Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 1 of 21)

0001 Loren Haarsma is an old man, a physics professor and a Christian.  As a fellow of the American Science Affiliation, he has lectured on the intersection of science and faith.  He is a scholarly voice in the Biologos network.

The full title of his book is When Did Sin Begin: Human Evolution and The Doctrine of Original Sin (2021, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI).

If one goes to the resources page for the Biologos.org website, then selects the topic, “Bible”, and the subtopic, “Adam and Eve”, one will find an extensive collection of essays on the concerns in Haarsma’s title: timing, evolution and original sin.

0002 How do these concerns fit into a category-based nested form?

Timing calls forth a normal context3.  The question, “when?”, implies an event.  Here, the event is a transition.  For evolution, the transition is a topic of natural inquiry.  For original sin, the transition is a topic for theologians.

Human evolution and original sin belong to the realm of actuality2.

The only item not mentioned is potential1.  Here, the question mark applies.  For human evolution2, the potential must be adaptive change1.  For original sin2, the potential is the start of sin in our current Lebenswelt1.

0003 To me, these concerns yield two category-based nested forms.

Here is a picture, following the recipe in A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form.

Figure 01

0004 These two normal contexts exclude one another.

0005 The upper normal context3 associates to evolutionary science.  The focus of attention is on natural history and genetics.

Typically, an adaptive change produces speciation.  However, in human evolution, an adaptive change may be cultural.  Human evolution is both biological and cultural.  Since natural history and genetics do not adequately describe culture, they may not be enough to scientifically describe human evolution.  Indeed, no natural science convincingly addresses cultural change.

0006 The lower normal context3 associates to theological science.  The focus of attention is on special and general revelation.

Special revelation includes Genesis 1-11.  Genesis 1-11 divides into two parts.  In the Primeval History (chapter 2:4-11), Adam is brought to life as the first human, even though um… in the Creation Story (chapter 1-2.3), humans are already intended, created and blessed, in the framework of six days of creation.

General revelation includes Greek philosophy, among other traditions.  Greek philosophy is useful for resolving contradictions.  For example, some theologians resolve the contradiction inherent in the two parts of Genesis 1-11 by claiming that Adam (in Genesis 2.4-4) is the male and female “them” that God intended, created and blessed (in Genesis 1).

Say what?

In the Creation Story, God creates them, male and female.  So, Adam must have had some sort of divided consciousness, one operating in his mind and the other working in his ribs.

Just kidding.

0007 Greek philosophy’s usefulness is not limited to resolving contradictions, no matter how silly the resolution may be.  Greek philosophy may also be used in situations where contradictions cannot be resolved.  Such a situation occurs here. Human evolution2 and original sin2 belong to a single actuality.  They both pertain to one realness2.

Here is a picture.

Figure 02

0008 Two (apparently independent) category-based nested forms intersect in the realm of actuality2.  The two constituting actualities cannot escape the one realness, because they constitute the one realness.  Certain contradictions are accidental. Certain contradictions are essential.  Greek philosophy is useful for separating the accidental from the essential.  A set of essential contradictions is called “a mystery”.


Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 2 of 21)

0009 The actualities of human evolution2 and original sin2 intersect.

Here is the diagram of the intersection for this example.

Figure 03

0010  The intersection is a relational structure.  The e-masterwork, How To Define The Word “Religion”, available at smashwords and other e-book venues, introduces the intersection.  This relational structure associates to the message underlying the term, “religion”.  

0011 Note how all the items in Haarsma’s title are captured by elements in the above intersection.

Two transitions (3H and 3V) touch base with the question, “When?”.

Two actualities (2H and 2V) go with human evolution2H and the doctrine of original sin2V.  These two actualities join into a single reality, which I currently label as one realness.

The potentials (1H and 1V) are implied.  Let me examine each.

0012 The potential of adaptive change1H arises in response to a niche.  Typically, the niche involves some material advantage (to be exploited) or disadvantage (to be ameliorated).  For our lineage, the niche involves immaterial advantages and disadvantages.  How so?  The Homo lineage adapts into the niche of triadic relations, as discussed in the e-masterwork, The Human Niche.

0013 The potential of the start of sin1V is not so different than the potential of the Genesis Primeval History1V.  For this reason, I enter the potential of the stories of Adam and Eve1V, as the possibility underlying original sin2V.  I could also have entered the potential of the letters of Saint Paul1V.  

