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2008.10.29

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wade burleson

Dr. Heimbach,

Brilliant! You, sir, make me proud to be a Southern Baptist.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

Chris

Is not this what Dr. White was attempting to say? I think so!

wade burleson

You asked me to respond to a question you posed to me, which I did at comment #203 in my post entitled The Issue Is Pushing Personal Convictions On All. You may not read that deep into the comment stream, or you may have missed it, so I reproduce it here for you:

Peter,

You asked a question about theologians who believed the soul was imparted at quickening. Baptist theologian John Gill is one. He posits it in his work "Body of Practical Divinity" which Charles Spurgeon called Gill's "mangus opus." By the way, Gill is not a midieval theologian.

L's remark above is concise and to the point. I have no disagreement with you that the 23/23 chromosome connection forms the distinct, sacred human body, but to argue that the "connection" of chromosomes generates the soul is not only contrary to Zechariah 12:1, it is illogical. Let me explain.

(1). We have a youth pastor and his wife who desired children, but could not bear any kids naturally. They conceived through in vitro fertilization. They had 8 fertilized eggs cry-preserved (frozen). They bore a son. FOUR YEARS LATER they bore a daughter from the same group of fertilized eggs harvested from the woman and fertilized by the sperm in the test tube of a labratory. If possible, Peter, from your belief that the soul is generated by the 23/23 chromosome connection, where was the little girl's soul for four years? Was it frozen too? Was it asleep? Was it in the refigerator?

Or, is it possible that what was frozen was the unique human embryo, awaiting the creation of the soul which is God's prerogative to make in His power alone, which He forms at a time of His choosing, uncontrolled by man or scientists? Just asking.

(2). There will come a day when scientists will clone a human being. They have already cloned sheeps, dogs, cows, and other animals. Science has the capability, now, of cloning a human being. Scripture teaches us that man only prepares the body for the forming of the soul, which God alone creates. So, unlike your belief that cloning would necessitate the SAME SOUL in the second human being, I propose to you that if God, in His providence, allows cloning to occur, He will form a UNIQUE soul in the body of the clone that arises. This soul is not unique to the unique 23/23 chromosome connection, but rather, a distinct and separate soul that God alone creates for the clone body which scientists prepared in the laboratory. Man can tamper with the body, but Zechariah the prophet is clear that man cannot tamper with the soul, much less form or create the soul. That is God's prerogative alone.

I hope that answers your question. The issue pro-life Christians (of which I am one) seem to get hung up on is WHEN the soul is imparted. We should rather be emphasizing that God alone forms the soul, and WHEN He does it is a time of His choosing, not ours.

And, like you, I will always be cautious in the protection of the human body, but I will not succomb to man-made attempts to dogmatically explain the soul's generation by the physiological 23/23 chromosomal union of a man and a woman.

Blessings,

Wade

peter lumpkins

Wade,

Thanks. Actually I did read it. Sorry it took so long to respond. And, thanks for reproducing your response here as well. Following is my rejoinder:

Wade,

Thanks for getting back. As for citing John Gill (1697-1771), Wade, I am not surprised since you so often do, neither is he relevant. His view hardly takes into account the facts of science and is, by the way, closer to Thomas Aquinas's 'soul science'--therefore the Medieval view--than you realize. Could you please give me a couple of renowned theologians of the past 75-100 years?

Unfortunately, while you say you agreed with me on my 23/23 connection, you may have spoken much too quickly. You write: "I have no disagreement with you that the 23/23 chromosome connection forms the distinct, sacred human body..." I do not believe such. When we speak of "sanctity" we speak of the sanctity of human life. Period.

Your further assert that "to argue that the "connection" of chromosomes generates the soul is not only contrary to Zechariah 12:1, it is illogical."

First, Wade, to suggest something is illogical is to suggest something is nonsensical. My understanding was you argued we "don't know" when God creates the soul, even citing Gill that it could be several weeks into the pregnancy--"quickening"

But to now suggest that the view which holds that the soul is infused specifically at conception is "illogical" is to assign that view to the nonsensical.

