Sons of God and the Daughters of Men: Approval or Disapproval?

The information concept has some use, and is not a million miles from Aquinas. Dembski covers it well in Being as Communion in a different way. But I think using computer technology as the model is liable to over-simplify things towards a materialist mindset. The soul (in the sense being discussed) doesn’t simply occupy, but animates the body, which (I take it) is what will provide the continuity between our natural bodies and our resurrection bodies. No “information,” no body.

Heisenberg may not be the best guy to quote here - he deliberately drew on Aristotelian ideas, over against “modern” materialism, in his understanding of quantum theory (see his Physics and Philosophy. So I’m not about to consign Aquinas to his grave yet!

The concept to be grappling with is that the “spiritual” is only distinct from the “physical” in the original, “natural” creation. What is promised in the resurrection is a “spiritual body” (representing, in fact, the whole new “spiritual” creation), and it is in the form of the spiritual body that Christ was raised, and yet insisted that he he was not a ghost (pneuma) because “a pneuma does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have” (Lk 24:37-40).

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Correct, as I am modeling it.

I like Dembski a lot, though I’ve not read that book.

So, re Paul, 1Cor 15:40 There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. 41 The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory.

Imo, the word “spiritual” in this context is akin to the physicists generalization of the word “infinite”, any “body” which can interact with this physical world would necessarily have to be physical, as was Jesus’ body; both before and after the resurrection. I would also argue that when the Bible is referencing “man” or “angel” these are predicated upon a spirit’s occupation of and within the limits imposed by the physical body. It seems that “body” inherently becomes incoherent when referencing a spiritual agent, and only has context within an artificial reality such as this universe.

That said, there are a couple of topics which sets the stage for some interesting, imo, dialogue:

  1. Spiritual beings are capable of first cause causation
  2. Do you find it odd that there have been numerous ecosystems created on this planet, each one sorting and utilizing information gained from its predecessor; discarding some stuff and enhancing others.
  3. That as this trial and error process progressed, the violence increased; red in tooth and claw.

Matthew 10:28 King James Version (KJV)

28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

There is a deep connection between the Spiritual agent and the Soul, this bond I think is referenced by Paul in Rom 7 to some extent, and forms the basis for the duality of “mindset”; flesh v spirit. So far as I know, this connection, this bond between the two has very little Biblical information or description.

I see what you’re getting at… but my theological objection to this sequence is that, in my view, there is no Scriptural evidence that God has allowed lesser spiritual beings any autonomous authority over nature. Rather, the creation remains firmly under his own government (which is not to deny that he might work through intermediaries, angelic or even physical, as in “laws.” Or to put it another way, there are many arguments for why the natural creation is not fallen.

Biologically, my objection is that I see no evidence that ecosystems have become any more violent over the aeons we can investigate, barring some peaceful time when there were only stromatolites coverting CO2 to oxygen.

I can’t detect much difference in predation, parasitism or conflict between the Cambrian seabed, the Devonian placoderm wars, the carboniferous insects and spiders, the dinosaurs… etc, etc. If one wants to postulate Satan corrupting creation, I think you have to go back to condemn the whole pageant of life, and its evolutionary processes - which a lot of TEs have done, by the way, much to my regret, thus attributing creation to imperfect demiurges, not God…

Jesus is indeed, of course, differentiating between the material body and the immaterial “heart” of man… no dispute there. Though it’s interesting that he links both soul and body to damnation - very un-modern of him!

But my study of the flesh-spirit divide, which is important and insufficiently investigated, in my view, shows me that, although different passages contain different nuances, it refers in this context not to the division between “material” and “spiritual” in an ontologically dualistic sense, and certainly not to any idea that matter is inherently tainted with evil; but rather to the old creation of the physical v the new creation of the spiritual, it having always been God’s intention to supercede the former with the latter.

Now, that does connect to human sin because Adam corrupted his (and our) created nature, so that “flesh” in Paul also carries the implication of “sinful”, but the contrast is with the new nature in the risen Christ - the new creation - which conforms us to Christ rather than Adam, though for now Paul describes an ongoing warfare between the two natures in the believer.


