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 sunshine2tan
Joined: 1/23/2006
Msg: 51
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?Page 3 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
I skipped past alot of the replies on this topic...my apologies.....Adam and Eve were created perfect....on a perfect spot on earth called Eden....they were given guidelines to live by and knew when they were told that if they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and bad that they would die. Death was something they knew because of the animal lifespan. They were made with free choice....and with anyones free choice there is the brain and heart involved and the reasoning power to excuse a behavior. Satan....who was raised with millions of other sibling angels and given that same free choice.....chose to desire the power that his Father was entitled to. The first heavenly creature to rebel openly. So, his first victim was that first perfect human creation. Sadly, the woman first. Created doubt in her mind....made her wonder if what he said was true....and she ate. She talked to her husband and he made the same choice of free will. They dented the mold. They blew it for the rest of us...
 tim49250
Joined: 2/9/2005
Msg: 52
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 4/7/2006 12:05:08 AM
Hi Sunshine, nice of you to post your faiths concept of Original Sin.


She talked to her husband and he made the same choice of free will.


In Genesis3:6 the Bible never says Eve talked to Adam about the fruit she brought him. She could have even sliced it up and mixed it with other food, it just doesn't say she discussed anything with Adam about this life altering snack she brought him to eat and since God himself had given her to be his help mate why would he question every type of food she brought him? Verse 12 below may seem to hint of Adam knowing what he ate before he ate it but it doesn’t really imply whether Adam knew before he ate the fruit or after he ate it. It would make since that Eve would want to discuss how she felt after she ate and knowingly gave Adam the fruit to eat. He could have known what she gave him before hand or found out after being given the fruit. There simply doesn’t seem to be any scripture, that I have been able to find, to say one way or the other. So does anyone know of any scripture implying that Adam knew in any way exactly what fruit Eve gave him before he ate that specific fruit?

Genesis 3:6 (KJV) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Genesis 3:12 (KJV) And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.


They dented the mold. They blew it for the rest of us...


How do you get it that we should all be punished for their individual actions? With Adam we don’t even know if he knew what he was eating really. Is this a good, fair and/or loving thing to do to one's creation and it‘s offspring? Would you create something that displayed weakness in a certain area then punish your creation and all its offspring for a weakness that you didn't see coming before you created it? Wouldn't your time be better spend in going back to the drawing board instead of allowing millions and millions to burn in Hell for an eternity, because of a weakness that some might considered, at least, in part the fault of the creator and not just the creation?
 Confident-Realist
Joined: 2/8/2004
Msg: 53
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 4/7/2006 12:32:17 PM
time4925,

The only thing I would take issue with is that there is much more evidence of Jesus’ actions on the cross seen in the shift of the actions of individuals and cultures from a Darwinian survival of the fittest (eye for an eye) to a Christ's unconditional love (turn the other cheek).

Thank you -- I now see what you're saying. :)

I think cultures and individuals go by more of a biological means (eye for an eye) than unconditional love, absolutely. Before, during, and after Jesus lived. Many will parse the gospels or any other religion to promote a battle-axe mentality. Without conflict or "war" (whether it be of words or by sword), there would be less followers of religion in general. People need something to fight for, fulfilling something to live for. Heck, I thought political disputes was enough, but I guess religion takes the cake (as it mixes in with politics)!
 Lord Dave
Joined: 11/25/2005
Msg: 54
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 4/7/2006 1:25:32 PM
You know I realized something today:

If God is omicent then he knows what's going to happen.
I've also heard it say that Jesus was ment to come to earth and be the sacrifice.
So if god is omicent then he knew when he'd send his son, jesus, to earth to be sacrificed to removed original sin from man.

Now it occurs to me that if God knew that man would eat the forbidden fruit AND that he'd eventually have jesus sacrifice himself to save man from that sin, then God wanted man to have original sin. Why else would he have put a tree in the garden knowing full well that man would eat from it?
So God wanted to Brand man with Original Sin, but make man think that it's his fault THEN god sends down Jesus so that man can be forgiven for a sin god had given man in the first place.

Does anyone see the problems with this logic?
 tim49250
Joined: 2/9/2005
Msg: 55
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 4/7/2006 3:07:12 PM
I completely agree with you on your logic, Dave that is one of the reasons I have this thread to see if others have a better understanding of the concept. I have yet to see any better understanding of the concept than yours.


So God wanted to Brand man with Original Sin, but make man think that it's his fault THEN god sends down Jesus so that man can be forgiven for a sin god had given man in the first place.


The Bible says a lot of things about why Jesus came but here is what I think...

Jesus came to for those who tried to destroy Him. His message was the unconditional love He showed those who persecuted Him. His actions shifted the way much of the world now views conflict resolution. The old way was eye for an eye, now there are some who choose to turn the other cheek.

