Relationship of Sin and Death

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The “Natural Theology” of Death - Part 3

Postby Kurieuo » Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:52 pm

What is “Natural Theology”? As described here (recommend):

    Natural Theology is the study of what can be known about God apart from [special] revelation. It tries to show that certain truths about God (e.g., that God exists, that there is only one God, that He is Good) are demonstrable by reason. In a sense, the things even belonging to Natural Theology are contain in Scripture issofar as Scripture speaks of many things which could be discovered by humans without God revealing them.
For Scriptural support of Natural Theology, consider Romans 1:20 (KJV), which reads:

    For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Paul is here telling us that God’s attributes are clearly visible in our world, His power and even God Himself are in plain view, through what has been made. Natural Theology isn’t just a rationalisation, but has strong Scriptural support.

Indeed, things such as "love", “goodness”, “fairness”, “justice” and even “life” itself must have originated from something always existing (which as previously mentioned, in theological terms is identified as God’s aseity). All these attributes we can rationally identify as having a source, which we believe is God. Since the beginning of the world, people have always been able to know God exists because God is clearly seen behind what is made. Indeed, the Psalmist sings (Psalm 19:1-4),

    1The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
    And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
    2Day to day pours forth speech,
    And night to night reveals knowledge.
    3There is no speech, nor are there words;
    Their voice is not heard.
    4Their line has gone out through all the earth,
    And their utterances to the end of the world.
Given the above ideas inherent in Natural Theology and supported in Scripture, it stands to reason that our physical world is in many ways often structured around invisible spiritual truths. Indeed, I reason that God structures “symbols” if you will in the physical world, ones that can be uncovered and marveled at whether through special revelation (i.e., the rainbow) or wisdom if we’re attentive to God and spiritual matters.

Take the explicit mention of the rainbow being a sign of God’s promise to humanity, to not wipe us out. I’ll talk more on this later, but the “rainbow”, while most theologians (both YEC and OEC) believe it existed prior to any flood, the rainbow was intended to be a sign of God’s covenant with humanity, a sign that God would work with us regardless, and ultimately redeem us from our helplessness against sin and death.

Keep in mind the conclusion of my last post (part 2), that while physical death is had, such symbolises the spiritual truth that our being separated from the Source of Life (God) results in a true everlasting death -- this is what I call the Natural Theology of death. Like the rainbow is a natural revelation of God’s covenant with sinful humanity, so too physical death is a natural revelation of our very real and possible separation from God, who is the Source of all life.

To reiterate this important point, physical death is another “symbol” we find in our world that is built upon the real and very important spiritual truth that our turning away from God results is our being separated from the Source of Life and a more complete death. Indeed, this death is described in Scripture as an everlasting death, it is one wherein God entirely withdraws Himself from us. What is left of such a person in such a state, I don’t really know. If anything is left, being conscious in such a state I imagine it’d be absolute hell, quite literally Hell. Words in Scripture describe in many unique and even contrary ways what being in such a place is like, conveying its horribleness. Indeed, I see such a place is logically necessary if one rejects God who is the source of life, or if God cannot accept a person due to their unresolved sin and enmity against Him. Besides complete annihilation, what else is logically possible, if one rejects the Source of Life?

As a side issue, I personally believe that a person's heart can respond to God even if they’ve not heard about Christ. That such people, can come to Christ in unique ways. God sees a person’s heart, sees them responding to His natural revelation, and so reveals Himself more specially, perhaps in dreams or the like. While rare, I consider such to be possible, and we even hear of such things happening on occasion. BUT, the question to anyone reading this, you’ve got more than a natural revelation, you’ve heard about Christ and so the question is very different and one of whether or not you believe personally in this Christ? If you’re unsure about what that means, then God’s given you a mind to find out more but your hearts will reveal whether or not you can be bothered moving in such a direction. I pray that if you’re reading this and you're someone where God, let alone Christ, just doesn’t arise in your life as having any significance or importance -- I pray that one day you’ll respond differently to God’s calling out to you and continual attempts to draw you to Himself, that you'll eventually stop ignoring such and writing it all down to coincidence, see God and acknowledge Him. Audie, Kenny, Ed and others, IceMobster to a somewhat lesser degree, I'm talking about people like you. y@};-

