Sunday, December 23, 2012

The doctrine of original sin

If there is one doctrine in all of Christianity that I despise most, it would have to be the doctrine of original sin. Ever since accepting atheism as true and rejecting the Christian faith as myth, I have been deeply disturbed by the idea that all of mankind is born with this imaginary disease called a sinful nature due to the disobedience of one couple that supposedly lived around 6 or 7,000 years ago. Although the texts of scripture that narrate this tale blame Eve for being the first to be tempted and leading to the temptation of Adam and subsequently the fall of man in general; in the end, Adam is entirely to blame. 

In a nutshell the doctrine of original sin basically states here that “St. Paul’s letter to the Romans tells us that by Adam’s sin all men were convicted and now Christ’s obedience and passion redeem all men.” So basically, we are all guilty by default of offending God aka as sinning. Jesus made this abundantly clear when he said in the book of Mark 10:18 “Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” This, my friends is the default position! The bible teaches that we are inherently evil through no personal fault of our own and that the only way that we can fix it is through accepting Jesus as our Lord (master) and savior. 

I personally do not believe that Adam and Eve were historical figures so the whole tale of the fall of man in my opinion is invalid as is the so called redemption of mankind brought on by the so called sacrifice and death of Christ on the cross. Basing myself on logic and reason alone it is easy to take this myth and tear it to shreds. For instance, would you think it fair to forever condemn, torment, and torture all Germans because of the actions of Hitler? If you answered no then you are correct, if you answered yes then in my view you are outright insane and illogical. If this is the case, then how is God any different? How can he condemn all of mankind for the sins of one?

Many try to argue that this is not what the bible teaches even though Paul also makes this point abundantly clear in Romans 5:18-19 “One man's offence brought condemnation on all humanity; and one man's good act has brought justification and life to all humanity. Just as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience are many to be made upright.” The chapter makes abundantly clear that the one man that is being referred to here is Adam for the fall and Christ for the redemption. 

This brings me to another point that I think is pertinent to this issue. Many modern Christian scholars and apologists have come to the conclusion that Adam and Eve and the story of the fall is in fact a parable and not meant to be taken literally. I actually agree with most scholars on this issue as well, but I have to ask that if this is the case then why doesn’t Paul state that? Instead, Paul uses it in a more historical context as if the events described in Genesis chapter three actually were understood by him as a literal and an historical event.

If you took the time to read Romans chapter 5 in its entirety you will see my point. Not once does Paul mention that the fall of man through Adam was a parable. I too believe that the authors of Genesis whoever they or he/she was meant for the story of Adam and Eve to be taken literally for the simple fact that if this was not the case then what was the purpose of giving Adam a genealogy? Chapter 5 for instance speaks of Adams life and death and how many years he supposedly lived and traces his genealogy through his son Seth. In my opinion that is a lot of unnecessary information if all of this was simply meant to be a parable.

One thing I have noticed about the bible is that everything bad that has ever befallen man on this earth is man’s fault. God, the so called creator takes no responsibility for his part in this fiasco. The free will defense exonerates God for being stupid enough to plant the tree of good and evil in the midst of the garden. Considering the fact that we allegedly had no concept of good and evil I find it hard to believe that we could be tempted at all to disobey God. We were “created in his image” which means we were pure and sinless. Yet we are able to be tempted into disobedience by a talking serpent that should not have been in the damn garden to begin with. Is it starting to become clear to you how stupid this tale actually is? I certainly hope so.

Christianity’s number one proselytizing tool is instilling into its hearers their imaginary necessity for God due through a debt that we have incurred through no fault of our own. It’s a nice scam that has to this date had quite a lot of success because of the gullibility of man in general. Culture, tradition, and superstitions have played a huge part in the spreading of this religious myth. But anyone who takes the time to put their irrational fears aside and read, study, and analyze this story meticulously cannot help but come out with the same conclusion as I and many others have. That the fall as described in the bible is a myth and thus did not happen, that if that is true then Jesus redemptive act is just as fictitious, and that the god as described in the bible does not exist.

Note: All cited biblical texts are from the New Jerusalem translation.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree, and honestly I think the non-existence of Adam and Eve is one of the most problematic issues for theologically liberal Christians (as opposed to the creationists, for example).

    Over at Biologos there are several essays trying to conjure up post-hoc rationalizations for this inconvenient truth – maybe they were historical people, but part of our ancestors and simply the first to sin; or (more commonly, as you point out) maybe it's some sort of parable for how all humanity fell.

