Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Corruption of the Fall of Man?

This is a continuation of yesterday's post regarding Mike Garner's response to my initial post about Free Will. I think that his points are interesting and would like to cover them through a series of posts as the breadth of what he is saying is too broad to cover in one post (let alone in one comment box.)

2. Corruption of the Fall of Man?


From Mike's comment:

I would agree that Adam freely chose to sin against God. The question becomes if the rest of mankind has this same freedom. The question can be asked differently: Does the corruption of the Fall affect Man's free will?

Mankind did not lose their free will through Adam's fall. What mankind lost was the access to the Tree of Life as punishment for Adam's original sin. Because of the loss of access, we were all destined to die. Why? Because we bear the stain of Adam's original sin.

This is the original sin that Paul refers to in Romans 5. Because of Adam's sin, we are all inclined toward sin (or rather enslaved in sin). This is what Paul is talking about and not that we have lost our free will.

How can I be sure of my interpretation regarding the non-corruption of free will in Genesis 3?

By reading Genesis 4.

The very first story immediately following the Fall of Man is the story of Cain and Abel. In Genesis 4: 2-5, it talks about how the two made offerings to God. Why did they (and especially Abel) make offerings to God? For Salvation? To get back in the Garden? That was lost to them. They did it because they loved God for God alone (at least Abel did). Not for reward and reading this passage indicates that it was all a free choice.

Side note regarding Cain and Abel:

When I first read this passage, I struggled with it. Why was Cain's offering displeasing to God? Well, for two reasons...

1. He was not giving his best fruits of his labor.
2. He was paying more attention to what his brother was giving than choosing to love God.

Moral of the story: God wants us to give Him our best...also note that Abel was a keeper of the flock who was killed as a result of his brother's sin...a direct point from the Old Testament to the Passion.

So, how does one get eternal life? By coming back to the Tree of Life! Jesus Christ (the New Adam) restored that Tree when He came down as a man and fixed Adam's original sin by remaining obedient to God's will. Choosing to die for our sins (note: He was not murdered. True, we nailed Him to the cross with our sins but He chose to be sacrificed; thus God did not want to be murdered. He freely accepted death on a cross. There is no contradition in Scripture.)

What does He ask from us in return? To love Him. To keep His commandments. To deny yourself and follow Him (to death on a cross if necessary). To be His friend.

Does this guarantee us eternal life? No. His grace does.

So when is the Tree of Life that's discussed in the beginning of the Bible (at the beginning of creation) restored?

At the very end of the Bible in Revelation 22 at the end of times.

I think that's enough for tonight. Hopefully, God willing, I will continue tomorrow.

Peace to all who read this.

5 comments:

Mike Garner said...

This is the original sin that Paul refers to in Romans 5. Because of Adam's sin, we are all inclined toward sin (or rather enslaved in sin). This is what Paul is talking about and not that we have lost our free will.

I must admit, I am a little confused at this point. Is a person's Will Enslaved to sin or is it totally free to equally choose to sin or to reamin pure?


story of Cain and Abel. In Genesis 4: 2-5, it talks about how the two made offerings to God. Why did they (and especially Abel) make offerings to God? For Salvation? To get back in the Garden? That was lost to them. They did it because they loved God for God alone (at least Abel did). Not for reward and reading this passage indicates that it was all a free choice.

Interesting. Consider Hebrews 11:
"v. 4 "By Faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his figts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks."

Why does the text say Abel gave the offering and why was it better? Because it was by faith.

But, does the Bible say that Faith comes from Free will? Or does the Bible say that Faith is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9)?


True, we nailed Him to the cross with our sins but He chose to be sacrificed; thus God did not want to be murdered

I agree that he freely gave up his life. However, the definition of Murder is to take the life of a person who is innocent. If there is one crime in all of history that is murder then it is the cross. "Nailed to the cross" or as the bible says elsewhere "put to death", "executed", and crucified is by definition Murder when the person is innocent. Furthermore, the Jews are held responsible for this Murder.



In any case, I do look forward to your future discussions. It is hard to interact because the flow of the argument has not yet come out. The question I'd be most interested is the leap of logic of you saying that because Abel sacrificed we therefore have free will. The text clearly does not say that and no logic has been offered to get to this point. Again, I must ask if you are reading your views into the text.