In other words, whatever might be the case about the soul, it cannot be that the soul is infused at conception. And, I thought we were supposed to be nonjudgmental here ;^)

As for the infusion of the soul at conception being contradictory to Zech 12.1, I am afraid you're going to have to spell the word slowly for I just don't even see one problem whatsoever. The text does not reveal how God forms the spirit, why He does or when He does. Thus, your point is lost on me.

As for your illustration on frozen embryos, Wade, I must say is moving. And, the prospect of cloning humans is, as you say, a real possibility in the future.

What is concerning is your assumption about what you think I believe: "unlike your belief that cloning would necessitate the SAME SOUL in the second human being..." Naughty, naughty , naughty. That is precisely what you did to Dr. White, Wade; you filled in the blanks prematurely.

First, Wade, I don't know where the little girl's soul was for four years. But neither do I know where the soul is of a person in PVS.

However, my ignorance makes me think no less of them as a person made in God's image and worthy of dignity and respect. Indeed it solicits in me a compassion and a moral duty to do what is right for them.

Similarly, I don't know where the soul is in frozen embryos but I am no less obligated to show compassion and possess a moral duty to do what is right for the fragile little lives.

Furthermore, your alternative is morally frightening, Wade: "is it possible that what was frozen was the unique human embryo, awaiting the creation of the soul..."

If human embryos are frozen and it is simply human tissue, emptied of all sanctity of life (there is no soul), then the best thing one could do is full throttled scientific research. In fact, it would be good to build pods to grow this tissue and harvest organs. Such is straight out of The Matrix.

More troubling, Wade, is your obvious unfamiliarity with some crucial distinctions theologians make pertaining to the origin of the human soul. One such distinction is between creationism and traducianism.

From the way I am reading you, you belong to the former. Of the soul's creation, you write it: "is God's prerogative to make in His power alone, which He forms at a time of His choosing, uncontrolled by man or scientists."

And again: "Scripture teaches us that man only prepares the body for the forming of the soul, which God alone creates....if God...allows cloning...He will form a UNIQUE soul...like Zechariah the prophet said, man cannot form the soul. That is God's prerogative alone - and the soul is only created by His power alone."

I do not know how you can be clearer. But also I do not know how it could be clearer I disagree with your model.

You clearly believe God Himself is not only the efficient cause of the soul's existence but its instrumental cause as well. That is, no help from scientists, labs, etc. Not even the parents are involved: "Scripture teaches us that man only prepares the body for the forming of the soul, which God alone creates." I'd like to see a Bible verse mined that explicitly says "man only prepares the body for the forming of the soul."

Traducianism holds none of this. For them, the soul was directly created in Adam and then instrumentally through parents.

Furthermore, while you asserted God directly creates a unique soul to be put in the body that parents prepare--illogical at conception, but maybe at implantation and most likely long after implantation (Gill)--Traducians hold that both soul and body are created by God through the parents.

In addition, Immediate creationists seem to make a hard line between body and soul, almost a virtual separation.

Of course, the language you used lends itself nicely here. You spoke of the empty embryos, the prepared bodies awaiting a direct creation from God and the clone hulls scientists create: "if God...allows cloning...He will form a UNIQUE soul."

For Traducianism, a human being is a basic unity of body/soul together.

From my end of the street, there are some really difficult hills to climb, attempting to hold on to your view, Wade. The first is so steep, you may want to go back down.

You being the good Calvinist you are, I am surprised you are so adamant in insisting that God directly creates the soul for the simple reason that you have God directly creating that which is totally depraved.

Nor will it do to say the soul is pure and the body is evil and therefore the body corrupts the soul--that is, unless you'd want to go down the Gnostic road.

Consequently, one is hard pressed to argue for universal depravity apart from some type of transmission flowing naturally from Adam. But, Traducianists possess no such hill to hurdle because both body and soul are corrupted instrumentally through our parents.

That's hopefully enough to show all prolifers are not "hung up" on the "when" human beings are endowed with soul. Honestly, I don't think it's that difficult.

With that, I am...

