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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:06 pm 
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Maria wrote:
It doesn't make sense to cast them out for acting according to their natures.


Of course it doesn't.

But we ought not look here for "sense". It has nothing to do with sense but everything to do with awe and fear and desire and pain and love - it has to do with human beings.

It's a good story, as a creation story. As JewelSong says above, the second story is a different kettle of fish. That story has an agenda that has nothing to do with explaining Creation.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:21 pm 
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Maria wrote:
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It does seem like we were set up to fail. One explanation I heard recently is God plops you in paradise, gives you free reign and free will, but with one little rule. Then you break that rule. Who is the bad guy?


If one has no sense of good and bad, then how can one be expected to understand about rules and the importance of not breaking them?

I had a pet bird up until last year ( :( ) and he quite literally did not understand the concept of *not* doing what he wanted to do because it was "bad." A dog may break your rule, but will feel guilty about it. A bird seems to have no such process in it's brain. You can teach them not to do something if it results in danger to them, but you can't gently teach them to obey your rules because it's the right thing to do. If he got it in his head that he wanted to shred a particular item, he'd be back in that corner the minute your back was turned tearing away until you came back and shooed him away again.

That's what having no sense of good and evil is like. It seems to me that expecting a creature with no knowledge of good and evil to have any self restraint at all is illogical. And, in fact, gaining the knowledge of good and evil ought to improve their chances of following subsequent rules.

It doesn't make sense to cast them out for acting according to their natures.


Maria, Adam and Eve were not birds. They had intelligence, and they were fully able to understand what God said to them! It's all about disobedience. As Sir Dennis said, one little rule, just one, and they had to break it!

No wonder the Jews eventually got saddled with over 600 rules they had to obey! :rofl:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:24 pm 
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I'm not sure why you're laughing about that, Sunny. :scratch:

Anyway, I wanted to say that I've appreciated your posts, SirDennis, and, as always, yours, Pearly Di. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:35 pm 
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Your motives may be a complex blend of residual cat worship and Loonie Toons, but your intent is either to hurt the cat or to save the bird.


I vote for residual cat worship, certainly. :D

If we define "intent" as "desired outcome" I agree. But it feels as if we're just pushing the decision making process back a step, then. The outcomes we feel are desirable are an amalgam of conscious and unconscious habit and urge.

River--
There's some circularity lurking in there, re: defining what one sees as good or evil based on other things one has seen or heard of that are good or evil based on...unless it's less circular than it is a network function, where the participants determine via interaction with each other what the definitions will be. That's what I think society does, when it doesn't make an appeal to Authority.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:00 pm 
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Maria wrote:
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Good visuals. Kicking the cat seems downright gentle by comparison.

I could have sworn that was a common saying :scratch: .... it was just meant to convey overreacting to a situation, not ax-murdering a pup! :oops:

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It does seem like we were set up to fail. One explanation I heard recently is God plops you in paradise, gives you free reign and free will, but with one little rule. Then you break that rule. Who is the bad guy?


If one has no sense of good and bad, then how can one be expected to understand about rules and the importance of not breaking them?

I had a pet bird up until last year ( :( ) and he quite literally did not understand the concept of *not* doing what he wanted to do because it was "bad." A dog may break your rule, but will feel guilty about it. A bird seems to have no such process in it's brain. You can teach them not to do something if it results in danger to them, but you can't gently teach them to obey your rules because it's the right thing to do. If he got it in his head that he wanted to shred a particular item, he'd be back in that corner the minute your back was turned tearing away until you came back and shooed him away again.

That's what having no sense of good and evil is like. It seems to me that expecting a creature with no knowledge of good and evil to have any self restraint at all is illogical. And, in fact, gaining the knowledge of good and evil ought to improve their chances of following subsequent rules.

It doesn't make sense to cast them out for acting according to their natures.


Fair points. But I fail to see where the question of good and bad (or evil) enters into a simple request for obedience (on only one point) to your maker. Clearly they were able to follow instructions. I grant that without a basis for comparison they might not have understood the difference between perfection and imperfection, nor what living outside of paradise might be like since paradise was all they knew. (Conversely we struggle today with the concept of perfection because we have no idea what it looks like.)

So yeah there is a lesson about obedience in there that has nothing to do with good and evil. Obedience just because...

