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06/22/2014

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I remember talking about it years ago. Iheard an interesting explanation of it last year from Paul Griffiths, professor of Catholic theology at Duke. He said that the world is already fallen by Genesis 3. He say that Eden is an enclave in a fallen world. In other words, between Genesis 1, or what modern scholars call the P account, and Genesis 2 and 3, or what we call J, the fall of the angels and with it the animal world occurs. The fall of the angels is not described in Scripture but its crucial to the whole narrative as understood bz the Fathers of the church.

"The fall of the angels is not described in Scripture but its crucial to the whole narrative as understood bz the Fathers of the church."

Very true.

That was one of the interesting things about the recent "Noah" film. Based on Talmudic sources the idea that the angelic fall had vast earthly repercussions was a main plot point.

I didnt catch it when it was in the cinema I was training for the camino I didnt go on. Is it good?

On the whole I liked it. Some aspects were better than others, but it was an interesting take on the story. And the director seemed quite respectful of both the source material and its gravity. He's now an agnostic apparently, but he was raised in a conservative Jewish family.

Ill watch it on DVD

Is that really how they pronounce "z" in Hungarian? Don't they realize how crazy that makes them look to the rest of the world?

"...the world is already fallen by Genesis 3..."

Well, that's interesting, but it seems a bit of a stretch--I mean as an assertion of "this is most likely the case." An interesting conjecture. I must say it's rather frustrating not to know.

The evangelicals have a version of that interpretation -- the so-called "gap theory." It's the idea that the cosmic/angelic fall happened between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, based on a Hebrew reading that says that the latter could be interpreted as, "And the earth became without form and void." So in effect, the "creation" was actually a re-creation. The long period of time in between was when evolution occurred, prehistoric animals were existent, etc.

Interesting. My personal conjecture is that what actually happened is really beyond our ability to comprehend. It sounds pretty patronizing to say that Genesis tells the story in a way that primitive shepherds could make sense of it, but I think that's entirely plausible, and still applicable. We aren't all *that* much more knowledgeable than they were.

I also remember something about the Hebrew words for "without form and void" being used elsewhere in the OT as describing the results of destruction, not just a random formlessness or chaos.

Tantalizing.

"Direct experimental evidence of a deity"? Shall I laugh or cry?

Maybe just shake your head and ask "what can one do with such people?"

What a shame modern people seem to be incapable of thinking in the right categories. :/

The question of a young versus old earth has never really interested me, but when you write about it, it almost becomes interesting. :)

At any rate, I will have a good and hearty laugh if the scientists turn out to be wrong after all. :D

(I like science a lot, but the scientists are so often readjusting their views by a full 180 degrees on things that I'm more inclined these days to think that maybe they are flat out wrong on this).

"Is that really how they pronounce "z" in Hungarian? Don't they realize how crazy that makes them look to the rest of the world?"

LOL!

Well, the question interests me a whole lot, as you can tell. Not so much the age per se, but the implications for the story of the Fall--paradise followed by the mess we know. I think it's very unlikely the scientists could be totally wrong, but it is amusing to contemplate.

I certainly think it's a reasonable thing to be interested in. And yes, it does seem to be problematic.

I'm reminded of Dawkins' absurd claim that the existence of God is a scientific hypothesis that should be treated accordingly. As if that's how the idea ever came about.

One can certainly treat claims of miraculous events - the parting of the Red Sea, Jesus walking on water, the raising of Lazarus - as material events that could be scientifically observed and analyzed, though good luck with that. But God is a metaphysical claim, not a physical one, by definition. So there's no physical test for it. Which by definition means it's both unfalsifiable and also unscientific.

As far as the Fall goes, I've always thought of it on two levels. First, metaphysically, I feel that it refers to the fall from original Unity into dualism.

Second, I've always thought it was perhaps an echo of mankind's evolutionary descent from being an unthinking animal living in the forests of Africa, to being an intelligent, rational creature who is tormented by "the knowledge of good and evil", which animals without our advanced intelligence certainly don't have.

"Second, I've always thought it was perhaps an echo of mankind's evolutionary descent from being an unthinking animal living in the forests of Africa, to being an intelligent, rational creature who is tormented by "the knowledge of good and evil", which animals without our advanced intelligence certainly don't have."

Scripture portrays it, and the Church concurs, that it wasn't a change in intellectual ability, but an act of the will--a decision.

As a non-Christian I also held the idea that the Fall had something to do with the change from animal to human. Well, "held" is overstating it--I don't think I necessarily believed it, but I thought it was at least a plausible conjecture. Still seems to me have a lot of descriptive merit, even if it's not exactly an explanation.

Walker Percy's Lost in the Cosmos involves a fascinating view of what the Fall is, or at least of its most fundamental effects.

Robert, yes, I understand what scripture says in the literal sense. I would just turn that around and say that it represents the newfound ability to make decisions at all.

I don't think animals make actual decisions. As we became humans, we became able to make decisions. And so the whole process certainly feels as if a huge decision was made. Which came first, chicken or egg?

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