Hmm… so, given our advancement to date with genetics, given we’re already tinkering with genetic code, building molecular machines, I’d say its more than likely we’ll be designing bio-machines in 1k yrs max. I’m not sure bio-machines; “life”, is all that mysterious anymore at least in principle, now who knows… but it seems a pretty good bet.

Moreover, given the joy of the sons of God when he created this place, it seems like their activity here might have been the point of its creation and beyond this, depending on how you interpret Eze 28:16 it seems the angels were quite busy among the “stones of fire”.

I have limited knowledge of paleontology but it seems clear that life on this planet evolved; I expect like computers and cars evolved, and this was not done by God, he seems to get it right the first time. Furthermore I expect that spiritual beings, as with the Legion and the pigs in Luke 8, could possess any animal form, including pigs.

That said, I expect that Angels did create bio-machines, did market them, and did inhabit them. :slight_smile: I tend to think this had something to do with Lucifer’s fall, and the reason this lil planet is the focal point of the entire universe.

I would argue that Paul’s use of “flesh” isn’t entirely symbolic, and I tend to think it has deeper, older reference. What we’re dealing with here, at least with the model I’m presenting, is a significant redefinition and reorientation of the Biblical model, which I would argue is just as evidenced as Calvin’s or Augustine’s perspective but with less need for mystery because its drawn from a far richer lexicon, and I would argue that the spike in knowledge over the last 150yrs, and mostly in the last 30yrs which enables this lexicon wasn’t by accident or chance.

I would totally love to explore Rom 5:12 with you some day… but not this day :slight_smile:

Which kinda brings me to the Sumerian tablets and the “sons of God” involvement here, as promised this was the long way around to get to the posted topic of this thread. What are your thoughts on this?

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TEs? So, the problem I see with this Universe, which is troublesome, is entropy; the need for usable energy, at least in the ecosystems we have (and have had) here, necessitates stealing energy from other organisms. We are constantly at war with entropy, both internally and externally, and we will lose. Imo, this drives or motivates evil, indeed, entropy could easily be seen as the definition of “evil”, it is the epitome of wonton destruction, utter annihilation of all that is (in a material sense), it drives greed, lust, envy, theft, lying, you name it. We are forced to become partakers, participants in this exhausting entropic exercise, which is, imo, horrifying.

So, yeah, I tend to think this iteration of the universe was designed, like the Garden story, to expose corruption, to incentivize it, to enflame it… and why I think it will, after evil is exposed and ejected or corrected, ultimately be destroyed by God with “fervent heat”, and good riddance.


How do you reconcile that with all the bits in Genesis 1 about “and it was good”?

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John Harshman is right to point out that in arguments assuming the Bible’s truth (and there’s no point discussing the meaning of “problem” passages like Genesis 6 apart from that that), any statement about primordial natural evil founders on the summary of Genesis 1 “God saw that it was very good.”

In modern young earth understandings that problem is solved by placing the supposed fall of nature after the garden narrative. Even then, one finds that the explanation has evolved over time from “God judged creation along with Adam,” through “Adam’s sin ‘naturally’ messed up the whole cosmos,” to “Satan took control of nature.” None of these actually can be well-supported from the Bible’s teaching.

But both in old earth (and of course scientifically informed) understandings, and in the older traditional theology I document in God’s Good Earth that kind of explanation is not available, because the creation in which Adam originates is “very good,” and culminates 13 billion years of operation.

Either the perishable nature of creation (which might indeed be summarised as “entropy,”) is an aspect of the goodness of God’s creation, which is what was held by major theologians for the first 1500 years of the church. Or Genesis 1 must be judged as mistaken, and some explanation of why creation is actually evil must be found, by denying God’s existence (as in atheism), or his goodness (as in atheist apologetics!), or by invoking a wicked or incompetent creator.

The last attempt takes many forms - the original Platonic Demiurge who messes up the perfect forms: a Miltonian kind of eternal Satanic fall such as you appear to favour; an autonomous or semi-autonomous “selfish” evolutionary process as proposed by “free-process” theistic evolutionists (“TEs”). Or (as in one recent book) God creating what is truly evil (contra 1 Tim 4:4) in order to resolve it in some kind of aesthetic performance.

