Legends of the Fall, Part 6: Laying Groundwork

I’m not going to link back to the previous entries this time–if you’re reading this, you can scroll back; if you’ve been keeping up, you know what we’ve discussed thus far; and I’m getting way too many pingbacks whenever I put in links!  Before we move on to looking at possible candidates for a theory of the Fall of Man, I think we need to lay some groundwork by deciding what criteria such a theory must meet.

Scientific Criteria

1.  Any theory must acknowledge the great age of the cosmos and of the Earth.

2.  The evolution of humans over time from lower mammals must be acknowledged.

3.  The existence of natural evil in the material world before the human race came into being must be acknowledged.

4.  The possibility of polygenesis of humankind must be allowed for (see the last post).

Theological Criteria

A.  Any theory must assume one God.

B.  The one God must be all-good and perfect.

C.  He must be the creator of at least the souls of humans.

D.  Humanity–all humans that ever have existed, do exist, or ever will exist–must be a unity, at least in a metaphysical sense.  That is, we must all share a common nature and (if Original Sin in any form is to be meaningful) some kind of common metaphysical status.

E.  All humanity is redeemed–at least potentially–by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This also requires some type of metaphysical unity of the human race.

The Gnostic system (especially because of its diversity) could probably deal with 1-4 fairly well–certainly, neo-Gnostics have no problem with them.  It also deals well with A-C.  D and E wouldn’t be fully applicable, since Gnostic anthropology and soteriology are substantially different from that of the orthodox, but that’s a discussion for another place and time, not relevant to the issue at hand.

The Evagrian system never had to deal with modern science, but I think it could handle 1-3 fairly well, and probably 4 as well.  I don’t know enough of it to speak to A-E as well, but I think Evagrius’ system could deal with them, as well, with proper development.

Orthodox Christianity has traditionally had a hard time with all of the scientific issues here, but most non-fundamentalists have made their peace with 1 and 2, and more careful thinkers are at least aware of 3 and 4, though I think work still needs to be done in this area.  D and E bear some relationship to 3 and 4 (once more, see the previous post).  Thus, the issues touched on by these four points are what I want to concentrate on for next time.

Part of the series Legends of the Fall.

Posted on 22/05/2012, in Bible, Christianity, religion, theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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