At the same time, the mythological character of the Primeval History comes into play.  The stories of Genesis 2:4-11 are set in the Ubaid, Uruk and Sumerian Dynastic archaeological periods.This setting is discussed in the February 2022 blog series at www.raziemah.com, entitled, Looking at Carol Hill’s Article (2021) “Original Sin with respect to Science”


Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 3 of 21)

0014 In the Introduction, Haarsma states that human evolution2H and the doctrine of original sin2V seem dissonant.

0015 All intersections seem dissonant.


Two apparently independent actualities constitute a single actuality.

0016 I call the single actuality, “one realness”.

What should I label this “one realness”?

0017 Maybe, the term, “our current Lebenswelt”, will do.

The word, “Lebenswelt”, is German for “living world”.

0018 Here is an initial picture of two actualities constituting a single actuality.

Figure 04

0019 The problem?

Original sin2V applies to our current Lebenswelt, the world after Adam and Eve.

Human evolution2H covers a much longer timeline than our current Lebenswelt.

This introduces a wrinkle to the fabric of Haarsma’s work.

The natural3H and theological transition3V marking the start of our current Lebenswelt2 involves only a fraction of the entirety of human evolution.  It is like trying to fix one’s glasses with a tool kit designed for automobiles.  It is like cutting a handkerchief from a bedsheet.

0020 Haarsma premises his book on the tenet that there are several possible ways to harmonize human evolution and the doctrine of original sin.

Plus, none of them are good.


None of them raise the following question, coming from the standpoint of original sin2V and addressing experts on human evolution2H.

Why is our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in?

0020 Clearly, a natural transition3H and a theological transition3V contextualize the start of our current Lebenswelt2.

Furthermore, our current Lebenswelt2 arises from two, apparently independent, potentials: an adaptive change in human prehistory1H and a cultural change that is captured in the stories of Adam and Eve1V.

As already noted, these two potentials point to the Ubaid, Uruk and Sumerian Dynastic archaeological periods of southern Mesopotamia2.

According to the e-work, The First Singularity And Its Fairy Tale Trace, these two potentials pertain to a cultural change that potentiates civilization (specifically) and unconstrained social complexity (generally)2.  This cultural change marks the start of our current Lebenswelt.

0022 In brief, the doctrine of original sin2V challenges the discipline of modern Anthropology2H, which currently proposes a litany of material causes for the potentiation of civilization, such as the birth of agriculture, or the use of irrigation, or population pressures, or this or that material condition.

0023 Original sin2V forces the Christian to ask the scientist, “What if the natural transition3H to our current Lebenswelt is not material?”

This is the location where Loren Haarsma cannot go, because he values the discoveries of natural history and genetics.  For years, he has been working with human evolution writ large.

The result is that the initial intersection is lopsided.

Figure 05

On top of that, natural history and genetics cannot propose a scientific hypothesis for a cultural change in the way humans talk.

Semiotics can.


Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 4 of 21)

0024 The first singularity2H is a hypothesis in human evolution2H.

The hypothesis explains why our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

The hypothesis pertains to the start of our current Lebenswelt.

The hypothesis is plainly stated in The First Singularity and Its Fairy Tale Trace, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.

The hypothesis2H is dramatically portrayed, in tandem with originating sin2V, in the fiction, An Archaeology of the Fall.

This produces a balanced intersection.

Figure 06

0025 With this in mind, I digress, in order to discuss two complementarities between the contributing actualities (2H and 2V).

0026 The first complementarity matches the construction of what is in the Positivist’s judgment, as developed in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy.  What is presents itself as an actuality, composed of two contiguous real elements, characteristic of Peirce’s category of secondness.  But, this presentation is an illusion, because the two elements are really the same thing, regarded from two different vantage points.

The real elements are a noumenon (the thing itself) and its phenomena (the observable and measurable facets of the noumenon).  According to Kant, a noumenon cannot be objectified as its phenomena.  So, the contiguity is [cannot be objectified as].

The two contributing actualities complement one another in the following manner.

Figure 07

The Fall is like a noumenon.  The first singularity models its corresponding phenomena.

0027 The second complementarity matches the distinction between primary and secondary causation, which plays a role in Comments on Armand Maurer’s Essay (2004) “Darwin, Thomists and Secondary Causality” (see July 2020 of Razie Mah’s blog).

Secondary causation describes what goes on in the Peirce’s category of secondness, the realm of actuality2.  Primary causation describes what goes on in Peirce’s categories of thirdness and firstness, the realms of normal context3 and potential1

Figure 08

The two contributing actualities complement one another as follows.

