Original Sin? Are U Sure?

Wikipedia (Original Sin)

Original sin is, according to a doctrine in Christian theology, humanity’s state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. While the Old Testament and the New, which frequently speak of the sinfulness of humans, do not contain the terms “original sin” or “ancestral sin”, the doctrine expressed by these terms is claimed to be based on the teaching of Paul the Apostle in Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:22. Some see the doctrine as implied in Old Testament passages such as Psalm 51:5 and Psalm 58:3. A doctrine of original sin, however, is not found in Jewish theology; original sin is also rejected by the post-Christian Abrahamic religions, Islam and the Bahá’í Faith.”

Lutheran Version (from Wikipedia)

It is also taught among us that since the fall of Adam all men who are born according to the course of nature are conceived and born in sin. That is, all men are full of evil lust and inclinations from their mothers’ wombs and are unable by nature to have true fear of God and true faith in God. Moreover, this inborn sickness and hereditary sin is truly sin and condemns to the eternal wrath of God all those who are not born again through Baptism and the Holy Spirit. Rejected in this connection are the Pelagians and others who deny that original sin is sin, for they hold that natural man is made righteous by his own powers, thus disparaging the sufferings and merit of Christ.”

Recently I have been having a blog face-off on this issue – original sin – and what it means. I personally do not buy into the idea as the Lutherans propose it – I also struggle believing it is true for a variety of reasons:

(a) The term is never used anywhere in the bible – it is a doctrine based on some scriptures in the bible – and it is not accepted by Judaism as a formal tenet of Torah, Writings, and Prophets (so scratch those as actual proof texts).

(b) Paul alludes to this idea – but within him this is not clear cut. He believes in the idea of dealing with one’s sinful nature and becoming a ‘new person’. Even if Paul saw this state as true – he makes no excuses for dealing with it as if it can be dealt with.

(c) The gospels do not have Jesus teaching on the subject – and that’s a fairly big one to overlook if you ask me. However, Jesus does not deny we need to deal with our sin either – he gets specific on what sins to deal with (ex: self righteousness, greed, lust, anger, etc). Jesus seems to be pointing to the fact we can deal with these things and overcome the passions within them.

(d) Kids are a problem. Kids would be born into sin, by no choice of their own, and if they passed on without being ‘saved’ – then they go to hell. Is that really fair? They were by nature sinners and could do nothing about it – this includes the aborted (who would of been made in iniquity anyways). I find that a troubling theological idea – when kids seem so innocent to me.

I have troubles with accepting an idea like this because it is not that great of an idea – it provides an excuse for sin and takes the sole responsibility for our actions off of us – onto Adam. ‘Well I was born this way – my inclinations are towards evil – God knows this’…then we say the prayer and ‘poof’ – sin is forgiven (not gone mind you because we are sinful by nature).

For me the answer is also found in Paul…the supposed proponent of this idea. Paul talks about things like ‘dying to the sinful nature’ and becoming a ‘new person’ – and this is a choice of the person following the teachings. Paul uses some strong metaphors (or allegory) concerning the strength of sin and renewing who we are (he even mentions renewing your mind). The way to deal with sin is to take your actions seriously and change the things you did that hurt other people – become a new person. I am not going to speculate about God’s spirit in this process – since I don’t know how God’s spirit works (even Jesus says its like the wind – blows where it will).

The core of the process is to accept your faults, admit them, then repent and become responsible for your actions and change the way you did things. I see this in the gospels as a way of dealing with your sinful nature – which can mean something like the nature of immorality we have built up in us and become use to – we need to change that decision process and start a ‘new’ one.

What do you think?

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33 thoughts on “Original Sin? Are U Sure?

  1. I think we as humans have an inherently sinful streak, and Jesus does allude to this when he called some folks to task by telling them their “father” wasn’t Abraham but rather the Devil.

    In this, I think there might be some insight into some of your questions. Children, for example, may have been born into sin, but they also don’t have the capability to choose God or Jesus truly nor the maturity to understand the consequences of sin. At a certain point, though, we ARE accountable and that is when we choose who our father will be, much like those folks Jesus criticized had done. We will choose God or we will choose Satan.

    I believe that Satan has a ton of influence on this planet until Jesus returns, and that sort of makes him the default daddy if we turn away from God’s grace.

  2. “Citation please. Thanks” (Jim)

    Wikipedia even mentions this about Judaism – not a tenet of the their faith – Yael has told me many time also this same thing. I would provide a citation but biblically there is none to provide – the idea does not exist in the Tanakh (why bother checking).