So then, I see that God gets the complete picture of the person, each human being, each of us, through our lives lived here, whether we even ponder His existence. Many in this world choose to be like Sisyphus, pointlessly rolling the boulder up the hill, to watch it roll back down, and repeating this over and over again (work, eat, drink, work, eat, drink, sleep *repeat until death*), all the while shaking fists at “the gods” who they believe don’t exist—such just gives some all the more motivation to keep going in their lives which will ultimately be meaningless when they, their children and children’s children, and eventually the whole world along with them, expire into nothing.

Is it any wonder that Scripture says those of us who see and know God, who trust in Christ through whom we are made right with God,

    Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Getting back to the topic of death, and my conclusion here, if there is something that we can be sure of, it is this: Physical death will come to us all, even planet Earth, our solar system and whole universe which is ever expanding and burning out!

We understand, through looking at what has been created, that our world is temporary, it was intentionally made that way. One might here ask, “Why was our world made temporary?”

As before with the question, “Why does death exist in our world?”, one could respond that our world was made temporary as a consequence of sin in world, human sin. Unlike previously though, a temporary world, or a world that is winding down, while a consequent of sin it isn’t necessarily also a punishment for sin. Rather we can see how God creating our world to be temporary forms a part of His redemptive plan for humanity to enter into His eternal kingdom, right? This temporary world allows us to come to many decisions, develop ourselves, sin against God, deliberately turn way one or the other, and hopefully return back to Him to be raised into life everlasting into God's eternal kingdom.

So then, God purposefully designed us and gave us mortal bodies to live out our days within a temporary physical world. The intention being that we would be sown with our physical weaknesses in Him, and raised in strength into an eternal life and kingdom that won’t pass away. Whether or not God replaces the current world that is perishing with some immaterial kingdom called "Heaven", or whether another physical world, a paradise will be restored as some believe wherein wolves live peacefully with lambs, leopards and lions lying down alongside young goats and calves, etc, I’m not so much concerned. As I’ve become fond of saying, my Lord and master is on the other side, so while I don't not exactly what awaits me hereafter, He is there and that’s all that matters to me.

What I am concerned to illustrate here, is that it was God’s intention to design our world to pass away, in order for us to be redeemable and sown into imperishable bodies in His everlasting kingdom wherein Christ reigns forever and ever.

The Apostle Paul is clear of much of this in 1 Corinthians 15:

    35But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” 36You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. 39All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. 40There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. 41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

    42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

    The Mystery of Resurrection

    50Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.51Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55“O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

NOW, as I’ve been reasoning in this post, with Natural Theology, we can know things about God from what has been made, so too I believe we can know spiritual matters. To repeat, there exist exemplars, spiritual narratives, that are found in the created order, of our physical world and out in nature.

I mean take the female mantis who devours the males after copulating—oh, how I wonder how Darwin missed the natural theology behind such. He was puzzled about how God could design such a thing, asked the question rhetorically without thinking an answer existed about why would God design such a thing? How many great men have fallen due to beauty of women and whether due to their own stupidity or perhaps being seduced, have fallen due to their lust? Yes, I believe even simple things like this that we observe in nature, that such represent many spiritual truths open to all to see, even those who may not believe in God. Consider Buddhists too look to the natural world for spiritual meaning, as do a great number of poets or lyricists who may or may not be religious. Poetry and songs often provide many spiritual truths using allegory and real examples found in our natural world that convey and reveal true immaterial truths that we can relate to.

So then, I’ll end this by reasoning for “death” in our world, indeed our world which is very temporary, was intentionally designed to represent spiritual truths and played an important role, as the Apostle Paul reasoned in 1 Cor 15, in our eternal redemption. That said, if Adam had not sinned, then God would never have designed physical death as the consequent to sin, there would have been no reason for such. Death is indeed therefore a consequent to human sin.