Figure 09

0029 This digression into the complementarity between the two contributing actualities reinforces the idea that they should balance.

In chapter four, Haarsma discusses human evolution2H, as configured before the hypothesis of the first singularity.  Indeed, he does not place any importance to the start of civilization, which is potentiated by the first singularity.

Does he realize that almost all of human evolution predates the stories of Adam and Eve?

I wonder.

Plus, I chuckle.

0030 Why?

Saint Thomas Aquinas, the great medieval philosopher, argues that original sin is the lack of original justice.

So, the long period of human evolution2H is joined to original justice2H in the single actuality2 of the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Here is a picture.

Figure 10

0031 Wow.  The size of the contributions match.

Plus, just as original sin2V asks theorists in modern Anthropology about a recent (and immaterial) natural transition in human evolution2H, which turns out to be the hypothesis of the first singularity2H, original justice2V challenges theorists in modern Anthropology concerning the nature of the ultimate human niche2H.  

0032  At present, modern Anthropology has not confronted the concept of an ultimate niche in human evolution, now elucidated in the e-masterwork, The Human Niche.  The ultimate human niche is not defined by material conditions.  It is defined by an immaterial condition: The realness of triadic relations.

0033 The modern scientific community follows a rule: Actuality is all there is.  Models are built from observations and measurements of material actualities.  These models are couched in various disciplinary languages.  In the empirio-schematic judgment, disciplinary language brings mathematic and mechanical models into relation with observations and measurements of phenomena.  

0034 The problem?

Material actuality is not all there is.

0035 This point is obvious in the category-based nested form, derived from the semiotics-friendly philosophy of Charles Peirce.  The category-based nested form manifests the realness of triadic relations.

In the nested form, a normal context3 bring an actuality2 into relation with the possibility of ‘something’1.  The subscripts refer to Peirce’s categories of thirdness, secondness and firstness.

Material actuality2 is real.

Immaterial normal contexts3 and potentials1 are also real.

But, don’t tell that to modern anthropologists.

As soon as the hear, they will become “postmodern”.

0036 When a human encounters an actuality, the human does not understand.  The human can observe and measure the phenomena associated with the actuality.  The human may model these observations and measurements.  The human may discuss the model using well-defined disciplinary language.  But, understanding is not modeling.

Understanding is a triadic relation.  Modeling is a dyadic formulation.

0037 Understanding concerns the noumenon, the thing itself.  Actuality2 demands a normal context3 and potential1.  Figuring out the normal context3 and potential1 leads to understanding.

Humans evolve to understand.  Modeling things is only part of understanding.


Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 5 of 21)

0038 I summarize.

Chapter four covers human evolution.

Haarsma engages in a discussion of human evolution2H as if it does not intersect with original sin2V. Yet it does, otherwise Haarsma would not write a book about it.

Haarsma’s titular question2V, “When did sin begin?”, should place the hypothesis of the first singularity2H side by side with the doctrine of original sin2V.

But, since Haarsma is not aware of the hypothesis of the first singularity, the term, “human evolution”, goes into the slot for actuality2H for the normal context of natural change3H.

This does not work, of course, and leads to a winding path, back to the crucial intersection between the first singularity2Vand original sin2H.

0039 The path starts by asking, “What contributing actuality2V, in a theological framework3V, corresponds to human evolution, as Haarsma discusses the topic?”

The answer comes from Thomas Aquinas’s suggestion that original sin is the lack of original justice.  Original justice is entangled with human evolution.

Figure 11

0040 If human evolution2H is one of the actualities in an intersection, the corresponding actuality is not original sin2H.  The corresponding actuality is really the stuff of the Creation Story2V.

The structure of Haarsma’s text validates this suggestion.

Chapter four, titled, “Human Evolution”, is preceded by chapter three, “Suffering and Death Before Humans”, and followed by chapter five, “The Soul, the Imago Dei and Special Divine Action”.   Chapters three and five point to Genesis 1:26-31.


Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 6 of 21)

0041 Chapter three asks about the phenomena of the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  Does natural evil exist?  Do the characteristics of natural evil change at the start of our current Lebenswelt?

00428 The answer is yes, to both questions.

If the single actuality2 is our current Lebenswelt, then the natural transition3H entails leaving the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Genesis 2:4-11 provides no evidence for the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  Adam and Eve are depicted as ab initiocreations in the Garden of Eden.

0043 Does the Garden of Eden contain something that associates to the Lebenswelt that we evolved in?

Well, it seems to me that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil associates to our current Lebenswelt.