From the best I can tell, Dave, Jesus did not come to save the masses from sin but to change the hearts of the Pharisees were using religion and the concept of God as creator to pad their pockets. Remember the one time it was told by the gospels that Jesus actually used his hands physically to lash out at people? They were doing this very thing by exchanging money at the temple, he called them thieves, he also called the Pharisees (religious leaders of His time and place) the blind leading the blind.
 tim49250
Joined: 2/9/2005
Msg: 56
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 9/25/2006 12:00:53 PM
This interesting comment on this topic was taken from Sum1reel's comment in the thread titled:

What does Jesus Christ recommend concerning our sexual conduct?


Adam was endowed with the ability to discern, while other human life forms were not, so it is not a matter of who God could communicate better with!......Adam was a representation of a superior human species, who had greater knowledge and therefore bore greater responsibility for his actions!!!.......When Adam ate of the fruit from the tree of knowledge, he was making a statement to God that he was putting more faith in HIS own reasoning instead of that of God!.......that is why he fell from grace and was bannished from the "garden"....any other human (outside the garden) would never have had the capacity to make the decision that Adam made.


Sum1reel, I find your comments and questions most always give me something new to think about. This is comment on Original Sin is no exception.

Here you said "Adam was endowed with the ability to discern, while other human life forms were not,". Isn't that just another way of saying that Adam was not "endowed" well enough by God to properly "discern" the one decision God had given him? That is, of course, if you believe that Adam made the wrong decision.
 Spelly
Joined: 6/6/2006
Msg: 57
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 9/25/2006 12:25:48 PM
Since original sin is a Christian concept, it has no place in my Pagan faith.
 paulthesane
Joined: 3/14/2004
Msg: 58
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 9/25/2006 10:09:45 PM
What does Original Sin represent in my Personal "Faith"?

Absolutley NOTHING.
 cagliostro
Joined: 4/30/2006
Msg: 59
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 9/26/2006 2:00:41 AM
The doctrine of original sin has no place in anyone's faith imho as it cannot logically be true: it is inconsistent within itself.

Before I explain why I should say this is not a matter of belief but of extrapolation from belief. For example; one can believe anything at all - anything may be possible, BUT once one has chosen something, then one cannot believe the opposite and still retain the possibility of it being true.

That is to say that I am totally free to believe God is a cat but then I cannot as part of that belief argue that God is a fish. Either may be possibly true or false - but I cannot logically hold to both. This is why original sin is complete nonsense. One reason anyway.

This is what Christians believe:

That God created everything that exists.
That sin did not exist co-terminously with God before the creation.
That God is omnipotent (ie He can do anything at all)
That God is all knowing (ie He knows what will happen in the future)

So how is sin of any description - original or otherwise - possible?

It is possible if God created it. If He did not then where did it come from if it did not exist always? And if it did exist always then surely it is an equal 'thing' to God?

And that's before we get into any 'free-will' obfuscation which is merely a tautological construct designed to convince people God is a fish and a cat at the same time for purposes of manipulation.
 love seeker
Joined: 4/5/2006
Msg: 60
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History
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 9/26/2006 8:38:00 PM
I have never understood this... If we are to believe that only humans were given free will and that the angels were not, then how is it that Lucifer was able to choose rebellion against God?
 lump of coal
Joined: 9/22/2006
Msg: 61
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 9/26/2006 8:54:22 PM
I don't believe in sin as such, but in the bible and other stories the idea is people step outside their basic instincts to begin the inner journey of spiritual enlightenment. You begin to wonder what it's all about. That kind of search is an adventure, leading to that point later on when you die to the world and are born to the spiritual world. Original sin is a corruption of the proposition that first we are animals and second we have an intellectual aspect expressed using language.
 itsmeinco
Joined: 5/18/2006
Msg: 62
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What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 9/26/2006 9:55:22 PM
TO me it represents a steaming load of horse shit.
 love seeker
Joined: 4/5/2006
Msg: 63
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What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 9/26/2006 10:02:44 PM
Quote:

You know I realized something today:

If God is omicent then he knows what's going to happen.
I've also heard it say that Jesus was ment to come to earth and be the sacrifice.
So if god is omicent then he knew when he'd send his son, jesus, to earth to be sacrificed to removed original sin from man.

Now it occurs to me that if God knew that man would eat the forbidden fruit AND that he'd eventually have jesus sacrifice himself to save man from that sin, then God wanted man to have original sin. Why else would he have put a tree in the garden knowing full well that man would eat from it?
So God wanted to Brand man with Original Sin, but make man think that it's his fault THEN god sends down Jesus so that man can be forgiven for a sin god had given man in the first place.

Does anyone see the problems with this logic?

Response:

Yes, I see a problem with that logic. I asked the same exact thing during cathecism when I was a kid. They had no real answers, they just kept repeating what it said in the bible. Later I asked, "why would a loving God set us up to fail?" So far, no one has given me an answer that is even close to being acceptable. I have found when you ask questions like that most just tell you, "that's where faith comes in."
 skypoetone
Joined: 3/24/2005
Msg: 64
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 3/13/2007 10:12:15 AM

Yes, I see a problem with that logic. I asked the same exact thing during cathecism when I was a kid. They had no real answers, they just kept repeating what it said in the bible. Later I asked, "why would a loving God set us up to fail?" So far, no one has given me an answer that is even close to being acceptable. I have found when you ask questions like that most just tell you, "that's where faith comes in."


