Sunday, 12 May 2013

More Facebook arguments (part 2)

Continued from part 1


  • Laurence England 'I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. '
  • Laurence England This God said to the serpent, who we understand to be the Devil. It is Mary, the Virgin Mary, who will be the woman whose heel crushes the head of Satan, the deceiver and tempter who lures mankind into sin and disobedience.
  • Paul Jenkins Explain how this refers to Mary.
  • Laurence England She is the new Eve and Jesus Christ is the new Adam. Through Mary's obedience and love for God and through Christ's obedience and love for the Eternal Father, the plan of Salvation for mankind is achieved, death itself is destroyed by the Resurrection and the Holy Spirit is given to the Church to loosen men from their sins, sanctify them and bring them to eternal life.
  • Paul Jenkins "It is Mary, the Virgin Mary, who will be the woman whose heel crushes the head of Satan..."

    And did she? Is Satan dead?
  • Paul Jenkins None of this explains how Adam and Eve (as described in Genesis) are to be blamed for eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
  • Laurence England Well Satan is an angel. You know that. Mary is the one who crushes the head of the serpent both in the past, in the present and in the future. The Devil's end is to be cast into the fiery abyss for all time - eternity. For believers, it is she, the Mother of God, who destroys the power of the Devil in their lives.
  • Paul Jenkins I'll take that as a no, then.
  • Laurence England *our lives. If any man desires to love Jesus, to be granted the grace to please God, he must turn to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother as well.
  • Paul Jenkins None of this explains how Adam and Eve (as described in Genesis) are to be blamed for eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
  • Laurence England I would not take it as a no. You do not know what is around the corner.
  • Paul Jenkins I'll take it as a "not yet" then.
  • Paul Jenkins "You do not know what is around the corner."

    Who does?
  • Laurence England She does. Anyway, moving on. Mary helps us to understand what the perfect woman is like. Jesus helps us to understand what the perfect man is like. Both teach us to love God and love our neighbour. Both teach us to obey, out of love, all that God loves. 'What we have lost through disobedience, let us regain through obedience.' The Genesis account of our fall is no good if we do not wish to be raised up.
  • Matthew Coussell What disobedience does that quote refer to?
  • Laurence England Blaming Adam and Eve will not achieve our sanctification. After all, are we, who were 'created a little lower than the angels' not disobedient to God ourselves?
  • Paul Jenkins You're changing the subject again. I'm still waiting for an explanation of how Adam and Eve can be blamed for eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge when they had no concept of sin or death.
  • Paul Jenkins "Blaming Adam and Eve will not achieve our sanctification." Maybe not. But without that blame, the Fall and Redemption have no foundation.
  • Laurence England First, we do not know that they had no concept of sin, nor the concept of death, but I take what you mean. If God said to them 'thou shalt die the death', they must have at least had a 'concept' of it even if they had no real knowledge of it. But, I was not there. Second, it is clear that they know the good, are tempted and choose the bad, thus losing their innocence.
  • Laurence England A simple act of disobedience causes the Fall, cosmic in its implications.
  • Laurence England Rippling throughout humanity in time.
  • Paul Jenkins "...it is clear that they know the good, are tempted and choose the bad, thus losing their innocence."

    It is clear they had no moral knowledge. They do not know the good, or the bad. They had no knowledge of Good and Evil. What you're suggesting completely negates the need for the Tree of Knowledge. By all means go down that route, but you'll destroy the foundation of Christianity if you do.
  • Laurence England I don't buy the idea that because they had no knowledge of what sin is, nor what death was, that they are without blame. God was quite clear not only that it was not His will for them to do what they did, but that THERE WOULD BE SOME SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES!
  • Paul Jenkins Serious consequences like death, which they had never seen because it had never happened, and even if they knew what God wanted, they didn't know that doing what they wanted instead was in any way sinful, because they didn't know what sin was. It's pretty clear cut. They were blameless as newborn children.
  • Laurence England Why do you think they had no 'moral knowledge'? God gave them moral knowledge - a lesson - from the beginning setting out what they should do and what they should not do. They disobeyed and they and we paid the price. Their sin is not a sin because they were innocent of Good and Evil before. Their sin was a sin because it was disobedience.
  • Paul Jenkins If you don't buy the idea that Adam and Eve were without blame, what can they be blamed for? Lack of taste? Lack of love?
  • Laurence England Please explain.
  • Paul Jenkins Are you suggesting that disobedience is a different kind of sin that is neither good nor evil?
  • Paul Jenkins Moral knowledge is the knowledge of Good and Evil. Unless you have some other definition.
  • Laurence England No, disobedience to God it is the very epitomy of sin. Disobedience to God IS sin.
  • Paul Jenkins But how would they know that?
  • Laurence England They did know that out of love for God they should not 'eat of the fruit', but they were deceived, Eve, first, by the serpent and then Adam, by Eve. God permitted them to be tempted and they chose, in their temptation, to disobey Him, freely of their own choice.
  • Johno Pearce Paul - there's a great Reasonable Doubts podcast where they discuss Adam's test. If he is representative of humanity and fails the test then God has designed humanity badly. If he is not representative of humanity, then it is unfair to have selected him for the test. Either way, God's use of Adam is incoherent and unfair. I'll dig it out.
  • Laurence England 'God's use of Adam is incoherent and unfair.' Oh, my, that is classic!
  • Paul Jenkins "They did know that out of love for God they should not 'eat of the fruit'..."

