Original Sin, an Overview

 by Lewis Loflin

The words "Original Sin" don't exist in the Bible or Jewish writings. The "fall" of Adam was an interpretation formed sometime after the Exile and return of the Jews to Judea. This is the heart of Christian theology as taught by Paul. Jesus was some kind of human/deity sacrifice to make up for the alleged "sin" of Adam where mankind became mortal as punishment for Adam. Quoting Paul,

Rom. 5:12, "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. 5:19, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners"

1 Cor. 15:22 "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

No amount of hype or theological double-talk changes the fact this whole concept is immoral and unjust. Punishing millions of people for the acts of one is irrational. The concept of Original Sin is unsupported in the Jewish scriptures:

Deut. 24:16, "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin."

2 Kings 14:6, But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin."

Ezek. 18:20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

Ezek.33:20, "Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways."

Jer. 31:29-30 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge."

Christians claim there can be no way to excape the taint of Adam other than by Jesus:

Rom. 3:10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one." (Also see 1 John 1:8 & 10, Rom. 3:12, 5:12)

But it seems Paul forgot to read his Bible again:

Gen. 7:1 "And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation."

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Job 1:8 "...my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" (Job 2:3)

Luke 1:5-6 "In the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abia: and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.(RSV)
Conclusion

 Even the Bible proves the concept false and the invention of mainly Paul. The individual is responsible only for their conduct, not that of others and certainly not Adam according to the Old Testament. Christians can't even agree on the subject and their interpretation (in particular Augustine) flatly contradicts the Old Testament.  The whole idea is just nonsense and has no Biblical support outside Paul, a man that never even met Jesus.

More on this subject:

Judaism’s Rejection Of Original Sin

Here is the Jewish view of Original Sin. Extracted from http://www.outreachjudaism.org/ by Rabbi Tovia Singer

The term “original sin” is unknown to the Jewish scriptures...according to church teachings, the mortal sin committed by our first parents in the Garden of Eden...Christendom holds 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...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?

As Singer addresses the problem of Christian missionaries: 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...

This staggering problem did not escape the keen attention of Paul...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?...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.

Deuteronomy 30:14  "But the word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. "

Romans 10:8
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).


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.

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...

As Singer goes on, the story of Job is further proof of salvation without "faith alone" in Jesus, "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)...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 Eden 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.

This from the Encarta Multimedia Encyclopedia on Original Sin,
Original Sin, in Christian theology, the universal sinfulness of the human race, traditionally ascribed to the first sin committed by Adam. Theologians advocating original sin argue that the concept is strongly implied by the apostle Paul, the apostle John, and even by Jesus himself. Late Jewish apocalyptic writings attribute the world's corruption to a prehistoric fall of Satan, the temptation of Adam and Eve, and the resulting disorder, disobedience, and pain of human history.

Saint Augustine appealed to the Pauline-apocalyptic understanding of the forgiveness of sin, but he also included the notion that sin is transmitted from generation to generation by the act of procreation. He took this idea from 2nd-century theologian Tertullian, who actually coined the phrase original sin. Medieval theologians retained the idea of original sin, and it was asserted by 16th-century Protestant reformers, primarily Martin Luther and John Calvin. Liberal Protestant theologians later developed an optimistic view of human nature incompatible with the idea of original sin.

Many Christian theologians regard the Garden of Eden story in Genesis as describing the first sin, and the consequent "ruin" or, the "Fall" of man. The doctrine of original sin attempts to explain how that sin affects humanity today.

Adam and Eve disobeyed the command of God, "Of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die." (Genesis 2:17). Eve was tempted by a serpent to eat the fruit of the tree ("you will not die, you will be just like God"). After she did, she convinced Adam to eat of it as well. Adam and Eve then made aprons of fig leaves to cover their lower parts. After this God expelled them from the Garden of Eden.

In some traditions, the covering of the lower parts means they became aware of their nudity for the first time, and hid from each other in shame.

According to many Jewish and Christian interpretations of this story, the consequence of this action was to both make man mortal, and also aware of the consequences of his/her actions (i.e. humanity gained free will). Other interpretations exist as well. In Orthodox Christianity, this was an exercise of a free will that already existed, which also made man mortal. In Calvinism, Man has freely chosen his own ruin, by neglecting the gifts he was given by means of which he would have remained in close communion with God (which is life), by failing to trust in the faithfulness of God, and exchanged all that belonged to him and his posterity for an equality with God that can never be his.