What the Bible actually teaches, it seems to me, is that the perishable creation is, in its own terms, just fine from God’s point of view. If we love and admire what we see in the natural realm, be that views of the Grand Canyon, a good steak or the intricacies of evolutionary taxonomy, then to that extent we’re seeing through God’s eyes.

But it was always God’s intention (“chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world…”) to supercede the perishable creation with the imperishable, in which his glory is not only indicated by what he has made (Rom 1:20), but actually fills the whole creation (Hab 2:14). The Bible represents this (amongst other ways) by the coming together of heaven and earth.

That process is initiated in the fullness of (cosmic and geological) time through the calling of Adam, but it is delayed several millennia by his failure until fully inaugurated, at great cost, through Christ, the “firstfruits.”

So entropy is just fine as far as it goes - but if it went only to the heat death of the universe, then perhaps the universe would be ultimately futile. Fortunately, the Resurrection demonstrates that that is not the plan, though I’m not one to speculate on how a transformed creation would work, when I myself am as perishable as the world itself.

Behind all this, though, stands the subjective assessment of whether the natural creation we experience is perceived by us as “evil” or “good.” And that is a very interesting study in the history of ideas. That “red in tooth and claw” phrase you quote, for example, comes from Tennyson’s reaction to Darwin’s (rather than Wallace’s) Malthusian vision of evolution, which in turn was very much influenced by Deism’s extrapolation of a pessimistic view of creation that emerged from the Reformation… in other words, we’re surprisingly influenced in how we see the world by our cultural heritage.

Your “stealing energy from other organisms” would be, to Augustine and many generations of theologians and philosophers, the appropriate subsuming of lower natures into higher. To a modern ecologist’s eyes, it’s about the mutuality and interdependence of all life. In other words, it’s a question of social and psychological viewpoint, not objective truth.

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So I don’t believe matter has moral properties, only agents do. Therefore, good references, fit for intent, or function as designed. Adam was “good” in the same way “light” was good, this doesn’t denote that Adam wasn’t morally corrupt (which he was).

The point of the Genesis creation story, beyond the initial establishment of the Universe, was God wasn’t messing around, he wasn’t engaging in trial and error creation; tossing mud at a wall and seeing what stuck, he was purposely and accurately restoring the planet, everything mechanically worked the first time, and w/o flaw.

I think that model is rather small and stilted, as if the advent of “man” had no underlying context driving its point or purpose, when it obviously did, imo. At the time of God’s activities on the planet, Satan had already fallen, there was already a war in heaven. The advent of Gen 1:2 would resolve this issue, with the GWT judgment; fallen man and angel would be judged 1) at the same time, 2) by the same law, and 3) By God himself. What we see unfolding here is merely evidence for that trial, after which, this place’s use will be over, and it will be dissolved.

If one views Gen 1:2 in that context, things tend to make more sense, imo.

“Good” is contextually dependent, thinking matter has moral properties, imo, is a mistake, moreover, thinking that God’s activities re bio-machines and ecosystems required a lot of time to unfold, to calculate, to problem solve, to evolve is also problematic, imo.

There is no moral evil inherent in matter/energy, God’s creation might be difficult, might be complicated, might drive to the fore uncomfortable or displeasing results or truths to and for us but, as we both know, this would only reflect “evil” if the intent of its creation was destruction, this is not true of God or his work.

This is true, and it indicates a process, the purpose of this iteration of the Universe, wasn’t of itself, but for a purpose re the spiritual agents, as stated previously, it was intended as a winnowing, a crucible, a means of sorting, this place, by any measure, is shockingly horrifying, painful, all the great stories in the Bible, culminating in Christ’s life and death, involve MASSIVE pain and suffering, and one cannot deny, this is the point of God’s creation. I’ve referenced Heb 11 and 2Cor 11, but every story that matters in the Bible involves abandonment, hardship and testing, watching all that mattered to them destroyed, including their own bodies, bringing the individual to the end of all things, with nothing but their determination and faith in God to sustain them.

