21 thoughts on “On the Original Human

  1. I’m probably taking a big risk by jumping into this heavily intellectual discussion. I read the “big brain” thoughts here and I think, wow if I throw a word in there, it’s going to feel pretty lonely and intimidated!

    But I’m going to do it anyway 😉

    Mike, your thesis is interesting but two questions came to mind when I was reflecting on it:
    1) “cruder” in what way?
    2) what is the end-goal of our “education, technological evolution and maturation” ? In other words, are we presupposing that we were meant to get to this point of “maturity”, just that it got a lot harder after the Fall?

    I think we can agree as believers that our destiny has always been with God – literally. As Adam and Eve were created for fellowship with God, so were we. Our “end-goal” is to return to His side. In the meantime we have to live out our lives on this planet.

    So here’s where my mind got into a knot. If God put all of humanity in a sandbox, told us to play nice and promised to be back in a couple of millenia, does it matter what we do in the sandbox? The final result is the same – God will return to the sandbox to get us.

    It does not change the end-state even if we get into fights, we dirty the sandbox, we get hungry, we get frisky, etc.

    It doesn’t change God’s plan whether we learn to build a humvee out of stones and twigs and crash out of our sandbox into another sandbox in the next park. Whether we invent a cool sandbox filtration device that cleans out our filth. Whether we manage to grow wheat and barley in a sunny part of the sandbox.

    I can’t say if God intended for us to invent space travel, discover the atom or invent talk shows. Or if He desired us to be just like Adam and Eve till the end of time.

    Back to your thesis, I believe we are cruder now in terms of innocence and purity. And in that sense, yes we need education and maturation to regain our original spotless self.

    But to assume that our journey to technological and industrial maturity is harder because the Fall somehow made us flawed to the point that we need re-education and training to revert to our original self is non-biblical. It ventures into the dangerous territory of self-reliance – hinting that we can regain some of our lost honour and capability through our own intelligence and hard-work.

    That’s it. Please be nice 🙂

    • (Haha!…”Please be nice.”) I appreciate your response and challenge; it’s how we grow in thought. Okay, I’ll go down the line of your questions and concepts. “Cruder” in the sense of far less than the original composition. Adam may have looked like us, but he possessed powers of intellect and ability far beyond what we possess today that would be more akin to the resurrected Christ. I also appreciate your thoughtful “end-goal” question. That, I wouldn’t think, could be known except to say to be prepared for whatever purpose God had for humankind and that humans would be experiencing now if Adam and Eve had been confirmed in righteousness instead of falling into depravity.

      To say that the ultimate purpose is to be with God…well yes, but how is human creation to ultimately serve God? Some might say, Well there’s no other purpose but to live life and be the creation of God’s hand. Others might say, There’s more to it than mere fellowship but some system and design with the creation. I might side more along these lines, especially living in such a highly advanced world system today. I quickly put down the notion that eternity would be our standing around God’s throne, like automatons, crying “Holy!”, although I think we will worship him like that, at least while in Heaven. But back to Earth…

      You say cruder in innocence and purity to which I’ll say utterly deprave–so we agree. But I say cruder in capability and form, as a human creature that once may have owned incredible powers of intelligence, strength, and ability that we might call superhuman today. Adam and Eve were glorious…humans, purposed to live on Earth as humans for God’s purposes. I think it’s exciting that we’ll fulfill this plan. Our fall, however, necessitates education and technology where we once may have never needed them to think and compute and work and achieve. I like how Chris references Genesis 3:19 about working in the sweat of our brows, which presumably wasn’t God’s intent for us.

      I also question whether some of those abilities were totally effaced in the human race.

      To your final point, as I mentioned before, I don’t mean education and technology in any Gnostic form by which we unlock mysteries or learn our way to salvation. I do intend to say sin has made the whole of humankind’s existence harder and requires now ages upon ages to perhaps recover what we already possessed. What do you think?