    This doesn't follow. They had no moral knowledge, therefore they had no concept of "should" and "should not".
  • Johno Pearce explain, since my argument is pretty solid.
  • Laurence England Johno, stop shaking your fist at the Almighty. No human argument can erase His existence.
  • Laurence England Yes, they did have a concept of 'should and should not'. Listen to the serpent and then Eve: 'Why hath God commanded you, that you SHOULD NOT eat of every tree of paradise? And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we SHOULD NOT eat; and that we SHOULD NOT touch it, lest perhaps we die'.
  • Paul Jenkins So Eve repeats what God told her. Does that means she understands the concepts? Clearly she doesn't understand death, because if she did, she would have heeded God's threat. She may have understood the concept of obedience but she clearly doesn't associate it with anything like a moral imperative. How could she, she has no moral knowledge!
  • Laurence England In Christ, we learn (a long lesson!!) to be obedient to God and to love Him.
  • Laurence England Well, Paul, as far as God was concerned she and Adam knew enough. It is not up to us to decide whether or not they were given 'fair warning', but God's instructions were quite clear, I think.
  • Laurence England Under temptation, she and her husband took the risk.
  • Paul Jenkins God's instructions were a disingenuous set-up designed to initiate a sequence of events leading to a foregone conclusion. Adam and Eve were blameless pawns in his cosmic chess-game.
  • Paul Jenkins Or maybe (more likely) it was Solitaire
  • Laurence England There is nothing disingenuous about God, Paul, He is always faithful and True. There is no deceit, nor lies, nor any kind of evil in Him. He is the Supreme Good.
  • Paul Jenkins Adam and Eve — the first fictional blameless protagonists.
  • Laurence England In your humble opinion.
  • Paul Jenkins In my honest opinion.
  • Laurence England So...who can we blame for our sins and our own disobedience, Paul?
  • Paul Jenkins Ourselves. Who else? (If you believe in "sin", which I don't.)
  • Laurence England Your patron Saint, for instance, St Paul, said, 'I see the good that I should do and do not do it. I see the evil I should not do, and do it.'
  • Laurence England I guess what the great Saint is saying is that he finds it hard to live up to his Sacred Conscience, which is informed by the light of Christ.
  • Paul Jenkins "...informed by the light of Christ." Christians are fond of using obfuscatory metaphors like this. I'm deeply suspicious of them.
  • Paul Jenkins I'd recommend Stephen Law on Radio 3's The Verb last night (available on iPlayer).
  • Laurence England Perhaps, but Conscience is the place where God is to be found. It is here that the great battle between good and evil is taking place in every man and woman. Adam (which means out of the dust of the ground) and Eve (which means 'mother of all the living') stand in a mysterious way for us. When we sin, or when we are living in a sinful way, our natural tendancy, as illustrated by the Genesis account is to hide from God who we fear on account of our sin. God calls out, 'Adam, where are you?' to each of us.
  • Laurence England God is searching for us as a Father. This is what Jesus reveals in His life, death and Resurrection. Jesus establishes in His Church the sacraments which will reconcile us to God.
  • Laurence England Before Confession we examine our consciences before confessing them to a Priest. We examine them, also, before receiving His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist, which gives us the power to live as the children of God. What we long for, God longs to give us - forgiveness, mercy, grace and peace.
  • Paul Jenkins "God is searching for us as a Father. This is what Jesus reveals in His life, death and Resurrection. Jesus establishes in His Church the sacraments which will reconcile us to God."

    Stuff like that. It makes little sense to a non-believer (and not muc
    h to a believer, I'll wager, other than making them feel significant). Sorry Laurence, if you go off into unsubstantiated word-salad I can't engage, because there's nothing I can address.
  • Laurence England You cannot address your conscience, the seat of Judgment where God resides in all men?
  • Paul Jenkins "...the seat of Judgment where God resides in all men?" What does this actually mean? Saying God resides in all men is an unsubstantiated (not to say sexist) bit of obfuscation. If you want to talk about conscience, fine. But define it first.
  • Laurence England Is it not conscience, or the guilty conscience, that drives Adam and Eve to cover themselves and Adam to hide among the trees! 'And he said: I heard thy voice in paradise; and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.'
  • Paul Jenkins It might be, but I don't know, because you haven't defined it yet.
  • Laurence England Yes, men and women alike. Conscience - the place in which we recognise our sins and shortcomings. The thing that nags us. God!
  • Paul Jenkins I disagree with your definition. I see no reason to assert that God is in there.

Continued in part 3
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