For that purpose, that intent, this place is very good at it! Moreover I think that any model which doesn’t recognize this as true, glosses over this fact (imo), misses the point of this place. We come here not to have a good time, not to revel in the beauty of God’s creation, to marvel at his great work, but to be crushed, melted in this furnace and the dross removed, if we choose it; the publican did not lift his eyes to heaven, did not curse God, but smote his breast and admitted the truth. That result was not born of “flowery beds of ease”.

The activities of the “sons of God”, per the title of this thread, therefore has a context, a backdrop which underlies and prompted this present advent. It is clear they were working with genetics, they could produce progeny, they could modify bio-machines, and I would argue this is wrapped up in our story now, our destination is their destination.

Rather, it comes from a misunderstanding of Darwin’s vision, which favored anything advantageous, whether competition or cooperation.

Tennyson’s reaction was a misunderstanding of natural selection, but an extremely prevalent one amongst Darwin’s readers both then and later. But Darwin didn’t discourage that by his use of the terms “struggle of nature”, “war of nature” and “struggle for existence” not only throughout “Origin” (and as the title of ch3) but in notes and drafts as early as 1844.

He got the idea from Malthus, of course - a huge influence in suggesting natural selection both for him and Wallace. And in Malthus it was presented in a very stark context - because (he believed) food increased arithmetically, but population geometrically, increasing human populations in the cities were in a competition to the death. Darwin is careful to note he is using the phrase metaphorically, not only of wolves competing literally for food in a drought, but of a plant on the edge of a desert struggling for life (“though more properly it should be said to be dependent on the moisture”).

It seems the powerful metaphor captured minds more than the subtle qualification.

Tennyson got the phrase from “Vestiges of Natural History” (a pre-Darwin evolutionary work), which shows its general currency in biological thinking,


@jongarvey, In the spirit of reigniting this conversation, could you help me understand how you resolve a couple of elements regarding “the sons of god” activity here:

Within the Biblical narrative, we have evidence that angelic activity; for and against God:

  1. is happening here on this planet, per Paul, Daniel, Jesus, et al, right now
  2. that these are inextricably connected to God’s creation of Adam as a resolution to this conflict
  3. that the war we experience isn’t against “flesh and blood”; physical, but against these rebel angels; “spiritual forces”
  4. that this war predated Adam’s formation
  5. that at the end of the Adamic age, spiritual judgment, based upon God’s spiritual law which governs his kingdom, will ensue; all the rebel spiritual agents will be judged, sentenced and eternally ejected.

Moreover, we find that some of the Sons of God’s activity violated the boundaries of the Adamic age test environment God established:

  1. some of the rebel angels engaged in prohibited activity after the advent of Adam; and are now “held in chains”
  2. some of “the gods” manipulated the genetic code of some of Adam’s seed of which God disapproved
  3. Per Enoch and Sumerian tablets, gave information; agriculture, metallurgy, medicine, etc, to men which was prohibited ostensibly by the terms of the Adamic test parameters
  4. They were and are managing regions of this planet; both visibly and covertly, to this day; principalities, “god of this world”.
  5. that their goal, their virtually exclusive focus is the destruction and turning of God’s elect against him; testing them; Job being the archetype.

Within your model, assuming you accept these tenets (if not, I’d be interested in your alternative perspective) how do you resolve these into a coherent explanation given the fossil evidence we have for the evolution of extensive bio-mechanical activity; trial and error, long before Adam.


11 posts were split to a new topic: Comments on Thacker’s Proposal

The whole scope of angelic activity in the biblical account is in the human, not the natural, realm. The only exception I know is in Job, where Satan acts strictly under the active permission of God to test Job. He’s even said to use God’s own tool, “fire from heaven.”

We haven’t established (and I disagree) that God created Adam to resolve a conflict.

Agree - the battlefield being the human situation of evil and death separating us from God, the result of sin.

I find no scriptural evidence of this. The first “angelic evil” arises in the garden, and indeed if we apply the prophetic “king of Tyre” passage paradigmatically to Satan, as per the traditional understanding, sin was first found in him in the garden.


Agree - but whether that activity relates to Genesis 6, or more generally to angelic rebellion, is disputable.

“Genetic code” arguments make no sense in an ANE text entirely ignorant of, and uninterested in, genetics. Even a more general “biological” statement depends on a particular interpretation of Genesis 6 in isolation - there is no general biblical teaching that the demonic realm affected human biology in any way. And even an angelic understanding of Gen 6 simply says they married women and had children, as if that were one of their created abilities.

