REPLY #62 TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
Why should all other humans suffer due to a mistake (supposedly) made by two people thousands of years ago?
(R) Romans 5:12 - "That is why, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all man because they had all sinned."
(MB) I'm familiar with that famous verse. However, it's not an answer to the question I asked. It merely echoes the Christian concept of "original sin", but doesn't explain why it is justified. Nor does it address the question of why there is no reference to original sin in the Old Testament. Sure, there is the story of the Fall of Adam and Eve, but God's curses are meant for them only and are not said to apply to all succeeding generations. The concept of Original Sin and the damnation of all men for it are Christian inventions. Also, let's consider that Deuteronomy 24:16 says that children shall not be punished for the sins of their fathers.
(R) The reason is that since Adam and Eve were now imperfect, they could hardly give birth to perfect offspring.
(MB) That does not follow logically. In fact, by that argument, Jesus could not possibly be "perfect" since he had an imperfect mother who was the daughter of imperfect parents.
Furthermore, if Adam and Eve were perfect to begin with, they could not possibly have been tempted. If they were not perfect to begin with, it could only be because God had deliberately made them that way. In either case, the Fall can not justifiably be blamed on them "becoming imperfect".
(R) God had planted the human family on the Earth (in the form of Adam and Eve) and the entire human race (at the time) had rebelled against him. So, all humans are imperfect. See next comment.
(MB) Again, this only means that Adam and Eve were imperfect and, if so, the arguments presented in the preceding paragraph apply. Since their genetic makeup could not have been altered by a simple conscious decision, they could still produce perfect offspring.
Any reasonable system of justice would have imposed its penalties upon those who committed the crime. At the very least, a truly omnipotent God could have easily rectified the situation by doing away with Adam and Eve and creating two new people to take their places.
(R) Well, keep in mind that a challenge had been made. When Satan approached Eve (through the speech of the serpent), he actually challenged the rightfulness and righteousness of Jehovah's sovereignty. He intimated that God was unrightfully withholding something from the woman; he also declared that God was a liar in saying that she would die if she ate the forbidden fruit (this is stated at Genesis 3:4-5 where the serpent directly says God lied to Eve - now how much more of a challenge to God's sovereignty COULD you make?).
(MB) First, the story in Genesis does not refer to "Satan" at any point. It only mentions a "serpent". It wasn't until several centuries later (after the Babylonian Exile) that the dualism of Zoroastrianism was incorporated into Judaism and "Satan" (which in Hebrew means "adversary") become the personification of the realm of evil.
Second, the serpent's entire argument is as follows: "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day yet eat theoreof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." This is an interesting passage since it suggests the existence of multiple gods. (Actually, this is reflective of the polytheism of early Judaism.) It also doesn't seem like much of a "challenge" to anything other than the truthfulness of God. There's no mention of God's sovereignty or of anything that is being withheld either rightly or wrongly. All that is being said is that God's warning about eating the fruit and suffering death as a result is not truthful.
(R) Here is another interesting point:
"The challenge therefore must have been of the rightfulness, deservedness, and righteousness of God's sovereignty-whether his sovereignty was exercised in a worthy way, righteously, and for the best interests of his subjects or not. An indication of this is the approach to Eve: "Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?" Here the Serpent intimated that such a thing was unbelievable-that God was unduly restrictive, withholding something that was the rightful due of the human pair.-Ge 3:1."
(MB) I think that the author of that quotation (which was not cited) is going a bit overboard with his distortion of the appropriate Bible verse and his consequent interpretation.
(R) Adam then, knowing fully the consequences of his actions (that he would lose perfection and die), chose to rebel against God's word as well, earning him expulsion from paradise.
(MB) The story in Genesis says only that Eve "...gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." It says nothing about any decision-making process or rationale that was used by Adam. He just ate. It's entirely possible that he didn't even know where the fruit came from since it is not mentioned anywhere that Eve informed him of its source.
(R) With the whole human family rebelled at the time, and Satan as well, God COULD have simple killed everyone and started over. But, would that answer any questions?
(MB) Absolutely. It would provide a definitive answer to the question of whether or not this sin was an abomination worthy of death. Since there is no mention of whether or not Adam and Eve were originally designed to be immortal, they would obviously die at some point whether they had sinned or not.
(R) If, at the first sight of trouble, he simple wiped out the problem and the question raised, how would that look to his son and the other, faithful angels?
