Friday, November 25, 2016

The Problem of Adam [Pt. 2]

by Hiram R. Diaz III
Introduction
As noted elsewhere,[1] the idea that being-dead is equivalent to being-a-lifeless-non-conscious-body is logically and Scripturally untenable. It was shown that, given the law of transitivity, the identification of the two states of being entails an absurd conclusion, viz. Adam was dead before death existed. Death, it was noted, is a fundamentally unique experience entailing a fundamentally unique state of being-dead that could not exist prior to the fall. What was not investigated, however, was the obverse of the proposition “To be dead is to be a lifeless, non-conscious body.” The proposition in mind is this: “To be alive is to a be living, conscious body.” The proposition and its obverse were simply assumed for the sake of argument. However, the current article will demonstrate the logical incoherence of the annihilationist belief that being-dead is equivalent to being-a-lifeless-non-conscious-body.
Every Body’s Non-Conscious
Consider the original assertion:
To be dead is to be a lifeless, non-conscious body.
Now consider its obverse:
To be alive is to be a living, conscious body.
Whereas the attribution of life to the body is categorically correct, the attribution of consciousness to the body is not. Consciousness is an attribute of persons, not bodies. Consequently, to attribute consciousness to a body is to commit a category error. No body is conscious. Rather, every body is non-conscious. Thus, death may entail the reduction of the living body to lifelessness. However, death does not entail the reduction of the conscious body to a non-conscious body, for no body is conscious.
This category error obtains, it should be noted, even under the assumption of anthropological monism. Anthropological monism postulates that the mind is supervenient upon the brain/body. Given this view, therefore, there is a categorical distinction to be drawn between the body and that which is supervenient upon the body, viz. The mind. This is significant given the annihilationist belief that the non-consciousness of the dead body is taken to be an attribute only of the dead body. In reality, non-consciousness is an attribute of living and dead bodies and, therefore, cannot be said to be the result of one having died. Non-consciousness is an attribute of all existent bodies.
Concluding Remarks
Given that lifelessness is not equivalent to death, and given that every body is non-conscious, neither lifelessness nor non-consciousness can be identified as essential attributes of deadness. Consequently, if the death of the body entails its lifelessness, and the non-consciousness of the body is essential to its being a body and not a mind, then one can only, at the most, state that the second death entails the lifelessness of the body. Annihilationists who believe that the dead are those who have been reduced to lifeless, non-conscious bodies are wrong for these two reasons. The law of transitivity demands that the annihilationist either abandon his belief that deadness essentially consists in being a lifeless body. Moreover, belief that deadness also essentially consists in the non-consciousness of the body must be abandoned as well, seeing as it is an essential attribute of all bodies, living and dead alike.
-h.

[1] See Diaz, Hiram R. “The Problem of Adam [Pt. 1],” Biblical Trinitarian, http://www.biblicaltrinitarian.com/2016/11/the-problem-of-adam.html.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Problem of Adam [Pt. 1]

