(Musings) On Original Sin
Ancestral sin or Original sin is the title of the teaching that refers back to man’s downfall and the welcoming of sin into the world by man. Christianity has affirmed the teaching since its beginning. Judaism also has had those who have affirmed the general tenets of the teaching in the times before Christ as evidenced by several Jewish apocryphal sources and in the commentaries of the Babylonian Talmud. While Christianity has long held to the idea of original sin it has not always been in unison about some of the details. What has generally been agreed upon is this
*Adam and Eve, the first two people, sinned against God by eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil
*Their action was the origin of sin in man and on Earth
*They brought an alteration of their being and death upon themselves and to all of their descendants
*Mankind is corporately considered to be “in sin” or “sinners”
*Original sin must be dealt with by the grace of God in Christ; historically understood as not only through Christ’s death and resurrection, but also through an individual’s baptism.
Generally this is affirmed by all sects of Christianity, although some Protestants may object to part about baptism. While the teaching of Original sin is somewhat of a small master piece of intellectual systemization, the reality of its existence is a bitter realization. The fact that this is real, even though atoned for by our Lord Jesus, is still a sad reality. When broken down simply as I have done above curiosity is bound to bubble. This is what I mentioned earlier about the “details” of this teaching. In this article I would like present what my current understanding is on the first listed tenet. I have change my opinion on this subject several times and consider myself to be growing in knowledge and curiosity of this grand subject so do not consider my thoughts to mean too much.
Examining the Fruit
One of the things that I have been most curious about concerning this subject is what ability this fruit had for mankind. In retrospect Adam, his wife, and all of us as his decedents are in possession of the ability granted by the fruit. “Knowledge of good and evil”. Did Adam and Eve really have no concept of good or evil? Could they really not tell the two apart? What does “good” and “evil” even mean from the standpoint of the author of Genesis and what does it mean from the standpoint of God?
I believe that they both did know good from evil before they took of the tree. I think what was granted them upon eating was a widened imagination. To have a greater imagination of good and evil from within themselves. I think the main problem was that in the state they were in, and as we are in today, they were unable to handle or control this new ability. As we are we cannot handle this imagination that is plenteous in both good and evil. One of the greatest and obvious consequences of this new ability is our sin. While some are more proactive in sin than others, we all are guilty of sin. The original sin committed by our first parents has put us on the path to sin. This isn’t to say that we are totally sinful or only sinful. What is sin and how does this ability cause us to sin? I think sin is disharmony of God’s desire. It is our actions that are contrary to what God wants us to do.
I hope to touch more on this subject of sin in the future. I believe this ability causes us to sin because our imagination is so widened that our current state is not powerful enough to totally overcome the desire we incur on our individual imaginations. In other words we cannot control ourselves. While we can control ourselves to a certain extent and grow in temperance, especially through the grace of God poured out in Christ, we still are unable to fully live complete and perfect to God. We are like children given one of a mature adult’s capabilities. Having only one mature ability does not make one mature. A mature adult has multiple things working together to make himself a whole man. A child who has one mature capability is not only immature, but he is also unable to properly function as the person he is. He is corrupted and unfortunately he will not mature, but will die before adulthood because he could not function properly in the state he was in. Thus like a disobedient child man has taken for himself something that wasn’t good for him and that he was not ready for. The result is His death.