    “Deacon Blue- Exactly when does a child reach that “Age of accountability”?” (Don)

    I think its a made up category in all honesty – this elusive age of accountability – another term that never appears once in scripture (nor any alluding to it). The age needs not exist anyways – we are accountable for all we do – but I think children are children and even they change as advised by parents. The thing is – Christianity is about ‘choice’ and we want to figure out when we are responsible for our choices – so the age of accountability. No one knows. But Jesus never hindered children from coming to him and even procliaimed the kingdom is made of ‘these’. I believe that.

    So if we were originally sinful – born into sin – horrible people from birth – seperated from God by this condition – why does Jesus take us in as if we are not? Strange if you ask me.

  3. Through all my theological searching over the last 2 years, I don’t think I have yet questioned whether or not the idea of original sin is valid. You make some good points that are worth considering. The main thing I have been contemplating along with my wife is the idea of universal salvation, and certainly original sin is part of that discussion somewhere although I am not sure where. It is obvious that humankind struggles greatly with evils of all sort. The idea of original sin seems to me to be just the human convention that lets us explain that to some extent. There has to be some sort of inherent thing there that causes us to destroy our fellowship with God. So I am not opposed to the idea of original sin. But on the other hand, I don’t think that God expects us to jump through a bunch of hoops just to enter relationship with him either. Christ’s work on the cross, I believe, has redeemed all of creation to God and is the work that we couldn’t do that restores our relationship with God. And rather than a few people who jump through the right hoops getting to enter that relationship, I believe that we are all in that relationship even if we don’t know it, unless we make the conscious choice to reject it. The default position is being in relationship with him instead of the other way around.

  4. “The default position is being in relationship with him instead of the other way around.” (Doug)

    I tend to agree there – I have done a 180 on this subject – mainly due to the theories of what the cross has accomplished. If it has accomplished anything – it is as you have said ‘we are in relationship with God’ – if we so choose such a thing.

    To think we are dirtbags of sin still – even after what the cross supposedly accomplished – seems like a step back theologically – from Adam to Christ (to borrow from Paul). Rather it would be from Adam to nowhere – still in Adam. I wonder what exactly Jesus accomplished at the cross when he said ‘it is finished’? What’s finished? I tend to see it as a struggle to find God ‘is finished’ – that relationship has been given to all – no questions asked on our part for that.

  5. I also think it’s interesting to try and mesh the idea of original sin with God being one’s Creator and with God being just.

    First, in terms of the Creator. God is our only Creator, and yet somehow one is born tainted with sin. How do the two go together? God obviously would not have created one to be tainted with sin, so at what point does the sin take hold?

    God being just, and yet people inheriting this sin nature. If one sins because one is a sinner, and one cannot be perfect due to being a sinner, is it just to be wrathful when the sinner cannot be perfect by default? Especially if one goes into the penal substitution atonement idea, with Jesus taking the punishment we deserve. Yet we deserve this punishment through no fault of our own — none of us choose to be born in sin –, because of how we were born. And I’m not arguing from the sense of “Well, I was born in sin, so this is why I’m evil.” I’m arguing from the sense of why is humanity held to a perfect standard if it is almost created imperfectly?

  6. Psalms 51:5 , “In sin did my mother conceive me.”

    Yep, I believe it. Look at two infants fighting over a rattle. There is no thought of the other, it is all about ‘me’.

  7. “There is no thought of the other, it is all about ‘me’.” (Steve)

    Then is sin selfishness and the over-compensation for the ‘me’ in us? Also, if this is true – then babies are born sinners – and if this is their condition coming in – how on earth are they getting saved? One can only conclude they are damned by all measures – and I am not sure about that sentiment.

    Matthew 18:4-5 “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me”

    Jesus accepting children as are – no word of original sin – just accepting them as is – whether born in iniquity or not – he loved them as is. Then asks us to recieve them in the same manner.

    The fact Jesus is comparing our conversion to that of children speaks volumnes on the innocence within children – who don’t know better at such a young age – and are beautiful in all their ways at this time. He wants us to be like them – that’s his comparison – not mine.

    So are we really born in sin – or born into sin? We come into a world ‘we never created’ that has its problems and confusions when we get here – no kid is to blame for that. But what they are to blame for is what they add to the total sum of humanity – their choices of what to do with themselves as they get older. But as children – they shine like the beauty of God – the greatest the kingdom has to offer.