Perhaps, the tree of life associates to the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

The idea pops up in Looking at Mark S. Smith’s Book (2019) The Genesis of Good and Evil, appearing in the Razie Mah blog in January 2022.

0044 The tree of life is not in the middle of the Garden.  It is somewhere in the Garden.  Perhaps, it is everywhere in the Garden.  This gives me a hint about the character of life in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

If the tree of life is anywhere, then it is everywhere.  I can imagine a world where people are alive because they have access to the tree of life.  I look at the life of the people of the Developed Neolithic (Genesis 1:29-31) and the Upper Paleolithic (Genesis 1:28), stretching back through the creation of man (Genesis 1:27) and even the intention of man (Genesis 1:26) and I wonder, “If the tree of life is a metaphor for living in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, then what would its roots and its branches be?”

Well, it must be ourselves, both dead and living.

0045 The tree of life is a metaphor for the creation of humans as the images of God.

Thomas Aquinas offers a term for the state of human nature before the Fall.  That term is “original justice”.

What does this imply?

Theologians may one day speculate how the tree of life, the image of God, and original justice complement one another as metaphor, evocation and philosophical attribution.

But, for Haarsma’s intersection, these theological images2V belong to a single actuality along with the long course of human evolution2H.

0046 Here is a picture.

Figure 12

0047 Are we the tree of life?  Or does the tree of life bring us all into relation?

The Australian Aborigines talk of dreamtime.  Dreamtime brings us all into relation, dead and living.  The North American Plains Indians dance in circles.  Circles bring us all into relation, including the living and the dead.  Is the tree of life similar to dreamtime and dance circles?

0048 Comments on Clive Gamble, John Gowlett and Robin Dunbar’s Book (2014) Thinking Big conveys the importance of social circles in human evolution.  Hominins adapt to the realness of triadic relations within social circles, such as family and intimates (5), teams (15), bands (50), communities (150) and (eventually) mega-bands (500) and tribes (1500).  Each social circle offers adaptive advantages to certain sets of triadic relations.

Natural evil always threatens.  Social circles keep us alive.  The tree of life is rooted in our ancestors.  The tree of lifebranches into our social circles, moving from present into future.


Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 7 of 21)

0049 In chapter five, Haarsma lays our four common theological theories about the nature of the image of God.

0050 First, we are different from all other animals.

The reason?

Hominins adapt into a unique niche, the potential of triadic relations.  We recognize signs as things in themselves.  See Comments on Steven Mithen’s Book (1996) The Prehistory of the Mind.

0051 Second, the pre-fallen state corresponds to original justice.  One imago dei is willing to sacrifice and die for another imago dei.  See Comments on Daniel Houck’s Book (2020) Aquinas, Original Sin and The Challenge of Evolution.

0052 Third, the imago dei points to a personal relation between God and humans.  This implies that God defines the human niche.

0053 Fourth, the imago dei is commissioned to be God’s stewards of the rest of creation.  This requires understanding, where understanding entails placing the actuality of creation2 into a normal context of stewardship3 as well as the potential of The One Who Brings All Into Relation1.

Figure 13

Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 8 of 21)

0050 In the past three blogs, I discuss how chapters three and five of Haarsma’s work, titled, “Suffering and Death Before Humans (er… Adam and Eve)” and “The Soul, the Imago Dei, and Special Divine Action”, stand on either side chapter four, titled, “Human Evolution”.

Here is a picture of the core of the intersection associated with chapter four.

Figure 14

0051 Chapters three, four and five constitute a pattern, C:D:C’.

Plus, these three chapters point to the Creation Story.

The Creation Story turns familiar conclusions around.

 Since Adam and Eve are denied access to the tree of life, and since Paul says that sin and death enter the world with Adam’s transgression, then a believer may readily conclude that suffering and death do not occur before Adam and Eve.

The intersection of chapter four suggests otherwise.  The Homo genus evolves in a world full of suffering and death.  This is the world of the Creation Story.  The imago dei is what we evolved to be.

0051 Chapter four (D) offers a natural history of human evolution.

Human evolution spans millions of years.

Chapter three and five (C, C’) discuss the implications of the theological narrative expressed in the Creation Story, which has the structure of an evolutionary sequence, and ends before the stories of Adam and Eve.  The Creation Story contains the first creation of humans.  The story of Adam and Eve depicts a second creation of humans.

The following two nested forms apply to before the stories of Adam and Eve.