by Hiram R. Diaz III

[N.B. The author's argument here assumes, for the sake of argument, that "the man" was the whole man and not Adam's body only. This is because the annihilationist's conception of life as being breathed into man in Genesis 2:7 requires such an interpretation. The thrust of the argument presented here is this: If Adam is wholly and entirely present after God has molded him from the earth, then the problem of Adam ensues.]
The Wages of Sin is Lifelessness?
Annihilationists capitalize on the fact that Scripture teaches the wages of sin is death.[1] This punishment for transgressing of God’s law is first found in Genesis 2:16-17, where God declares:
“You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 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.”
As elaborated upon elsewhere,[2] the promise of death is more than a promise that the sinner will be rendered a lifeless, non-conscious body. In Genesis 3:14-19, God elaborates on the nature of the death promised, and the reduction of man to the dust from which he was formed is only an aspect of that death. In these verses, in fact, the only person to explicitly receive the promise of returning to the dust is Adam, as the following table demonstrates.
The Serpent
1. Cursed above all livestock
2. Cursed above all beasts of the field
3. Made to travel on his belly
4. Made to eat dust all the days of his life
5. Set in opposition to the woman
6. Set in opposition to the seed of the woman
7. Will be bruised by the foot of the woman’s seed
The Woman
1. Labor pains in bringing forth children
2. Unfulfilled desire for her husband
3. Ruled by husband
The Man
1. Futility in work
2. Pain
3. Return to the dust
There is no doubt that the serpent and the woman will also “return to the dust,” but this is not explicitly mentioned in God’s elaboration of the death he promised in Gen 2:16-17. What is common among the judgments explicitly mentioned concerning the three persons is separation, conflict, antagonism, turmoil, pain, suffering, futility. Death entered into the creation through Adam’s sin, and that death entails, but is not limited to, the body’s “return to the dust.”
Thus, though death entails lifelessness, death is not itself lifelessness. This is borne out elsewhere in the Scriptures. For instance, idols are identified as without breath in Psalm 135:15-18. Seeing as they were never alive to begin with, the idols cannot be said to be dead. They are lifeless, but they are not dead. Similarly, Paul identifies musical instruments as lifeless or without breath in 1st Cor 14:7. As rocks, dust, and air are lifeless but not dead, so too the idols of the nations, as well as the musical instruments Paul alludes to are lifeless but not dead.
The Problem of Adam
Annihilationists’ identification of dead men as lifeless, non-conscious bodies is a theme that frequently appears in their stated belief that the wicked will not be tortured eternally but die the second death. This second death, they argue, is to be understood as we “normally” understand the first death, i.e. as the reduction of a man to a lifeless, non-conscious body. Its primary differences are (a.)the soul will be killed in the second death, whereas it is not in the first death, and (b.)the second death will never be followed by a return to life, unlike the first death which is followed by a resurrection and time of punishment.
Problematically, however, the Scriptures teach that Adam, prior to receiving the breath of life from God was a lifeless, non-conscious body. As it is written:
…the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the earth…[3]
“The man” (Heb. אָדָם, 'adam) was present in the garden, but lacked life and consciousness. Thus, if being-dead means being-a-lifeless-non-conscious-body, then Adam, before he even lived, was dead. Employing the law of transitivity[4] we have the following:
If Adam (A) is a lifeless, non-conscious body (B),
and a lifeless, non-conscious body (B) is a dead man (C),
then Adam (A) is a dead man (C).
As noted above, death did not come into the world until Adam sinned. Prior to this moment, there were no dead men. Consequently, there were no men who were in a state of deathBeing-dead, in other words, cannot be equivalent to being-a-lifeless-non-conscious-body, or Adam was dead in the garden of Eden before he was alive.[5]
Conclusion

It is not the case that being a lifeless, non-conscious body is equivalent to being a dead man. Therefore, any attempt to identify the punishment of death as the reduction of a living man to a lifeless, non-conscious body cannot be logically or Scripturally maintained. Those who are dead cannot exist in the same state that Adam existed in prior to him being alive, moreover, without the Scriptures then contradicting themselves by implicitly asserting that the state of being-dead existed prior to death existing in the world, and explicitly stating in another place that death entered into the world through Adam’s sin.
Whatever death is, in other words, it cannot be the reduction of a living man to a lifeless, non-conscious body. The state of being-dead has to be distinct from any state that existed prior to the fall, and that state is one of separation from God.
-h.

[1] Rom 6:23.
[2] See Diaz, Hiram R. “Does the Doctrine of Hell Conflict with Penal Substitutionary Atonement?” Biblical Trinitarian, http://www.biblicaltrinitarian.com/2016/10/does-doctrine-of-hell-conflict-with.html.
[3] Gen 2:7a.
[4] viz. If A is B, and B is C, then A is C.

[5] This would also imply, of course, that rocks, air, and dirt were and are still also dead, which is clearly absurd.