In Christ alone,
mike

TheDen said...

Hey Mike,

Thanks as always for reading my posts.

Is a person's will enslaved to sin? Yes. I think that's what Paul's talking about. However, through Jesus Christ, we now have an option. We can remain slaves of sin or slaves of Jesus Christ which will make us righteous. When I read Romans, I see this as a choice that Paul gives us.

We can either have Faith in God; Hope in His promise and then ultimately love Him...or "not accord Him glory as God or give Him thanks." (Romans 1:21) which will allow us to be enslaved into sin and became vain in our reasoning and darken our minds.

Abel had that Faith in God. We are all called to have that faith in Romans 1:20 and we have no excuse to turn away from God and become slaves of sin.

This ties in very well with my pleasure principle theory. We have the choice to love God or not love God.

God calls all of us (as mentioned in Romans 1:20). When we start to give Him glory and thanks, He will give us the faith (as He did Abel...who still speaks because Christ plucked him out of Hell due to his righteousness and it wasn't the work of the sacrifice that gave Him the faith. It was in his heart before the sacrifice.). Us giving Him glory and thanks comes first as our choice through free will.

I'm enjoying this too, Mike. I wasn't really planning on writing about free will; however, God pushed me that way and I'm starting to understand why.

Peace always.

Dennis

Mike Garner said...

However, through Jesus Christ, we now have an option.

Oh, here I am more inclined to agree with you. A person who is already in Christ may have more of the Free-Will that you are describing. However, I thought we were discussing the person who has yet to come to Christ (since in the way you defined Free-Will it included the ability to choose to come to Christ). In that case, the person would still be trapped in their sin, or Spiritually dead as the Scriptures state.


God calls all of us (as mentioned in Romans 1:20). When we start to give Him glory and thanks, He will give us the faith (as He did Abel


This is actually the Pelagian heresy that the Catholic churched condemned as heresy. To suggest that we initiate our Salvation and then God gives us grace and thus faith is at best Semi-Pelagianism (which was also condemned). As you probably are aware, Pelagius believed that any command that God gives implies an ability that we have to do it. This has been your logic in several places (God comamnds us to love, therefore we have the ability to choose to love him). You may hold this position, but I just find it interesting since it has been condemned as heresy by the Catholic church which the Roman Catholic Church would say that they are. In other words, you belong to a church that has condemned your own view.

Second, you are confusing the order of the story of Abel. The bible does not say that Abel loved and sacrificed to God and then received faith. Rather, the Scriptures clearly state that the Sacrifice came From the Faith that he already had. Therefore, the only action that Abel was able to do to please God was AFTER God had granted him Faith.


I'm glad that you are enjoying this. It is often good to evaluate our own thinking and to test it based on how others view the Scriptures. At some points I can see your Roman Theology coming through clearly. I don't actually see this as a problem because I think it is very beneficial for your Protestant readers to see that the case really cannot be made from a Protestant viewpoint. However, in this thread I do see you deviating from the Roman Church's view on things as I stated regarding the Pelagian heresy.
Also, I should add, since it seems you do admire Augustine, he devoted many years to writing against young Pelagius and his heresy.


In Christ alone,
mike

TheDen said...

"Us giving Him glory and thanks comes first as our choice through free will."


Iron sharpens iron...

Mike,

Thank you for pointing out the heresy in my statement. Yes, you are right, I misspoke and want to correct it. I am not a studied theologian. I work in the automotive field.

God gives us the grace even from the beginning to first acknowledge Him.

We still have to choose Him.

Thanks for spotting that.

Dennis

Mike Garner said...

Great. We all say things on accident occasionally. As long as we correct it then it is simply material heresy and is not of upmost importance (although we should of course strive to avoid it altogether).


But, you do make a very interesting statement.

I'll just ask one question:

Why did You (or I) choose when those in our family, in our churches, in our neighborhood, etc., did not? Is it because we are more intelligent? Is it because we are more apt to liking Spiritual things? Is it because we are more moral? Is it because we better weighed the consequences? Said otherwise, what is it in us that makes us choose and others not?


Thanks a lot,
mike