selfishness: it is placing our interests (whether eating a forbidden fruit or taking a cookie from the cookie jar) over what our parents or God tell us. We need salvation because of the very process God used to create us.

 

The Genesis 2 authors did not about evolution and natural selection, but they could see the inherent selfishness in humans. So they made the allegory.

 

Now, the consequences of the "Fall" turn out to be naive but touching explanations for some puzzling aspects of the natural world: why women have pain in childbirth but still want sex later, why farming is so difficult, and why humans hate snakes.

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As far as I believe "the fall" is meant to show two things:

  • God gave man the ability to make free choices.
  • Man is meant to follow the word of God.

 

God told Adam and Eve to not eat the forbidden fruit, and for disobeying his word they faced consequences. This shows people that although God allows use to make our own choices that when we make our choices me must be careful not to cross his will.

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