    So maybe David is making a point about his sinfulness – or that of the child he just had with Bathsheba – but was he born sinful? Likely not – he is exclaiming his remorse for his actions – in a poetic manner more or less.

  8. Societyvs,
    Wikipedia says, “Some see the doctrine as implied in Old Testament passages such as Psalm 51:5 and Psalm 58:3”. One can also point to Genesis 3 and the fall of man that sin became a part of our nature. Name an OT figure who was without sin. You can’t name one. Do they all coincidentally choose to sin at some time in their lives?

    I know doctrine is a four-letter word to most folks, but all it really is is a summary of what the Bible is clearly saying. By claiming there is no original sin at the same time as you say Jesus did some sort of work on the cross, you’re doing the same thing Clinton did when he said he smoked pot but never inhaled. If you believe Jesus died for our sins, then you are assuming that we needed His help to overcome our sins.

  9. “What the Bible is clearly saying? You have got to be kidding!” (Yael)

    Why is that Judaism has never come to the conclusion original sin from the Adam/Eve story and the mass evidence of 2 lines from the Psalms 51 and 58?

    I’ll be honest – there isn’t much evidence for this theory in the Tanakh – this is Pauline without a doubt.

  10. “If you believe Jesus died for our sins, then you are assuming that we needed His help to overcome our sins” (Jim)

    But to believe that sentence you wrote – I don’t need to believe in original sin. I think God wants us to overcome our problems with sin – based on the teachings provided as a foundational way to start – then we build from there. I know of our capabilities to hurt one another all to well – and we need to rectify those situations – which I would call ‘sin’ (breaking relationships somehow – with God, with our neighbor, in ourselves). But does that mean I was born sinful – or into a world already with sin?

    ‘I was given this world I didn’t make it’ (2Pac)

  11. I’ll be honest – there isn’t much evidence for this theory in the Tanakh – this is Pauline without a doubt.(Societyvs)

    In reality pretty much all of Christianity is Pauline.

  12. **But does that mean I was born sinful – or into a world already with sin?**

    Or if we take a person who is “hard-hearted.” If they are born into a hard-hearted situation (such as a country that is oppressed or enslaved), is it any wonder that the person might also become hard themselves? That same person could’ve been someone who grew up to be incredibly kind and generous if born in a country that has a much better sense of equality, and treats its people better. The hard-hearted person might one day come to believe in God, and find that since Jesus died and was resurrected, sin and death no longer have the final say as to how the world operates. The person then would find hope in the story, and no longer be so hard-hearted.

    Even the capabilities people have for hurting others — they’re not equal across the board. I’ve heard the saying that we’re all two steps/six steps away from Hitler, but for many people, that is not the case based on who they are today. A lot would have to happen to them to bring them anywhere close to what Hitler did. And even if all those things happened, who is to say those people would make the same choices?

  13. I frankly get the impression that historically as well as today, church leaders read into scripture pretty much whatever they like. As a couple quick examples, I’ve yet to find those passages about stem cells or embryos. And there’s that verse, I don’t recall where, only being startled when I first read it having been raised Catholic, that has Jesus explicitly saying “Call no one on earth your father, for you have but one Father who is in heaven…”

  14. Paul–I’ve yet to find those passages about stem cells or embryos
    See Psalm 139:13-16. Of course, like the early Catholics and “father”, you’ll probably find a way to dodge that Mack truck of clarity.

    To paraphrase your comment, church leaders read into scripture pretty much whatever they like….here, I can, too! 🙂

    Societyvs–Why is that Judaism has never come to the conclusion original sin from the Adam/Eve story and the mass evidence of 2 lines from the Psalms 51 and 58?

    What was the system of blood sacrifices for?

    If someone reads the Torah and Tanakh (i.e. the OLD Testament), and they don’t see the core problem with man as sin, then there’s no use debating the meaning of the Bible. But do consider that, if sin is not the core problem, repentance is not the solution. What do you have then? What’s the Bible about then? What is it good for?

  15. When people cannot even read Torah in its original language, it seems a bit presumptuous of them to take to task others who CAN read it and for whom Torah was actually written.

    Sin is never found in the story of Adam and Eve, nor is this story ever mentioned again in all of Tanakh. If it was a major story, surely it would at least have been alluded to ONE time? Yet is is not.