      • That’s interesting and I agree that life is a lot harder because of the fall. However I find it hard to agree that it is because humans have somehow lost some of our abilities after the fall, simply because I find no evidence or reference in the bible that Adam or Eve were stronger, smarter, etc.

        I tend to think that life is harder because the world became more hostile towards humans. After the fall, the ground became harder to work (the bible did not say that Adam didn’t need to work the ground prior to the fall – it said it became more difficult). One can suppose also that animals became more predatory, diseases became more virulent and so on.

        So it’s not so much of recovering our lost abilities than restoring our world to a more hospitable and lovely original state.

        Over to you!

        • Wow…really, I’m intrigued by your perspective. Only one thing: You say the fall of humans made the world, animals, and everything else change, yet somehow humans–who caused it all–weren’t altered. What do you think of Adam and Eve prior to the Fall? But I love the perspective; however, I find it almost incredible to think the crowning achievement of God’s earthly creation was very much like we are today. (Love this!)

        • Hah, we could go on with this till Christ returns!

          I think Adam and Eve were created perfect just as we are (Eph 2:10 & Psalm 139:14). I don’t believe that God changed the blueprints for humans after the fall, after all He did say that what He created was good.

          Therefore I think we are created the same as Adam and Eve. But, no, we are not the crowning achievement because clearly there is a lot of work that needs to be done.

          The only difference is a layer of muck and impurity covering us in the form of sin. What God is trying to do now is remove that stuff by refining us in the fire, not to destroy us but to bring out the original shine. So we are not different from Adam, just tainted.

          (see Isaiah 1:22 and Isaiah 1:25 for a visual of how God refines us)

        • I love questions like this because it makes me search Scripture and it also causes me to look at it differently than I ever have. It’s not about changing doctrine, but about shifting the prism with which I view scripture.

          We could go back and forth until Jesus comes on something like this because it’s all about opinion. It’s all about perspective. I think when we ask questions, we broaden our understanding. When we get other view points, we widen ours. I love it when we come together in thought, not arguing, but thoughtful deliberation to think beyond the black and white text to see what’s not there in front of us.

          This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. Instead, springs came up from the ground and watered all the land. Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:4-9 NLT)

          To me, this clearly states that man did not cultivate before the fall. God did. But then again, we don’t know how long man was here before the fall. The account of creation gives us a timeline for the creation of the world, but not between that time and the fall. We assume it was immediate. Was it really?

          Adam had the ability to communicate with animals, the capacity and creativity to name them all, the eyes to see God walking in the garden and much more. In our fallen state, I believe all of creation fell and a chain of events started that has caused the world to continue to degrade making it necessary for us to mature technologically and educationally.

          I believe we all have that layer of muck, but only Christ can remove it. He paid the price. The refining fires are what burns up the old life and makes us more pure in my opinion.

          I’ve also gone back and looked at scripture through your eyes. No where does it say Adam and Eve were diminished. It says the earth was. God banished them in case they ate of the tree of life. We assume that because creation began to deteriorate, man did too. We also know that man lived hundreds of years and after the fall, God changed that. We see the evidence of man being affected, but through the perspective you’ve given, I don’t see it written yet.

        • Chris and Stephen, here’s another food for thought: I see the removal of any preternatural endowments Adam and Eve possessed not only as a consequence of the Fall but also a grace that wouldn’t allow them to be capable of immense evil with their special abilities, sort of like we’re seeing start to occur these days with our enhanced technology. What do you think?

        • Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. (Romans 8:20, 21 NLT)

      • I don’t know if “cruder” is the wording I’d use but the fall of Adam & Eve did indeed change things. In the beginning God created. Within that statement resides the creation of man. God does not create junk so we were perfect in the beginning. Sin changed all that. We were contaminated and as a result became separate from a Holy God. We were driven out of the perfect paradise but not as some suppose, to pay for our sin. We cannot pay for our sin. Consequences, yes we can say that, payment for sin? no.

