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  1. #1
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    What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Now that we know more about the scientific origin of the Earth and people, what are we to make of the creation story?

    You can still believe that God was involved in, say, "orchestrating" the universe if you like, but what are we to make of the explanation of the human condition?

    If Adam and Eve are fictitious, why does sin exist?

    Better yet, what actually is sin without the creation story?



    Disclaimer:
    I am more interested in discussing this with those who have a more loose/symbolic interpretation of the Bible. I'm sorry, but I'm not interested in debating with creationists on this specific thread.

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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    I will illustrate through a thought experiment.

    Lets pretend Genesis never existed. It is not part of the Bible.

    Could a Christian read the Bible minus Genesis and still conclude that there is sin and what acts are sinful?

    If yes, then you know and understand what sin is without the creation story.

    If you know and understand what sin is, then you understand why it exists.

    Answer:
    Yes, you can know and understand sin in its entirety without the creation story.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    I don't think it matters. The story is illustrative of mans disobedience to God's will and that's that. Whether it is literal and God cursed mankind for the sin of the first man or its figurative and it just illustrates how man's nature is not to obey god in all things its meaning is about the same.

    There are some who get on a high horse about metaphysics and sacrifice for sin and so on... but I think all those things can be turned on their head with a perspective shift to line up to non-literal story and still make decent sense.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    If sin is meant to be one of our greatest hurdles in life and is something that could potentially damn us forever, then I think that the religious should explain where it came from.

    If God is all powerful and all loving then why would he set up a reality like ours and not Eden?

    Why do we have to take all of the blame for our nature and not our creator?
    "I am driven by two main philosophies: To know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and to less the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you." - Neil DeGrasse Tyson

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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by jadamcean View Post
    If sin is meant to be one of our greatest hurdles in life and is something that could potentially damn us forever, then I think that the religious should explain where it came from.

    If God is all powerful and all loving then why would he set up a reality like ours and not Eden?

    Why do we have to take all of the blame for our nature and not our creator?
    Sin is rebellion and disobedience to God. People are free agents. A free agent has the choice to disobey. That is the origin of sin and one can easily infer that from nearly any part of the Bible, even without Genesis. It is one of the primary themes that run through it. It is illustrated in the story of Adam and Eve, where they are created as free agents, with a choice to eat to obey God or not to. They choose not to. That is the beauty of Adam and Eve in that it very directly and simply illustrates that disobedience to God is sin and its consequences.
    Last edited by chadn737; July 2nd, 2012 at 03:34 PM.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    Sin is rebellion and disobedience to God. People are free agents. A free agent has the choice to disobey. That is the origin of sin and one can easily infer that from nearly any part of the Bible, even without Genesis. It is one of the primary themes that run through it. It is illustrated in the story of Adam and Eve, where they are created as free agents, with a choice to eat to obey God or not to. They choose not to. That is the beauty of Adam and Eve in that it very directly and simply illustrates that disobedience to God is sin and its consequences.
    This is one of the arguments I really struggle with insofar as theists appear to find some explanatory powers in it that completely elude me. Adam and Even did not have the knowledge of good and evil; they didn't know right from wrong. So how can people who have no knowledge of right and wrong be expected to consciously choose right and wrong things? Surely they can act, but if they act without the knowledge of right or wrong, then whatever they do is right/wrong only incidentally, not as a product of a weighted decision.

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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    This is one of the arguments I really struggle with insofar as theists appear to find some explanatory powers in it that completely elude me. Adam and Even did not have the knowledge of good and evil; they didn't know right from wrong. So how can people who have no knowledge of right and wrong be expected to consciously choose right and wrong things? Surely they can act, but if they act without the knowledge of right or wrong, then whatever they do is right/wrong only incidentally, not as a product of a weighted decision.
    I think this is an excellent and far more perceptive question.