I'm surprised no-one as taken this point up, so I will...

There is utter disagreement among denominations as to whether God is omniscient, thus the confusion. If God is, then he alone is responsible for evil, if he is not (and I can't fathom why he shouldn't be) then his plan was some huge mistake, one all-time blunder.

So “why would God set us up to fail?” He wouldn’t, the bible writer’s have done that for us.
 Feral
Joined: 4/10/2005
Msg: 65
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What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 3/13/2007 7:46:45 PM

What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?

Could've sworn I'd posted on this before...

Anyway, the Feral answer: "Original Sin" would have to be the first instance of what I would consider sin. Original in that it's the first time it happened (albeit, misfortunately not the last), and sin, since it would have been an instance of harming someone for my (perceived) benefit.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 66
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 3/13/2007 10:22:05 PM

What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?


I don't personally recognize the existence of "original sin" except in the very metaphoric sense of loss of innocence and the gaining of knowledge of good and evil. The idea of inherited sin is something that is uniquely Christian, as is the necessity of vicarious atonement.

It doesn't exist in it's predecessor faith, Judaism and must have been picked up through one of the neighbouring faiths such as Zoroastrianism or Mithraism as the concept of inherited sin or someone dying for the sins of another is in fact spoken explicitly against in the Hebrew Scriptures as anathema.
 eternalknight
Joined: 8/19/2006
Msg: 67
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What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 3/13/2007 11:25:34 PM
It doesn't exist in it's predecessor faith, Judaism and must have been picked up through one of the neighbouring faiths such as Zoroastrianism or Mithraism as the concept of inherited sin or someone dying for the sins of another is in fact spoken explicitly against in the Hebrew Scriptures as anathema.

Can you explain fiddler,...how the concept of original sin MUST have been picked up from neighboring faiths?
The entire Old Testament, not just The Torah, is rife with original sin.
I simply don't understand your line of thought here.


I don't personally recognize the existence of "original sin" except in the very metaphoric sense of loss of innocence and the gaining of knowledge of good and evil. The idea of inherited sin is something that is uniquely Christian, as is the necessity of vicarious atonement.


It is metaphoric, but at the same time it is literal. We all possess the capacity to sin and do wrong, and we all instinctively know wrong from right.
Yet we all choose to do the wrong thing at some point in our lives, no matter if we are Christian or not. No matter what our upbringing or status in this short life, we ALL eventually do something wrong,...we all sin whenever we reach such an age as we have the capacity to use our free will, and temptation of some sort gets the best of us.
This would lead anyone to believe that it is indeed a potential we are all born with, the concept of original sin.

 themadfiddler
Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 68
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 3/14/2007 12:08:07 AM

Can you explain fiddler,...how the concept of original sin MUST have been picked up from neighboring faiths?
The entire Old Testament, not just The Torah, is rife with original sin.
I simply don't understand your line of thought here.


Actually only a Christian reading of it is. No Jew reads the Jewish Scripture, the Tanakh, which includes the Torah and writings of the prophets that way. In fact most of the doctrine of original sin emerges from Paul, and is elaborated and developed by teachings of Augustine of Hippo.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_sin
http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/web/faq/faq123.html



Answer: Jews do not believe in the doctrine of original sin. This is a Christian belief based on Paul's statement, "Therefore just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Romans 5:12). The doctrine was fully developed by the church father, Augustine of Hippo (354-430).

According to this doctrine, hereditary sinfulness is inescapably transmitted to human beings by their parents, starting with Adam and Eve. It is alleged that only acceptance of Jesus as savior from sin can redeem a person from sin. All those who do not accept Jesus as their savior from sin are condemned to eternal suffering in hell.

Whether man is a sinner by nature or not is immaterial. Judaism teaches the biblical way to repentance and reconciliation with God. Sincere repentance in which the sinner pledges to rectify his sinful ways and lead a righteous life is one means that is open at all times to all of humanity (Jonah 3:5-10, Daniel 4:27). God counsels Cain, "Why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do good [that is, change your ways], will it not be lifted up [that is, you will be forgiven]. But if you do not do good, sin rests at the door; and it desires you, but you may rule over it" (Genesis 4:6-7). God informs Cain that repentance and subsequent forgiveness are always open to him. The remedy for sin is clear. Biblically, God's loving-kindness depends on right conduct and extends to all humanity.


http://www.outreachjudaism.org/original.htm



Question:

Dear Rabbi Singer,

Does the Jewish faith have a teaching comparable to that of "original sin" in the Christian tradition? By this I mean the teaching that all human beings are born with an innate tendency to disobey God. In my particular Christian tradition, water baptism is required for the removal of this sin. Would you please comment.

Thanks for your assistance.

