What if there never was “original sin“?
What if original sin was, and remains, our imposition on God? And what if Jesus never came to earth to wash away our (original) sin with His blood? What if God never got it wrong in “the Garden”? And what if Jesus was not “Plan B”? And what if we have taught … embedded … made a fact … OUR own (original) sin that simply never was? And what if we need saving NOT from our (original) sin – but from our own cast iron belief that we NEED saving from original sin? What if we got “that” completely wrong?
How would that “what if” change our long established and cherished Christian Tradition?
Good morning …
For some time I have had a growing distaste for this accepted and assumed relationship between God and me. A relationship whose foundation is sin. Sin that distances. Sin against which I am a helpless victim. Sin that rules my relationship with God. Sin that actually required God’s only Son to be born as man and to die as man and to rise as God-but-not-really-God. All because (we say) that God allowed us to be exposed to sin in the Garden. All because (we say) that God allowed sin as the snake into the Garden where it should never have been. All because (we say) God tempted us by placing “that tree” and then drawing our attention to it by telling us that we mustn’t eat its fruit. I mean – come on God! That’s amateur night! Anyone knows what will happen next!
(and have you ever noticed how we assume “Adam and Eveship” when we talk about the fall and the Garden and that tree and that snake? How we become Adam and Eve. We become God’s playdoh playthings? We become victims then and now. Does anyone else find that a tad weird? Have I missed something and “the Garden and all that” has been proven to be a chronological and factually accurate record?)
Original sin. The sin of Adam and Eve. In a Garden which is probably figurative. With a snake and tree probably figurative. By two people who are probably figurative. But which we have made our own – literally and factually. So literally and factually that we accept and assume that WE are always victims of original sin forever and ever, amen.
That fits with the God I was taught – who lives in the Old Testament – that smite ’em “God” who I was taught to believe kept us all in check because of “my” original sin – l learned I was a victim to sin – and was taught that I always would be.
But the God I know today – who lifts me up – who knows my every thought – who lives within the very fibre of my being – who always has – who waited decades for me to say Hello … THAT God – does not, would not, and cannot create me as a victim. For that has at its heart “transaction” (and debt and bank accounts and earning salvation – whatever that means). The God I know cannot do that because unconditional love cannot comprehend “pre-conditions” – ever.
It makes no sense (even to me).
If I love someone I do not spend my whole time controlling them with all the bad things they (might have) have done to me. I do not desire a relationship of fear and of hiding from each other. I have no desire for any of that to be in me. I desire love without condition. Freely given. Without guilt. Without (the need for) forgiveness..
So I wonder more and more …
Why would this God of love eternal – love without condition – impose such a draconian requirement on me whom He loves? Why would a God of intimate and open relationship impose such a barrier to relationship itself? And just what does God gain from these (narcissistic) pre-conditions we say that HE imposed on US?
Is it because we think we have so offended God that we believe that He made it impossible for us to have an intimate relationship with Him (unless we fulfil those certain conditions of course).
Pre-conditions to unconditional love? Really?
Or might that be OUR version of “love without condition” that WE impose on the God of unconditional love? Might one of those conditions be original sin. Which must be a debt paid on our behalf – which we call saved by grace – which sanitises the transaction and makes the transaction no transaction at all?
So I wonder more and more – who does original sin serve best?
Because “Christian Tradition” says that although we are saved … despite our sin being washed away … even with all “that” … we will STILL sin because we must … because we remain victims (even after we are saved). And more and more I get angry at that teaching.
Because that “teaching” defines me as incapable of unconditional love. Defines me as a victim. And means my victim’s love is conditional by definition (or else I would not be a victim). And that is why I cannot see “original sin” as best serving God. He never created me a victim. I am not – and never have been – a victim.
And if that has Godly legs …
Then Jesus born to woman as man for the sole purpose of shedding His blood as happens in an abattoir … on an Old Testament altar … in any number of “pagan rituals” …
All “that” could do with a re-think (along with the Church … the Christian Tradition … the Creeds … Worship … Forgiveness … Love … ). Because if we have determined that we are incapable of unconditional love in our own lifetime – if we have also determined that we will always be a victim to sin …
Then just why are we “followers” at all (and who really gains from original sin being the essence of my faith)?
I had doubts about the thoughts and words God Soft Hands Jesus was drawing from me in this journey. Yet writing that one last sentence has washed away any doubt. The God I know would not set me up to fail. Because the God I know loves me and each of us without any pre-conditions.
Isn’t this what “Advent” is all about? Isn’t this what “following” is all about? An on-going rethink about our relationship with God?
So what other reasons might there be for Christmas and all that … the Garden and all that … the Cross and all that … the Resurrection and all that … For God Soft Hands Jesus and all that … ?
(which I guess means I am still journeying with this tomorrow)
Thank you Paul – and a most agreeable and loving Christmas Countdown we are having!