    There is debate over what the exact interpretation of this story is. I do not mention this to avoid answering, I will give my answer, but to point out that both in the Christian and Jewish traditions there are multiple interpretations. Augustine, who is the basis for most of Catholic thought on the matter, considered it both figurative and literal. One of the issues of contention however revolves around whether the tree refers to moral capacity or knowledge. I think your argument makes most sense if it is the former. If it is a tree that grants moral capacity, then in what sense did they know it was wrong. If knowledge, then the implications are much different.

    I lean towards the latter. I think Adam and Eve knew right and wrong. Probably not to the same degree we understand it. Rather I think it would be more of a childlike understanding. If you were a child in a hippie commune used to everyone being naked, would you think anything of it?

    I also think that there is a lot of deeper meaning to the story. The tree is the knowledge of both GOOD and EVIL. We always focus on the knowledge of evil, as this is called the Fall. But what we ignore is the knowledge of Good. It is a double-edged sword. And indeed, knowledge is double-edged. Nuclear power is a boon, nuclear warfare a curse.

    Other theists here will have differing opinions from me. This is one of those subjects where there is far less doctrinal consensus....as compared to the doctines of Christ.

    ---------- Post added at 06:58 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:34 PM ----------

    I would also add that one thing that is believe, particularly amongst Catholics and Orthodox who hold to original or ancestral sin doctrines, is that the first act of sin brought about the desire for evil. Evil existed as a potentiality. But with the Fall, man now also desired evil. He desired to harm others, etc. And its this innate desire and will to cause evil that is more or less what original sin is and also what we need to be saved from.
    I typically cite original research papers and reviews that are available only to a personal or institutional subscriptional. If you wish a PDF copy of the papers I cite, send me a request.

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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    There is debate over what the exact interpretation of this story is. I do not mention this to avoid answering, I will give my answer, but to point out that both in the Christian and Jewish traditions there are multiple interpretations. Augustine, who is the basis for most of Catholic thought on the matter, considered it both figurative and literal. One of the issues of contention however revolves around whether the tree refers to moral capacity or knowledge. I think your argument makes most sense if it is the former. If it is a tree that grants moral capacity, then in what sense did they know it was wrong. If knowledge, then the implications are much different.
    I think it's problematic in either case. If the tree only increased their capacity, then they did have knowledge. But if they had no knowledge, then they had no capacity. And, of course, no knowledge of good or evil makes them amoral agents, incapable of committing acts of any moral value.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    I lean towards the latter. I think Adam and Eve knew right and wrong. Probably not to the same degree we understand it. Rather I think it would be more of a childlike understanding. If you were a child in a hippie commune used to everyone being naked, would you think anything of it?

    I also think that there is a lot of deeper meaning to the story. The tree is the knowledge of both GOOD and EVIL. We always focus on the knowledge of evil, as this is called the Fall. But what we ignore is the knowledge of Good. It is a double-edged sword. And indeed, knowledge is double-edged. Nuclear power is a boon, nuclear warfare a curse.
    Exactly, yes. Moral discussions are always difficult in this way.

    Quote Originally Posted by chadn737 View Post
    Other theists here will have differing opinions from me. This is one of those subjects where there is far less doctrinal consensus....as compared to the doctines of Christ.
    Yes, agreed. However I find that once you take away the elements and claims of divinity, sin atonement, forgiveness, etc that Jesus' teachings are common human sensibilities that are available to anyone irrespective of theological affiliation, or lack thereof. I also find the idea that a third, uninvolved party can forgive the wrongdoing of one to another is positively immoral. C.S. Lewis put it best when he said:

    "One part of the claim tends to slip past us unnoticed because we have heard it so often that we no longer see what it amounts to. I mean the claim to forgive sins: any sins. Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic. We can all understand how a man forgives offences against himself. You tread on my toe and I forgive you, you steal my money and I forgive you. But what should we make of a man, himself unrobbed and untrodden on, who announced that he forgave you for treading on other men’s toes and stealing other men’s money? Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give of his conduct."