(Not that we are anything like cats but it is similar to that urge to kick them that comes when they keep jumping on the counter after using the litter box. Or peeing in the laundry.)

I think the same lesson is at the heart of the story of Abraham. Though as Frelga says it is not so straight forward [as the story of Adam and Eve] because things were more complicated for people on Earth by then.

ETA nod to Sunsilver. :)

EETA nod to Lali, Vision and Ax as well... this is like xposting heaven :rofl:

on third thought... the point about additional rules follows from Maria's point: " And, in fact, gaining the knowledge of good and evil ought to improve their chances of following subsequent rules." Maybe it was a touche moment that came across as a finger pointing moment? ;)


Last edited by SirDennis on Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:14 pm 
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axordil wrote:
River--
There's some circularity lurking in there, re: defining what one sees as good or evil based on other things one has seen or heard of that are good or evil based on...unless it's less circular than it is a network function, where the participants determine via interaction with each other what the definitions will be. That's what I think society does, when it doesn't make an appeal to Authority.

That's sort of what I was trying in a very lousy way to get at. Any given society will have arrived, by some consensus, at what is good and evil. But how do you find common ground between those bubbles? We consider stealing evil, but how do you explain that to someone from a culture that doesn't share our concept of ownership? This is the problem with trying to get empirical over concepts like good and evil. It's not like, say, the concept of sharp, which can be defined in ways that transcend cultural barriers.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:04 pm 
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River--

What I find slightly amazing is how much our bubbles have in common, more than how much they differ, especially on the big issues; this is especially true when you look within the broadest cultural groups, say, agricultural vs. semi-nomadic herders. It's almost as if the combination of the human brain with similar sets of physical conditions leads to similar, predictable results...

Actually, it's EXACTLY like that. :D

Compare notions of property and theft between agricultural societies; now compare notions between herding societies. The patterns are strongly drawn. Not perfect mirrors of course, but the constraints of (for example) having to put crops in the ground when the time is right and harvest them when THAT time is right and keep the results stored long enough to stay alive leads to a particular kind of moral structuring.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:45 pm 
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Oh! Oh! Oh!

I think I understand what was going on with that creation story. It was a test! Not really a test of obedience which humanity failed... but rather a test of function! :D A sort of... OK, I want these creatures to have free will, do they?

And voila! Apples eaten, the humans are working as designed. Right, off you go! Wind 'em up and let them go. :)

That's always bothered me. Anything an omnipotent god wants to happen, happens. If people ate the apple against orders, then it was because they were supposed to!

People didn't fail that test. They passed it.

If, you know, any of this happened at all. :P


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:58 pm 
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Adam and Eve had many things, but they did not have free will.

Free will can only exist in an adult able to think. They were children in the most basic sense of the word.

I have always seen this part of the Adam and Eve story as the means by which the priesthood(s) got guilt into the picture.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:21 am 
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I only have time before I hit the hay (I.e. to go to bed) to make one point: it's not the fruit (the Bible never says it was an apple), it's what the fruit symbolised. The fruit was from which tree? - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God warns Adam and Eve not to eat from that tree for they 'shall surely die' - every other tree in the garden is available to them. The prohibition is mysterious: God must have his reasons for not wanting them to eat from that particular tree and the power of that knowledge it contains - presumably only he, the Creator, can handle that kind of knowledge. The lesson is, Adam and Eve should have trusted him.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:24 am 
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Pearly Di wrote:
I only have time before I hit the hay (I.e. to go to bed) to make one point: it's not the fruit (the Bible never says it was an apple), it's what the fruit symbolised. The fruit was from which tree? - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God warns Adam and Eve not to eat from that tree for they 'shall surely die' - every other tree in the garden is available to them. The prohibition is mysterious: God must have his reasons for not wanting them to eat from that particular tree and the power of that knowledge it contains - presumably only he, the Creator, can handle that kind of knowledge. The lesson is, Adam and Eve should have trusted him.


Why?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:32 am 
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Because I said so, that's why. The battle cry of every beleaguered parent.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:33 am 
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:)

Well, maybe so.

But it's that old Catch 22 thing, or the God wanting to have it both ways.

It would have been much better if that God had just created souls to sit around his feet and worship him. Think of the trouble it would have saved!

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:38 am 
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Maria wrote:
Oh! Oh! Oh!