Now the central question between YECs and OECs is obviously this:

    Given physical death is a symbol of the spiritual truth that turning away from the Source of Life results in an everlasting death, did God create such in his wisdom and foreknowledge as part of the original pre-Fallen world (like say the rainbow which existed prior to any flood but was equally used to symbolise spiritual truths), or was death created as a consequence and the world allowed to deteriorate at the time of Adam’s sin?
Understand that either way this question is answered doesn’t affect whether the days in Genesis 1 are believed to be 24 hours. One can be YEC either way. I hope to provide some support in my following post, for at least considering God, as with the rainbow, designed such from the beginning – while God’s intention to reveal spiritual truths behind such became revealed to us as we became aware to them.

To be clear, the question I’ll look to deal with in my next post in this:

    1) Did God install death as part of the natural world in the beginning in response to sin, and death then came upon humanity as punishment -- physical death representing the spiritual truth of what "death" actually is, chiefly separation from God (i.e., the Source of Life); or

    2) Did God install death as part of the natural world after humanity sinned due to sin -- nonetheless physical death is an example of the spiritual truth of what "death" actually is, chiefly separation from God (i.e., the Source of Life).
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: Relationship of Sin and Death

Postby Nicki » Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:44 pm

Some excellent thoughts there, K. Do you think death was designed purely as a symbol of separation from God, or for its natural function as well? Imagine a world in which people and animals reproduced but never died ... think of the number of flies we'd have to contend with after thousands of years of their reproduction and living on and on! And forget about fly-spray and automatic indoor bug sprayers - they wouldn't do a thing. If there was no death there'd have to be no reproduction either.

On the other hand I suppose in a world with no death or sickness flies could be entirely benign to us. However, surely a more than a certain number of flies, other animals or people around us would be too many - and would there be enough food (just plants) for all creatures?

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Re: Relationship of Sin and Death

Postby Jac3510 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:52 am

K, are you familiar with John Walton's work? He has some similar ideas. Definitely some good stuff in there:

http://biologos.org/resources/videos/jo ... in-context
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue

And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Relationship of Sin and Death

Postby Kurieuo » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:09 pm

Nicki wrote:Some excellent thoughts there, K. Do you think death was designed purely as a symbol of separation from God, or for its natural function as well? Imagine a world in which people and animals reproduced but never died ... think of the number of flies we'd have to contend with after thousands of years of their reproduction and living on and on! And forget about fly-spray and automatic indoor bug sprayers - they wouldn't do a thing. If there was no death there'd have to be no reproduction either.

On the other hand I suppose in a world with no death or sickness flies could be entirely benign to us. However, surely a more than a certain number of flies, other animals or people around us would be too many - and would there be enough food (just plants) for all creatures?

Thanks Nicki,

Re: whether I think "death [in our world] was designed purely as a symbol of separation from God...", I think it's really important for me to be clear here that everything said in my last post requires understanding the whole context of what death actually is (as I defined in my Part 2).

Firstly, I do not think "death" can be designed. Rather what is designed is a world with certain types of life wherein laws are also created that allow such life to come to an end (this we call "death"). I refer you to the virtual game example found in my previous post exploring what death actually is. While we turn death into something, a noun, it's not actually some thing. For example, while we can understand what is meant when speaking of "death" as something, strictly speaking it doesn't make sense to say that "the ending of life [death] was designed purely as a symbol of separation from God...", rather better sense to say "life in our world which contains laws that allow death to happen was designed..." (I hope the difference can be seen, and it's a very important difference I believe to be clear on!)

Secondly, re: "purely" -- I do not believe death in our world purely represents separation from God. That is, I do not believe that physical death is only a symbol of the spiritual truth that turning away from the Source of Life (God) is to infact cut off our own lives. Rather, "death" on a foundational ontological level IS this, the source of life being stopped.

Not to go Egyptian-like with their deities, but picture God as the Sun. Now consider the Sun's rays that beam out as "rays of life". Each sunray represents a life, and the Sun (God) is the source of them all. Now if God decides to withdraw one of His sunrays, to stop supporting a particular life, that life ceases to exist. Complete death would fully happen, if God who is the source of all life, were to stop sustaining us in existence.