    Not to get too far into the moral authority of God and so on, I have to say that he's exactly right in this, and his only mistake is making the exception he makes in the case of Jesus.

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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    I think it's problematic in either case. If the tree only increased their capacity, then they did have knowledge. But if they had no knowledge, then they had no capacity. And, of course, no knowledge of good or evil makes them amoral agents, incapable of committing acts of any moral value.

    Exactly, yes. Moral discussions are always difficult in this way.

    Yes, agreed. However I find that once you take away the elements and claims of divinity, sin atonement, forgiveness, etc that Jesus' teachings are common human sensibilities that are available to anyone irrespective of theological affiliation, or lack thereof. I also find the idea that a third, uninvolved party can forgive the wrongdoing of one to another is positively immoral. C.S. Lewis put it best when he said:
    "One part of the claim tends to slip past us unnoticed because we have heard it so often that we no longer see what it amounts to. I mean the claim to forgive sins: any sins. Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic. We can all understand how a man forgives offences against himself. You tread on my toe and I forgive you, you steal my money and I forgive you. But what should we make of a man, himself unrobbed and untrodden on, who announced that he forgave you for treading on other men’s toes and stealing other men’s money? Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give of his conduct."

    Not to get too far into the moral authority of God and so on, I have to say that he's exactly right in this, and his only mistake is making the exception he makes in the case of Jesus.
    Something that might help would be doing a little research on what the Hebrew word being translated as "knowledge" actually means; the Greeks, for example, distinguished between a few different kinds of knowledge.
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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Something that might help would be doing a little research on what the Hebrew word being translated as "knowledge" actually means; the Greeks, for example, distinguished between a few different kinds of knowledge.
    Maybe, but I do wonder if any of those distinctions affect the argument assuming A&E didn't have knowledge. Can one be capable of actually choosing a right or wrong decision if they have no knowledge of what right or wrong is?

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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Maybe, but I do wonder if any of those distinctions affect the argument assuming A&E didn't have knowledge. Can one be capable of actually choosing a right or wrong decision if they have no knowledge of what right or wrong is?
    Isn't the answer obviously "yes"? I can choose a blue ball without knowing what color is.
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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Isn't the answer obviously "yes"? I can choose a blue ball without knowing what color is.
    Well, no I don't think it is so obvious. I mean, if you happen to choose a blue ball where a number of colored balls happen to be, that's not the same as you looking for a blue ball and finding it based on your knowledge of what a blue ball is. Maybe I'm missing your point. Would you mind elaborating a bit?

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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Well, no I don't think it is so obvious. I mean, if you happen to choose a blue ball where a number of colored balls happen to be, that's not the same as you looking for a blue ball and finding it based on your knowledge of what a blue ball is. Maybe I'm missing your point. Would you mind elaborating a bit?
    I suppose I was nitpicking a little. I interpreted your question as, "Could a person choose to do a thing that a perfectly good version of themselves in the same circumstances would also choose to do?" That is, from among their possible actions is one that is "Good"; you were asking, "Are they capable of making that choice?"

    But perhaps you meant something more like, "Is a person who lacks knowledge of good and evil actually morally responsible for his/her choices?" Or, "Is such a person actually a moral agent?"
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    I suppose I was nitpicking a little. I interpreted your question as, "Could a person choose to do a thing that a perfectly good version of themselves in the same circumstances would also choose to do?" That is, from among their possible actions is one that is "Good"; you were asking, "Are they capable of making that choice?"

    But perhaps you meant something more like, "Is a person who lacks knowledge of good and evil actually morally responsible for his/her choices?" Or, "Is such a person actually a moral agent?"
    Yes, that's more accurate. If A&E lacked the knowledge of good and evil, then they were amoral agents until they came to possess the knowledge of good and evil. This, for me, has been a persistent problem for me when looking at the story of Adam and Eve.