Peter

wade burleson

Peter,

Excellent response, and I do appreciate the spirit in which it was conveyed. I will be at the John 3:16 Conference next week and would be delighted to share a meal with you on Thursday night if possible. If not, I completely understand.

Now, for a couple of follow-ups.

(1). First, my view of creationism in regards to the human soul (i.e. "God alone creates the soul without any instrumentality of man") as opposed to traducianism (i.e. "the soul is traduced from the union of the mother and father") is the reason the virgin birth is so crucial. What corrupts man is the sinful nature, which is passed on to the generations through the physical union of man and woman from the time of the first Adam. This sinful nature, termed "the flesh" in the KJV and "sinful nature" in the NIV, is precisely what Jesus did not possess. He was born of a virgin ("as the Holy Spirit came upon her"), and thus, the consequences of Adam's original sin were not passed to Jesus Christ. He did not have the "sinful nature" and was not under the condemnation of death. This is why He is called the Last Adam (not the second, implying another). He died voluntarily as an innocent substitute, not under the sentence of the law as are all other sinners who are "in Adam." The Bible clearly teaches sinners are either in the first Adam and under condemnation for that Adam's one sin, or they are in the last Adam and are justified through that Adam's many acts of obedience (Romans 5). So, when God creates and forms the soul in the body, which He does perfectly, what corrupts the soul is the sinful nature passed down through the "seed" of Adam - what you call "the 23/23 chromosomal union." I personally have no problem understanding how God creates the soul upright within man, but man (Adam) has corrupted his own soul.

(2). Second, since we both believe that truth is found in the sacred text, Zechariah 12:1 teaches us that God alone forms the human soul. When He forms the soul is His business, and I respect the Christian person who says God forms it at the moment of conception. I am of the opinion that he forms the soul later, at the time of His choosing when the body is prepared for the soul's reception. My belief is based upon Scripture, is consistent with other Baptist theologians and scholars throughout the centuries, and respectfully upholds the sanctity of human life. I argue for the protection of all human life, whether it be the distinct and sacred body (different than that of animals), or the divine and sacred soul. In fact, Jesus himself told us that we are not to fear him who can destroy the body (i.e. "man"), but we are to fear him who can destroy both body and soul in hell (i.e. "God").

Rightfully recognizing the creative work of God in forming the human soul preserves the teaching of Scripture and the sacredness of man. I am not asking you to give up your belief that God forms the soul at the moment of conception - and so you are correct, the word "illogical" to describe your view is too strong - I am simply asking all Southern Baptists to be prudent, introspective and biblical before making any dogmatic assertions that we know WHEN God forms the soul.

It will help us in a world that progresses scientifically, but remains indifferent to the truth that God alone creates man. And the sooner science realizes that the creation of the individual soul is God's prerogative alone, the sooner science will acknowledge that we will one day return to Him who formed us.

In His Grace,

Wade

peter lumpkins

Wade,

Thanks. First, I'll just have to play it by hear for supper Thursday. I have some commitments that evening already but I am in the dark if it was supposed to include fellowship at the mealtime. I'm sure we'll have another time for a possible cup somewhere if that can't happen.

As for your rejoinder, I find it more than odd that when we're speaking primarily of the sanctity of human life that you begin with the Virgin Birth. Instead of passages that specifically deal with man as man, you rather begin with the Incarnation which is much more than man as man. Instead the Virgin Birth is God as man.

Given such, I cannot help but think that at least this fact alone should be taken into account as one proceeds to argue one's position. But what I hear you saying Wade, is that one needs to start with the Virgin Birth.

My reservation being stated about employing such an unusual starting point, to assert that creationism is " the reason the virgin birth is so crucial" is an interpretation based primarily upon what Scripture Wade?

In addition, if the Virgin Birth depends upon a particular view of the origin of the human soul, as you are arguing, how is it that you can make such a casual acceptance to the contrary later on: "

I am not asking you to give up your belief that God forms the soul at the moment of conception... I am simply asking all Southern Baptists to be prudent, introspective and biblical before making any dogmatic assertions that we know WHEN God forms the soul."