Some Christian interpreters include the judgments of God in Genesis 3, in their explanation of the hopelessness into which creation had been brought through Adam's disobedience. Others view these judgments as the beginning of the history of the redemption from sin. It is of particular concern to these latter interpreters to emphasize that the serpent is cursed, as is the ground on account of man, but the woman and the man are given promises and blessings which however mixed with mystery and misery because of sin, and however limited by the tyranny of death, are the basis of hope and of justice in the earth.


Original sin in The New Testament

The concept of original sin underwent development by Paul, in Romans and First Corinthians, in the New Testament. Paul placed special emphasis on this by stressing that belief in Jesus would allow Christians to overcome death, by earning salvation in the hereafter. The New Testament teaches that rejection of Jesus as the path to salvation must be viewed as willful disobedience, and a rebellion against God. This choice then compels a just God to enforce that person's separation from Him, causing such a person to be sentenced to Hell, or in Roman Catholicism, Purgatory. Only belief in Jesus, as a savior and son of God, could rescue a person from this fate.

Although the character Satan does not appear as such in the Biblical text, by the time that the New Testament was canonized, the serpent mentioned in Genesis became identified with Satan; this identification is so strong that many believers interpret the Biblical story as Eve being tempted by Satan.
Augustine's modern Western formulation of original sin

Under Augustine the common and modern-day Western understanding of Original sin was formulated; he taught that the taint of Adam's original sin was inherited by all people at birth, and that nothing a person does in their life can get rid of this taint. This doctrine took on special prominence in Catholic Christianity and in many Protestant Christian denominations.

In most branches of Christianity, the doctrine of Original sin states that all humans have inherited the guilt of sin from Adam and Eve; this state of sin exists in all people from the moment of their conception. According to this doctrine, all people are born sinners and die sinners; all people are 'lost' eternally, and are in need of Divine salvation. The only way people can be justified in God's eyes and reconciled with God is by humbly asking for forgiveness, believing that His son Jesus Christ, through his death and crucifixion, took on himself the due punishment for our sins and trespasses (atonement), and depending upon God's grace to perfect their faith in God by increasing their love for God, which fulfills obedience. The ultimate punishment for the original sin was expulsion from the presence of God and subjection to physical and spiritual death; the ultimate goal and blessing of reconciliation is the restoration of the original relationship man had with God; this includes eternal life. This idea of inherited guilt is not always followed with literal strictness. Various traditions in the West diverge from one another in terms of what, exactly, is meant by inherited guilt. Most agree that mankind after the fall has inherited the circumstances of ruin, misery, futility, and inability to repair his condition; but they may disagree concerning the sense, or the extent to which man's nature itself is "ruined". Some hold to a doctrine called total depravity; others are repulsed by this term and the doctrine associated with it. The debate also raises the question of whether Jesus Himself had Original Sin. Some theologists hold that Original Sin is passed to offspring through the father, making the son of God the Father free of Original Sin.

Christians have different views on the way to receive salvation from original sin. On one end of the spectrum are those such as Calvinists who believe that each particular person who puts faith in Christ is predestined from the foundation of the world to live in the light of God's love, but those who do not trust in Christ will remain in darkness and the guilt of sin. On the other end are those such as universalists that believe that every person ever born will ultimately be justified, restored and saved. Between those two poles are those that emphasize man's ability to choose life with God or separation from God; people remain dependent on God's grace and mercy, but also have a part to play in achieving their own salvation.


Original Sin as understood by Orthodox Christianity

Augustine wrote in Latin in the fourth century, but his writings were not translated into Greek until the fourteenth century. Consequently, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christianity never held that guilt is inherited, and began repudiating this idea once they learned of it. They teach that we inherit a corrupted or damaged human nature in which the tendency to do bad is greater, but that each person is only guilty of their own sins. By participating in the life of the church, each person's human nature is healed and it becomes easier to do good; at the same time, the Christian becomes more acutely aware of his or her shortcomings. Eastern Orthodox theologians believe that Adam and Eve began to choose separation from God when they chose independence and took fruit for themselves, rather than allow God to continue to feed them and remain dependent on Him. The expulsion from the Garden was not a legal consequence, but to prevent them from eating of the Tree of Life and immortalizing their sin. As Christians partake of the Eucharist and eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ, they return to dependence on God and experience a gradual healing of the relationship between God and humanity. The ultimate goal is theosis or divinization, an even closer union with God and closer likeness to God than existed in the Garden of Eden.

 

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