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Original Sin re-visited

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posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 05:06 PM
My earliest memory goes back to a time before I knew language.
I could not express my thoughts in words, of course, but I was aware of a number of things, which add up to a kind of thought-process.
I was aware of the place where I was- in my cot next to a light window, probably the morning light.
I was aware that I wanted to get out.
I was aware that I could not manage the catch which would let down the side of the cot (a simple hook-and-eye affair, as I know retrospectively).
I was aware that if I cried, someone would come along and let me out.
Which led me into a course of action. I cried.
My memory stops at the opening of the door (right hand end of the opposite wall) and my father appearing through the doorway.
I don’t know whether this means that the sequel was satisfactory, or whether it means that the sequel was traumatic.

That memory is useful because it illustrates the question of “Original Sin”.

The concept of Original Sin has become problematic in the modern world.

Yet there is no getting away from the fact that something has gone wrong with the human race.
The world we see around us tells us that something is not right, and the kind of things that are wrong have been wrong all through human history.
The current state of the world is clearly the result of a long succession of wrong human choices.
The purpose of the story of Adam and Eve was to offer an explanation for the flawed world which we live in.

The difficulty for modern people is understanding how Original Sin (which means, strictly speaking, the state of individuals at birth), can be “inherited”, as the church has been teaching, from the origins of Sin in the Garden of Eden.
Especially when “Sin” is described in legal terms, as committing an offence against God.
How can the state of “having done something wrong” be transmitted from one generation to another?

The task becomes easier if we discard the assumption that Adam and Eve were literal human individuals, and understand them as symbolic figures, representing the human race at large.
The story then becomes a symbolic account of the way that our ancestors developed.
If it shows us a feature of what has become human nature, “built in” to the same extent as thought or speech, then this feature is necessarily part of the make-up of every human individual, and the problem of “inheritance” disappears.

We also need a fresh understanding of the act in Eden, when they are supposed to have seized hold of “the knowledge of good and evil”.
I was exploring the issue in this thread;
The Tree of what knowledge?

Briefly, my case was that “knowing good and evil” does not mean knowing them separately, but placing them side by side and comparing them.
In other words, it means claiming to know- and therefore claiming to decide- where the boundary line between them lies.

It certainly should not be taken as “discovering that good and evil exist”.
Adam and Eve already knew that some things were right and some were wrong, because they knew they had been told “not to eat from the tree of knowledge”, which made it a wrong thing to do.

Before the crucial event, they were following God’s judgement on where the boundary line lay.
That is represented, in symbol, by their acceptance of his judgement that the fruit was “not-to-be eaten”.
The turning point was deciding to follow their own judgement instead.
That is represented, in symbol, by their new judgement that the fruit was “a delight to the eyes and to be desired to make one wise”, and by the act of taking it.
So the act of disobedience described in the story represents a new disposition towards independent action, not controlled by obedience to God’s will.

If we adopt the more modern understanding of human origins as a gradual process of development, then this change might be associated with the transition from living by instinct to the development of a more human consciousness.
That would identify “Original Sin” with our current human consciousness and our propensity to assert our own wills and choose our own line.
We can then follow this through later events in the Bible; in the way that individuals, setting their own wills against the will of God, also set them against others (Cain), and in the way that corporate bodies set their wills not only against God (Babel) but against other corporate bodies and against individuals.
The lesson of our blood-stained human history seems to be that this clash of wills is at the heart of everything that has always been wrong with the human world.
And that might well be called Original Sin.

Augustine illustrated Original Sin by observing the behaviour of babies.
The memory I’ve recalled makes the same point, because it shows me, even at that age, trying to impose my own will on the world around me.
(Perhaps not successfully. My mother’s later comment on the story was “He would have thrown some toys into the cot.”)

In the Biblical perspective, the consequence of the choice the first couple made in Eden was the breakdown of their relationship with the God who placed them there.
They were taking their wills out of alignment with the will of God.
They were detaching themselves from him, in effect, and sending themselves into what was really a self-imposed exile.

Therefore the central theme of the rest of the Bible is the problem of healing that broken relationship.
This could hardly be done without a re-alignment of human will with God’s will.

