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Consequence of Sin

Discussion in 'St. Justin Martyr's Corner: Debate an Orthodox Chr' started by JM, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. JM

    JM pre·des·ti·nar·i·an Supporter

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    Is death the consequence for sin?
     
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  2. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    If I may say,

    There are a couple of differing views on the issue but it is always an interesting dynamic when considering how one understands death. When speaking on the issue, you tend to run into two camps - those feeling all forms of death are not of God and others claiming certain forms of death were allowed/part of nature's design (as in the animal kingdom). Some of this has been discussed before with regards to the latter, as seen here.

    My own views tend to land somewhere between Old Earth Creationism and Theistic Evolution - as I am not opposed to Evolution provided that we know how we're defining it properly. I stand with others who stood against Darwin, such as Asa Gray - more shared in the following:



    And on others open to certain aspects of evolution, If you'd like some good places for review on the issue, you may wish to investigate others like Kallistos Ware:


    From what I understand, it seems that the Orthodox Church/the Church Fathers were very complicated when it comes to what they stated as it concerns how it's easy to see patterns toward the allegorical and not being 100% literal in all things. - more at Darwin, Evolution, Adam & Eve - Coptic Orthodox Divine Justice.

    That said, as it concerns death of man, that is something that seems very nuanced. In example, some in the Early Church felt that our bodies weren't meant designed to be eternal before the Fall.

    I recall where it was the Tree of Life which the Lord prevented man from partaking of - for after he ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good/Evil, he became aware/self-autonomous and distant from the Lord. Knowing things ahead of time he should not have known outside of God teaching him - no different than parents wishing to instruct their children on sex BEFORE they get exposed to it since they cannot handle it on their own standards.


    Genesis 2:17

    Life in God's Garden
    8 The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    ....15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; ...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.

    God doesn't seem afraid of man eating the Tree of the Knowledge of Good/Evil. However, he does seem VERY concerned with them accessing the Tree of Life:

    \Genesis 3:22
    22 Then the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever.... therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

    As seen in Genesis 3, there were severe consequences for eating of the Tree of Life---not many times (as in habit)...but only ONCE, as if when eating of that tree, it was a done deal/man became truly immortal. For if man had been eating of the Tree of Life continually, then it'd seem odd that somehow to think that it had yet to make them immortal---with them continually having to keep eating it and later having the effects wear off in time till they had their next session of eating from the Tree.

    It seems that in Genesis 3, there's an indicator that the fruit was so strong that once one ate of it ONE TIME, that'd be it......................immortality for all seasons/reasons.

    IMHO, the Tree of Life couldn't of been available to man to eat of since the day he was in the Garden (unless, of course, like all trees that one took extensive time to grow/develop until it was ripe for eating).

    It seems reasonable to think the Tree of Life was something that was intended to be given to Him later on/seal him into immortality within the state of perfection he was developed into. Tree of Life was something special that both God and the Enemy knew of-------and that as man grew up, that tree would a reward..........much like a teenager with his father going out to buy his own car due to his development/maturity, even though prior to that transportation was given to the indiviudal since he was a child (for his own safety) before he grew into adulthood.

    And that same tree is present later on in Revelation:


    Revelation 22
    [ The River of Life ] And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. ...

    Revelation 22:14-15
    Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

    There are footnotes in the OSB (Orthodox Study Bible) to see what it had to say about that passage. Here's the explanation:

    22:2, 3 The tree of life, a symbol of Christ Himself, gives immortality. It fulfills the tree of life in Paradise (Gen. 3:22) and the other tree of life, the Cross of the Savior, the tree of obedience (1 Pt. 2:24), a tree of curse (Gal. 3:13). But there is no more curse (v. 3) in the Holy City: a reversal of the curse of Gen. 3:16-19. The fruits and leaves of the tree are completely and universally therapeutic, reversing the effects of the fruit of the tree of disobedience (Gen. 3:16).


    It's explained there that the Tree of Good and Evil is the tree of disobedience.


