Universe Permeated with “Original Sin”?

Physicists having difficulty with the elusive Higgs boson and mysterious dark matter may wish to look for an alternative explanation: the effect that Adam and Eve’s original sin had on the universe.  Whatever this hypothesis lacks in plausibility it makes up for with childish parsimony.

As Karl Giberson explains in Christianity and Extraterrestrial Life, there are more than a few literalist Christians who believe that the eating of an apple by two people on earth some 7,000 years ago altered the workings of the entire universe and impacted whatever life exists within it:

In the Creationist worldview on display in the Creation Museum, sin inaugurated sickness, disease, and the decay associated with the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Prior to Adam’s sin, the laws of physics were different, since there could be no decay. So, according to the Answers in Genesis website, “another compensating restorative process may have prevented any net decay of the universe.” This restorative process ended with Adam’s sin, and now the Second Law of Thermodynamics was unbalanced, and the entire universe began to run down.

The creative interpretative scheme used by the Young Earth Creationists leads them to find biblical support for claims about laws that science discovered centuries later. Other Young Earth Creationists suggest that the Second Law of Thermodynamics actually appeared for the first time as the scientific consequence of sin.

In this view, the sin of the first human affected everything, even stars trillions of miles away.

This is not simply geocentrism — it is Homocentrism writ universally large.  Talk about presumptuous.   It reminds me, however, of the reaction many Native Americans had to missionary teachings about Christianity.

Aside from having difficulties understanding what they considered to be the dubious magic of the faith, they were most shocked by the claim that two white people eating a perfectly natural and nutritious piece of fruit — provided for humans by bounteous Mother Earth — brought wholesale condemnation on humanity.

In the native view, people were naturally inclined to right living and only things that people learned or did during their lives could divert them from this path.  It was a naturally optimistic view of human nature as opposed to the pessimistic and sinful view that is characteristic of Christianity.

That pessimism is on full display in Giberson’s article, in which he quotes Ken Ham — mastermind of the (would be funny were it not so harmful) Creation Museum — who without compassion asserts that alien life cannot have salvation:

“The Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe,” says Ham. “This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin.”

And, adding insult to injury, even though human sin on a distant Earth wrecked their planet, [aliens] “can’t have salvation,” says Ham. “Only descendants of Adam can be saved.” To even “suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong,” he says.

Ham apparently reads Romans differently than I do:

I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God. – Romans 8:38-39

I sense neither exclusion nor entropy in this verse.

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6 thoughts on “Universe Permeated with “Original Sin”?

  1. Jim Toohey

    Greetings from Boulder. If you want to address issues involving the Bible, you need to make an attempt to understand it on its own terms. Your last scriptural quote is intended specifically for people who have accepted salvation based on the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus for their souls — Christians, that is. It has nothing to do with anyone who is alien to the Gospel.

  2. admin Post author

    I am unaware of anything that stands alone, sui generis, not surrounded by the massive weight of history and freight of context. Nothing, therefore, can be “understood on its own terms.” Things acquire meaning not by standing alone, but by virtue of the concepts which surround them; this is a basic notion, and was recognized long ago by Aristotle (i.e., his theory of contrarities). Nothing has meaning in and of itself, somehow pure and independent of things adjacent.

    I have never before heard the term “alien to the Gospel.” Does this mean that the bible applies only to Christians, or that extraterrestrials are excluded from the blessings of the bible?

  3. Amanda

    I once had a very long debate with my grandma about whether or not aliens needed Jesus. I, of course, was joking but I quickly learned that she was not at all. I thought she was the only person in the world who would honestly debate something like this because she was bored, lonely and mostly crazy…I guess I was wrong. There are people out there that in all seriousness debate this? Didn’t Paul also command the church not to waste their time on senseless debates? =)

  4. admin Post author

    Isn’t truly honest debate a wonderful thing? Perhaps you mistook your grandmother’s “crazy” for integrity? There are people who take this very seriously, as if the entire universe is caught up in their microcosmic drama.

  5. David E. Small

    God created the universe with perfection and created humans to be immortal which means we would have eventually populated throughout the universe. Because of Original sin which leads to thermodynamics and decay, mankind was destined to die. Because of this I find it illogical that he would have created life elsewhere in the universe which leads me to believe that we are its only inhabitants.

  6. Cris Post author

    Okay. What data or evidence do you have for these propositions? Why should anyone who doesn’t share your beliefs assent to your assertions?

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