Tag Archives: Death

Is Christian Theology Possible Without the Fall?

by Paul Ladouceur

Over the centuries the notion of a fall of humanity from a state of primeval bliss and communion with God has been, faute de mieux, a convenient theological coat-rack to hang such important Christian doctrines as the origin of evil and death, original sin, human moral weakness, the Incarnation of Christ and baptismal theology. The problem, as we pointed out in an article in 2013, is that it is not possible, despite brave attempts to do so, to reconcile a historical understanding of the biblical account of paradise and the fall of Adam and Eve with scientific data and theories. Genesis 1-3 must instead be read as allegory or literary myth, intended to convey certain fundamental truths, such as the divine origin of creation and of humanity and the reality of human evil.

In the project of de-historicizing Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden and the fall, three areas predominate: the nature of human existence; the origin of evil; and the motivation for Christ’s Incarnation. Genesis predicates a form of human perfection prior to the fall (“prelapsarian”), and a much-weakened human existence after the fall (“postlapsarian”). In the standard interpretation, Adam’s fall introduced evil (and the decay and death which accompanied it) into creation. The alternative narrative, we argued, is that God created a world which was neither perfect nor imperfect, but perfectible; decay and death, whether on a galactic or microscopic scale, were inherent in creation from the first moment.

Did God create death? At first blush, the answer is evident: A good God could not have created something as evil as death; to suggest otherwise is outrageous, if not blasphemous. Continue Reading…

Joy Reconsidered

by George N. Petrovich

Humanity is a joyful being. This is not a simple desire, but a very normal human condition. Joy shares one divine characteristic in that it seeks to endure and to never run out. That which defines those captured moments within is the undying sense to exist in the same way that it appears. Joy strives for eternity and tends to be connected with it. In fact, joy by its nature loses its character if it ends. Humanity feels the call to be eternally joyful.

C. S. Lewis once wrote that joy is an unsatisfied desire, which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction (Surprised by Joy). Apart from any scientific observation, many civilizations have witnessed its primacy and occasion from the very early periods of life. Smiling and laughter, two prominent features of joy, accompanied by social games, are also signs of the joyful effect on human cultures. Analyzing the positive effect of joy in later life, it is possible to observe that if it is present in the infant stages of development it tends to be associated with a sense of vigor and with feelings of strength, confidence and competency. Functionally, it is centrally involved in the creation of social bonds—is it not enough to observe an infant’s ability to smile that elicits reciprocal smiling and joy, thereby fostering the bond of attachment? Continue Reading…