Peter T Chattaway said:
But why should we insist that sin introduced death to the HUMAN experience, specifically?
Once we accept that plants and animals were dying -- both individually and as species --
for millions of years prior to the existence of humans, we are faced with the question of how death fits into Creation, period. I don't see how we can single humans out or separate
them from the rest of this creative process, especially when St. Paul ties the redemption of humanity to the redemption of creation as a whole ("We know that the whole creation
has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time", etc.).
I'm not quite sure what your saying here? Are you suggesting that because there would have been death in the creation around Adam and Eve in Eden that Adam and Eve would have been
dying even without sin? If so I've heard that theory before, and I suppose it could be at least somewhat plausible. The theory goes that if they had of ate of the fruit from the tree of life
instead of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they would have lost
their already present death state. Likewise in the City of God in Revelation, the tree exists.
Nevertheless my Concordant Bibles translation of Romans 5: 12 reads. "Therefore even as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and thus death passed through into
all mankind, on which all sinned"
So this would imply that death came into humanity after the fall.
I find very interesting in light of the film. The Tree of Life seems to wrestle with the Augustinian concept of nature, in the idea that our nature might be in direct opposition to grace.
Here is a snippet from one of my readings.
There was a poor translation of the Greek into the Latin Vulgate by Augustine’s colleague, Jerome. That passage is Romans 5:12, which says “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men on which all men sinned”. The Latin Vulgate renders this passage differently as “because of Adam in whom all have sinned” – the Latin, “in quo omnes peccaverunt”, is a poor translation of the Greek, ‘eph' O pantes emarton’.
With this some have moved away from or rejected Augustine's understanding of original sin (Orthodoxy always has,,,, right?)
Without Augustine's understanding of the fall then the dynamics change and Romans might be seen through a bit different lense. That being the Law of sin and death (Romans 8:3), instead of an inherited sin nature in Adam.
This of course puts the idea of death coming into humanity through Adams fall more into the forefront.
For instance Romans 7:13 "Sin is producing death to me.......... yet I am fleshly having been disposed of under sin"
Under the Augustinian interpretation (which we have largely inherited, in the West at least) having been disposed of under sin would be interpreted as to do with (at least in part)
our inherited sin nature,
But it has also been interpreted as the vicious cycle of the law of sin and death. In Adam we have inherited death, so we go into the world craving life..... because of demonic lies and the world system we all to often are fooled into going to the wrong places in an attempt to find what our flesh thinks is life (even if it is false).... such as drugs.......what have you. This is of course rebellion against God.
But then the Law of Sin and death comes into play again. Our sinful attempts at finding life actually lead to more death (the wages of sin is death)...... and so we crave more life, and go to sinful things in order to find it. This of course leads to addiction and habitually sinful behavior.
Some would interpret this habitual behaviour as what Paul calls in Romans our "sin nature", interpreting the sin nature not as something we are born with, but as something we develop, something habitual.
Therefore this could fit with what you said about some traditions having methods to overcome our habitual behaviour. Mild forms of asceticism could help to tame the fleshes addictions. But with the above understanding an obvious way to help overcome the Law of Sin and death and our addictions, is to do life giving things. Some believe that this is one of the obvious benefits of baptism and the eucharist. In this understanding it gives life to us and helps us to overcome sin. But others (some branches of Protestantism) view these only as an ordinance. Could it be argued that the ordinance view of the "sacraments" has been somehow a result Augustine's understandings?
The reason I went into this is because it does bring up questions and thoughts into the movie. The film questions human nature (or maybe even desires to tell us about human nature) but I would think that what it is questioning or speaking of, is the Augustinian view of humanity, which is of course, the most prominent view in Western Christianity having I suspect influenced Catholicism and most (all?) of the Protestant denominations to some degree.
But if one was to look at life through another lense there isn't as much of a potential difference between nature and true goodness. I mean one could read the film as implying that the way of human nature is purely destructive, but even a film that would be arguing this point, if was depicting characters that are true to humanity, would show aspects of human nature that are not
destructive. I mean.... sure the mother represented the way of grace..... but she also acted in ways that were often consistent to motherhood in the real world. Ways that were loving and nurturing and truly selfless, which is of course Christlike. Mothers have been acting this way for all of time....... it would seem obvious that there is a love written into humanity where a healthy heart is selflessly dedicated to it's children.
So then the question arises.... is this way of grace in motherhood something that God is causing. But if God is causing this "grace" to happen in a mother who isn't a Christian...... then what about God's grace through faith in Christ alone? Is this diminishing the need for Christ?
As well, there is also another question which has often been floated around. If God is overcoming her bad nature to cause this grace, then why doesn't he overcome the nature of all the terrible mothers who are out there? Or for that matter overcome Jack's fathers nature and cause him to quit acting like such a selfish dinglefritz.
A film like this leans towards a certain view of humanity, but yet if it is fairly true to humanity, raises a lot of questions about that view.
Edited by Attica, 08 August 2011 - 06:25 PM.