I was reading Louis Berkhof's 'Systematic Theology' recently and viewed hi chapter titled 'Man in the State of Sin'. Berkhof goes over the historical opinions of select theologians in regard to the origin of sin in-the-world. Berkhof's work is quite interesting and indirectly lends support to some very modern ideas.
The background for the theological controversy regarding original sin is quite interesting and largely beyond the scope of this blog note that I am making primarily for my own later use. Of course prior to the historical life of Jesus Christ there were several religious and philosophical ideas about the nature of matter, good and evil. Not all of those ideas made their way to ancient Israel or Athens to such an extent that they would become popular or well known. In the first and second centuries after the crucifixion when the disciple had passed on and scripture was being conserved and canonized theologians also began to address various points of doctrine that would actually require centuries to develop. One such point was that of original sin; was the fault in matter and somewhat predestined or did Adam simply make a voluntary choice to sin and thereby condemn everyone human ever after to bear the guilt of original sin?
The different points of view comprise something of a dialectic of opposites. Supporter of the fault is in matter and energy eventually became associated with gnosticism and Pelagianism while the Adam is entirely to blame school became associated with St. Augustine. There was a kind of in-between school that were known as semi-Pelagians.
I am interested in the point not only because of its historical and theological interest for-itself. I have given some though to the issue myself while considering modern creation theory in regard to the Biblical Genesis creation narrative. Adam seems to make his choice to sin before he is in the normal world with its thermodynamic and evolutionary processes that are the rule rather than the exception. That seemed very plain.
Berkhof seemed to believe that Karl Barth felt the Adamic temptation and fall happened in super-history, or what I believe is a greater, metaphysical situation that God created that transcended the material Universe, or even preceded it although like folded-space-time dimensions and membranes with shortcuts through them the idea of linear time progression of all things cannot necessarily be informative of before and after concerning space-time off super-history.
I also thought that the Garden scene of Adam and Eve occurred in a super-historical context and that as punishment for sin Adam and Eve were down-loaded into a thermodynamic ecosystem Universe suitable for sin as normal in matter. Therefor once Adam and Eve had sinned, all of humanity thereafter; their heirs and whomever else was created to populate the fallen world they were cast in to outside the Garden that was thereafter inaccessible and guarded by four cherubim (perhaps each assigned a space-time dimension to defend) would be born into a thermodynamic Universe where original sin of eating, sexting, dying and so are inescapable. An interesting point in Genesis is that the ante-Diluvian descendants of Adam and Eve do not have an instant normal mortal lifespan; there seem to be a gradual relativistic slowing merger into the normal Earth time-line.
My opinion then is somewhat more semi-Pelagian than purely Augustinian or Pelagian. I agree with Augustine that human nature is totally depraved because- because it coheres within the temporal Universe selected for its thermodynamic characteristics. In that fallen Universe the only way God might even notice people as anything besides being of the corrupt Universe context is if they have ate the body and blood of Christ spiritually so that God sees Christ rather than sin within them. I hesitate to use the term semi-Pelagian though for its historical definition that cannot provide the facts about the relationship between original sin and the space-time mass energy of the evolving material in the Higgs field that itself is probably embedded in some sort of a meta-field. I believe the fact is that interpreting the Bible and accurately understanding scriptural based theology may take more thousands of years to get a solid start upon because people just aren't that bright or necessarily informed by God about all things that they might be curious about upon their own schedule.
Augustine was right about many things theological, and quite an inspiration for believers. With a Calvinistic notion about pre-destination it is quite reasonable to accept Augustine's idea that mankind is totally depraved because Adam choose to disobey the will of God and that he used his own free will to make the choice and was therefor entirely to blame. Augustinian liberty with a Calvinist state of pre-destination where the bulk of the predestination is just God's prescience of what someone will choose is a reasonable precursor for the corrective action of God to thrust Adam and Eve into a fallen material world where evolving creatures input energy existentially to exist and grow and have a kind of cellular division to generate more like themselves sexually. Those creatures have original sin in the nature of the matter wherein they cohere, yet until they advance to a certain state of self-aware cognizance they also have primeval innocence in their ignorance of the difference between good and evil; animal versus man and the conscientiousness of a sentient being.
The actual mechanics and time-line of God's interaction with and interpolation and extraction of Adam and Eve from super-history to history aren't presently known in concrete terms. That is an example of why I think it may require a few thousand years to accurately comprehend, God willing, more or less.