Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Monday, July 06, 2009

What's going on with the whole 'original sin' thing?

This is very speculative but I think it hangs together as a good explanation of the whole 'original sin' thing and the difference between humans, angels, and fallen angels. The Bible doesn't talk about the argument in this essay, but speculation can sometimes be helpful.

Let's say that God made billions and billions of souls, but didn't put them into bodies just yet. Let's also imagine that God couldn't make just the souls that would choose the way God wanted (as part of the mysterious nature of 'free will'). Yet, even though God couldn't make or not make souls on the basis of their choices, God had the power to predict how every soul would choose in an infinity of possible situations. Before putting them into bodies, suppose that God searched out how every soul would choose in an infinity of possible situations, to be better informed about what sort of bodies to put each soul into. There is also "no respect of persons with God" (absolute equality between all souls) - Acts 10:34; Rom 2:11.

Suppose that everyone has the option of looking at good and evil from God's perspective, or from their own. Imagine that without God's protection, everyone faces constant temptations to sin, as only God is certainly good ("on the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die" - Genesis.)

The 'tree of knowledge' symbolises a person rejecting God's way of looking at good and evil, in favour of looking at good and evil in a way determined by oneself. The fruit was not literal, it was the option to reject God's protection of our choices - God's way of looking at people and moral choices.

Suppose that there were some souls who would never have eaten of the tree of knowledge if God told them not to. In other words, it is possible to be in the Garden forever and never give in to the temptation.

These souls could be the souls of good angels. In other words, God put the souls of those who would have eternally rejected Adam and Eve's temptation into the bodies of good angels. These souls serve God faithfully forever and never experience a 'Fall' because with God's help they can be made 'strong' enough to eternally reject the temptation of Adam and Eve.

The souls that God couldn't make 'strong' or 'faithful' enough to avoid the temptation of Adam and Eve forever were put into human bodies. There's something about us (them) that means we are drawn to reject God's protection of our free will, and not even God can teach us not to do that without a 'Fall' happening. Because every one of us would have eaten of the tree if we had personally been there, Adam's 'curse' was placed on all of us even though only a few of us were actually in 'the Garden'.

OK, that deals with good angels and humans, but where do fallen angels come from?

Let's modify this a bit, and say that after deciding to work out good and evil for oneself (which is what the 'tree' symbolises) some souls decide to become completely evil, and some souls hold on to a sense of goodness.

The souls that would have decided to hold on to a sense of goodness after eating of the tree were put into human bodies and put into history at various times.

God can still win those souls back to Him by convicting us of our failure to live up to our own and God's standards, through the Holy Spirit (Luke 19:10: "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.")

The souls that (after 'eating of the tree') would have decided to become completely evil were allocated into the bodies of the fallen angels. They 'started off' in heaven with the good angels, and were given every opportunity to be like the good angels. But God knew that they would reject His protection of their choices and that's exactly what they did. When these souls rejected God's protection of their choices (in their own 'Fall') in heaven, they became completely evil and became the 'fallen angels' of the Bible. These souls didn't hold to a sense of goodness like the souls that God made into humans.

Because these souls rejected all goodness (after 'eating of the tree') they were never put on earth to hear the gospel because they have eternally rejected all goodness. There could be nothing for God to appeal to, in order to win them back to Him.

God decided to use these fallen angels for a good purpose. Through manipulating necessary suffering and sin, these angels give many the desire to be like the prodigal son and go back to God, and make Christians develop into being more like Christ through special kinds of adversity.

So this quite neatly explains why the whole 'tree of knowledge' and 'original sin' set-up had to be the way it is:

1. God made a lot of souls but didn't put them into bodies just yet.
2. God knew that some souls would not choose to eat of the tree, some souls would and would still have goodness left in them, and some souls would and would become completely evil.
3. Based on how God knows they will choose, God allocates everyone into bodies, respectively, the good angels, humans, and the fallen angels.
4. We were put on earth to hear the gospel, unlike the fallen angels, because we chose to hold to some goodness, and thus God can appeal to us to 'return' (in a sense) to a state where we act according to the image of God (shown by Christ and the good angels), through the cross of Christ.



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