I think I understand what was going on with that creation story. It was a test! Not really a test of obedience which humanity failed... but rather a test of function! :D A sort of... OK, I want these creatures to have free will, do they?

And voila! Apples eaten, the humans are working as designed. Right, off you go! Wind 'em up and let them go. :)

That's always bothered me. Anything an omnipotent god wants to happen, happens. If people ate the apple against orders, then it was because they were supposed to!

People didn't fail that test. They passed it.

If, you know, any of this happened at all. :P


That's pretty much how I see it.

Vison, please recall that the Jews have been telling that story for some two thousand years before Christian theology settled on the "original sin" interpretation.

Actually, what Sunny said about 600 commandments was pretty much spot on. The trouble with giving just one commandment was that the only choice was between absolute obedience and absolute rebellion. With the 631, there is room to exercise free will in much more subtle ways.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:31 am 
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Pearly Di wrote:
I only have time before I hit the hay (I.e. to go to bed) to make one point: it's not the fruit (the Bible never says it was an apple), it's what the fruit symbolised. The fruit was from which tree? - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God warns Adam and Eve not to eat from that tree for they 'shall surely die' - every other tree in the garden is available to them. The prohibition is mysterious: God must have his reasons for not wanting them to eat from that particular tree and the power of that knowledge it contains - presumably only he, the Creator, can handle that kind of knowledge. The lesson is, Adam and Eve should have trusted him.


But it doesn't really address my big gripe with the story's presentation of god - why put the tree there to begin with? And why send the rebellious serpent to hang out with your new, innocent creatures?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:26 am 
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axordil wrote:
Because I said so, that's why. The battle cry of every beleaguered parent.

Now you're catching on. :shock::D

Fun fact related to the River/Ax dialogue: An anthropologist noted that he has yet to be made aware of a culture that did not practice gift giving as an expression of love. (Sorry it was on the radio and I missed who made the observation.) I wonder if that is just some made for the season pseudo-science?

To Yov,

I think Maria has stumbled upon something of an explanation. Without giving them a way to actually disobey, God could not demonstrate to some that he had in fact bestowed free will on humanity. (Though if they hadn't eaten of the tree, he would never have had to.)

Can't say I've ever heard that before, but the idea is worthy of consideration since we really (well I really) don't know why he did it. To what authority do you suggest we look for an explanation? :P


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:17 am 
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JewelSong wrote:
In addition, there are two different stories in Genesis. The first chapter is a complete story in and of itself. God creates man and woman together, in God's own image, male and female (BOTH in God's image.) He plunks them in the garden and it's all good...

This is an interesting observation. I've noticed, during the creation story, it says this:
Quote:
26Then God said, "Let us make man[h] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."


In other words God made man (not a man) and told them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.Then we come to the story of Adam and Eve.

I've often wondered if it is a case of first there was an overview and then a refocusing on the details (which would seem to imply that the Sabbath is something different than we think it is). OR if the stories should be taken chronologically. In the latter case it would appear that man was created and sent out over the world, and then two people, Adam and Eve were made to be his people. All of this is to say I'm not sure of what was intended here.

What I do know is understanding the whole Bible for all time is not something easily accomplished. As far as I am aware doing so is not a requirement of salvation (though giving it an honest try is probably commendable). Since the gift of salvation is free, requiring that a person even read the Bible first would seem to contradict that teaching.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:38 am 
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Frelga wrote:
Vison, please recall that the Jews have been telling that story for some two thousand years before Christian theology settled on the "original sin" interpretation.



Yes, I know.

I don't see "original sin" as originating with Adam and Eve - that THEY were created sinners - it is my understanding that because they sinned we are all born sinners. (According to Christians.)

Either way, I think the story is awful.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:50 am 
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SirD, as I've learned it from three times through confirmation class with my kids, there actually are two separate creation stories in Genesis, just as Jewel says. The first is a depiction of the cosmology of the time, that the waters existed both below and above, and the dome of Heaven kept them up there. And light preceded the existence of the sun, moon, and stars; it was created separately.

My kids were taught to understand it as poetry, and as a depiction through story of the relationship between humans and God. Not as history.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:45 am 
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I'd feel a lot safer in this forum if there were less talk about kicking cats and more about worshipping them. Just sayin'.

Theologically yours,

WampusCat :halo:

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