    Sacrifices served many purposes, sin offerings were merely one of many and only covered UNINTENTIONAL sins! Since most people sin knowing exactly what they are doing, it seems a bit of a stretch to claim any sacrifice atoned for ALL sins. There is no such teaching in Torah or Tanakh pertaining to sacrifices. Now there is found in Tanakh teachings pertaining to ASKING God to forgive intentional sins and God forgiving us without any sacrifices being offered at all. Interesting in Jeremiah God says God never taught about sacrifices at all and that it never entered God’s mind for parents to sacrifice their children. Yet this is supposed to be the plain meaning of Torah, that God would sacrifice a son? I guess it must have entered God’s mind at a later date?

    That some choose to read the text in another manner is their prerogative, whatever fits their theology. But, don’t come along and say the rest of us have no clue what Torah is all about! Give me a break.

  16. Then is sin selfishness and the over-compensation for the ‘me’ in us? Also, if this is true – then babies are born sinners – and if this is their condition coming in – how on earth are they getting saved?

    Jesus.

    Jesus wasn’t implying that children were sinless. He was imolying that they are trusting.

    Adults get jaded. Kids haven’t been hammered on (as much…yet) by the world around them.

  17. Adults get jaded. Kids haven’t been hammered on (as much…yet) by the world around them.(Steve)

    No offense Steve, but I think if Kids were around You long enough they would be totally aware of how sinful they are.

  18. Yael,
    Genesis 3–22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.

    That’s not a big deal? It obviously is.
    What’s not a big deal is that we disagree on interpreting the Bible. I think you make serious errors in your interpretation and vice versa. But I would like you to answer those questions.
    What’s the Bible about then? What is it good for?

  19. “Jesus wasn’t implying that children were sinless. He was imolying that they are trusting” (Steve)

    Nonetheless – he didn’t bring up original sin and that was a pretty ideal time to do so – amongst children and being born into such things (ie: sin). He’s more like ‘bring them to me – the kingdom of God is made of these’. Original sin never appears in the gospels – oddly enough – and could that be because the doctrine is ‘made up’? Paul doesn’t even coin the term ‘original sin’ – it’s not his word either…in fact that wording is nowhere in the bible.

    “That’s not a big deal? It obviously is” (Jim)

    I don’t think it is either – its basically an explanation (by the writers) to try to explain the human predicament – which is…we live on earth and will have out toils and struggles. Yael is correct – how some that story appears once in the bible and is never mentioned again? Its not alluded to very much (or maybe some points are) but the intent of original sin is never brought up and surfaced by prophets – strange?

    “What’s the Bible about then? What is it good for?” (Jim)

    The bible is still good for direction and foundational building – or as I term it – building a paradigm for one’s life from the directives/ideas. Sin stll exists – that’s obvious – but the story is…we need to deal with it and come clean on our actions. The bible is teaching us about responsibility to God, our neighbor, ourselves, the stranger, the poor, the orphan, etc. Lots of good comes from it irregardless of that original sin idea.

  20. So what if the “words ‘original sin'” don’t appear in the Bible?
    The idea is woven from Genesis 3 through to the end.

    SVS–I don’t think it [us living under a curse because of sin] is either – its basically an explanation (by the writers) to try to explain the human predicament – which is…we live on earth and will have out toils and struggles [instead of eternal life].

    Not a big deal? Check, please!

    SVS–The bible is still good for direction and foundational building – or as I term it – building a paradigm for one’s life from the directives/ideas.

    No, the “good for direction and foundational building” bible is a mere suggestion. You’re smoking it without inhaling, amigo. Sorry to say that, but I know a brick wall when I slam into one. I’ll let you and Yael have the last word. Cheers.

  21. “The idea is woven from Genesis 3 through to the end” (Jim)

    Really – if this was so – why didn’t someone tell the writers so they could save us all the time of any and all debates and just put 2 simple words to pen ‘original sin’…nuff said. Woven in – that’s a matter of interpretation – and someone came up with that one to make a long story short.

    I am not saying we don’t sin – just that there is no original sin – or greatest sin – we sin – who can debate that (as far as mistakes and hurting others)? But we why do I need to pay for something Adam in order for the bible to have some merit? Maybe sin came in the world with Adam – so be it – but who cares? I ain’t dealing with Adam’s sin anymore anyways – I got enough problems on the dish as is – who’s Adam in that?