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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Adam and Even did not have the knowledge of good and evil; they didn't know right from wrong.
    I don't think this is accurate. The "tree" represents a greater insight of moral values, it doesn't represent the sole insight or all understanding of moral values. Sin is "missing the mark" of a moral obligation (that is expected of us from God), that's really all sin is. God told them not to eat of this tree...so right away, they were given at least enough insight to know the moral value of eating from the tree (that it was a sin...or missing the mark of the moral obligation to not eat of it).

    I think you may be thinking that the tree represents any and all type of understanding of moral values (or sole insight)...and I don't think the tree represents that at all. How could it given the fact that Adam and Eve did in fact, know right and wrong directly from God's mandate about the tree itself?

    ---------- Post added at 08:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:13 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Yes, that's more accurate. If A&E lacked the knowledge of good and evil, then they were amoral agents until they came to possess the knowledge of good and evil. This, for me, has been a persistent problem for me when looking at the story of Adam and Eve.
    A&E were always moral agents as human beings. As their knowledge progressed, so did their moral understanding. One of their first understandings of a moral value was not to eat of the tree (of which, this value is really just obedience to God IMO). They knew it was wrong prior to eating of the tree, thus they had knowledge (and as such, could not have lacked the knowledge).
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  19. #16
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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I don't think this is accurate. The "tree" represents a greater insight of moral values, it doesn't represent ALL understanding of moral values. Sin is "missing the mark" of a moral obligation (that is expected of us from God), that's really all sin is. God told them not to eat of this tree...so right away, they were given at least enough insight to know the moral value of eating from the tree (that it was a sin...or missing the mark of the moral obligation to not eat of it).
    Well, I disagree that they were given enough to understand the moral value of not eating from the tree. If they didn't have any understanding of good or evil, then that understanding doesn't simply appear in their mind by virtue God saying "Don't do this thing" any more than does saying "because I said so" raise awareness of right or wrong to a child. All they know is that God said not to do it. That command doesn't carry with it any explanatory powers concerning why they shouldn't eat from the tree, or why obeying God is a virtue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I think you may have misunderstood the tree to represent any and all type of understanding of moral values...and I don't think the tree represents that at all...how could it given the fact that Adam and Eve did in fact, know right and wrong directly from God's mandate about the tree itself?
    Well, I don't know that they did. Certainly they became ashamed after the act, but was that because they knew better before or after the act?

    ---------- Post added at 07:26 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:23 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    A&E were always moral agents as human beings. As their knowledge progressed, so did their moral understanding. One of their first understandings of a moral value was not to eat of the tree (of which, this value is really just obedience to God IMO). They knew it was wrong prior to eating of the tree, thus they had knowledge (and as such, could not have lacked the knowledge).
    Well, that's the issue in question. How can an agent with no knowledge of good or evil actually be a moral agent? They knew God told them not to eat from the tree, but I don't see they they understood that it was wrong; at best they may have believed it was dangerous --assuming they had some idea of the concept of danger, of course. If they didn't have that, then the idea of "danger" was just as meaningless as was right and wrong.

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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Well, I disagree that they were given enough to understand the moral value of not eating from the tree.
    There are 2 moral values: (1) moral - something a moral agent ought to do and (2) immoral - something a moral agent ought not to do.

    If God said "You ought not to eat of the tree.", then it stands that they were given the understanding of the moral value of eating from the tree. Why it was immoral is irrelevant to them knowing it was immoral (by being told directly that it was).

    You seem to be arguing here that "Even though God said 'You should not do it', Adam and Eve didn't know that they should not do it"...and that is going to be a very tough argument for you to defend IMO (for one...it's illogical I believe).

    If they didn't have any understanding of good or evil, then that understanding doesn't simply appear in their mind by virtue God saying "Don't do this thing" any more than does saying "because I said so" raise awareness of right or wrong to a child.
    But this seems to be confusing epistemological ethics with ontological. We don't have to know why something is right or wrong to understand that it simply is. A child doesn't have to know WHY it is wrong to hit his younger sibling to know that he or she shouldn't do it. And if one knows that they should or should not do something, and they do something they shouldn't, they have committed an immoral act (disobedience - see below).

