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Re: [gthomas] Adam Reconsidered

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  • Michael Grondin
    Robert- I think we ve reached the point where we re just going to have to agree to ... You re not going to be able to convince me of that, since I m a
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 6, 2000
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      I think we've reached the point where we're just going to have to agree to
      disagree. I do want to clarify one point, however. I had said:

      >I hope it's understood that I'm not denying that Thomas presents a
      >sort of androgynous spiritual ideal. I'm just saying that, for
      >Thomas, _Jesus_ is the prototype of that ideal, not Adam. As Paul
      >might say, Jesus ain't just the greatest son of Adam the world has
      >ever seen - he is himself _an entirely new and different Adam_
      >(sinless, eternal, and all that).

      To which you responded:

      >See, now you are revealing the illogic that even you must notice: "an
      >entirely new and different Adam": The same man but different. What? Do
      >you not see how this cannot be pinned down by rational thought?

      You're not going to be able to convince me of that, since I'm a
      rationalist. I believe that anything can be "pinned down by rational
      thought" - even irrationality. Isn't that the basic assumption of
      psychiatry and psychology? But if you think otherwise, then what is the
      point of even trying to analyze Thomas?

      "The same man but different" doesn't really capture the idea of Jesus as
      the new Adam. The only sameness is in the fact that both were regarded as
      the first of a new species of man. As I see it, Thomas implicitly contrasts
      Adam as the first physical man with Jesus as the first "living spirit"
      (using the words of Th 114). Adam "tasted death", but Jesus didn't. That's
      why there's no talk of the crucifixion - because it's not *physical* death
      that Thomas is talking about - it's spiritual death. The (eternally)
      "living Jesus" is the one who spoke these words, according to Thomas - not
      the man who was crucified, died, and was buried.

      Adam is the worldly man of sin; Jesus is the spiritual sinless man - and so
      is Thomas, and anyone else who follows in this path. "Sinless" in the sense
      that, like a child of seven days (i.e., an uncircumcized child literally, a
      "child of creation" metaphorically), he's unaware of the difference between
      good and evil - which makes him innocent of any knowledge of the world. In
      other words, he doesn't eat of the fruit of that tree that Adam ate of.
      When Adam ate of that tree, he entered the world - the world of sin and
      death. By refusing to eat of that tree, one returns to the spiritual world
      of sinlessness and eternal life. (According to Thomas)

      Anyway, that's my take on it. If you want to differentiate the pre-sin Adam
      from the post-sin Adam (or the about-to-sin Adam), that's fine, but I don't
      see that Thomas was thinking that way. Maybe, as I said before, they just
      didn't think it through very carefully. If they had, they might have
      considered the pre-sin Adam as an ideal. But then, again, there was no
      reason for them to do that, since they already had Jesus as their ideal.
      *Other folks* might have believed that man can't possibly emulate Jesus,
      because of his divine nature, therefore pre-sin Adam must be the ideal man.
      But as you know, Thomas believed that man *can* emulate Jesus, so pre-sin
      Adam wasn't all that important to them.


      The Coptic Gospel of Thomas, saying-by-saying
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