ORIGINAL SIN: REVISITING A BIBLICAL VIEW
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--R. K. SINGH
Is it according to the Bible that each person is conceived in Sin just as each one carries the burden of the sin of the first man and woman? Wasn’t the taste of the forbidden fruit in Eden the awareness of physical attraction in man and woman? Wasn’t the Tree of knowledge actually the knowledge of the process of creation, of Love, of sex?
I won’t like to reflect on how sex knowledge degenerated into sin. But, I am convinced the Bible does not decry sex. Nor is sex something bad (or equated with sin): “The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage” (Luke 20:34) and “whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtained favour of the Lord” (Pro.18:22). Thus, marriage is not only physical union but also God-ordained, divine institution: husband and wife are conceived as one flesh (Mk.10:6-8; Eph. 5:28-31) and are expected to stay together, love each other as their own flesh (Eve is created out of Adam’s flesh, his rib.)
Because God created human beings as male and female (Adam and Eve). He created Sex and ordained the institution of marriage (or sexual union in any socially acceptable form) to bind man and woman together as husband and wife, not necessarily to procreate (there is plenty of procreation without marriage!) but to lead a family life through love and sex (Matthew 19:4-5).
It is God’s design that we enjoy life, be happy, be one flesh in coitus, and thus glorify Him in body. As I understand, reading through the Bible, sex is the source of happiness in equality, in oneness of man and woman.
To my mind, in Biblical Christianity, it is sin not to believe, not to have trust, not to have hope and love. Christianity stands on the basic tripod of Hope, Faith and Love. If one reads the quotations I have copied from my Bible, one will get the idea of what sin essentially means: Sin is progressive, personally committed (not inherited), and both forgiven and unforgiven.
Maybe, one is right the original sin relates to violation of the divine commandment, not trusting God (but Serpent/Satan/ Lucifer, who was out to destroy sense of righteousness God had originally imbued Adam and Eve with and to pass on the same values to their children. They faltered and thus, sinned, and were consequently banished from Eden; they were the first Man and Woman who failed to keep their trust in the commandment of their creator and so, committed the archetypal sin (or original sin). They lost their freedom to live in the kingdom of God; they fell from Glory, lost their (good) image in the eyes of God. They broke the covenant and so, they were deprived of the good fruits of their labour or acts in Eden. (Various sects of Christianity tend to offer their own versions of the original sin, which may be contradictory to Biblical meaning.)
Now, to me all these have symbolic meanings, too.
Adam signifies the heavenly spirit of Adam, and Eve His human soul. The tree of good and evil (or knowledge) signifies the human world; for the spiritual and divine world is purely good and absolutely luminous, but in the human world is light and darkness, good and evil, exist as opposite conditions.
The meaning of the serpent is attachment to the human world. This attachment of the spirit to the human world led the soul and spirit of Adam from the world of freedom to the world of bondage and caused him to turn from the kingdom of God to the human world. When the soul and spirit of Adam entered the human world, he came out from the paradise of freedom and fell into the world of bondage. From the height of purity, glory and goodness, he entered into the world of good and evil; he descended from unity to differences, to sin. The story is a symbolic presentation of spirit’s attachment to the physical bondage; attachment to the earthly world, in relation to attachment to the spiritual world, is considered as a sin.
It is sin to get away from the Essence of Oneness, from perfection of Eden to imperfections of the earthly existence, going farther from exaltation to humiliation.
Let’s also remember Adam had no father or mother, he was created by God in His own image, with absolute perfection; he was a living soul; he came into existence from the Spirit of life.
I Corinthians 15-22 states; “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” If I try to understand its meaning, it seems Adam is the physical nature while Christ is the spiritual nature; that is, the physical nature is born of Adam, but the spiritual nature is born from the bounty of the Holy Spirit. This spiritual nature of all perfections, appears through the breath of the Holy Spirit, which is light, spirituality, exaltation, love, grace, glory, kindness to all, the essence of life. Christ is the central point of the Holy Spirit; He is born of the Holy Spirit (i.e His Reality does not descend from Adam). Adam is the cause of physical life of mankind; he is the father of human beings, but he cannot provide spiritual life. Christ is the cause of spiritual life of man; his is the spiritual fatherhood.
Perhaps, we can also say sin is the consequence of the power of the physical world (as exemplified by Lucifer, who was its captive, evincing anger, jealousy, hatred, pride, avarice, cruelty, ignorance etc.) and its demands, imperfections, sufferings and death. The Reality of Christ, the “quickening spirit”, is a promise of eternal life, happiness, heaven.
I doubt it is reasonable to believe that by eating the forbidden fruit, Adam became the cause of the death of humanity. If Adam was a sinner, what is the sin of Abraham? What is the fault of Isaac, or of Joseph?
In fact, through Christ, the believing souls attain absolute perfection.
Quotations on SIN, it’s nature, and salvation from sin from the BIBLE:
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of law.” (I John 3:4)
“All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.” (I John 5:17)
“And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23)
“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” (Genesis 3:6)
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then, when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth for the death.” (James 1: 14-15)
Sin is the ways of the ungodly (Psalm 1)
(Reading the Psalm 1 and the quotations 4 and 5, it appears sin is progressive.)
“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)
“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.” (Ezekiel 18:20)
“But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14; Also, Luke 18:16)
(Quotations 7, 8, 9 indicate that sin is personally committed, and is not inherited.)
“Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” (Matthew 12:31)
“But they rebelled, and vexed his holy spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.” (Isaiah 63:10) “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”(Ephesians 4:30)
“But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” (Mark 3:29).
“And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.” (Luke 12:10)
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentence; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame, … But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” (Hebrews 6:4-8).
“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, …. of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the convenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:26-30) etc.
(Quotations 10 to 14 indicate that certain sins are unforgiven.)
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16)
“ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19); “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)
(The quotations indicate that sins can be forgiven by repentence, which is the return from disobedience to obedience, from deprivation from God to unity with Him, partaking of His knowledge and Love and Sprit.)
Jesus will save people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21; Mark 16:16; Act 2:38; 22:16 etc)
“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18)
(Salvation from sin through belief, hope, faith and love in Christ, through righteousness in Spirit).
(The paper was written in April 1997)
-Dr Ram Krishna Singh, Professor (HAG), Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad 826004, India
R K Singh