Answer:

The term "original sin" is unknown to the Jewish scriptures, and the church's teachings on this doctrine are antithetical to the core principles of the Torah and its prophets. Moreover, your comment that your Christian denomination teaches that water baptism is essential for the removal of sin may rattle the sensitivities of more Christians than anything I am going to say. Nevertheless, you have raised a number of important issues that must be addressed. Before answering your question, however, it is important that our website visitors understand the Christian doctrine on original sin.

According to church teachings, the mortal sin committed by our first parents in the Garden of Eden had catastrophic consequences for the human race. Most importantly, Christendom holds that these devastating effects extend far beyond the curses of painful childbirth and laborious farming conditions outlined in the third chapter of Genesis.

This well-known church doctrine posits that when Adam and Eve rebelled against God and ate from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge, all of their descendants became infected with the stain of their transgression. Moreover, as a consequence of this first iniquity, man is hopelessly lost in a state of sin in which he has been held captive since this fall. As a result, he is powerless to follow the path of obedience and righteousness by his own free will. Rather, missionaries contend, because all are born with an innate and uncontrollable lust for sin, humanity can do nothing to merit its own salvation. In essence, man is totally depraved and true free will is far beyond his grasp. "Totally depraved" may seem to be a harsh way for a Christian doctrine to depict mankind's dire condition, yet this is precisely the term used by the church to describe man's desperate, sinful predicament. It is only through faith in Jesus, Christendom concludes, that hopeless man can be saved.

You stated in your question that the doctrine on original sin teaches that "all human beings are born with an innate tendency to disobey God." While this statement is superficially correct, it fails to convey the far-reaching scope of this church doctrine. Although Christianity does teach that the entire human race is born with an evil inclination, this tenet encompasses a far more extreme position than the one that you briefly outlined. In fact, missionaries insist that as a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden, man's unquenchable desire for sin is virtually ungovernable. In Christian terms, man is not inclined toward sin but more accurately is a slave to sin. As a result, the church concludes, short of converting to Christianity, humanity can do nothing to save itself from hell.

Bear in mind, there is good reason for the church's uncompromising stand on this cherished doctrine. The founders of Christianity understood that if man can save himself from eternal damnation through his own initiative and obedience to God, the church would have very little to offer the human race. Moreover, if righteousness can be achieved through submission to the commandments outlined in the Torah, what possible benefit could Jesus' death provide for mankind? Such self-probing thoughts, however, were unimaginable to those who shaped primitive Christianity.

Despite the zealous position missionaries take as they defend this creed, the Christian doctrine on original sin is profoundly hostile to the central teachings of the Jewish scriptures. Over and over again the Torah loudly dismisses the notion that man has lost his divinely endowed capacity to freely choose good over evil, life over death. This is not a hidden or ambiguous message in the Jewish scriptures. On the contrary, it is proclaimed in virtually every teaching that Moses directs to the children of Israel.

In fact, in an extraordinary sermon delivered by Moses in the last days of his life, the prophet stands before the entire nation and condemns the notion that man's condition is utterly hopeless. Throughout this uplifting exhortation, Moses declares that it is man alone who can and must merit his own salvation. Moreover, as he unhesitatingly speaks in the name of God, the lawgiver thoroughly rejects the notion that obedience to the Almighty is "too difficult or far off" and declares to the children of Israel that righteousness has been placed within their reach.

Deuteronomy 30 isn't a quiet chapter and its verses read as though the Torah is bracing the Jewish people for the Christian doctrines that would confront them many centuries later. As the last Book of the Pentateuch draws to a close, Moses admonishes his young nation not to question their capacity to remain faithful to the mitzvoth of the Torah. Deuteronomy 30:10-14 states:

. . . if you will hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law; if you turn unto the Lord thy God with all your heart and with all your soul; for this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you neither is it too far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, "Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, and make us hear it, that we may do it?" Neither is it beyond the sea that you should say: "Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it that we may do it?" The word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.

The Jewish people have drawn great comfort and encouragement from this uplifting promise. For the church, however, Moses' strong message created a theological disaster. How could the authors of the New Testament reasonably insist that man's dire condition was hopeless if the Torah unambiguously declared that man possessed an extraordinary ability to remain faithful to God? How could the church fathers possibly contend that the mitzvoth in the Torah couldn't save the Jewish people when the Creator proclaimed otherwise? How could missionaries conceivably maintain that the commandments of the Torah are too difficult when the Torah declares that they are "not far off," "not too hard," and "you may do it"?

This staggering problem did not escape the keen attention of Paul. Bear in mind, the author of Romans and Galatians constructed his most consequential doctrines on the premise that man is utterly depraved and incapable of saving himself through his own obedience to God. In chapter after chapter he directs his largely gentile audiences toward the cross and away from Sinai as he repeatedly insists that man is lost without Jesus.

Yet how could Paul harmonize this wayward theology with the Jewish scriptures in which his teachings were not only unknown, but thoroughly condemned? Even with the nimble skills that Paul possessed, welding together the church's young doctrine on original sin with diametrically opposed teachings of the Jewish scriptures would not be a simple task.