Now what I'm saying, is that this represents complete and utter death. You can't go lower level than a spiritual death. And our "sin", our turning away from God who is the source of our very life, naturally results in death. Thankfully, our physical world that we find ourselves bound to, it provides us with some flexibility in being able to turn against God, only to come back at a later time in our life and seek forgiveness. God sustains our world in existence, and us along with it. Nonetheless, to illustrate the important point that turning away from God will result in a permanent death, God creates physical death as a consequence of, and indeed as a punishment for, our sin. It is quite natural that God would model this in our world.

So then, death in our world doesn't purely represent separation from God. Rather, death is in fact cutting off from God who is the source of life (keep in mind here my example of the Sun and sunrays representing life). And our physical world wherein death evidently happens has been modelled around this. Indeed, that sin kills our relationship with God is perhaps the first premise to our whole Gospel, and it is Christ who reinstates us, keeps the sunrays beaming out eternally though we must nonetheless still physically die.


Furthermore, physical death is certainly a punishment for sin, however, nonetheless it is a quite natural punishment once one understands the spiritual truth that turning against God, the source of our life, is in essence to kill ourselves. God pleads with us to turn to Him, because He doesn't desire anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9). And it just so happens, physical death as a consequence of sin, can be seen as a representation of such truths that we depend upon God for life and so turning away from Him means we will perish, eternally so if we don't turn back to Him before we die.

As far as death in our world serving natural functions... yes, I think God intended death to serve certain natural functions also. Population control, or balancing act in ecosystems perhaps? Here I think it is worthwhile noting firstly that if humanity did not sin, then the world would be very different. Yet, the world was planned to be temporary as a consequent of our sin along with God's plan of redemption in Christ, before God even created. (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:3-6) Let that point sink in, because it means everything that was made, was made according to God's plan of redemption.

Similarly, the laws that allow for death in our world were created as a consequent of sin. It is quite natural for physical death to be the consequent of sin, given what death actually represents more foundationally on the spiritual level (as discussed earlier in this post). Note, whether it actually entered into the world at the time of Adam's sin, or it was there since the beginning of creation, either way death happens in our world. And, I also see that physical death does serve many good natural purposes within the whole design of our world, within ecosystems, you know even restraining evil (e.g., the flood, or God reducing the age of man in Gen 6:3). If God in His infinite wisdom and knowledge knew we would never fall though, then our redemption isn't needed and there's no reason to model death in our world. God would perhaps immediately give us our imperishable and eternal bodies and we'd be in God's kingdom from the get go.
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Re: Relationship of Sin and Death

Postby Kurieuo » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:04 pm

Jac3510 wrote:K, are you familiar with John Walton's work? He has some similar ideas. Definitely some good stuff in there:

http://biologos.org/resources/videos/jo ... in-context

No, I'm not familiar with John Walton. I can see a correlation between his understanding that we should look at what function the ancient world saw in the text (which is very spiritual), and my own understanding that the material world is often modelled around the spiritual. For example, Walton says at your link:
John Walton wrote:We're inclined by our culture to think of the creation narrative as an account of material origins because we think about the world in material terms. And so for us, that's kind of what's important about origins.

In the ancient world they didn't think that way. In the ancient world they were more interested in who runs the place, who makes it work the way that it does. And so when they talk about origins, that's the question they want to ask. It's like when you take a new job, you don't want to find out when the bill of incorporation was registered with the government or who built the first factory.

You want to know: who do I report to and who signs my paycheck and who do I answer to? And that kind of functional aspect was likewise much more important in the ancient world. And so, God's role and the fact that the cosmos is like a temple where he's sitting in control, that was very important to them.


I don't appreciate some of his insights I read elsewhere (lost the link), that once we understand Genesis is to be read through ancient world eyes and the purpose they saw to it, that it allows us to freely explore science separate from such since the questions Genesis is answering isn't to do with the material world.

If Walton's motivation is to liberate Scriptural truth from natural truths, then such perhaps directly contradicts what I've been saying about the material world being modelled upon spiritual truths. It also flatly denies, I think, Scripture that supports Natural Theology as I mentioned above.

