12.21.2008

prior...

...to the sin coming into man did man have a consciousness? was it needed if sin did not exist?

25 comments:

Lee said...

Without God, can there be sin?

I don't understand your riddle - sorry.

ryan said...

what i'm wondering is this.

prior to the intrduction of sin into the world and to man, did we have a conciousness?

would we need it if there was nothing to stay away from? if there was no temptation to lie, steal, commit adultery, etc.....

Tim Smith said...

It is very clear in Genesis 1-3 that man has a consciousness, however he did not have an understanding. He knew what God said, but didn't know the consequences. The tree of knowledge of good and evil is a representation of independence and the tree of life representation of trust. Adam already knew what was good and evil because God told him. Adam sinned because he doubted that God was telling him the truth. So as for consciousness:

1:27 God's image. God has a consciousness.
2:19 Adam names the animals.
2:25 Naked and unashamed.

etc.

It isn't our consciousness that keeps us from sinning anyway. It's the grace of God no matter what. Also, we need a consciousness to enjoy the presence of the Lord. The ultimate reason God created man was so that man could enjoy Him and worship Him. Neither of which are possible without a consciousness.

CF said...

What's the difference between "consciousness" and "understanding"?

ryan said...

i can be aware (or have a consciousness) that the sun exsists but i may not totally understand it in all of its characteristics.

and tim summed the whole thing up quite nicely anyhow. well done!

Billy said...

I think this raises issues for whether it is internally consistent to claim that man was made in the image of god - especially if man was made without understanding.

For me, a greater problem though is the punishment of people who had no understanding of good and evil

ryan said...

they had no understanding of good and evil, this is true. however, they did have ears to hear and a brain to think and reason.

it was the disobedience that led to the knowledge of good and evil.

Havok said...

Ryan: they had no understanding of good and evil, this is true. however, they did have ears to hear and a brain to think and reason.


They had no knowledge of good and evil, and, as the story implies, absolutely no way to learn about or comprehend the difference.
Saying they had a brain to reason, when the existence implied is totally alien to what humans experience, even the experience of an infant, seems foolish.

Ryan: it was the disobedience that led to the knowledge of good and evil

And prior to the disobedience they could have had no concept that disobeying God was in anyway a bad, wrong or evil thing - none whatsoever.
Any comparison with any human (or animals for that matter) is flawed because an ability to learn what is "right" and what is "wrong" is inherent in everything which shows any sort of consciousness.
You would have to think of someone who was completely amoral with no ability to learn or even comprehend "good" and "bad", nor that there could be any consequences for an action.

ryan said...

Havok,

just like the other post i'll give full attention to this in the morning. have a good one.

CF said...

My 14 yr. old daughter said this to me the other day...just kind of out of the blue. "Hey dad. I didn't know you couldn't drink alcohol with antibiotics."

I almost chewed through my leather couch trying to figure out why she dropped this nugget of revelation into my lap, or why I cared, or why she cared or what this had to do with the price of tea in China. (14 year old daughters have a tendency to do this...)

How do you respond? I looked at my wife as if to say, "Did that really just happen...and did I miss some major event?"

Anyway...the point is, my only possible answer I could come with was "Well, now you do." I don't know why this was an issue, and she's done stuff like this since she was about 5 or 6. She'll just pop in out of nowhere (kind of like a virtual particle) and say some random, off-the-wall comment that has nothing to do with nothing and then, just as quickly and without reason, vanish into thin air. (Not really, but it's good reading.)

The fact that A&E didn't know the difference between right and wrong is completely and totally irrelevant. If it was an established command and they knew the difference, they still broke the rules and sinned. If they didn't know the difference, they still broke the rules and sinned. Either way, they broke the rules and sinned. That's the point.

The idea that seems to keep popping up is "well I don't agree because it's just not fair".

In addition, sin did exist prior to coming into man, did it not? Man was not the first being to sin, Satan was.

Lee said...

The fact that A&E didn't know the difference between right and wrong is completely and totally irrelevant. If it was an established command and they knew the difference, they still broke the rules and sinned. If they didn't know the difference, they still broke the rules and sinned. Either way, they broke the rules and sinned. That's the point.

You agree they didn't understand what it meant to break the rules?

The idea that seems to keep popping up is "well I don't agree because it's just not fair".

My good morals tell me God was wrong... yes

Have to go

Lee

ryan said...

we so often want to think God was wrong, isn't this a form of pride? thinking that we can, could, will, or must be able to, do it better.