Let me see if I get this, Wade: The view of the soul's origin you're proposing stands as "the reason the virgin birth is so crucial" yet you are not only not concerned others like myself would hold to a position that undermines the Virgin Birth, you are only asking me and others to be " prudent, introspective and biblical" before we make any "dogmatic assertions" about "know[ing] WHEN God forms the soul." Is this what you're saying?

If so, first, Wade, no one gets a get-out-of-jail-free card when they hold views that undermine key doctrines. Secondly, you argued vociferously on your blog for two-three days that no one can know when the soul was infused into the fertilized egg. You now suggest we absolutely know it cannot be other than creationism to which you, of course, embrace.

Then, you turn back around and plea for folk like myself to be very cautious not to make "dogmatic assertions about "know[ing] WHEN God forms the soul" after that is precisely what you did.
My advice, Wade, is to stick with one position or the other.

And this is a good time to say this: if I am honest, I have to confess that this present comment your are presenting now Wade is strangely different from other comments from you. I've been exchanging with you for a long time. In fact, this is so strange, it's almost as if I am responding to somebody else. Oh, well. I guess that's my imagination, uh.

Now as for your statement that explicitly states that "What corrupts man is the sinful nature, which is passed on to the generations through the physical union of man and woman from the time of the first Adam." First, as to what corrupts man being something "passed on to the generations," that is a direct contradiction of the Apostle Paul:

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12). Where did that sin "all have committed" take place? In Adam: "in Adam all die" (1Cor. 15:22).

Indeed the very reason the Apostle can say we are "by nature children of wrath" and "children of darkness" is because our nature's are fallen in Adam. Indeed you even allude to such later in your comment. But if we are dead in trespasses and sin "in Adam," what is the need for this alleged corruption to be "passed on to the generations"?
But even more confusing for me, you have identified the transporter of this corruption as the physical act of sexual intercourse:

"What corrupts man is...passed on to the generations through the physical union of man and woman from the time of the first Adam."

So sex is the vehicle that carries "corruption" down the line? And it was precisely because Mary was a virgin that Jesus was not tainted with the "corruption"?

For my part, that is both a weak view of the Incarnation and definitely a misunderstanding of the Virgin Birth.

First, the greater miracle was not found in Mary's virginity per se. It was found in Mary's conception--" that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."

Second, what kept Christ from "being tainted" was not Mary's virginity; it was the Holy Spirit's conceiving and overshadowing of the divine embryo. We need not give Mary more credit than she deserves. Her body and soul was black in sin. Virgin or not, she could contribute nothing to Christ's perfection. I do not study Catholicism much, but your view, Wade, surely sounds like something they may hold.

You then conclude: "So, when God creates and forms the soul in the body, which He does perfectly, what corrupts the soul is the sinful nature passed down through the "seed" of Adam." Two things.

First, by supposing God creates each new soul individually, directly and perfectly (without sin), you have undermined the doctrine of total depravity.

It does not assist to suggest that each new soul God creates faces corruption through an alleged "sinful nature, which is passed on to the generations through [sex]..." Why?

Because not only would you have each individual soul experiencing a "fall" all his/her own, you would have all persons created innocent but becoming corrupt. Where is such an idea found, Wade?

Second, you also have God, Whom Scripture unequivocally states, resting from creation, continuing on a mass scale to create: "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made" (Gen. 2:2-3).

Consider also the Apostle's words: "...although the works were finished from the foundation of the world....For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works" (Heb. 4:3-4).

If God continues to create, as you insist, one is baffled about these verses.

Nor, Wade, does Zechariah specifically teach us that "God alone forms the human soul" (12:1). Rather the verse says generally " The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him."

I see no reason in this verse to compel me to accept that when God says He "forms the spirit of man" it must exclude Him doing so through the instrumentality of human parents.

In fact the very next verse says: "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem." And just how did God do such? Through fiat? No, through human armies as instruments who set the siege. Is God any less the "creator" of such? Not in my way of thinking.

Last, and perhaps devastating to your view based on Zechariah's words that "the LORD...formeth the spirit of man within him" means "God alone" does so directly, immediately, exclusively and continuously throughout history--apart from any other instrumentality, including human parents--is the context of verse 1 itself. Let's look at the entire verse again:

"The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him."