Furthermore, I believe content does matter once we come back to the words and treat the book as part of a larger canon that is inspired of God. The fact remains, Scripture makes very material claims, the ancient world also lived in our material world. So then, while I'm sure Walton has interesting and valid insights here and there, I'm feeling repelled away and my mind keeps throwing up problems with Walton's view.

Even in my own Sabbatical Framework position, and it's just that I think -- a framework -- one must still look at the content. I do not believe that Moses is entertaining any question of time periods, Genesis 1 doesn't specifically comment either way, yet there is content about our world nonetheless there right? Very much so. The order of creation for example. As far as any "time period", there is silence and so we are left to deduce what is the case, and this "deducing" can lead people to different conclusions.

Hence, some deduce the "days" take on the property of a symbolic "age", while others deduce they represent the property of day that is "24 hours", while others still yet just see them as ordinary days where the Sun rises and sets. I believe the latter, as you know, which has great Sabbitical meaning to the readers and so was actually intended by Moses. Within each position I can see valid inferences, that is, I don't see anything in Scripture that clearly rules out any of these positions.

Yet, later revelation, as the reader gains an understanding of the importance of the Sabbath, understands more richly what it represents with Israel's God as Lord of all Creation. Further still, even greater revelatory signifiance of such in God's redemptive plan, that in Christ we all can enter into the Sabbath rest of God, Hebrews 4:9-11:

    9So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

All this shows that Moses may have been aware to much deeper meanings to his words; similar to how you understand David's prophecies of the Messiah e.g., dividing clothes and casting lots for his garment (Psalm 22:18) -- there's an immediate context David's aware to (just like Moses) being fulfilled but then presumably David aware to a much deeper Messianic meaning.
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Re: Relationship of Sin and Death

Postby Jac3510 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:06 pm

I think that's more than a fair critique of Walton. I haven't back checked his work yet (on my list of things to do), but even granting he is right about the way ANE creation myths work (funcationality v material origin), I think he stretches that point too far and draws some mistaken philosophical conclusions about the relationship between the material order and functionality. You get at some of that in your post above. In other words, even if we grant that Moses is thinking in terms of functional assignment, it doesn't follow that 1) there is nothing at all said about material origins or 2) that the text ought to be read mythically. And besides that, his view strikes me as far too apologetically driven. Suppose we let him so account for Gen 1. Then what about the long ages people supposedly lived to? What about the global flood? Even granting a local flood, what about the genetic distribution of people following Noah? What about the table of nations? There are lots of scientific problems that go way beyond Genesis 1.

I just thought some of your language reminded me of some of the ideas that Walton was bringing out is all.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue

And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Relationship of Sin and Death

Postby Nicki » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:36 pm

Kurieuo wrote:
Nicki wrote:Some excellent thoughts there, K. Do you think death was designed purely as a symbol of separation from God, or for its natural function as well? Imagine a world in which people and animals reproduced but never died ... think of the number of flies we'd have to contend with after thousands of years of their reproduction and living on and on! And forget about fly-spray and automatic indoor bug sprayers - they wouldn't do a thing. If there was no death there'd have to be no reproduction either.

On the other hand I suppose in a world with no death or sickness flies could be entirely benign to us. However, surely a more than a certain number of flies, other animals or people around us would be too many - and would there be enough food (just plants) for all creatures?

Thanks Nicki,

Re: whether I think "death [in our world] was designed purely as a symbol of separation from God...", I think it's really important for me to be clear here that everything said in my last post requires understanding the whole context of what death actually is (as I defined in my Part 2)....


Thanks - I think I skimmed over that post. :oops: I certainly agree that death isn't a thing as such, but rather life coming to an end. I think you're thinking of natural death as not being necessary, but what about accidental death? What could prevent, for example, the boulder in that story rolling the wrong way and crushing someone? Would our bodies maybe be uncrushable as well as imperishable?