    But I think that a quote from Tim Keller ("The Reason for God") really sinks the point home with regard to Paul:

    [Paul] most definitely wanted to teach us that Adam and Eve were real historical figures. When you refuse to take a biblical author literally when he clearly wants you to do so, you have moved away from the traditional understanding of the biblical authority. . If Adam doesn’t exist, Paul’s whole argument—that both sin and grace work “covenantally"—falls apart. You can’t say that Paul was a "man of his time" but we can accept his basic teaching about Adam. If you don’t believe what he believes about Adam, you are denying the core of Paul’s teaching.

    It's a big deal, and one that I think any rational Christian is really going to struggle with. It may not be enough to undo their faith entirely, but it ought to get the ball rolling.

    p.s. – I just stumbled here a few days ago, and really dig your blog a lot. A lot of what you went through is eerily similar to my own experience in the evangelical church.

  2. Mike D, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I am glad that you enjoy my blog and look forward to hearing more from you on the various topics of discussion here.

    I have heard all kinds of crazy theories by all sorts of believers regarding Adam and Eve. But my point in this blog as pointed out in your quote was that Adam and Eve were understood by Paul to have been historical figures and not some parable.

    One thing believers fail to realize is that one of the reasons that the bible is self contradictory on many matters is because it is written by a slew of anonymous authors who most likely did not expect their works to end up combined into one book. You can see the differences among its many authors and their beliefs regarding the resurrection for instance amongst other matters. The resurrection is one topic I intend to tackle very shortly as a matter of fact.

  3. Michael Ruse, atheist super-accommodationist, claims that theistic evolutionists can use science to buttress such as the Fall as a metaphor! Never did we have any kind of Fall. Nothing in any supernatural account of origins has anything to do with science.He brazenly upholds woo to accommodate the woo-lovers.
    The Abrahamic scriptures all revel in misanthropy and misogyny. What rational person would want to worship in the first place, especially Allah and Yahweh?
    All the writers were literalists. How can advanced theologians claim otherwise? As noted Paul was, and Yeshua himself was in mentining Noah.Those theologians then claim a trans- historical perspective-progressive revleation in interpretation and morality.
    Keller's book lauds woo. His soteriology blasphemes humanity!
    This gnu atheist goes to the heart of theism: Putative God would have no rights over us, and thus we would not be His pottery -"things" - to which He the potter gives purposes.Again,how that blasphemes humanity!
    Per Lamberth's argument from autonomy, our rights and liberties stem from our level of consciousness,nether from the government nor from God, in line with the UN Charter of Human Rights and Morgan's Canon. As free beings, we owe no other being anything!
    Let us take this to theists: this is the true evangel- the good news that we are self-responsible!
    " Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate meaning to which neither God nor the future state can further validate." Inquiring Lynn[M.L.]

  4. Not gonna get into a debate because I know no one here takes the bible seriously, but just wanted to comment on the statement:

    "How can he condemn all of mankind for the sins of one?"

    Because Adam was the representative for all mankind. Is this unfair? I guess that depends on how you look at it. I suppose if you have some how managed to never lie, lust, or steal, then yeah, it kinda sucks to be considered guilty. But I've never met such a person. Have you?

    Excerpt from Systematic Theology: If we think it is unfair for us to be represented by Adam, then we should also think it is unfair for us to be represented by Christ and to have his righteousness imputed to us by God. For the procedure that God used was just the same, and that is exactly Paul’s point in Romans 5:12–21: “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19).

    Grudem, Wayne (2009-05-11). Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (p. 495). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

    1. Regarding your quote from 'Systematic Theology' which is in fact a book full of fallacious reasoning as all apologists are known for, it only gets one thing right indirectly: It is unfair to represent all of humanity by the actions of one man and then justify all of humanity by the actions of another so called God/man. The whole process is ridiculous and nonsensical and goes against the so called doctrines of free will which in a Christian context do not exist beyond conversion to Christ and submission to God. The reason I state this is that one part of submitting to God through Christ also involves submitting your will over to that of the divine will. As Jesus himself stated when he was in anguish over his impending death and asked God to "let this cup pass over me" and ended with but not my will be done but thine will be done. Matt. 26:39 ; Mk. 14:36 ; Lk 22:42 The only free choice you have in Christianity is the will to choose to serve God or reject him once that decision is made you are either a servant (slave) to God's will or you live according to your wishes and desires.