    All they know is that God said not to do it. That command doesn't carry with it any explanatory powers concerning why they shouldn't eat from the tree, or why obeying God is a virtue.
    Irrelevant to whether or not they know if they should or should not...which is all that morality addresses. If they did something that was contrary to God's command, then they committed an immoral act.

    Well, I don't know that they did.
    They ate of the tree of course.

    Well, that's the issue in question. How can an agent with no knowledge of good or evil actually be a moral agent?
    They had the knowledge of the moral value as soon as God told them it was immoral. The value is told to them directly. It is impossible for them to not know the value given the fact that they were told directly what the value was.


    They knew God told them not to eat from the tree, but I don't see they they understood that it was wrong; at best they may have believed it was dangerous --assuming they had some idea of the concept of danger, of course. If they didn't have that, then the idea of "danger" was just as meaningless as was right and wrong.
    Knowing "why" is entirely irrelevant. The issue was obedience. Take one step back from the tree itself. This command could have been "Don't poop on the rasberry bush." If they did, then they disobeyed a moral command...they disobeyed. It is this disobedience that is the first sin.
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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    There are 2 moral values: (1) moral - something a moral agent ought to do and (2) immoral - something a moral agent ought not to do.

    If God said "You ought not to eat of the tree.", then it stands that they were given the understanding of the moral value of eating from the tree. Why it was immoral is irrelevant to them knowing it was immoral (by being told directly that it was).

    You seem to be arguing here that "Even though God said 'You should not do it', Adam and Eve didn't know that they should not do it"...and that is going to be a very tough argument for you to defend IMO (for one...it's illogical I believe).
    But God didn't say "You should not do it". He said "Don't do it"; two very different things, especially if the person being instructed doesn't understand right and wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    But this seems to be confusing epistemological ethics with ontological.
    I wonder if Adam and Eve understood the difference between epistemological ethics and ontological ethics. I doubt it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    We don't have to know why something is right or wrong to understand that it simply is. A child doesn't have to know WHY it is wrong to hit his younger sibling to know that he or she shouldn't do it. And if one knows that they should or should not do something, and they do something they shouldn't, they have committed an immoral act (disobedience - see below).
    I disagree. There's a reason we don't prosecute children for things that we do prosecute adults for when they do it, and it has everything to do with whether or not they understand right and wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Irrelevant to whether or not they know if they should or should not...which is all that morality addresses. If they did something that was contrary to God's command, then they committed an immoral act.
    It's entirely relevant to whether the know if they should or shouldn't. There's a world of difference between knowing that someone else doesn't want you to do "X" and understanding that you ought not do "X".

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    They had the knowledge of the moral value as soon as God told them it was immoral.
    I disagree. At best they knew that God didn't want them to do it. That's not the same as understanding that they shouldn't do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    The value is told to them directly. It is impossible for them to not know the value given the fact that they were told directly what the value was.
    Again, simply giving a command does not carry with it explanatory power as to why it ought to or ought not to be done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Knowing "why" is entirely irrelevant. The issue was obedience. Take one step back from the tree itself. This command could have been "Don't poop on the rasberry bush." If they did, then they disobeyed a moral command...they disobeyed. It is this disobedience that is the first sin.
    How does an agent that does not know right from wrong understand the virtue of obedience?

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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    But God didn't say "You should not do it". He said "Don't do it"; two very different things, especially if the person being instructed doesn't understand right and wrong.
    They are one and the same, not different things at all. "Do not murder" = "You should not murder". They have the same moral meaning, the latter is phrased in such a way that it can be evaluated in moral terms.

    Regardless, like all things scriptural, all we have to do is actually read it and surrounding context to know what it is saying:
    Genesis 3:17
    17*And to Adam he said,
    “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
    of which I commanded you,
    You shall not eat of it,’

    And before this with the convo with the "snake"...