        Once infected with what many call the “old man nature” we were cursed with the penalty of sin, death. Enter the work of Jesus Christ, God’s plan of redemption for fallen man. For by grace are we saved through faith. We cannot pay for or earn salvation, it is God’s gift. I cannot reconcile this process with the wording “education and technological evolution and maturation”. That sounds like a journey we take to reconnect with God as if we had a hand in it. God didn’t leave us, we left Him.

        A Servant

        • Let me help you understand what I’m getting at, which is not the salvation points. I’m alluding to the nature of Adam prior to the Fall. I’ve often thought, read, and discussed this topic; wondered about and experienced some things that help me assume the incredible glory of the first humans. So I don’t speak of humankind’s education and technological advancement in relation to his salvation, implying any type of Gnostic overtones; instead, I actually mean a regress of the human and human abilities that necessitated education and technological invention perhaps to recover many of the abilities that were inherent to humanity prior to the Fall. Following me?

        • Okay, I’m with you. As I mentioned man was perfect before the fall. There is no telling what they were like at first. Conjecture starts now… Once infected I cannot imagine us, under any circumstances, being able to tap into that which was lost. If there were I would expect the redemption plan would include the physical body.

          I say again, this is conjecture on my part, I have no verses to back up this line of thinking.

  2. “By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19 NLT)

    This one really got me to think. Before the fall, the world was perfect. There was no need to till the ground, plant, weed, water or harvest. Since the fall, man has had to educationally and technologically advance in order to make getting food easier.

    The question now is since we have educationally and technologically matured enough that we’ve genetically modified food and found ways to grow it more rapidly and easier, are we suffering the consequences of fighting what God put in order? Just “food” for thought.

    • I think it’s clear that where there are no ethical guidelines in place and when we are deceptive and resolute, we will (and have) venture(d) too far. I love your food for thought! I’m writing an entry on Adam and will keep these thoughts in mind.

      • Since we’re dealing with pushing the envelope of thought and opinion, I felt we could push it further.

        God ordained that man would work by the sweat of his brow as a result of sin. All we’ve done since is try to get the same results with less sweat. We’ve tried to defy the laws of sowing and reaping. Our fallen world has opened more doors for sin and disease through our technological maturation.

        • When I first read this reply, I thought, But isn’t that what technological advance is–results with less sweat? But then I saw what you mean, that the principle God has placed in the earth is sowing and reaping and how contravening that principle very well can open the door for greater “sin and disease.” I live in Winston Salem, NC, the home of Wake Forest University, a ground-zero of regenerative medicine. Just this week, if you’ll recall, scientists elsewhere grew a human lung. What are you thoughts on this type of thing?

        • Personally, I think it’s an amazing feat. I think that God has given us the capability of growing intellectually and scientifically. I believe He intervenes and helps us with advances.

          For this line of thought, what if these advances are man’s attempt to play God? What if this is man trying to prove there is no God because anything He can create, we can create? Sinful man has been in rebellion and has done everything from making their own gods to trying to be a god in order to keep the one true God off the throne of their lives. We like to be in control of everything including our destiny. When we acknowledge there is a God, we deny that we are in control.

        • This is exactly the secular humanist approach, to play God. Yet there is real difference between an ethical goal of improving human life and engineering, fabricating, or recreating it. I wrote a long essay on eugenics when I was in college that I wish I could post here; I cannot because it’s now on my HubPage. But it deals with the storied history of eugenics and biomedical ethics globally and from a Christian ethical standpoint. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we ought to do it. And to what end is it being done? It’s really interesting that “Adam” draws out these topics. Hmm…

  3. Isn’t it strange how Adam and Eve are always portrayed as simple minded and dense? Yet they had full use of their entire brains. We find structures that are beyond our ability to build, and conclude aliens must have done it… yet the closer the generation to the original creation, the greater the aptitude and abilities.

    • We’re thinking together! But I’ve never considered that final notion, of a “recovering”, of sorts, of our original makeup the closer to our original ancestors. Great food for thought–thanks!

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