Zechariah mentions three specific acts of creation. First, the "heavens" are stretched out. Secondly, earth's "foundation" is laid. Finally, human beings are instilled with "spirit." This makes a nice caption of Genesis 1-2.

It's obvious that the first two creation acts are once-for-all historic events--the heavens and earth are not continuously created, I presume. The question is, why would one read the third creation act--"formeth the spirit"--as continuous while the other two contextual creation acts are static? Indeed, the Traducian view, which I explained, and which you flat out rejected, fits this verse perfectly.

Unless, someone brings other evidence to this verse, necessitating it to be interpreted as you suggest, Zechariah 12:1 proves just the opposite from what you desire.

Thus, the continued appeal to Zechariah, Wade, gets no better, I'm afraid.

The remainder of your argument is really moot. I honestly am unsure how some of the verses are even relevant.

With that, I am...
Peter

Dave Miller

You guys make my brain hurt

cb scott

Peter,

Yet again you have handled a debate with intelligent argument and a noticeable ability to see where your opponent totally contradicts himself revealing a major fallacy in his argument as can be easily seen from the following quote taken from your last comment.


"Let me see if I get this, Wade: The view of the soul's origin you're proposing stands as "the reason the virgin birth is so crucial" yet you are not only not concerned others like myself would hold to a position that undermines the Virgin Birth, you are only asking me and others to be " prudent, introspective and biblical" before we make any "dogmatic assertions" about "know[ing] WHEN God forms the soul." Is this what you're saying?

If so, first, Wade, no one gets a get-out-of-jail-free card when they hold views that undermine key doctrines. Secondly, you argued vociferously on your blog for two-three days that no one can know when the soul was infused into the fertilized egg. You now suggest we absolutely know it cannot be other than creationism to which you, of course, embrace.

Then, you turn back around and plea for folk like myself to be very cautious not to make "dogmatic assertions about "know[ing] WHEN God forms the soul" after that is precisely what you did.
My advice, Wade, is to stick with one position or the other.

And this is a good time to say this: if I am honest, I have to confess that this present comment your are presenting now Wade is strangely different from other comments from you. I've been exchanging with you for a long time. In fact, this is so strange, it's almost as if I am responding to somebody else. Oh, well. I guess that's my imagination, uh."

Thank you for consistent and rational debate of such a serious issue as human life without falling to the use of what I term as "culture junkie" arguments such as the following:

"(1). We have a youth pastor and his wife who desired children, but could not bear any kids naturally. They conceived through in vitro fertilization. They had 8 fertilized eggs cry-preserved (frozen). They bore a son. FOUR YEARS LATER they bore a daughter from the same group of fertilized eggs harvested from the woman and fertilized by the sperm in the test tube of a labratory. If possible, Peter, from your belief that the soul is generated by the 23/23 chromosome connection, where was the little girl's soul for four years? Was it frozen too? Was it asleep? Was it in the refigerator?"

cb


wade burleson

CB,

Those "culture junkie arguments," as you call them, both have names.

They are 7 year old Austin, and his 3 year old sister Leah.

Blessings,

Wade

P.S. To believe God creates the soul is not the same thing as being dogmatic as to "when" He creates it. The former is from Scripture (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Zechariah 12:1) and the latter is from conjecture.

peter lumpkins

CB,

Thanks CB. Unfortunately, Wade does not see the stark contradiction that seems so plain. We'll see if he acknowledges it later ;^)

Always glad to have you log on. With that, I am...

Peter

cb scott

Wade,

The children you refer to were not the subject of the culture junkie definition and you well know it.

Those are children and we both know they have souls. So don't use them to promote your arguments.

Your using their names does bring up a question though. Did you ask the man and his wife if you could discuss their life on a blog and use the names of their underage children putting them at risk of ridicule or worse? Or do you think that since someone serves on staff of the church you serve as pastor you may do as you please with their private lives?

You did exactly what Peter stated you did. You contradicted your own argument and anyone with reasonable reading skills will have to agree to that, even those who would agree with your creationist position.