Figure 15

0052 The Lebenswelt that we evolved in is the single actuality2 that contains both human evolution2 and the drama of the Creation Story2.   Since suffering and death are part and parcel the scientific story of evolution, one cannot unite these two actualities without admitting that our hominin ancestors faced suffering and death.  Today, we call this suffering and death, “natural evil”.

So, what describes the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God?

Unnatural evil?

It makes me wonder.

When Does Sin Begin?

0053 As discussed in the last blog, two metaphors stand on either side of the gap between Genesis 2:3 and Genesis 2:4.

One is the intention, creation and blessing of humans as the imago dei, the image of God, discussed in chapter five (C’).

The other is the image of the tree of life (C).

The image of God in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, appears to us, in our current Lebenswelt, as the metaphor of the tree of life.

Even worse, the tree of life appears to be a plant that endows immortality, not life.  The tree of life offers a perpetual lack of dying, which is a fairly nasty explicit abstraction from the image of God in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

0054 The realness of human evolution (D) forces to admit that the imago dei (C’) is a creation capable of suffering and dying, not like any other animal, but like Jesus (C).  Jesus does what humans evolved to do.  Humans evolve to come into relation.  Humans evolve to sacrifice for one another.  Jesus dies for me.  No friend is as great as one who lays down his life for another.  The full range of self-giving is on display in our hominin ancestors.  Every social circle calls for self-giving in different ways.

Haarsma calls adaptive hominin behaviors a mixture of nasty and nice.  But, this appellation fails when we consider second-order affects, such as cowardice and courage.

0055 What is cowardice? What is courage?

They are spoken words.

0056 Our ancestors practice hand-talk and hand-speech talk.  Our ancestors cannot picture or point to the abstractions, “cowardice” or “courage”.  However, they can still see the behaviors of others, operating in moments of danger, and they can draw a judgment, a relation between ‘what is’ and ‘what ought to be’.  That judgment becomes a conviction.

0057 The imago dei is an amazing and evocative term.

What does God do?

God the Son manifests heroism when facing suffering and death.  God the Son gives His life for each one of us.

God the Father manifests a conviction that cannot be named in speech-alone words.  The Father does not convey His judgment through abstractions.  The Father posts his convictions in moments of revelation.  Genesis 15:12 offers such a vision.  A flame passes between split carcasses set out by Abram.

God the Holy Spirit is the Love emanating from The Person of Conviction to The Person Who Heroically Suffers.

This is what our ancestors image.

0058 The imago dei is not about a mixture of nasty and nice adaptive behaviors.

The imago dei is, from the point of view of our current Lebenswelt, calls to mind the metaphor of the tree of life.  We are rooted in our willingness to suffer and die for one another.  We are immovable in our standing with the one who brings us into relation.  We branch out in our convictions to join one another for organizational objectives.

The imago dei and the tree of life are inherently relational.

But, these radically different metaphors for humanity between the Creation Story and the Primeval History indicate that human evolution passes through a singularity.

The imago dei and the tree of life are distinctly different.

0059 Ironically, many readers of Genesis 2:4-11 regard the fruit of the tree of life as a substance that confers immortality.  Even the Lord God opines about the danger posed by a substance that provides immortality.

But, keep in mind, “immortality” is a spoken word.

0060 The above intersection makes me wonder.

God banishes the rebellious Adam and Eve from the Garden, lest they take and eat of the fruit of the tree of life.

Does the fruit of the tree of life represent immortality?

Or, does the fruit of the tree of life represent the inherent relationality that characterizes the constrained social complexityof the Lebenswelt that we evolved in?

In the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, the image of God keep the images of God alive.  Our ancestors adapt to a world that transcends the material.  God sustains our dreamworld.  God calls us into the circle-dance.  God spins us into social circles. Circles, within circles, encompass the ones who died, the ones who live and the ones who are to come.

In sum, the traditions of our ancestors are timeless.  Past, present and future are seamless.  Yet, each one of them lives in the ever present now.  There is no hand-speech word for the abstraction that we call “time”.  Nor is there a hand-speech word for the explicit abstraction that we call, “immortality”.

What type of immortality does the tree of life represent?

Humans live for God and for one another, even before birth and after death.


Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 9 of 21)

0061 Chapter two is titled, “Creation, Evolution and Divine Action”.

Haarsma asks (more or less), “If the scientific evidence for human evolution is correct, then what does that imply about God’s action in intending, creating and blessing humans?”

I expand the query, asking, “If the scientific evidence for evolution is correct, then what does that imply about God’s creative action depicted in the first chapter of Genesis?”

