Was Adam created as an immortal being?

Monday Musings for February 07, 2022

Good morning, Musers,

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? When I first heard that question, I was tempted to say, “Who cares!”... because that’s how I feel — and that is mostly what I think! Many Christians, however, fret over these types of issues. But fretting is an overreaction. These types of questions are useful... just not as useful as the Sermon on the Mount.

You see, asking seemingly absurd questions pushes the envelope of logic — and I’m all for that! But when the fact that philosophers discuss absurdities as part of their academic discipline is used to leverage the notion that those ideas might be true — and, therefore, “prove” some pet doctrine — I’m against it. They are merely envelope-pushing postulations. Many of these ideas are logically possible but highly improbable. So, do not make them more than they are.

You might think that I was kidding about that “angels dancing on the head of the pin” thing. I’m not. Thomas Aquinas explored that notion — but almost 1000 years ago! If someone uses that expression today (outside of the philosophy class), they are probably describing someone who is spending time on abstract ideas while the real world is attacking them. Brethren... the real world is attacking us. It’s time to count the cost of idle discussion. It’s time to prioritize for Christ.

I feel about today’s question (whether or not Adam was created immortal) as I do about the angels dancing on the head of a pin. Who cares! Fortunately, God is patient with me when I am impatient with the processes involved in my growth. Sometimes I have to wrestle with what I consider irrelevant ideas to arrive at the truth myself... or to give other people comfort about how God operates and/or reveals himself. This is one of those days.

But here’s the thing: a Christian pursuing truth — any truth — is always pursuing Christ. It’s not always pursuing Christ directly... but that’s not a problem in itself. The amount of time and energy we spend pursuing rarefied theology can be a problem, though. We compete for resources.

I’ll admit... I spend a lot of time there. That’s sort of my thing. But I’d like to think that I am helping to grow the kingdom of God in practical ways too in addition to these machinations: I give, I teach and I administer — and these spiritual gifts are more about doing than thinking.

God alone knows how the various inputs propel his kingdom. Jesus likened its growth to the action of leaven in bread (Matthew 13:33). Leaven expands the bread in ways that were mysterious to his hearers — and today, some of its actions can seem counterproductive.

But Aquinas’s question was part of the kingdom’s growth... as are many of the rarefied philosophical thoughts that challenged humankind through the millennia. All truth expands the loaf — not just biblical truth. And when I think about it, I’d rather break bread with Jesus than have prime rib with earthly kings.

 

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