    Genesis 3:3
    The Fall
    3*Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.
    He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2*And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3*but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’

    Ready for the cincher?

    The actual command to Adam from God Himself:
    Genesis 2:16-17
    16*And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17*but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”


    So "Yes"...God did say (and mean) that they should /shall not do it.

    I wonder if Adam and Eve understood the difference between epistemological ethics and ontological ethics. I doubt it.
    How is this relevant to the fact that they knew the moral value of the act?

    I disagree. There's a reason we don't prosecute children for things that we do prosecute adults for when they do it, and it has everything to do with whether or not they understand right and wrong.
    But law is not synonymous with morality. Having an affair for example, is immoral but not illegal. Lying is immoral, but not necessarily illegal. It doesn't matter if a child lies or an adult lies, it is still immoral.

    It's entirely relevant to whether the know if they should or shouldn't. There's a world of difference between knowing that someone else doesn't want you to do "X" and understanding that you ought not do "X".
    If God says "Don't do X", this is a moral command. A moral command is something that one ought or ought not to do.

    I disagree. At best they knew that God didn't want them to do it. That's not the same as understanding that they shouldn't do it.
    But doing it anyway, is called "disobedience." And disobeying the moral law is sin.

    Again, simply giving a command does not carry with it explanatory power as to why it ought to or ought not to be done.
    ]
    "Why" is irrelevant to whether something is or isn't (epistemology vs ontology).

    How does an agent that does not know right from wrong understand the virtue of obedience?
    1) These are 2 entirely different things. We can know that it is right to tell the truth, yet not fully understand the virtue of honesty.
    2) Adam and Eve were told it was wrong to eat from the tree.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; July 2nd, 2012 at 09:49 PM.
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    Re: What is sin without Adam and Eve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I don't think this is accurate. The "tree" represents a greater insight of moral values, it doesn't represent the sole insight or all understanding of moral values. Sin is "missing the mark" of a moral obligation (that is expected of us from God), that's really all sin is. God told them not to eat of this tree...so right away, they were given at least enough insight to know the moral value of eating from the tree (that it was a sin...or missing the mark of the moral obligation to not eat of it).

    I think you may be thinking that the tree represents any and all type of understanding of moral values (or sole insight)...and I don't think the tree represents that at all. How could it given the fact that Adam and Eve did in fact, know right and wrong directly from God's mandate about the tree itself?
    I don't see how knowing God's mandate means knowing that obedience is good and disobedience is evil. It seems to me that a person with a perverted morality could know God's mandate and yet hold that obedience is evil and disobedience is good; knowledge of the mandate's content doesn't, to my understanding, imply knowledge of the moral character of obeying or disobeying such a mandate.

    I also don't understand where you're getting the notion of the tree merely increasing A&E's already-present knowledge of Good and Evil. I don't even know how to interpret that; either A&E knew that disobedience was wrong, or they didn't. If they did know it, what 'greater insight' would the tree's fruit give them? The degree to which disobedience is evil? The explanation for why disobedience is evil?

    Like, I understand how you increase your insight into mathematics: you come to know more and more mathematical facts. So is it your position that the tree gave A&E knowledge of more moral facts? Like, before they ate, maybe they didn't know the moral value of X; after eating it, they do know the moral value of X. Is that the kind of "greater insight" you're talking about?

    A&E were always moral agents as human beings. As their knowledge progressed, so did their moral understanding. One of their first understandings of a moral value was not to eat of the tree (of which, this value is really just obedience to God IMO). They knew it was wrong prior to eating of the tree, thus they had knowledge (and as such, could not have lacked the knowledge).
    Knowing that God said "Don't eat of it; if you do, you will die" doesn't mean that they knew it is good to obey God. Are you arguing for some sort of proto-morality that everyone is 'programmed' with, whereby they hold as a basic tenet of knowledge that obedience to God is good?
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