Havok said...

Ryan: we so often want to think God was wrong, isn't this a form of pride? thinking that we can, could, will, or must be able to, do it better.

Well, perhaps your God isn't wrong in the story - it is difficult for something whose every action is defined as being perfectly right to be wrong.
It certainly isn't Just, Merciful or Loving (or good) as we understand those terms.

CF said...

HAVOC: It certainly isn't Just, Merciful or Loving (or good) as we understand those terms.
How do we understand those terms? What are your definitions of justice, mercy and love?

Havok said...

These seem somewhat sensible definitions of what is Just, Mercy and Love.

As for the Eden tale, the punishment was neither just (being what is merited)
nor merciful (lenient or compassionate treatment), and doesn't seem loving (denoting unselfish loyal and benevolent behaviour, strong affection etc). Especially when the objects being punished could not have known that obedience was a good thing and disobedience was a bad thing - the story says they had NO knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong before they ate the fruit.

Sure you can claim that Yahweh's behaviour was Just, Merciful and Loving (and of course, Good), but as the actions do not fit the meanings the words have for us, you might as well use the term "shmingle" or some other "noise" which doesn't already have linguistic and definitional baggage.

I'm pushing "shmingle" for inclusion in the next revision of the oxford dictionary btw :-)

Ps. Do you define those terms differently for Yahweh than for other people?

Lee said...

I'm 2nd again to Havok :-)

Let's see if our notes are the same

-----

CF How do we understand those terms?

Based on our experiences?

What are your definitions of justice, mercy and love?

Justice – "fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are made" or "the legal system, or the act of applying or upholding the law"

Mercy – "kindness or forgiveness shown especially to somebody a person has power over"

Love – "to feel tender affection for somebody such as a close relative or friend, or for something such as a place, an ideal, or an animal" or "to feel and show kindness and charity to somebody" or "an intense feeling of tender affection and compassion" or "to feel romantic and sexual desire and longing for somebody"

So… can we now rate how God does on these points :-)

Where shall we begin?

Lee

CF said...

Here's your irony for the day
I get a kick out of seeing the links to "dictionary" references to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Noah Webster, and George and Charles Merriam were all devout Christians. I'm just saying. It's funny. Maybe not.

...on with the show.

Well let's look at the story this way. Whether you believe it or not is irrelevant here, and I'm not trying to prove it...just bear with me. If we're reading the story of A&E in its context then we are to understand that God created them. With that in mind, we can also say that He had the power to destroy them. But He didn't. He was merciful in letting them live. Besides, if He killed them, it wouldn't matter anyway would it? Who would know? He could just start over and we'd be none the wiser.

I hold to the idea that it doesn't matter whether or not A&E knew the consequences. Ignorance is not an excuse. (EXAMPLE: In Virginia, if you own a pool, it is against the law for you to keep your gate open. If found guilty, the punishment is a $2500 fine and 12 months in prison.) Does the punishment fit the crime? No. Is it just? Yes. Does it "fit the crime"? No. Not in my opinion. See my point?

So, they decided to follow what they could see and "comprehend" (the serpent) rather than what they could not see. (Sound familiar). Now God has a decision to make. Punish them or kill them. If He kills them, again...it's no big deal because who's going to know? He gives them mercy. He lets them live. He didn't fine them, or put them in prison. He put them out of the garden, made Adam work and Eve experience "greater" pain during childbirth.

And love. Punishment is not the absence or opposite of love. It does not negate love, or disprove love. It's my opinion that punishment is an evidence of love. But we cannot say what someone else's love is, only ours. And, if what Lee said is true (based on our experiences) our definition of love is relative. God never said He no longer loved them, and anything you say in regards to they way God responded (in love or out of love) is simply based upon your own experiences and ideas about love.

LEE: Based on our experiences?
Isn't that anecdotal, as HAVORKIALEE has shown me? (In regard to my "scientific experiment".) I thought experiences were not proof?

Havok said...

CF, I still don't think you're getting that A&E were completely innocent prior to tasting the fruit. They couldn't have known obedience to Yahweh was good and listening to the snake was bad.
Whether they knew about the consequences or not, they still would have had no knowledge of right and wrong.

Say I leave a young child in a room, after placing a glass of poison in one corner and telling them not drink it. While watching via a video camera, I let someone else into the room, someone I know intends the child harm. This person proceeds to encourage the child to drink the poison, all while I watch, making no effort to stop or intervene, though I could easily do so.
You're saying that, when the child inevitably drinks the poison, I am completely absolved of any responsibility because though I could have prevented what happened, I had told the child not to drink the poison - they got what they deserved really.