Enoch is a late source… but I’d like direct references to both Enoch and Sumerian sources. It sounds more like the Greek Prometheus than the Sumerian Adapa. Genesis gives these gifts neutral meaning: agriculture and livestock-keeping exist by the second generation, Cain’s children are simply said to become archetypally good at pastoral tent-dwelling, music and metallurgy, and nothing in the Eden account forbids the use of nature in these ways, though the account is probably silent on them because the heart of the garden’s purpose was communion with Yahweh, rather than social and economic life.

The actual scope of “powers and principalities” appears to be spiritual, rather than geographic (“territorial demons” seem to be a strictly modern Charismatic idea). “This world,” could (linguistically) have as many referents as “world” does in English, and appears in Paul to represent “the general state of rebellion against God.” By unconsciously serving Satan’s purposes, not God’s, humanity are abrogating their proper authority in the world to the devils, who end up riding on our backs instead of assisting us.

The prophetic texts, both OT and NT, seem to place their influence primarily in the political, religious and social realms. Once again, I suggest there is no biblical indication of their influence over the natural world (except where they are omehow involved in human suffering: “Satan has kept this daughter of Abraham bound for 18 long years…”).

That’s a good one to explore, because “Satanic motivation” doesn’t get discussed much. I don’t actually see “the elect” as the sole target, because when Jesus describes a great deception occurring, its scope includes even the elect “if that were possible” (NIV). It seems to me the destruction/damnation of the human race in its entirety is the motive: so to be sure, even the endurance of one “chosen follower” is one too many, and Job is indeed intended as paradigmatic of that. Successful accusation, or successful temptation, produce condemnation, which produces death, which eliminates upstart mankind and restores (as if…) the good old days when angels got proper respect.

Satan’s accusations, of course, start from the solid base that the whole race is guilty before God because of his success in the garden: what we see in Job is that his faith (in NT terms provided through grace) is more powerful in the end that Satan’s attempts to destroy him: in that way Job is an archetype of spiritual warfare, winning a “battle” in the spiritual heavens simply by holding on to God - a juxtaposition echoed in Rev 12:7-12, Luke 10:18, and a couple of other places.

So you see I seem to be starting from a different place altogether. If you’re talking about my “model,” you seem to be asking a lot more than “How do you interpret Genesis 6” - you want an entire biblical cosmology. I’ve actually laid out such a thing in two book-length treatments, and I wouldn’t have taken that trouble if I could do it in a blog post! But I can address the more restricted question:

Evolution as a providentially governed tool for building the natural world God wanted I find as unproblematic as did the first generation of theistic evolutionists, from Alfred Russel Wallace, through Asa Gray, to B B Warfield. “Trial and error” is a metaphysically loaded phrase, though. The facts of evolution are things like variation, differential reproduction, extinctions, ecological niches and a host of other things. But as soon as you talk about “trial” and “error” - or even about “randomness” other than in the careful way it should be used in evolutionary theory (“random with respect to fitness”) - you’re in the realm of values and teleology, not of evolutionary theory.

In Christian life, believers often recognise their foiled intentions as the providential guidance of God (one’s failure to get a ticket on one’s chosen flight leads to your avoiding the bomb on board). So, like “excess of suffering,” “trial and error” are purely subjective psychological judgements on what may be (and I would argue are) God’s inscrutable ways of working out his creative will.

In fact, taking the pre-Adamic world as legitimate and good in its own right removes the problems some people have with an ancient universe being “a waste” because nobody was there to see it. That’s because the aim of the Bible is to deal with the drama, the relatively short “pivot” as it were, of a new creation that will last even longer and involve the union of the material universe and the spiritual realm through mankind (and of course, in the event crucially through Jesus, the god-man).

Angelic rebellion, in that view, is a brief, though important because at the crux-point, blip in the eternal plan of God, It is not the lens through which to understand the created order.

I would point you to the topic of this thread.

Hell was created for the “the devil and his angels”, Both Mat and Rev clearly associates the resolution of the Adamic advent with the conclusive culmination and condemnation of both man and angel, their sentencing, and execution.