    Some of what I'm thinking of goes into the concept of Theosis--the process of growing in relationship with the Lord/becoming like him. And reading this in Lossky he states:


    Can one say that Adam, in his paradisiacal condition, was really immortal? God did not create death; says the book of Wisdom. For archaic theology...;St. Irenaeus for example;Adam was neither necessarily mortal nor necessarily immortal: his nature, rich in possibilities, malleable, could be constantly nourished by grace & transformed by it to the point of surmounting all the risks of aging & death. The possibilities of mortality existed but in order to be made impossible. Such was the test of Adam& Eve's freedon. The tree of life at the center paradise & its nourishing of immortality offered therefore a possibility: thus our Christo-ecclesiastical realities, the Eucharist, which heals us, nourishes & fortifies us, spiritually & bodily. One must feed oneself with God to attain freely deification. And it is this personal effort that Adam failed.; (Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, pp77-78)
    As an aside, it is interesting to consider how Origen thought that souls were created before bodies and were put in bodies as a punishment for earlier sin, which didn't mean that bodies were bad, necessarily, but did mean that souls didn't need bodies and so the body wasn't seen as intrinsic to human nature.

    On the issue, Clement of Alexandria and Theodore of Mopseustia held that human death was part of Gods plan before the Fall - in addition to holding the mindset that Adam was created immortal from day one as a part of his nature.

    Theodore notes in his treatise Against Those Who Assert That Men Sin by Nature and Not by Will:

    Whether God did not know that Adam was going to sin: this should be the response for these exceedingly wise men, that it is most insane even to consider this notion. It is obvious that [God] knew he was going to sin, and that on account of this he would, without a doubt, die. How then is it not suggestive of extreme madness to believe that first [God] made him immortal, for six hours,; but appointed him to be mortal after the sin? Because it is certain that if [God] had wanted him to be immortal, not even the intervention of the act of sin would have changed the divine decree, for God did not reduce the devil from immortality to mortality, and he was the originator of all evils!​

    To be clear, this argument by no means surrenders the foundational theological principle that death is a punishment for sin, but on the contrary, it assumes it. What it tries to safeguard, however, is divine sovereignty: for if God had created Adam immortal, Theodore argues, he should have remained immortal even in his post-lapsarian state, forever under the punishment of death, with no possibility of redemption ...just like the devil. Essentially, what is on the line is not just Adam & is ontological transformation, but God's justice and sovereignty as well. It was in God's justice that death is the appropriate punishment for Adam's sin and also the means of deliverance.

    As said best elsewhere, Mortality is at once the consequence of sin and an aspect of humanity's original state.

    As stated by Theodore of Mopsuestia on the need for death:

    God did not place death upon man either unwillingly or against his better judgment, neither did he provide access to sin for no good purpose; for he was able, if he did not wish this to be so, to do otherwise. But he knew it was beneficial for us, nay more, for all rational creatures, at first to have access to evils and inferior things, and thereafter for these to be blotted out and better things introduced.

    Therefore God divided the creation into two states, the present and the future. In the latter he will bring all to immortality and immutability. In the former he gives us over to death and mutability. For if he had made us at first immortal and immutable, we should not have differed from irrational animals, who do not understand the peculiar characteristics by which they are distinguished.

    Augustine held views similar to that:



    On the issue, holding the view that Adam and Eve were created mortal and were to become immortal after a period of probation in the garden was held by Theophilus of Antioch, Second Century Bishop (more shared in CHAPTER XXVII.—THE NATURE OF MAN. from Fathers of the Second Century and here and here). He felt that we were created neither mortal or immortal ...

    As he said:

    CHAP. XXVII.--THE NATURE OF MAN.


    "But some one will say to us, Was man made by nature mortal? Certainly not. Was he, then, immortal? Neither do we affirm this. But one will say, Was he, then, nothing? Not even this hits the mark. He was by nature neither mortal nor immortal. For if He had made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him God. Again, if He had made him mortal, God would seem to be the cause of his death. Neither, then, immortal nor yet mortal did He make him, but, as we have said above, capable of both; so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God; but if, on the other hand, he should turn to the things of death, disobeying God, he should himself be the cause of death to himself. For God made man free, and with power over himself. That, then, which man brought upon himself through carelessness and disobedience, this God now vouchsafes to him as a gift through His own philanthropy and pity, when men obey Him. For as man, disobeying, drew death upon himself; so, obeying the will of God, he who desires is able to procure for himself life everlasting.

    To Autolycus, Book II
    Augustine held to a variation of this view in which the bodies of Adam and Eve, though created mortal, were preserved from decay and lustful desires by being able to feed on the Tree of Life. Exclusion from the Tree of Life after the Fall therefore resulted in human death. Had Adam and Eve not fallen they would have received what we know as resurrection bodies.