    That original sin business doesn’t matter anyways – like I give two pennies where it began – its where its at now that I am dealing with. For all this talk of Jesus finishing ‘sin’ – is a bunch of bogus crap – sorry – Jay Bird is trying to save a marriage that is sinking because of sin…and no one stopped and filtered that from coming – it ain’t finished and I can say this from experience – sin exists like a ozone problem. That’s garbage – last thing I need is some theory that means BS to anything I have to deal with – and offers no damn solutions – except – sin happens man? Screw that!

  22. I think the important aspect of original sin is that it is not something that we can control or improve or get rid of.We don’t step into and out of it. ‘If we put it on, then we can take it off.’

    No…it is a condition. It is who and what we are and there is no cure other than the cross of Christ.

    I think it’s good to know the full extent of the problem…then the gospel of Christ Jesus will be in greater relief.

  23. “then the gospel of Christ Jesus will be in greater relief.” (Steve)

    Explain the relief to me as my marriage falls apart – how this is supposed to help out in some way in that situation? I am curious to be honest?

  24. Explain the relief to me as my marriage falls apart – how this is supposed to help out in some way in that situation? (Jason)

    The strength you can garnish from scriptures is the fact that others before you have lived it too. And they survived also. I dont mean this in a bad way, but youre supposed to feel pain, if you didnt I would question whether you were truly connected to your wife. Surround yourself with people who know you and love you. Share your pain, and when youre ready let them help you. Your faith is not just words, its actions. Now is the time to put some effort into it.

  25. Jason,

    I couldn’t be more sorry for you and your wife now. I am divorced (almost 30 years now) and it hurts…more than anything.

    The relief I was speaking of is the relief on a globe (when one thing stands out more than the rest).

    The gospel stands in stark relief to the powers of sin, death, and the devil.

    Right now, that seems (or may seem) like little comfort to you. At times it does to me too.

    I hope and pray for you and your wife that maybe somehow you’ll be able to save your marriage.

    In the good and bad of it, Christ is there with you.

    Take care, my friend.

  26. Jason,
    You’re saying that sin is causing your marriage to fail and adding that sin can be dealt with by teaching. While education is good, and studying the Word thoroughly is a great help, it isn’t the solution. You can’t learn your way out of your marital problems.

    To recap what we’ve been debating, it starts with the truth that we have a sinful nature. We can debate degrees of sinfulness, but truly, if God is without sin, then we are unacceptable if we commit one sin. It makes no sense that a holy God would allow us unconditionally into His eternal presence with all our hubris. There are only two possibilities: we learn to be perfect or we accept the sacrifice of One who is.

    What Steve is saying is that Christ is closer when you are going through trials. In the crisis you are now suffering, you can’t reason your way out. You must set aside your own wisdom for God’s wisdom. In contrast, I’ve had great teachers, but they have only influenced my thinking. What I receive in Christ is no less than His mind. My interaction with Christ is intensely personal, not
    solely intellectual. He is not just my Teacher, but my Lord.

    You are going through a difficult time, that much is certain. But are you alone? No. This past year I closed my business of 13 years leaving a whole string of delinquent debts and taxes I can not pay. I lost the house I owned for 12 years to a short sale. It’s not over yet. My wife has stuck by me, albeit with great derision. You should be curious as to why I am not coming apart at the seams.

    The reason is that I left the Rat Race some years ago when I realized that there was a greater purpose in my life. I knew God was moving me from one part of the desert to another. Now I am raising funds to feed the homeless. Even though I don’t know where my next dollar is coming from, I have never been happier in my life. That kind of peace and assurance can only come through Jesus Christ. That is that other kind of relief, the relief of being saved. What else could you ask for? You’re free to move forward in service to God, no strings attached.

    Don’t know if that’s helpful. I hope it is. I pray that you and your wife can resolve your differences, but if you can’t, understand that it’s God’s will. And there’s no use complaining about that. God bless you, mon ami.

  27. Jim wrote:
    Yael,
    Genesis 3–22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.

    That’s not a big deal? It obviously is.
    What’s not a big deal is that we disagree on interpreting the Bible. I think you make serious errors in your interpretation and vice versa. But I would like you to answer those questions.
    What’s the Bible about then? What is it good for?

