Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Post-lapsarian Lunch

So I was having lunch with a colleague yesterday, and he asked me, "what do you think the nature of the Fall is?"

[Yes, this is really the kind of conversation we in English Departments have at lunch. The College of Business guys talk about sports and their lawns, and the College of Arts and Sciences guys wonder if the ubiquity of "Grade A" beef is the result of beef grade-inflation]

The context of the question had to do with relativism, and the apparent contradiction inherent in saying "There is no truth." It's a version of the Cretan Paradox. I find it is hard to find absolute relativists among serious thinkers; apparent relativists generally have a firm foundation upon which they presume truth is constructed. Study any relativist long enough, and you'll either discover that the "relativist" has a bedrock beneath which he will not sink, or that he's not really a serious thinker.

After a short discussion, I was interested to realize that both my colleague and I had independently determined that the Fall (that is, the Edenic Fall of Man) was the relativistic de-centering of God and re-centering of the Self. When the serpent says, "you will be like God, knowing good and evil," he is really offering Eve the promise of relativism. He is offering Eve the chance to be a goddess and establish her own definitions of good and evil. Every time a man sins, then, he is re-enacting the original Fall, by tacitly declaring his own superiority to God, and his own sovereignty over the rightness or wrongness of his actions. When a man declares, then, that there is no truth, he not only re-enacts the Fall, but embraces it.


  1. The problem with the Fall is that it's a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't paradox. For Free Will to be true and meaningful, humans must, at some point, embrace the Fall.

    If they don't, then any description of free will is powerless and meaningless.

  2. hey take it easy is just the opinion of another narcissist college student, nothing more, nothing less, they always said bullshit like that.