Employing unparalleled literary manipulation, however, Paul manages to conceal this vexing theological problem with a swipe of his well-worn eraser. In fact, Paul's innovative approach to biblical tampering was so remarkable that it would set the standard of scriptural revisionism for future New Testament authors.

A classic example of this biblical revisionism can be found in Romans 10:8 where Paul announces to his readers that he is quoting directly from scripture as he records the words of Deuteronomy 30:14. Yet as he approaches the last portion of this verse, he carefully stops short of the Torah's vital conclusion and expunges the remaining segment of this crucial verse. In Romans 10:8 Paul writes,

But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach).

Predictably, the last words of Deuteronomy 30:14, "that you may do it," were meticulously deleted by Paul. Bear in mind that he had good reason for removing this clause -- the powerful message contained in these closing words rendered all that Paul was preaching as heresy.

This stunning misquote in Romans stands out as a remarkable illustration of Paul's ability to shape scriptures in order to create the illusion that his theological message conformed to the principles of the Torah. By removing the final segment of this verse, Paul succeeded in convincing his largely gentile readers that his Christian teachings were supported by the principles of the Hebrew Bible.

Deuteronomy 30:14
Romans 10:8
But the word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.
But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach).


The question that immediately comes to mind is: How can Paul deliberately remove a vital clause from Moses' message and still expect to gain a following among the Jewish people? While considering this question, we can begin to understand why Paul attained great success among his gentile audiences and utterly failed among the Jews who were unimpressed with his contrived message.

It is for this reason that although both Paul and Matthew quoted extensively from the Jewish scriptures, they achieved a very different result. Paul was largely a minister to gentile audiences who were ignorant of the Jewish Bible (the only Bible in existence at the time). As a result, they did not possess the skills necessary to discern between genuine Judaism and Bible tampering. These illiterate masses were, as a result, vulnerable, and eagerly consumed everything that Paul taught them. In fact, throughout the New Testament it was exclusively the Jewish apostates to Christianity who challenged Paul's authority, never the gentile community.

Matthew, on the other hand, directed all of his evangelism and Bible quotes to Jewish audiences. Jewish people, however, were keenly aware of Matthew's manipulation of their Bible. As a result, the first Gospel failed to effectively reach its intended Jewish readers. It required little more than a perfunctory reading of the first few chapters in the Book of Matthew for Jewish people to determine that there was no prophecy in Isaiah that foretold that a virgin would give birth to a messiah. Likewise, the Jewish people were doubly unimpressed with Matthew's claim that the messiah was to be a resident of Nazareth, when no such prophecy existed. The people of Israel concluded that Matthew had engaged in a willful and unrestrained corruption of their sacred scriptures. Consequently, the author of the first Gospel failed in his effort to convert his targeted Jewish audiences to Christianity.

Ironically, there was no individual in history who was more responsible for the strong resistance of the Jewish people to the Christian message than Matthew. In contrast, the person most responsible for the church's unparalleled success among the gentiles was unquestionably the apostle Paul. Not surprisingly, throughout the biblical narrative, gentiles had always had a terrible time discerning chaff from wheat, truth from heresy; and the Jews were repeatedly warned never to emulate them. Tragically, some of our people missed this crucial message.

Paul, however, should have been tipped off that his teachings on original sin were misguided and that his broad-brushed characterization of humanity was erroneous. In fact, the Jewish scriptures repeatedly praised numerous men of God for their unwavering righteousness. For example, the Bible declared that men like Calev1 and King Josiah2 were faithful throughout their extraordinary lives. Moreover, because of their devotion to their Creator, Abraham and Daniel were the objects of the Almighty's warm affection as He tenderly referred to Abraham as "My friend,"3 and Daniel, "beloved."4 These extraordinary people did not merit these remarkable superlatives because they believed in Jesus or depended on a blood atonement; but rather, it was their devotion to God and unyielding obedience to His Torah that shaped their lives.

Job's unique loyalty to God stands as a permanent enigma to Christian theology as well. Here was a man who was severely tested by Satan and endured unimaginable personal tragedies, yet despite these afflictions, Job remains the model of the righteous servant of God. While in Christian theology Job's personal spiritual triumph is a theological impossibility, in Jewish terms it stands out as the embodiment of God's salvation program for mankind. Job didn't rely on Jesus to save him and he certainly did not turn to the cross for his redemption; rather, it was his unswerving obedience to God that made his life a lesson for all of humanity.

Paul's unfounded doctrine on original sin sullies the exemplary legacies of these and many other great men of God. Moreover, Christians must ponder whether it is an insult to the Creator to label all of God's human creation depraved.