There’s a difference between Jews and Christians on the way this re-alignment might be achieved.
The Jewish position, if I understand them correctly, would be that God’s will is expressed in the Law, and it then becomes a question of obedience to the Law.
The Christian case would be that this does not work in practice, if only because the Law will never be fully obeyed.
(And even the Law, on closer inspection, looks like a compromise between God’s will and more human tendencies.)
The New Testament solution therefore hinges upon One whose will has never been out of alignment with his Father’s will.

In the New Testament, the problem is not fully resolved until the last chapters of Revelation, which describe the disappearance of Sin from human life, together with a full restoration of the old relation between God and man.

posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 05:15 PM
I read recently (on patheos) that the "original sin" of eating the fruit was symbolic for deciding that they (Adam and Eve? - which story I agree with you is an analogy or metaphor) could judge other people, rather than letting God decide.

Would you like a link?

edit on 8/15/2014 by BuzzyWigs because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 05:17 PM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs
OK, as long as it's not a video. I read things, rather than listen to people saying them.
It sounds similar to mine, except that it specifies an area of judging.

posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 05:28 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

The Uniqueness Of the Sin Of Religious Judgmentalism (the original sin)

The basic premise of the book is that the original sin in the garden was the sin of desiring to judge as God judges– thus the name of the tree, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Adam and Eve stole this knowledge and invited us into a never ending cycle of standing in the place of God by judging others based on this stolen and very limited information.

We will never be operating with the same quantity of facts that God operates with, and therefore have no business trying to do his job for him.

When we do, we simply make more of a mess of everything– becoming people who close doors instead of people who build bridges.

Gave you a star and flag, though.
Good topic.

edit on 8/15/2014 by BuzzyWigs because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 05:33 PM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs
Thank you for that contribution.
Yes, it looks worth further investigation.

posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 11:43 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Was Adam and Eve's sin truly disobedience or was their sin the shame they felt afterwards? Why did their creator need to rip them from the higher dimensions and expel them from the high-walled garden into this desert, I mean world, wrapping them in the flesh of an animal, I mean, making them into human beings?

Who are the spiritual generations that are being born into this world today? Were Adameh and Haewah physical parents of the generations of humankind, or were they the spiritual ancestors of a certain lineage of being? What was the composition of primordial man? Were they male and female standing separately, or were they one being united in one consciousness?

Who was the serpent, was it satan, was it the morning star, was it the messiah, was it their teacher? Why does a serpent hung upon a cross signify healing? Was the serpent external to the first man, an animal in a garden, or did he reside within the mind of these beings as an internal superego?

How many spiritual dynasties exist on this planet? Is there a diverse many who might be different from the sons of God? If the Torah is a thesis, where is the antithesis, what could be synthesized in order to arrive at a more perfect truth?

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 05:50 AM
What if…

Its all a dream, or a nightmare rather. IT never says Adam woke up from this deep sleep. The separation of Adam and Eve and all the events that follow in that narrative differ from the pattern laid down in Genesis 1, where male and female are in the image of God, and all things are very good. (compared to adam having a need for a helper)

When Adam awoke it was not the old adam, but Jesus when he awoke in the garden tomb.

And when he raises his head (arises in the tombs of our earth/body) that is when we are alive/awake/can see.

I'll just add one little ditty to this because I think the concept of original sin is a bit off.

Giving this first paragraph for context, and to point out the concept of earthly tent/tabernacle aka flesh aka adam (see 1 Cor 15 for the comparison)

2 Cor 5
1For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

14For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

16Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh (adam); even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

More on reconciliation:

18He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

21And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—

Notice we were alienated in our minds. And God was not counting our trespasses against us. This is the nightmare of the adamic mind. That we are separated from God, that he is angry with us, and that we are not worthy of him, and that he will punish men for eternity if we don't kowtow to him.

But the reality is that God has already reconciled the world to himself through the lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world. The seed fell to the ground and died and was planted in the ground/adam at his 'death/sleep'. This was walked out 2000 years ago, but the eternal act had been accomplished from the foundation of the world, "His works were finished from the foundation of the world"--HEbrews (10?)