0062 Obviously, the scientific evidence implies that God’s action in creating the world and humans is irrelevant.

Haarsma labels this situation, “dissonance”.

0063 Indeed, dissonance characterizes intersections.

I start with the evolution of the planet and life2H and the Creation Story2V.

The single actuality is the world.

The world includes the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Figure 16

This intersection between evolution2H and Genesis 12V is packed with accidental and essential contradictions.  Theologians are capable of distinguishing essential from accidental.

For example, one essential contradiction is this: Each narrative presents a sequence of events in the realization of our world.  But, each sequence is unique.  How can a Genesis day be the same as an evolutionary epoch?  Yet, the two sequences are drawn into a single actuality.  They are stuck together in a mystery.  I call that mystery, “the world”.

0064 Plus, there is a world within the world.

Genesis 1:26-31 portrays the intending, the creating, the blessing and the feeding of humans as well as the animals that humans keep.  This implies that human evolution actually associates to our world, rather than our current Lebenswelt.

If I consider the intersection of all of evolution2H and the Genesis Creation Story2V, I arrive at configuration similar to the intersection of human evolution2H and Genesis 1:26-312V.

The single actuality is the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

Figure 17

0066 Once these associations are made, then original sin2V binds to a twist in long-established trends in human evolution2H.  Since this twist2H does not immediately alter prehistoric natural history or human genetics, the twist must be a cultural adaptation.

The single actuality is our current Lebenswelt.

Figure 18

0067 These intersections do not speak to us of dissonance, per se.

These intersections speak to us of mystery.

A mystery contains irreconcilable contradictions.

0068 One task of the theologian is to separate the accidental and the essential contradictions, in order to clarify the mystery.  This is hard work.  A mystery cannot be fully explained, partially explained or declared unexplainable.  A mystery cannot be resolved by sensible construction.  A mystery evokes social construction.

See the e-work, A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.

0069 A mystery provides a message.  The message is clear.  A single realness coalesces from two disparate actualities.  The two nested forms are bound.  In this message of unity, the normal contexts and the potentials cannot be regarded as fully independent. Two nested forms bind into a mystery.


Looking at Loren Haarsma’s Book (2021) “When Did Sin Begin” (Part 10 of 21)

0070 Chapter six is titled, “Adam and Eve in Scripture”.

Haarsma asks (more or less), “What is the best way to understand the Adam and Eve story in Genesis 2-3?”

0071 Surely, this is a question that humans evolve to ask.  Humans want to understand.

We encounter an actuality.  We then ask, “What normal context3 and potential1 applies to this actuality2?”

This is the start of understanding.  We understand when we construct a category-based nested form.

0072 Here is a picture.

Figure 19

0073 The best way to understand the Adam and Eve story2 is to locate the most productive normal context3 and potential1.

0074 Haarsma begins with the normal context3 of historical scholarship of the Bible3.

The corresponding ‘something’ resolves into implications of the words in the text1.

For example, John Walton concludes that the names, Adam and Eve, are assigned names, not historical names.  An assigned name is a name that is assigned by the storyteller.  A historical name may be replaced by an assigned one.

Plus, the word, “Adam”, denotes “a man of the earth” as well as a person.

0075 Advocates for historical scholarship argue that Genesis 2:4-11 (unlike other origin stories of the ancient Near East) offers an unparalleled narrative theology.  The issue is not whether Adam and Eve exist as historical persons.  The issue is the clarity of theological meaning.

0076 The problem?

What about human evolution?

Well, if theologians appreciate the stories of Adam and Eve because of their theological clarity, in contrast to the other mythologies of the ancient Near East, then original sin must be a clear insight that situates the stories of Adam and Eve.

0077 This relationship may be diagrammed as a two-level interscope.

Figure 20

The doctrine of original sin2b situates the potential of the stories of Adam and Eve1b in the normal context of a theological transition to our current Lebenswelt3b.

The situation level clarifies the content level.

The stories of Adam and Eve2a situate the potential of origin myths, as investigated by historical scholarship1a, in the normal context of the ancient Near East3a.

0078 The situation-level is also the nested form that goes into the intersection of our current Lebenswelt.  It constitutes the vertical axis.

0079 It makes me wonder, since the underlying content of original sin2V touches base with the ancient Near East, does the twist in human evolution2H potentiate the formation of civilization in southern Mesopotamia?

Consider Comments on Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight’s Book (2017) Adam and the Genome, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.