That is a very strange view you have :-)

CF said...

HAVOK: CF, I still don't think you're getting that A&E were completely innocent prior to tasting the fruit.
No, I get it. I just don't see why it's relevant. I'm not trying to be flippant about this, but I see it this way:

GOD: Don't eat that.
ADAM/EVE: O.k.
SERPENT: Hey, eat that one.
ADAM/EVE: God said not to.
SERPENT: It's o.k. Eat it.
EVE: O.k.

What was their conviction before the serpent got there? By their response to the serpent (God said not to) they had apparently been just fine in not eating it prior to the serpent. Why did it take an outside source of influence to get them to eat it? If they were inclined to eat it without the knowledge, then they could've eaten it whenever they wanted.

Havok said...

CF: Why did it take an outside source of influence to get them to eat it?

It's a good plot device. I think the problem only occurs when you treat is as a record of history.

CF: If they were inclined to eat it without the knowledge, then they could've eaten it whenever they wanted.

If it were real, and we were able to relate to their mental state (which I'm not sure we could, given the contrast between their naivety and our own (evolved) moral sense) then I think we could confidently assert that they would have.

Saying "Why didn't they eat it earlier, prior to the snake?" seems to me to be similar to "Why didn't Gandalf and Frodo fly to Mt Doom on eagles?".
What actually happened in the story serves as a plot device for the authors purposes.

Lee said...

Hi CF

I get a kick out of seeing the links to "dictionary" references to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Noah Webster, and George and Charles Merriam were all devout Christians. I'm just saying. It's funny. Maybe not.

And Newton was a devout Christian, doesn't mean I have to accept his belief in Christianity to accept his views on science.

So equally, I find it funny when people tell me Newton is a Christian and so I should believe him.

...on with the show.

Excellent

If we're reading the story of A&E in its context then we are to understand that God created them.

In this context, I can for sake of argument agree to this.

With that in mind, we can also say that He had the power to destroy them.

Also agree – the power.

Is this similar to the power I have to destroy my 5 month old baby?

I may have the power, but I don't think you would say I have the right.

Why is that?

But He didn't. He was merciful in letting them live.

As merciful as in me letting my sons live… how nice of me - even though they have disobeyed me often :-)

Besides, if He killed them, it wouldn't matter anyway would it? Who would know? He could just start over and we'd be none the wiser.

So I could just kill my sons and wife (after all, who would know?) and start all over again making a new family with a new woman?

Actually, my children and wife would know… so that point fails straight away.

Now, even if I could 'get away' with such a 'crime' – would that then make it right?

Of course not… I have restricted someone else's ability to 'enjoy life'

I hold to the idea that it doesn't matter whether or not A&E knew the consequences.

"Think of the children… please think of the children" :-)

You have children right, when they were all young and innocent and didn't understand the consequences of their actions – how harshly did you punish them?

Was this punishment mild at first in order that your children could learn their boundaries and the consequences of their actions?

I say then that it does matter, and the punishment given by God is far, far too harsh and no parent alive would think of doing such a thing to their own children for such a simple and innocent mistake.
(Or if they did, they would have their children taken off them by society and considered unfit to have the responsibility of looking after their children)

Ignorance is not an excuse. (EXAMPLE: In Virginia, if you own a pool, it is against the law for you to keep your gate open. If found guilty, the punishment is a $2500 fine and 12 months in prison.) Does the punishment fit the crime? No. Is it just? Yes. Does it "fit the crime"? No. Not in my opinion. See my point?

Actually, no – I don't see your point.

I might be wrong here, but if the courts are shown that a person did not have an understanding of the consequences of their actions (i.e. mentally ill or something) that they will not be 'fit' to face charges for such a crime?

Isn't this also why there are different courts for children and adults?

Erm… has a man-made construct come up with a fairer justice system than the creator of the universe demonstrated?

Oh, and on the swimming pool law itself – with the number of deaths of young children caused by unguarded pools, I might be on the side of this law being both fair and just… in a similar way an adult who owns a gun should be held responsible if they just leave it lying around for children to find and play with.

Now God has a decision to make. Punish them or kill them.

Erm, what about forgiving them? As I do when my son spills his drink over my nice carpet?

If He kills them, again...it's no big deal because who's going to know?