All died in adam, all will be raised to life in Christ, each in his own order--1 Cor 15/Rom 5

Let the dead(asleep in adam) bury their dead

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 06:32 AM
a reply to: zardust
It's quite patent that the "deep sleep" is being portayed as a temporary thing, anaesthesia for the removal of the rib. Even the phrase "while he was sleeping" indicates that the sleep came to an end.

On the reality of something being wrong with the world, I refer you to- let me see.
Iraq, Gaza, Ukraine, Ferguson- will that do to be getting on with?
All this kind of thing raises the question "What is wrong with the world, and what can be done about it?"
Just calling it all a dream isn't a good enough answer.

Yes, the New Testament talks about our reconciliation with God. As a real change in a real situation.

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 06:47 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI

I'm not saying it's not happening and evil is not real. The problem lies within our minds who are veiled to the truth.

I was just jumping off your metaphorical Adam

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 02:21 PM

originally posted by: Nechash
Was Adam and Eve's sin truly disobedience or was their sin the shame they felt afterwards? Why did their creator need to rip them from the higher dimensions and expel them from the high-walled garden into this desert, I mean world, wrapping them in the flesh of an animal, I mean, making them into human beings?

Shame is the consciousness that there is something about yourself that you do not want to be known.
So shame has to be about something else. It is a symptom of the state of sin, something which gives away its existence, rather than the sin itself.

They were already in "animal flesh" bodies before they were expelled.
That's evident from having the need to eat.
Also the account of the removal of the rib (after anaesthesia), and the healing of the wound with flesh, gives the same message.
Whether we see them as parents of the species or representatives of the species, they were physically no different from ourselves.

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 02:36 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Shame is the state of feeling inferior to the comparison of the idealized self that you have in your mind. God wipes out whole bloodlines of people without feeling shame. We are to be born in his image. Whatever we do, we are to do decisively, and unquestioningly with the certainty that we have bestowed our will upon creation and that we have authored the best possible product that we were capable of. If we feel shame, we are failing in one of two key areas. Either we aren't living up to our own ideals or we hold self-immolating ideals that are contrary to our inherent nature. Neither course of action is justifiable for a deity.

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 02:51 PM
a reply to: Nechash
If it is true that we don't match up to the ideal, then a sense that we don't live up to the ideal is entirely appropriate.
In this case, it's a question of not matching up to God, and it is certainly true that we don't match up to God.

There is no suggestion in the Bible that being the "image" of God has anything to do with equalling him as Creator.
In fact we can't, because the Creator is unique.
Pretending equality with God is an absolute proof of how far we fall short, because it is a delusive idea.
An ego-centric, narcissistic delusion is not the answer to anything.

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 03:01 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

It does. There are several instances in the bible where the gods dreaded human beings rising up to become better than they. The most prevalent one was when humankind created its school of mysticism in Babylon under the living embodiment of the Holy Mother and her Son. Their program for teaching people the way to ascend to the higher dimensions lead God to fear and disperse human beings unless we would ascend to take full mastery over creation.

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 03:05 PM
a reply to: Nechash
What you are talking about is not in the Bible. You have got it from another source.

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 03:18 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

“Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 03:19 PM
Ultimately, if you don't understand the allegorical nature of the Torah and you don't know about the exegesis that surrounds your scriptures, then you are living in total darkness.

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 03:25 PM
a reply to: Nechash
You are stretching that beyond the intention of the words.
"Becoming the Creator God" could not be part of what they would plan to do.
The rest of the Bible makes it clear that this would be an impossible aspiration, because the Creator is unique.

And since the Biblical God disappproves of what they are aspiring to, you cannot, in any case, quote it as evidence of what we should be doing.

You see, this thread is about Biblical theology, as all my threads are. Bringing in ideas from other religions, including the narcissisms of the modern New Age, is not really relevant.

edit on 16-8-2014 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 04:09 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

These ideas predate Christianity and Judaism. Nothing New Age about them.

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 04:19 PM
a reply to: Nechash
It is modern narcissism that has chosen to adopt/discover/invent them.
And they are not related to the Biblical God, which puts them outside my scope of discussion.

posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 05:17 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Ok. Have a good day.

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