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Re: Relationship of Sin and Death

Postby Kurieuo » Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:20 pm

Nicki wrote:Thanks - I think I skimmed over that post. I certainly agree that death isn't a thing as such, but rather life coming to an end. I think you're thinking of natural death as not being necessary, but what about accidental death? What could prevent, for example, the boulder in that story rolling the wrong way and crushing someone? Would our bodies maybe be uncrushable as well as imperishable?

The Sisyphus example, was just an example of an alternate punishment God could have given Adam:
In Greek mythology Sisyphus (/ˈsɪsᵻfəs/;[2] Greek: Σίσυφος, Sísuphos) was the king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth). He was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, repeating this action for eternity. Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are therefore described as Sisyphean

Instead, God removed Himself from their midst even took away access to the Tree of Life (Gen 3:22;24), which Scripture reveals greater detail on the identity of such and how we can partake of it via the Cross to inherit eternal life in Christ (Rev 2:7; 22:2,14,19). YET, the punishment humanity inherited, once God withdrew from us, was a physical death yet also much more, we lost contact with that which/Who could sustain us forever.

There is much sophistication, spiritual insights to be drawn, and theologising that could be done here in Genesis, especially in relation to God's redemptive plan for humanity in Christ. We see Scripture as a whole, what we accept as the books in our canon, tell a story from start to finish, unraveling and revealing greater spiritual truths. (@Jac, there is certainly some parallel to be drawn there with Walton's views, although I'm/I was unfamiliar with him) Nonetheless it is tied to the material world, and indeed humanity.

Now what if the boulder fell the wrong way? Well, then, if the laws were created such that we couldn't die, then we wouldn't die. It comes down to the Lawmaker, and what laws He decides to create in His created world. Right? In our world, God ordained physical death as a consequent of sin; understanding what "death" foundationally resembles on the spiritual level and who God is (the source of life), we see that death is quite a natural consequence of being separated from God (which is what sin does, it separates us from God).

Yet, you know, many do roll that boulder up the hill, to watch it fall down only to roll it back up the hill again. Such is the futility of life, eat, drink, sleep, eat, drink, sleep: "there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work." (Eccl 2:24; 8:15) They do this until the day they physically die, and then that boulder they'd been pushing all their lives, finally rolls back over them as they realise the futility of their physical lives, whatever meaning they found in them, has earned them a lasting death from the One who is the very source of their own life.
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Re: Relationship of Sin and Death

Postby Nicki » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:09 am

Kurieuo wrote:
Nicki wrote:Thanks - I think I skimmed over that post. I certainly agree that death isn't a thing as such, but rather life coming to an end. I think you're thinking of natural death as not being necessary, but what about accidental death? What could prevent, for example, the boulder in that story rolling the wrong way and crushing someone? Would our bodies maybe be uncrushable as well as imperishable?

The Sisyphus example, was just an example of an alternate punishment God could have given Adam:
In Greek mythology Sisyphus (/ˈsɪsᵻfəs/;[2] Greek: Σίσυφος, Sísuphos) was the king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth). He was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, repeating this action for eternity. Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are therefore described as Sisyphean


Indeed - I was just thinking of different causes of death and being crushed by a boulder seemed like a good example of accidental death - no evil on the part of any person involved.

Instead, God removed Himself from their midst even took away access to the Tree of Life (Gen 3:22;24), which Scripture reveals greater detail on the identity of such and how we can partake of it via the Cross to inherit eternal life in Christ (Rev 2:7; 22:2,14,19). YET, the punishment humanity inherited, once God withdrew from us, was a physical death yet also much more, we lost contact with that which/Who could sustain us forever.

There is much sophistication, spiritual insights to be drawn, and theologising that could be done here in Genesis, especially in relation to God's redemptive plan for humanity in Christ. We see Scripture as a whole, what we accept as the books in our canon, tell a story from start to finish, unraveling and revealing greater spiritual truths. (@Jac, there is certainly some parallel to be drawn there with Walton's views, although I'm/I was unfamiliar with him) Nonetheless it is tied to the material world, and indeed humanity.

