May 21, 2008 11 Comments
The idea of Original Sin is based on Paul’s supposition that all humans are born sinful. It is not a theological concept that is brought up or mentioned in the original text of the Old Testament.
In the fifth chapter of Romans, according to Paul, humanity was cursed because Adam and Eve sinned when they ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. As Paul puts it:
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
…or as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. 15:22
17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. Rom. 5:17-19
Now we have to remember that Paul saw Jesus in a beam of light on the road to Damascus. He never studied with him or listened to him, though he was alive at the same time. And Jesus, when he was alive, was preaching a pro-Hebrew apocalyptic message. Paul saw fit to subtly change the thrust of Jesus’ teaching to what we have now, one-size-fits-all, believe in us or die.
At no point in the OT do we see anything that might qualify as a curse of “Original Sin” to be handed down to all of Adam and Eve’s descendants. Yes, their lives are supposed to become more difficult than they had heretofore experienced; but where is all of that is the “Sin” being passed along?
Perhaps more importantly, there is no indication that this sin must be “redeemed” eventually by Jesus? Christianity is anxious to portray itself as the logical and theological offspring of Judaism, but if Paul simply invents a concept and tacks it on to Jewish stories, it’s hard to see how that makes it true. If I went around claiming that Jesus spoke to me in a ‘beam of light’ and he conveyed new theological concepts to be accepted by all Christianity…how far would I get before being locked up in the funny farm?
In Genesis and all of the way through to the ending of Malachi, there isn’t the slightest hint of there being any sort of Original Sin inherited by all humans through Adam and Eve. There are stories of God getting angry at humanity in general…and at the Jews in particular…offering many opportunities for God to point out how everyone is “sinful” because of Adam and Eve. Yet we find nothing about that.
Also, there is nothing about how everyone who isn’t “right” with God will go to hell and be tormented… another staple of Christian theology connected to Original Sin. You would think that God would have the civility to mention something this important to us.
Not even Jesus is quoted as having been concerned with Adam and Original Sin. Paul’s interpretation is not really warranted by the actual story. This is a big problem. If this interpretation is not right, the whole Christian scheme of salvation falls apart.
Just as the Trinity is made up by later ‘Christians’, so too is ‘Original Sin’.
Christians however, have a uncommon ability to ignore facts.
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