    This is what St. Augustine said (in The Literal Meaning of Genesis ) on the issue and where I've often leaned toward.


    "He was mortal ... by the constitution of his natural body, and he was immortal by the gift of his Creator. For if it was a natural body he had, it was certainly mortal because it was able to die, at the same time immortal by reason of the fact that it was able not to die. Only a spiritual being is immortal by virtue of the fact that it cannot possibly die; and this condition is promised to us in the resurrection. Consequently, Adam's body, a natural and therefore mortal body, which by justification would become spiritual and therefore truly immortal, in reality by sin was made not mortal (because it was that already) but rather a dead thing, which it would have been able not to be if Adam had not sinned." (pp. 204-205)

    Augustine suggests that the bodies of Adam and Eve were created mortal

    AND I appreciate how Augustine asked the question of why would Adam and Eve have to eat if they were created immortal - and as he noted:

    "It is difficult to explain how man was created immortal and at the same time in company with the other living creatures was given for food the seed-bearing plant, the fruit tree, and the green crops. If it was by sin that he was made mortal, surely before sinning he did not need such food since his body could not corrupt for lack of it" (p. 97).


    What St. Augustine proposes is that Adam and Eve were created with mortal bodies - indeed, their death was the result of their sin, but Augustine suggests that, had they not sinned, they would have been given the spiritual bodies with which we will be endowed at the resurrection. Of course, in all cases, it is already understood that Adam and Eve need the Grace of God to survive and live their lives - all of the creation is CONTINUALLY relying upon the Grace of the Lord to continue on, even as it has been created naturally to do many differing types of things. This is the basic concept behind what many in Orthodoxy have advocated when it comes to Panentheism - God is distinct from His Creation and yet His creation exists because He animates it as it lives within Him and he touches it in every way.

    It is because of this dynamic that Augustine can note rather easily that man was created to be mortal - with the potential for immortality as long as he chose to actively do his part. Man being made MORTAL (able to die physically) isn't the same as saying that all forms of death (i.e. death of the soul, death by disease or murder/war physically, the second death, etc.) were going to happen as well since Augustine already noted directly in his other works. However, as it concerns nature, St. Augustine had no issue noting how man was never made immortal. As said before, St. Augustine held to the view in which the bodies of Adam and Eve, though created mortal, were preserved from decay and lustful desires by being able to feed on the Tree of Life. ...and Exclusion from the Tree of Life after the Fall therefore resulted in human death. For Had Adam and Eve not fallen they would have received what we know as resurrection bodies.

    As he said:

    When the first human beings—the one man Adam, and his wife Eve who came out of him—willed not to obey the commandment which they had received from God, a just and deserved punishment overtook them. The Lord had threatened that, on the day they ate the forbidden fruit, they should surely die. Now, inasmuch as they had received the permission of using for food every tree that grew in Paradise, among which God had planted the tree of life, but had been forbidden to partake of one only tree, which He called the tree of knowledge of good and evil, to signify by this name the consequence of their discovering whether what good they would experience if they kept the prohibition, or what evil if they transgressed it: they are no doubt rightly considered to have abstained from the forbidden food previous to the malignant persuasion of the devil, and to have used all which had been allowed them, and therefore, among all the others, and before all the others, the tree of life. For what could be more absurd than to suppose that they partook of the fruit of other trees, but not of that which had been equally with others granted to them, and which, by its especial virtue, prevented even their animal bodies from undergoing change through the decay of age, and from aging into death, applying this benefit from its own body to the man’s body, and in a mystery demonstrating what is conferred by wisdom (which it symbolized) on the rational soul, even that, quickened by its fruit, it should not be changed into the decay and death of iniquity? For of her it is rightly said, “She is a tree of life to them that lay hold of her.”589 Just as the one tree was for the bodily Paradise, the other is for the spiritual; the one affording a vigour to the senses of the outward man, the other to those of the inner man, such as will abide without any change for the worse through time. They therefore served God, since that dutiful obedience was committed to them, by which alone God can be worshipped. And it was not possible more suitably to intimate the inherent importance of obedience, or its sole sufficiency securely to keep the rational creature under the Creator, than by forbidding a tree which was not in itself evil.



    Chapter 35 [XXI.]—Adam and Eve; Obedience Most Strongly Enjoined by God on Man.