Discussed already – Adam and Eve would know :-)

He gives them mercy.

Mercy in who's book? Oh, that's right… God's… I challenge that

Isn't this a false dichotomy you are creating of "DEATH" or "MERCY" (where mercy is anything that isn't DEATH)

That's rubbish, you know it, you feel it, and here is why.

If I told you that my eldest son (3 years old remember), once again, disobeyed me last night and didn't put his toys away when instructed so I got hold of a large iron bar and used it to break one of his legs… you would hardly say I have been 'merciful' would you?

Yet, I could point out using YOUR logic/argument that I have been merciful, because I 'only' broke one leg…

I'm betting you would be on the telephone trying to ring the police in my area and not defending my 'mercifulness'

And hey, if I used this false dichotomy of "Death or Mercy" you have given me ANYTHING that I did to my son as punishment, so long as it didn't kill him – would be merciful.

I bet you are glad that your father didn't take the guidance of Gen 2 too literal :-)

He lets them live. He didn't fine them, or put them in prison. He put them out of the garden, made Adam work and Eve experience "greater" pain during childbirth.

Oh, and God did what I could never do… punished the children of the children for thousands of years for the 'crime' of someone the children would have never met.

Nice.

Do you think that the son of a convicted murderer should also be punished for the crime of their parent? Why not?

It's my opinion that punishment is an evidence of love.

So many parents who have beaten their children 'black and blue' could say that their violence was evidence of their love.

I doubt you would agree with them for some reason?

To repeat a question Havok asked –

Can you name one act that God could do that would be wrong?

And, if what Lee said is true (based on our experiences) our definition of love is relative.

And why is this wrong?

Some people love vegemite, others hate it.

Some people love football, others hate it.

Isn't love in the eye of the beholder?

RE: "LEE: Based on our experiences?"

Isn't that anecdotal, as HAVORKIALEE has shown me? (In regard to my "scientific experiment".)

I am not saying it should be based on one person's experience. Don't trust me.

I thought experiences were not proof?

Did I ever say that?

Don't think so – I disagree with it :-)

One person's experience is not proof.

For example. I have no idea if a certain action causes pain.

I perform this action on myself – and report it causes pain.

Can we now conclude that this action causes pain?

No… so what are we to do?

Repeat the action on many people… if most/all report it causes pain – we might be able to say that the action really does appear to cause pain.

Each individual reports 'anecdotal evidence' – a subjective opinion on pain and what is causing it.

The experiment, and how it is conducted, can help take this anecdotal evidence and turn it into something else – good evidence (well, better evidence, it depends on the experiment and how it is conducted as I hinted)

Lee

Lee said...

Havok wrote: Say I leave a young child in a room, after placing a glass of poison in one corner and telling them not drink it. While watching via a video camera, I let someone else into the room, someone I know intends the child harm. This person proceeds to encourage the child to drink the poison, all while I watch, making no effort to stop or intervene, though I could easily do so.
You're saying that, when the child inevitably drinks the poison, I am completely absolved of any responsibility because though I could have prevented what happened, I had told the child not to drink the poison - they got what they deserved really.



Nice analogy… I'm stealing that as an evil atheist that I am :-)

Lee said...

Havok "Why didn't Gandalf and Frodo fly to Mt Doom on eagles?".

That's always bothered me as well… I think this is why he 'killed' Gandalf off – with him around it would have been too easy.

Also, the books and films would have been a lot shorter…

Have you seen the movie Clerks 2?

A great little summary of the film was done while comparing it to the 'one true trilogy' Star Wars… (It's on youtube, but I dont have time to search for it now)

Havok said...

Lee: That's always bothered me as well… I think this is why he 'killed' Gandalf off – with him around it would have been too easy.

Ahh, but you see, Gandalf was merely a facilitator to bring out the best in man (and hobbit). It wasn't about defeating sauron, but uniting men! ;-)

Lee: A great little summary of the film was done while comparing it to the 'one true trilogy' Star Wars… (It's on youtube, but I dont have time to search for it now)

Here tis

I realise I haven't actually seen Clerks 2 (though I've seen Clerks and mallrats a number of times). Something to do for the weekend I think :-)

Lee said...

Havok,

That's the one :-)

Erm... I should advise that no good Christian here should view this clip.

It will probably offend

That now said - Havok it is a good movie but not as good as the first (they rarely are). The donkey scene is classic (and not, do NOT post that here - You will get me banned)

Lee