(MB) Who among them would doubt the wisdom of his actions? After all, isn't God supposed to be "perfect"?
(R) I think it is very wise what he chose to do - he simply let humans live on to prove his point (that they did need him and SHOULD have stayed faithful to his word).
(MB) That's not a logical answer, either. Why should an omnipotent and "perfect" God have any points that he needs to prove to anyone who is aware of them? It should also be fairly obvious that if everything that exists was created by such a God and exists only due to his forbearance, that all things and creatures "need" him. Again, what needs to be demonstrated? And, none of this answers the question of why God would create humans that were capable of sin in the first place and them blame them for their inevitable behavior?
(R) Well, God told them to become fruitful, fill the Earth, and subdue it. They were created perfect, yet they sinned. Satan challenged God by telling Eve he lied to them, the humans at the time sided with Satan, in affect agreeing that God must have lied to them (in effect, suggesting that they knew better than God because they 'knew' he lied to them).
(MB) This has all been addressed in previous paragraphs...
Even his "loyal followers" are going to die and suffer all the increased penalties of mortal existence that God imposed upon Adam and Eve.
(R) Until his new kingdom, yes.
(MB) But, the Earth won't exist any more after that event. If the end result is that certain souls end up in heaven with God, why not just make it happen now? So long as Earth exists, all people will die.
(R) When God favored Ancient Israel, they still died.
(MB) In rather appalling numbers, too. Perhaps, they would have been far better off had they not adopted Yahweh in the first place.
(R) His own son died.
(MB) If Jesus is co-equal with God, how could he possibly "die" in any sense of that word? If he didn't die, how could that "death" have redeemed anything?
(R) All his son's faithful apostles died.
(MB) As well as all who weren't his faithful apostles. What's the difference?
(R) It is part of the challenge of faith that we endure not only direct persecution but human frailties as well - keep in mind the challenge of Job.
(MB) Why must we endure this? Keep in mind that Job spouts many scathing rebukes of God until God gets tired of hearing it and comes down to explain himself. Even at that, the best that God can do is to wonder how Job can dare dispute God when God is so much greater. For some inexplicable reason, this argument convinces Job and he says he's sorry for expressing any doubts.
Why wait around? Why can't he wave his hand and do it now? Why couldn't he have done so at any time in the past? Certainly, we would never have known the difference.
(R) He *could* have. But, what would it accomplish?
(MB) It would accomplish resetting God's creation to the way he originally wanted it to be. Now, if you're going to argue that the way things are now *is* the way God wants it, then how he possibly hold Man responsible for acting the way God wants us to act?
(R) Satan challenged God through Adam and Eve - God said do not eat from this tree, Satan said God was a lier and you CAN eat from the tree. They sided with Satan (calling God a lier). If God destroyed them at that point, what would be the proof
he is not?
(MB) If God actually *is* a liar, destroying Adam and Eve would not have proven that he wasn't one. Nor, for that matter, would allowing them to live prove any such thing. If the Fall indicates anything, it's only that God was upset that anybody would want to find out the answer to that question. But, if God is *not* a liar, then eating the fruit would have produced no results and the question would have been answered. If one thinks about it for a bit, one can easily see that the serpent was absolutely right in his statement to Eve. That means that God *is* a liar and that Man is suffering for it. This hardly qualifies as any form of "justice".
(R) If the president of a country killed all who opposed him, how long do you think he would have general support?
(MB) I'd say that he'd have it for as long as he remained in power. Consider that if all who oppose him are dead, the only ones who would remain are those who favor him. I figure that this would qualify as "general support".
(R) Remember also, that while God certainly can *easily* rule through force, he does not want to. He wants all to serve him because they WANT TO serve him. So, he had to let the humans continue to prove his point.
(MB) This is certainly not borne out by the numerous Old Testament tales of atrocities inflicted on the "chosen people" by their "chosen God". Serving God out of the fear of what will happen if we don't is hardly something that could be called a free choice.
(R) Myself, I think we've done a terrific job of proving we can't rule ourselves and that we need Him.
(MB) Oh? How's that? Approximately 2/3 of the world's population does not worship God and don't seem to be any worse off for it.
(R) Anyway, I look forward to answering any further questions you might have or
clarifying some points.
(MB) That's the whole point of this forum. I await your further responses.