    JIm,
    You’re making two assumptions to begin with: The first being that people were never to know good from evil. I’m not sure why you think this is an ideal state, people doing things wrong but never knowing they’ve done wrong? No thanks. That is life for little children, not for adults. Your second assumption is that people were destined to live forever in an idyllic garden where everything was provided for them. Again, this is life for little children, not for adults. God created a whole world and I don’t think it was to be a wildlife refuge! Someday I may expel my children from my house as well, if they don’t leave on their own. Is this a bad thing? Likely some person could look back and claim it to be, but most would see it as just a natural part of parenting, that there comes a day when the mother bird gives the babies a boot and the babies have to take responsibility for providing for themselves. It’s always just a matter of time and maturity. But, certainly a parent would never send out on their own a young child who had no sense of right and wrong! That has to come first, gaining an understanding of what is good and what is not good.

    As I have said twice now, this story is NEVER mentioned again in all of Tanakh, and Jason, no, it isn’t even hinted at in all of Tanakh. There is much repetition in Tanakh, but never any relating to this story which you consider to be the most important in all of Torah!

    What good does it do to have a book that says people are all bad and God is all good and God will take care of everything for those bad people if they just stop trying on their own to follow the rules God gave them as a joke and instead take the ‘gift’ God now gives them and trust that this time God isn’t just messing with them like he did with us Jews to make some other point that God will reveal to the next group that comes along but which can then be read back into obscure passages of the old texts?

    What Tanakh shows, I won’t speak for the NT since it means nothing to me in the least and is not part of my Bible, is a people and God working out their relationship through the highs and lows of living both as individuals and as a group generation after generation. It is a book of failure and triumph, both on God’s part and on humanity’s. It is a book of questioning, a book of wrestling, a book of beauty and a book of ugliness, just as life is both. This book presents, to someone like Jason for whom life really is beating him up at the moment, the comfort of being able to get angry at God, argue with God, rail against God because that is what others have done before him and God never got angry in return. Tanakh shows us the opposite as well, the high moments filled with praise and wonder, and the moments of everyday living in between those highs and lows. Tanakh is not some tidy picture with all questions answered, with all loose ends tied up. Instead each of us must finish this book through our own lives of coping and triumphing over adversity, of almost failing, of breaking, of bringing dead bones back to life and enjoying the wonder of it all.

    That you desire Tanakh to be some foolish children’s story, who cares? But, don’t come around telling everyone else that we have the wrong view because we see it to contain a profound and timeless message of what it means to live in the presence of the Divine, not as worthless beings, but as people created in God’s image. You see one thing only, the picture of Moses hiding his face in fear at the presence of God in Exodus chapter 3. You ignore that in chapter 4 Moses argues toe-to-toe with God and tells God to get someone else to speak for Moses. God gets mad and says Aaron will speak for Moses, but when does Aaron ever speak for Moses? We only see Moses speaking for himself! Isn’t that how it goes? Give and take. God backs down, Moses steps up!

    Tanakh shows a people living through incredible pain, incredible adversity, 40 years in the wilderness, battles, subjugation, triumph, downward spirals, exile, return, and finally figuring out life is best lived with Torah as our guide. That’s all God ever cared about. Don’t have other gods, don’t tolerate injustice. It’s not rocket science here. It’s not hard and it’s certainly not impossible. Life goes on, life always goes on. Good and bad, life goes on.

    Tanakh can speak to Jason, but I don’t see how your saying all of this is God’s will is of any comfort to him! The image in Judaism is of God going into exile with God’s people, weeping along the way. God’s tears are mingled with Jason’s, Rachel’s tears mingle with Jason’s as she cries for her children going into exile . And God can take Jason’s complaints against God. Jason won’t be the first, nor the last. Where is God right now? God is right here in the people who care about Jason.

  28. Yael–You’re making two assumptions to begin with: The first being that people were never to know good from evil.

    And I said that…when? Perhaps we were kept away fromthe tree because we weren’t equipped, at least not yet, to deal with evil. Adam and Eve could have learned eventually to tell good from evil by being more and more familiar with good. They could have recognized something wrong/evil by understanding that it was incompatible.

    Yael—Your second assumption is that people were destined to live forever in an idyllic garden where everything was provided for them.

    What do you mean by “destined”? Since it didn’t happen, how could I be assuming that?

    Your assumptions of my assumptions are wrong.
    Furthermore, your arguments are emotional and irrational. Your Tanakh speaks over and over about God is holy and we are not. Lev. 20:8 God states that only He can make us holy. So only through the power of God can we overcome sin. That’s OT, not just NT.

    Here’s the rub. You can’t devaluate the importance of sin without devaluating the holiness of God. And you are definitely downplaying sin.