Quite unwittingly, Luke committed a striking theological blunder that severely undermined Paul's teachings on original sin. In the first chapter of Luke, the evangelist seeks to portray Elizabeth, who is the cousin of Mary, and her husband Zechariah as the virtuous parents of John the Baptist. Yet in his zeal to characterize the baptizer's mother and father as saints, Luke unwittingly writes, "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Luke 1:6)

The question that immediately comes to mind is how can missionaries possibly harmonize Paul's insistence that all humanity is depraved when Luke insists that Elizabeth and Zechariah were to be regarded as "blameless"? This is a stunning gaffe for Luke to make when it was he who eagerly promoted Paul in his Book of Acts. Doesn't Luke's assertion that this couple observed "all the Lord's commandments" fly in the face of Paul's central teaching that no one is capable of keeping the mitzvoth of the Torah? Is it not a fact that Christianity teaches that this task is impossible?

Paul never lived to read the Book of Luke, yet throughout his epistles Paul sidesteps any statement in the Jewish scriptures that could undermine his teaching on original sin. For example, immediately after the sin of Adam and Eve is narrated, the Torah declares that man can master his passionate lust for sin. In Genesis 4:6-7, God turns to Cain and warns him,

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? If, though, you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you shall master over it.

For Christian architects like Paul, Augustine, and Calvin, this declaration of man's capacity to restrain and govern his lust for sin is nothing short of heresy. Moreover, the fact that the Torah places these assuring words immediately following the sin in the Garden of Eden5 is profoundly troubling for the church. How can depraved humanity control its iniquity when the Book of Romans repeatedly insists that man can do nothing to release himself from sin's powerful grip? Yet notice that there is nothing in the Eden narrative that could be construed as support for Paul's teaching on humanity's dire condition. On the contrary, in just these two inspiring verses, the Torah dispels forever the church's teachings on original sin.

There is one final point that must be addressed regarding a passing statement you made in your question. I was somewhat puzzled by your comment that your brand of Christianity teaches that "water baptism is required for the removal of this sin." It is not uncommon for Christians to relate some personal tidbit about their religious beliefs somewhere in the course of their question. What was so surprising about your comment, however, is that your church has simply replaced one commandment with another. On the one hand, your church teaches that the commandments explicitly ordained by the Torah are to be abandoned by believing Christians. Yet in the very same breath, your church then introduces this brand new commandment declaring that its parishioners must undergo a water baptism to be saved. It would seem more logical that if you were going to contemplate observing commandments, you might as well devote your loyalty to those mitzvoth ordained by God rather than those introduced by your pastor and deacons.

The notion that man is saved by being washed in water or forgiven through human blood is unknown to the Jewish scriptures. The Almighty does, however, clearly lay out His sovereign plan for His covenant people when he declares, "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil." (Deuteronomy 30:15) What is this "life" and "good" of which the Torah speaks? Missionaries insist that the Jewish nation must convert to Christianity and believe in a crucified messiah in order to be saved. The Torah, however, disagrees. Throughout the Hebrew Bible the Almighty unambiguously declares that the children of Israel are to draw near to Him with intense love and faithfully keep His commandments. This is the desire of the Creator. Moses beseeches the children of Israel,

I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees, and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. (Deuteronomy 30:16)

Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, remained intensely loyal to God's commandments and, as a result, the Torah regards our first patriarch as the paradigm of faithfulness.

I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands, and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws. (Genesis 26:4-5)

The Almighty did not give us desires that we cannot govern or commandments that we could not keep. The Torah was not delivered to angels, it was given to the children of Israel long after our first ancestors transgressed in the Garden of Eden.

In Jewish terms, sin is not a person, it's an event, and that event happened yesterday. In chapter after chapter, the prophets of Israel beseech those who lost their way to turn back to the Merciful One because today is a new day.

Best wishes for a happy Purim.

Very sincerely yours,

Rabbi Tovia Singer

Footnotes:

Click on the footnote to return to the article

1Numbers 14:24.
2II Kings 22:2.
3Isaiah 41:8.
4Daniel 9:23; 10:11; 10:19.
5The sin in the Garden of Eden is found in chapter three of Genesis.


And frankly, by the looks of things, even Augustine's view, though it has become canonical might likely have not been considered sensible to the early church...

http://southerncrossreview.org/14/pagels.htm



Adam, Eve, and the Serpent

Elaine Pagels
Reviewed by Frank Thomas Smith

In The Gnostic Gospels, reviewed in Number 2 of Southern Cross Review, Elaine Pagels described the finding of the Gnostic Gospels in a cave in Upper Egypt in December, 1945, and how these documents shed an entirely new light on early Christianity. She also told how the Gnostics, though far from united in their beliefs, practiced and preached a far more esoteric Christianity than that of the Church; and how the Church suppressed and destroyed the Gnostic writings. The documents found in Egypt had obviously been hidden there to preserve them from destruction.

