The Problem of Natural Disasters

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Homer
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Re: The Problem of Natural Disasters

Post by Homer » Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:09 am

I think something that has some bearing on Adam and Eve and their sin is the old category (not considered much today) of natural laws and positive laws (or commands). Natural law once referred to things that were naturally understood, i.e. morality. We naturally know it is wrong to steal, rape, murder, etc. because of the effect those sins have on us if we are the victim. Positive laws, on the other hand, are not naturally understood to be right. They are right solely because the authority that institutes the positive law has the authority to proclaim it, whether it be God or the government. In the case of Adam and Eve, eating of the forbidden fruit was not naturally understood, it was wrong because God positively declared it to be wrong. Thus they could be persuaded that eating of the tree would actually be good; they could see nothing wrong in it.

Violating or ignoring positive commands or laws has been the cause of the downfall of many. Naaman's scorn for the instruction to dip himself seven times in the Jordan and Uzza's touching of the arc are examples that come to mind. And consider the history of Saul and David. Saul rather prominently violated positive commands. David's great sin, on the other hand, was moral. God seems to take sins against positive laws more seriously, apparently because they require more faith. It is easier to obey moral law because we instinctively know it is right. Moral laws are said to "have crutches".

In the case of Adam and Eve, their sin boils down to a lack of faith in what God said.

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