So for this, we have to utilize statements in the Bible regarding the Adamic advent; the elect were known in him “before the foundation of the earth”, that is, before Gen 1:2 there was a reality of this war; election necessitates the preexisting state from which one would select. At this point, there is generally an appeal to “foreknowledge”, yet, we see Satan testing Adam in the Garden, as Job was tested, and as Jesus was tested.

The question here wasn’t their legal status; corrupt or not, but rather their ontological orientation for or against God. Now of the latter two; Job and Jesus, its accepted that Satan was already fallen, that his intent was to corrupt both, and we see this intent in the Garden. As such, Satan didn’t become evil in the garden, Satan was in the garden because he was already evil and had a legal right to test Adam and Eve, and all their kin, including Jesus, which can be fleshed out, if you like.

I agree, however, the modification of the Adamic seed was noted in both Garden narratives; Sumerian and Bible, there is some evidence re Noah that his “perfect” state was, at least in part, genetic continuity with Adam. Moreover, per Jesus, sexual activity of Angels; specifically regarding marriage, seems to be undermined, where one might argue this merely referenced the formal contract, it seems to me to have a deeper implication. And finally we have the Biblical claim of a Spiritual agent manipulating the female egg, and producing a child w/o sexual intercourse re Jesus.

I believe as well that the Sumerian texts note that the “gods”; Anu and Enki, did modify hominoid bio-machines to perform specific tasks. Now I’m not citing them as authoritative, however, I am pointing to this notion being contemplated at that time, and in the same context as their garden story, flood story, etc which mirrors, in many ways, the Biblical account.

As to Enoch being a late text, I’m not so sure… it seems every attempt to date it winds up pushing its authorship back. And again, I’m not claiming its authoritative, but I think the myths and stories do have seeds of truth buried in them.

Again, I’m not so sure, the Tower of Babel and God’s response was intended to mitigate informational exchange, and advancement. Beyond this, we see a very dramatic shift re humans from hunter-gatherers to agrarian centered civilization, and a dramatic shift from stone to bronze as well.

When one finds anomalous spikes in progression, as we had with the Renaissance, the Industrial revolution and now with the Information Age, one tends to look for external triggers. Maybe its just a happy coincidence… but within the Biblical narrative, one definitely has grounds for positing and exploring external input; “knowledge shall be increased”.

I couldn’t agree more re Satan’s motivation! However, I would argue that everyone born here is condemned, corrupted, with the exception of our Advocate and Judge [Rom 3:26], Jesus Christ, who proved he wasn’t. That is, this place isn’t about what we might do or become, but what one actually is and already was, the testing merely revels this, it doesn’t produce it.

It also has to be noted permission was requested by Satan re Job, and granted, moreover, this request is of the Elect, and limited (as was Job’s and Peter’s) by God to be fair [1Cor 10:13]. In the context of the model I’ve presented, God’s Law is central, in this instance, the means and rights of the accused to a fair trial. And this language isn’t arbitrarily imposed, the “accuser of the brethren” is the Prosecutor, and the Advocate is the defense attorney, the Prosecutor has rights to evidence, to obtain evidence, and to argue for the condemnation of the accused, Satan, rather than presenting a defense of his own, chooses rather to Prosecute other’s who are condemned… Imo, when one explores the dynamic of Satan’s motivation within this context, it has some rather interesting implications.

So, I doubt that the God who 1) created the Universe, 2) turned water to wine, 3) multiplied loaves and fishes, would need 450’ish million years to get a stable ecosystem up and running, with multiple bio-mechanical revisions, dead ends, and oopsy rogue asteroids blowing everything up.

Hmm, the cost of the resolution for God was massive, moreover, the consequences aren’t temporal, but eternal for the agents, and the Sons of God played a part; on both sides of the war, in this Universe and here on this planet. Therefore, imo, the “created order” with respect to this Universe is the triviality; being temporal, but the Angelic rebellion isn’t, and its consequence will ripple in eternity forever.

Again, I appreciate your time and effort, and your perspective.

In order for there to be comments on his proposal, I would think he would first have to present a proposal.

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