I have never been a fan of Original Sin. Ever.
Seems to me there is built-in convenience. Similar to a parent’s default fallback after being worn down by a child’s continual “Why?” … the universal “Because I say so!”
Original Sin serves a purpose. But whose purpose?
So I punched in a google search: “where is original sin stated in the bible”
The answer is: It isn’t.
But in looking at the results I bumped into this article from the BBC (now archived and no longer updated). The article is reasonably long and begins like this –
Original sin is an Augustine Christian doctrine that says that everyone is born sinful. This means that they are born with a built-in urge to do bad things and to disobey God. It is an important doctrine within the Roman Catholic Church. The concept of Original Sin was explained in depth by St Augustine and formalised as part of Roman Catholic doctrine by the Councils of Trent in the 16th Century.
Original sin is not just this inherited spiritual disease or defect in human nature; it’s also the ‘condemnation’ that goes with that fault.”
And the purpose of this doctrine (not found in the bible)?
“Augustine developed his idea of original sin for several reasons:
- to explain the almost irresistible pressure to behave badly that troubles even the most saintly people
- to justify the need to baptise babies as soon as possible after birth
- to demonstrate that human beings are totally reliant on God’s grace and all-powerful goodness
- to defeat the ideas of Pelagius, an English theologian.
And “Who was Pelagius?”
“In the fifth century, there was a monk whose teachings have had an impact on the history of the church to this day. He was concerned with our righteousness: how can we be counted righteous before God? The question caused him to rethink the relationship between us and Adam. His thinking on the matter led him to conclude that being righteous before God is completely up to us.”
Which meant there were lots of arguments and high-level church meetings – because it was felt Pelagius undermined the Gospels, and that could not be allowed. And what caught my eye was not that – it was this modern day conclusion at the bottom of the article:
“Augustine was right—the gospel was at stake. And a text that speaks right to this is Romans 5:12–21, which speaks of death in Adam and life in Christ. It is impossible to fit Pelagius’ view with the plain reading of this passage. The truth is that we are born in sin and unable to make ourselves righteous. We cannot save ourselves; we need a Savior. And by God’s grace, have one: Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty that we deserved, and whose righteousness is imputed to us by faith alone, to the glory of God. May His church continue to reject the false teachings of Pelagius.”
Let me extract one modern day sentence: “The truth is that we are born in sin and unable to make ourselves righteous.”
Let me extract just three modern day words: “The Truth Is”
All of this “truth” not of the bible. This “truth” having a purpose. This “truth” so embedded it is taken as “gospel” today.
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I don’t know many answers.
What I do know is that these doctrines “stick”. They become established teaching and then become accepted folklore and then an embedded “that’s the way it is”. And generations of qualified teachers then teach it as “that’s the way it is”.
Except that these “that’s the way it is” doctrines stem from these man-made arguments of academic theological power struggles.
And that isn’t the God Soft Hands Jesus who I know. GSHJ has no such worries or fears – no such “purpose”. I have learned that love is bigger than all of this tittle-tattle stuff.
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And that’s why I don’t like original sin.