    More in full can be found in The Works of Aurelius Augustine: A New Translation - Saint Augustine (Bishop of Hippo.) - Google Books

    For Augustine, the tree of life is a kind of “sacrament,” a sign that somehow makes present that which it signifies: “God did not want man to live in Paradise without the mysteries of spiritual things made present in material things. Man, then, had food in the other trees, but in the tree of life there was a sacrament.”


    Adam's failure to keep Gods command and obey him by abstaining from eating from the forbidden fruit resulted in his expulsion from the Garden of Eden. He was already supplied with food - for the food of the first man was abundant - as seen by Gods address to Adam and Eve - "Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, to you it shall be for meat. (Gen. 1:29). But he was to exercise restraint with only one tree...

    And along with the theme of sacrements, I think the Knowledge of Good and Evil symbolize learning via independence from God and NOT trusting in Him to reveal things in time. ....to wait on the Lord is a form of obedience and patience, denying ourselves so that we can have life.

    As St. John Chrysostom noted best (who often compared the state of monks to Adam):

    Not only monks with angelic life are accompanied by the fasting power, but also laymen, who are flying on the wings of fasting till the heights of holy contemplation.

    I recall that the two great prophets of the Old Testament, Moses and Elijah, although they had great daring towards God, by their virtues, they often fasted, and fasting brought them closer to God.


    Even long before them, in the beginning of creation, when God created man, He immediately gave the command to fast. If Adam fulfilled this commandment, he would be saved. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.(Genesis 2, 16-17).


    This was no other than the command to fast. If in Paradise was a need for fasting, there is a bigger need outside it. Before man was spiritually hurt, fasting had been a medicine for him; now more than ever when his soul is hit by sin, fasting is a medicine. Before the war of pleasures begun, there had been a need for fasting; the need is grater now, when we wage wars against devil. If Adam had obeyed this commandment, he would not have heard the words: for you are dust, and to dust you shall return. (Genesis 3, 19). Because Adam didn’t obey, there subsequently came death, worries, sufferings, and a life worse than any death.


    Do you see how God becomes angry when fasting is despised? And you cannot imagine how much He rejoices at our fasting. Death touched man because he despised fasting and also through fasting death can not have power on man.


    Also, as Father Alexander Schmemann notes:

    It is important, therefore, to discern the uniquely Christian content of fasting. It is first of all revealed to us in the interdependence between two events which we find in the Bible: one at the beginning of the Old Testament and the other ar the beginning of the New Testament. The first event is the ;breaking of the fast; by Adam in Paradise. He ate of the forbidden fruit. This is how man;s original sin is revealed to us. Christ, the New Adam ;and this is the second event begins by fasting. Adam was tempted and he succumbed to temptation; Christ was tempted and He overcame that temptation. The results of AdamS failure are expulsion from Paradise and death. The fruits of Christs victory are the destruction of death and our return to Paradise. . . .


    It makes sense to say that the tree of knowledge of good and evil was created by God as well as all other trees in Paradise and, as such, preceded the Satan and his sinful machinations - meaning that Gods commandment to Adam and Even not to eat of the particular fruit was given as a method of mans discipline of self-control and growth in spiritual disciplines, seeing that man was made "good" rather than "perfect" ....and he still needed to learn and develop as all people do (just as Christ had to according to Luke 2 ). While the first man in Paradise was not perfect, he was good and capable of improving and developing his personality.

    Fr. Michael Pomazansky from his book Orthodox Dogmatic Theology pointed out the following:

    Man was created immortal in his soul, and he could have remained immortal also in body if he had not fallen away from God. The Wisdom of Solomon says: God did not make death (Wis. 1:13). man's body, as was well expressed by Blessed Augustine, does not possess the "impossibility of dying," but it did possess "the possibility of not dying," which it has now lost. The writer of Genesis informs us that this "possibility of not dying" was maintained in Paradise by eating the fruit of the Tree of Life, of which our first ancestors were deprived after they were banished from Paradise.


    There is an excellent review on the issue that may come in handy - as seen in Dumitru Staniloae on The Fall :: Eastern Orthodox Theology « T h e o • p h i l o g u e.'

    Also, In the Book of Jubilees (Jubilees 4:29 - more in Links | THE ETHIOPIAN ORTHODOX BIBLE PROJECT ), it notes the following:

    And at the close of the nineteenth jubilee, in the seventh week in the sixth year thereof, Adam died, and all his sons buried him in the land of his creation, and he was the first to be buried in the earth. And he lacked seventy years of one thousand years; for one thousand years are as one day in the testimony of the heavens and therefore was it written concerning the tree of knowledge: On the day that ye eat thereof ye shall die. For this reason he did not complete the years of this day; for he died during it.