Your problem in the argument is that Peter argued from a greater theological well of understanding than you have capability and you retreated to the use of a cultural issue as you so often do when you realize you cannot win any other way.

cb

peter lumpkins

Wade,

Congratulations! Your comment to CB indicates we now have the 'old Wade' back!

For the record, you still continue to proof-text your view with Zech. 12:1. I've offered more than once explanation of such which contradicts your use of Zechariah's words.

Now, for sure, I may be wrong in what I suggested the text meant, I concede, Wade. The problem is, you continue to quote the text--even here--without one single word about not only reasonable questions I raised about how you interpreted Zechariah 12:1, but also about the contextual interpretation offered in place of yours.

Wade, if you want to sandbag your view, fine. But if you want to be taken seriously--at least on blogs other than yours--I'm afraid you're simply going to have to engage.

By the way, I offered hefty commentary on all three "real life" situations you posed here as well. Again, I received not one single acknowledgment back, not even so much as "I disagree" or "Sorry. Your understanding is inadequate."

Instead, the subject was changed and the strange comment appeared.

With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

CB,

I agree totally that Wade fell back on his hard story anecdotes that he so often employs to make his case. And, the query you offer stings to the bone and should not be taken lightly--do these dear people know their children's story is plastered on an internet blog as "evidence" of a point?

For the record, I also agree that the immediate creationist position on the origin of the soul in contrast to the Traducianist view literally poses no necessary dispute in the end--unless the creationist position is used as a barter to soften the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception.

In my view, that is precisely what Wade was/is doing: creating a wedge for such to happen. That's why I brought up the distinction in the beginning (along with Wade wrongly assuming I was an immediate creationist).

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

wade burleson

Gentlemen,

The couple make their testimony of the birth of their two children part of their public testimony, and the means through which hearers of it can glorify God in the creation of sacred life. I'd be more than happy to give you a copy of the tape if you desire.

It's helpful when we stay on track of the topic and do not go into questioning another's character or motives.

Blessings,

Wade

peter lumpkins

Wade,

CB raised these questions:

Your using their names does bring up a question though. Did you ask the man and his wife if you could discuss their life on a blog and use the names of their underage children putting them at risk of ridicule or worse? Or do you think that since someone serves on staff of the church you serve as pastor you may do as you please with their private lives?

And, in response, I raised this similar concern:

"do these dear people know their children's story is plastered on an internet blog as "evidence" of a point?

If you would please point out to me how any of the above is "questioning another's character or motives," I'd be happy to address it. Raising questions is definitively not the same as you suggest. I made this same point in my post contra your diatribe against Dr. White.

And, now that you have answered such--since this is/was public testimony--personally, though I am still reserved about using the names (I wouldn't), I'm satisfied enough with the answer to let it lie.

However, on the repeated questions I've asked pertaining to the subject of your comments here--especially with your continued use of Zech. 12:1--questions that you have not so much as acknowledged, I cannot possess the same satisfaction as to the above, I am sorry to say.

With that, I am...

Peter

cb scott

Wade,

Giving a testimony among one's covenant community of Christ-Followers is far different than you posting it for all the world to see.

Actually you avoided the question with another of your diversionary tactics. So, I will ask it again. Did you or did you not ask the couple in question if you could use their story and the names of their children to advance yet another one of your weak efforts to cover your lacking ability for theological debate by the use of smoke and mirrors?

You really need to stop using people, Wade. And just because a person is on the church staff and is accountable to you does not give you the right to air their lives to the public.

Now, I am sure we can count on you to go back to your blog and use your "delusional giftedness" to pull the wool even over your own eyes, (much more your groupies) and make either Peter, me or both of us great demons on this Halloween day as you present your case as to how we seek to destroy you in all your "irenic" righteousness as you only seek to be the humble hero of truth, justice and the American Way (No, strike that. That should be "humble hero of truth, justice and the Wade's World way).

Yes, Bad Peter, Bad cb. That's us alright.

cb

Debbie Kaufman

CB: How ridiculous.

cb scott

Thank you Debbie,

Somehow I knew I could count on you for that.

cb

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