In her later book (1989), reviewed here, Pagels takes up the story again, this time investigating how the traditional patterns of gender and sexual relationship arose in our society. In the process she saw that the sexual attitudes we associate with Christian tradition evolved during the first four centuries of the Common Era, when the Christian movement, which had begun as a defiant sect, transformed itself into the religion of the Roman Empire. Many Christians of the first four centuries took pride in their sexual restraint, eschewed polygamy and divorce, which Jewish tradition allowed – and they repudiated extramarital sexual practices commonly accepted by their pagan contemporaries, practices that included prostitution, abuse of slaves and homosexuality. Such views, although not completely original, soon became inseparable from Christian faith. Some even went so as to embrace celibacy, which they urged upon those capable of the “angelic life”.

The story of Adam and Eve, and the Serpent was written down about 3,000 years ago and probably told for many generations before that. During the course of her investigations, Pagels became fascinated with the extraordinary influence this tale has had on western culture. Augustine, whose views eventually became dogma, derived many of his ideas from this story: that sexual desire is sinful; that infants are infected from the moment of conception with the disease of original sin; and that Adam’s sin (not to mention Eve’s) corrupted the whole of nature itself. Even non-Christians live in a culture indelibly shaped by these interpretations.

By the beginning of the fifth century, Augustine had labeled spontaneous sexual desire (not for the purpose of procreation) as a proof of – and penalty for – universal original sin, a concept that would have baffled most of his Christian predecessors, as well as his pagan and Jewish contemporaries. Earlier generations of Christians and Jews found in Genesis 1-3 the affirmation of human freedom to choose good or evil. But Augustine found in it a story of human bondage. He argued that all humankind was fallen and that human will was incorrigibly corrupt. Finally, with the power of the Church and Empire behind him, Augustine decided that not only non-Christians, but also Christians who did not abide by his dogmas should be repressed. Many Christians as well as pagans, he noted regretfully, responded only to fear.

Human freedom, once considered the heart of the Christian Gospel, met its downfall once Augustine’s theology became the Church’s official dogma. By the beginning of the fifth century those who still held to such archaic traditions were condemned as heretics. Augustine’s theory of the Fall, together with the imperially supported Catholic Church, then moved into the center of western history. There were those who opposed the Augustine dogma, of course, and Pagels gives us a detailed account of the theological arguments pro and contra, fascinating reading, even today.

Why did the Church and the majority of Catholics adopt Augustine’s paradoxical, even preposterous interpretations of the Gospels?

Some historians suggest that such beliefs validate the Church’s authority, for if the human condition is a disease, Catholic Christianity, acting as the Good Physician, offers the spiritual medication and the discipline that alone can cure it. No doubt Augustine’s views did serve the imperial church and the Christian state, as I have tried to show in the preceding chapter. For what Augustine says, in simplest terms, is this: human beings cannot be trusted to govern themselves, because our very nature—indeed all of nature—has become corrupt as a result of Adam’s sin. In the late fourth century and the fifth century, Christianity was no longer a suspect and persecuted movement; now it was the religion of emperors obligated to govern a vast and diffuse population. Under these circumstances, as we have seen, Augustine’s theory of human depravity—and, correspondingly, the political means to control it—replaced the previous ideology of human freedom.

The Forged Pauline Letters

Certain people, possibly admirers of Paul, or not, decided that he couldn’t have meant what he said in some of his letters, and decided to compose forgeries under his name that would adhere more closely to their views. They even included details of Paul’s life, with greetings to his friends, hoping to make them seem authentic. Although there is still dispute about how many are forgeries, most scholars agree that Paul wrote only eight of the thirteen letters attributed to him in the New Testament. Elaine Pagels is obviously one of them, and she knows what she is talking about. We should note here that she chaired the Department of Religion at Barnard University, taught the subject at Colombia and is currently professor of Religion at Princeton.

I fear this makes me most indignant – not that the forgeries were committed, but that our worthy Christian churches continue knowingly (or, more likely in the case of most clergy, ignorantly) to preach lies as the truth. And that the general Christian public remains as ignorant of the deception as did their fifth century brethren. It is certain that Paul did not write Timothy 1 and 2, nor Titus, all written in a style very different from his and expressing viewpoints different from those in his own letters. Authorship of Ephesians, Colossians and 2 Thessalonians is still under debate, but the majority of scholars include these too among the “deutero-Pauline” letters.

Although the deutero-Pauline letters differ from one another in many ways, on practical matters they all agree. All reject Paul’s most radically ascetic views to present a “domesticated Paul” –a version of Paul who, far from urging celibacy upon his fellow Christians, endorses only a stricter version of traditional Jewish attitudes toward marriage and family. Just as Matthew juxtaposed Jesus’ more radical sayings with modified versions of them. So the New Testament collection juxtaposes Paul’s authentic letters with the deutero-Paulines, offering a version of Paul that softens him from a radical preacher into a patron saint of domestic life.

For a detailed comparison of the true and false, you’ll have to get the book. Just as an example, though, of what women have been putting up with for millennia: The author of 1 Timothy recalls Eve’s sin and commands that woman must

Learn in silence with all humility. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet women will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

(1 Timothy 2:11-15)

Osama bin Laden couldn’t have said it better. Over the centuries how many women have been abused and subjugated, and how many have rejected Christianity because of such words?