Now what if the boulder fell the wrong way? Well, then, if the laws were created such that we couldn't die, then we wouldn't die. It comes down to the Lawmaker, and what laws He decides to create in His created world. Right? In our world, God ordained physical death as a consequent of sin; understanding what "death" foundationally resembles on the spiritual level and who God is (the source of life), we see that death is quite a natural consequence of being separated from God (which is what sin does, it separates us from God).


Could be right - I'm not sure.

Yet, you know, many do roll that boulder up the hill, to watch it fall down only to roll it back up the hill again. Such is the futility of life, eat, drink, sleep, eat, drink, sleep: "there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work." (Eccl 2:24; 8:15) They do this until the day they physically die, and then that boulder they'd been pushing all their lives, finally rolls back over them as they realise the futility of their physical lives, whatever meaning they found in them, has earned them a lasting death from the One who is the very source of their own life.


:amen:

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Re: The “Natural Theology” of Death - Part 3

Postby patrick » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:02 am

Kurieuo wrote:To be clear, the question I’ll look to deal with in my next post in this:

    1) Did God install death as part of the natural world in the beginning in response to sin, and death then came upon humanity as punishment -- physical death representing the spiritual truth of what "death" actually is, chiefly separation from God (i.e., the Source of Life); or

    2) Did God install death as part of the natural world after humanity sinned due to sin -- nonetheless physical death is an example of the spiritual truth of what "death" actually is, chiefly separation from God (i.e., the Source of Life).


Not sure if you've lost interest in this, but just thought I'd express my interest in reading this in case it just slipped your mind.

Reason being, this is one of the issues that I find makes interpreting the Bible as giving an empirical account problematic. From a very different interpretation, if one views the knowledge of good and evil as creating the awareness of death, then that would have been the beginning of death from the perspective of consciousness. That reconciles the problem of how death could have existed before that time, since the empirical reality of death would still be present, just not being represented in conscious awareness.

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Re: Relationship of Sin and Death

Postby Kurieuo » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:19 am

Hi Pat, you're right I never finished this. My thoughts went elsewhere, in part, because it required a lot of ordering of thoughts, and then I just got distracted and never revisited. I did intend to revisit at some point, and now I know someone was interested I'll see...

Regarding your last paragraph, I'm not sure I fully understand what you are saying? However, I do believe physical death was made part of creation since the beginning and that such is a representative token of the more serious and true death (spiritual death aka "second death") that can be had between us and God. Sin is the reason why such a token exists in this world, physical death is therefore a consequent of sin even if such death existed temporally prior.

In Hebraic thought the wages of sin is death, and such is found in the Apostle Paul's thinking also. For sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death came upon all men because all sinned. It is kind of an immovable link between sin and death in Scripture. So any Christian, whatever view they take on creation and the like, ought to seriously account for this relationship between sin and death.

In any case, I'll need to review what I wrote, where I was at, and finish off my thoughts. If I better understand the problems you see need resolving, perhaps I can try also adequately respond to such as I go.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: Relationship of Sin and Death

Postby patrick » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:12 pm

Well, I suppose the main issue is that if we assume evolution is true, IOW it's the process by which God made life, it seems that there would indeed be two deaths -- one physical, one non-physical -- because death would've had to exist before Adam to fit our current understanding of the world. And since the wages of sin is death, it seems like we'd be talking only about a non-physical death. Which would lead to a rather non-empirical interpretation of the Bible as a whole -- IOW, in what sense is Jesus overcoming death then?

But you've mentioned that it could still be the cause for death even if death existed prior to such, so I'm hoping I'm just getting confused or missing a key point in here somewhere. Perhaps it was that humans didn't die until after Adam sinned, but other animals had been (physically) dying? Idk; not sure if that makes my concerns any clearer.

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Re: Relationship of Sin and Death

Postby thatkidakayoungguy » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:22 pm

If animals did die before Adam, then they must've did so without pain, since otherwise creation wouldn't be good since they'd be suffering, and that came after the fall.

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Re: Relationship of Sin and Death

Postby thatkidakayoungguy » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:31 pm

Still there's got to be more to life than what many do, eat sleep, poop, work, repeat.


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