    In many ways this is all premature death. Moreover, in the Book of Enoch Chapter XV (more noted on Enoch here/here), we read the passage where God explains to Enoch why the angels were not given wives:

    And go, say to the Watchers of heaven, who have sent thee to intercede for them: You should intercede for men, and not men for you: 3. Wherefore have ye left the high, holy, and eternal heaven, and lain with women, and defiled yourselves with the daughters of men and taken to yourselves wives, and done like the children of earth, and begotten giants (as your) sons? 4. And though ye were holy, spiritual, living the eternal life, you have defiled yourselves with the blood of women, and have begotten (children) with the blood of flesh, and, as the children of men, have lusted after flesh and blood as those & do who die and perish. 5. Therefore have I given them wives also that they might impregnate them, and beget children by them, that thus nothing might be wanting to them on earth. 6. But you were ; spiritual, living the eternal life, and immortal for all generations of the world. 7. And therefore I have not appointed wives for you; for as for the spiritual ones of the heaven, in heaven is their dwelling.


    In other words, we marry only because we are not immortal/eternal. For Immortal/eternal beings according to Enoch (and the Messiah for that matter, as seen in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 22) clearly teach that humans were always mortal, because they were always intended to marry in this life, even before the fall of Adam.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
  3. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    Yes, death is the consequence of sin
     
  4. Hoghead1

    Hoghead1 Well-Known Member

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    I found it interesting, Gxg, where you spoke of pantheism and St. Augustine. Yes, there and elsewhere he certainly does come very close to panentheism. However, in the end, he capitulates completely to classical theism. For example, he won't allow the universe to be the body of God, said this was the worst analogy possible, since implied God would be hit every time a child is hit. And, as you may have noted, in his "Genesis in the literal Sense," he argues Genesis cannot be taken literally, since God is atemporal, doss not work though corporeal movements in time, and therefore created the world poof, like that, in an externionless instinct, and not over six days.
     
  5. Lukaris

    Lukaris Orthodox Christian Supporter

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  6. JM

    JM pre·des·ti·nar·i·an Supporter

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    Is death the punishment for sin?
     
  7. Lukaris

    Lukaris Orthodox Christian Supporter

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    No, Adam was warned not to eat of the tree of life before Eve was formed.
    Genesis 2:15-18
    Genesis 2:21-22
     
  8. prodromos

    prodromos Senior Veteran Supporter

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    It prevents us from sinning for eternity. It is God mercifully putting a cap on how much we can sin in our lifetime, as I suspect that what one suffers in Hell would bear some relationship to how much we have turned our back on God by rebelling against Him
     
  9. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Fr.John Behr seemed to discuss the dynamic in his book "The Mystery of Death" when showing how dying to self as Christ lived/proclaimed was actually the means of having life. ...that embracing one's imminent death rather than living in fear of death is the way Eternal life was re-opened to man.


    Hebrews 2:14-16 (NKJV)
    14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 1

    [​IMG]



    Very challenging perspective..


     
  10. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    no, it is the natural end to sin.
     
  11. JM

    JM pre·des·ti·nar·i·an Supporter

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    It is a natural law?
     
  12. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    It is the natural end to the unnatural act of sinning
     
  13. JM

    JM pre·des·ti·nar·i·an Supporter

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    Lol ok
     
  14. prodromos

    prodromos Senior Veteran Supporter

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    James 1:13-15
    Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
     
  15. JM

    JM pre·des·ti·nar·i·an Supporter

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    Natural law declares sin leads to death. Legally.
     
  16. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Legally?

    If I understand you correctly, then ... why do babies die? Or maybe I don't understand what you are saying by that - in that case please forgive me.
     
  17. JM

    JM pre·des·ti·nar·i·an Supporter

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    Matt answered why babies die, death is "the natural end of sin."
     
  18. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    yes, but we have a different view of what sin is I think.
     
  19. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I think such very short answers and statements can very easily be taken to mean something other than what the poster means by them. But if you are ok with all of this, it's not my place to object.
     
  20. JM

    JM pre·des·ti·nar·i·an Supporter

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    Why according to orthodoxy do infants die?
     
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