    And where did I say that we can’t complain to God? Or that I overlooked Moses’s disclaimer in Exodus 4. His complaint in Exodus 32:11-14 was reported as “seeking favor with God”. Why is that? Because God wants us to question Him! He wants us to live our lives as if He is real!

    Yael—Tanakh can speak to Jason, but I don’t see how your saying all of this is God’s will is of any comfort to him!

    This was very telling, and quite frankly, so was Jason’s biting response to a Christian wishing him well. I dare-say You and Jason may be somewhat self-absorbed. Good day.

  29. JIm,
    Emotional and irrational? Puh-leeze. I have to love it when women disagree with guys and guys immediately respond with this overworked accusation in order to try to shut us up. Sorry, but your feeble response will not work. I instead yield to you as the expert on both being emotional and irrational. Your statement about others being self-absorbed is about as emotional and irrational as it comes! Such a nice thing to say to Jason, too, someone who is hurting at the moment. Did you ever consider going into counseling?

    Where in my post did I speak about myself or anything relating to me to prove this self-absorption? I am a part of a people, a community. My studies are from within a community, about a community, just as Torah speaks to a community rather than to individuals. Can you say the same? Or are you banking on individual redemption, the ultimate self-absorption, BTW, something not even taught in Torah?

    You may claim my assumptions are wrong, but I’m not buying. Over and over within Christianity I hear people talking about getting back to the garden, of how if Adam did not ‘sin’ everyone would still live in paradise. Your words are no different. Perhaps you just don’t like having these teachings examined so closely as to show their flaws?

    No, I don’t downplay sin, I merely place the emphasis on those sins which Torah emphasizes, sins which are not even a part of my everyday life. You, Jim, make a mockery of God by making sin into such a huge deal. Over and over the sins God gets angry about are idolatry and injustice. Would anyone realize this by talking with you?

    Or would they instead see God as some psychotic being who can never be placated for even the most minor of infractions except by violence and gore? You teach that all of what God told us in Tanakh is a total lie at its face value, that what it really says is hidden to those to whom it was given, meant to set us Jews up as an example of failure to the world so that everyone would see that they need YOUR religion’s savior in order to have a relationship with this psycho god. Why anyone would want a relationship with this god you portray is beyond me, but to each his own! How does anyone know the rules don’t get changed again and that they won’t just be the latest example of the futility of trying to do what your god says to do?

    You cannot even read Hebrew so how do you know exactly what Tanakh has to say about anything? Holy does not mean sinless, it means separate. Where does Tanakh tell us we must live life totally free of sin? Please list chapter and verse. Torah and Tanakh go into great detail about what to do WHEN we sin, so obviously it is understood that we WILL sometimes sin.

    And where does it say we cannot ever overcome sin? One of the first conversations in Torah is God telling Cain, “Surely, if you do right, there is uplift. But if you do not do right sin crouches at the door; its urge is toward you, yet you can be its master.” (Gen 4:7) So, is God lying to Cain?

    Is Deuteronomy 30:11-20 another lie when it says “Surely, this instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, to observe it.

    See, I set before you this day life and prosperity, death and adversity. For I command you this day, to love Adonai your God, to walk in God’s ways, and to keep God’s commandments, God’s laws and God’s rules, that you may thrive and increase, and that Adonai your God may bless you in the land that you are about to enter and possess. But if your heart turns away and you give no heed, and are lured into the worship and service of other gods, I declare to you this day that you shall certainly perish; you shall not long endure on the soil that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse.

    Choose life – if you and your offspring would live – by loving Adonai your God, heeding God’s commands, and holding fast to God. For thereby you shall have life and shall long endure upon the soil that Adonai swore to your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them.

    Are the prophets lying when they admonish people to return to God and when God says if they do so, if they stop worshiping idols, stop tolerating injustice, that God will forgive them?

    You didn’t say you overlooked Moses. You tell Jason he just has to accept God’s will. (Sounds very Muslim of you, BTW.) and by doing so you present God as a monster. This view must overlook a passage such as the one I presented which has Moses overcoming his fear and getting right back at God, which has God overcoming God’s anger, and the two of them going on to work together to accomplish what needed to be done. There is no submission, no just accepting. There is instead the working out of a relationship, from both sides, without any Jesus in between.

    Anyway, thanks for all your insults, dude. Next time try to hold off responding until you’re not angry anymore. Good day, my foot. 😛

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