What Pagels did not find during the course of her research was a “golden age” of purer and simpler early Christianity. It was not monolithic, but included a variety of voices and an extraordinary range of viewpoints, among saints and heretics alike—the “saints” being the ones who won. From a historical point of view, then, there is no “real Christianity”.

What she did recognize is a “spiritual dimension in human experience”.

This recognition, after all, is what all participants in the Christian tradition, however they disagree, share in common—and share, for that matter, with many people who are involved in Christian tradition only peripherally, or not at all.


Finally, regarding vicarious atonement in Judaism, Rabbi Singer again notes from Ezekiel Chapter 18:



Throughout the 18th chapter, Ezekiel warned his people that this erroneous teaching that a righteous man could die for another man's sins was contrary to the will of God. The way for the sinful man to come right by God is to turn away from his rebellious ways, repent, and thereby the penitent is assured complete forgiveness. Throughout Ezekiel's uplifting sermon on the forgiveness of sin, blood sacrifices are never mentioned. Ezekiel 18:1-4, 19-23 reads:
"The word of the Lord came to me, saying: "What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel, saying: `The fathers eat sour grapes, and the sons' teeth are set on edge?' As I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For every living soul belongs to Me, the father as well as the son -- they are Mine. Which ever soul sins, it shall die.... Yet you ask: Why did the son not bear the sin of the father? But the son, justice and righteousness did he do, all My decrees did he safeguard and perform them. He shall surely live. The soul that sins, it shall die! The son shall not bear for the sin of the father, nor the father bear for the sin of the son. The righteousness of the righteous person shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked person shall be upon him. As for the wicked man, if he should turn away from all his sins which he did, and safeguard all My decrees, and do justice and righteousness; he shall surely live. He will not die. All his transgressions which he committed will not be remembered against him. For the righteousness which he did, he shall live. Do I desire at all the death of the wicked man -- the words of my Lord, God -- is it not rather his return from his ways, that he might live."


The nearby pagan religions on the other hand such as Mithraism or that of Dionysus-Attis, have the dying and ressurrected god-man image which Judaism certainly did not. Occam's Razor would suggest it to be far more likely that such symbolism was grafted from one of these Graeco-Egyptian mystery cults rather than a religion that not only contained no such symbolism but in fact was actively opposed to, first, the idea that God could be a man, and second, the idea that someone could die for the sins of another. The implication that Jesus could somehow be a "perfect sacrifice for sin" shows a misunderstanding of the Jewish sacrifice system - in fact an out and out misapplication of it - however, it would work just fine in the context of one of these other faiths.

I hope that satisfactorily answers you.
 Raveninns
Joined: 7/19/2005
Msg: 69
view profile
History
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 3/14/2007 12:41:19 AM
Holy Smokes Fiddler!!!! lol, how do you DO this???? ^^^, very impressive.

Ok, in my faith, the only "original sin" is when we first decided to feel what it was like to be carnate as opposed to spirit, and we got carried away. We did all kinds of narly crap, sort of like a nasty drunk where things got out of hand and there was hell (!) to pay for in the morning. There are all kinds of wonderful stories about this.

Glad to know we were twits even back then. Free Will, ain't it a ****??? lol lol

The get out of jail free card is Grace. WE decide through a series of incarnations when WE have paid every iota.

Cheers, Raven
 RussArtLover
Joined: 2/9/2007
Msg: 70
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 3/14/2007 12:50:46 AM
...every iota. I like that. original sin, concience, realising you don't like something you did. How about the first caveman to bonk some gal on the head? Then he apoligises and we have original forgiveness. Maybe that's why rape still doesn't have the death penalty. Or does it in some states? I heard statutory rape has 15 to life in Georgia.
 AwP
Joined: 12/31/2006
Msg: 71
view profile
History
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 3/14/2007 3:19:05 AM
For me, original sin is a metaphore for when man first rose from amongst the beasts and gained sentience. Have you ever looked at a dog or cat, sleeping when it wants, no responsability, no worries, and thought "that'd be the life"? Well that was the garden of eden, we were animals living off instincts and just being in the moment with no thoughts beyond food, shelter, etc. When we "ate the fruit" we moved beyond animal existance and became something more. So the "taint" from the original sin that we all live with is the added complexity to life, we can't just be a dog anymore.
 lovingbbw2000
Joined: 12/20/2005
Msg: 72
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 3/14/2007 5:19:27 PM
To me it is a symbol of disobedience.
 youforme
Joined: 6/11/2008
Msg: 73
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 10/12/2008 10:11:24 AM
Love Seeker ,You Learn from Your failers every Day, With out them, You Would Nevery Know , When You Exceeded.
 youforme
Joined: 6/11/2008
Msg: 74
What Does Original Sin Represent In Your Personal Faith?
Posted: 10/12/2008 10:13:09 AM
Love Seeker ,You Learn from Your failers every Day, With out them, You Would Never Know , When You Exceeded.
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