      Based on your "reasoning" and I use that word for lack of a better term, it was okay for God in the Old Testament to punish not just the sinner/offender but to punish his lineage as well to the third and fourth generation too. Exodus 34:7 etal. Our human and secular justice system seeks to punish the offender and if it was more than one or if he was aided all those responsible. Of course it's not perfect but when you compare it to the so called justice of your evil psychotic god its more humane and just. Most theists oppose the death penalty when in fact in the O.T. your god was quite fond of it and employed it for the most minimal offenses. Of course you can argue that that was under the dispensation of the old covenant under the law and that its different under the dispensation of grace through Christ. But I consider that torment of hell whether its eternal or for an appointed amount of time handed out after the physical death of the body more barbaric and evil than anything the Old Testament deity could come up with making him worse in the N.T. under the so called "new covenant."

      Lastly, I almost found the accusation that "no one here takes the bible seriously" as offensive but upon reflection I find that you are actually correct at least when it comes to me. The only time I take the bible seriously is when theists try to use its ancient and archaic beliefs and laws based on its mythical deity to influence my life through the manipulations of laws and politics that may affect me personally. Otherwise, the bible in my opinion is a book that has far outlived its usefulness if it ever had any to begin with. It's time to put that book alongside the ones that have preceded it and come after it in the category of myth where it belongs.

    2. JHuntley, perhaps you heard about the former North Korean prisoner whose story appeared on 60 Minutes (Google it). He was born in prison and, if he hadn't escaped, he'd still be there because it's their policy to punish three generations for disloyalty. Do you think it's unfair to punish this child for the sins of his father? If so, why?

    3. I'd say that if their "policy" is based on verses of scriptures, it shows a lack of contextual understanding.

      Exodus 20:5-6 (ESV)

      5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

      6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

      What is being stated here? First there is clear cut warning against idolatry. Then the consequences of such behavior are being explained. If one generation turns away from God to worship false idols, then subsequent generations WILL Be affected. This is pretty consistent with what we actually see take place for the nation of Israel as recorded in other books of the bible. But notice that it specifically says this sort of thing will last until about the 4th generation. The point is that if the first generation of fathers are caught up in idolatry (perhaps worshiping pagan gods) it is not unreasonable to expect that successive generations will follow the same path. Think about it - how many people identify with a religion because it's what they grew up around? And the average person will live long enough to influence the 3rd and 4th generation. I don't know about you, but my children's great-grandparents are still alive. That's 4 generations right there.

      But notice that the sentence doesn't end in verse 5. The next verse makes a huge contrast and says that God will show his love to thousands that love him and keep his commands. Some versions say to the "thousandth generation." I think the point is that by turning against God you are dragging others down with you, but God's love and mercy far outlives the negative actions of any one person. Actual punishment, such as a child being condemned to hell for the sins of the father, IS NOT the message of the verse. And the bible reiterates this in other places such as Ezekiel 18:20.

      I'm not claiming that my exegesis is 100% correct, but hopefully you see my point that the verse is clearly taken out of context.

    4. Sorry, forgot to mention that the last reply was for Cyg. But it applies to some of what Chatpilot stated as well. I'm not really going to reply to most of what you said though Chat because I know where you stand and I don't see much point in beating a dead horse (I'm sure you feel the same). I just wanted to say that the point of my original comment was not to provide a defense for the doctrine of original sin, but rather to make the point that both the "problem of sin" and "solution to sin" are shown to come about in the same manner according to the text of scripture: A representative for mankind - the first Adam, and the last Adam.

  5. The divine protection racket and the Atonement and Hell reflect the barbarism of mis-quided,mean-minded misanthropes who just made up all that from their heartless, heartfelt hate of humanity!
    What rational and - moral person would entertain the idea of bowing to that sacrilege?
    That Yeshua relished such reveals a barbarian! He carries my utmost contempt. I hope never to be around such vermin!
    Had he the power, he'd probably obliterated much of the Near East!
    Had they the power, Augustine and Aquinas, lovers of pyres, and Calvin who loved to murder and Luther, that arch-Judeophobe would have scorched all Europe! Too bad their mothers didn't abort them all!
    Such vermin, with their dogmas, make me a gnu atheist.
    All religious dogmas and arguments and apologetics make me one. None of the good could ever outdo all those spurious ideas as people can find the good elsewhere. Aesop's Fables are real paragons of morality! And they aren't misanthropic and keen on Hell!

  6. And fellow naturalist, Michael Ruse merits sarcasm as he is trying to accommodate fundamentalists and others with his idiocy that original sin and other matters have naturalistic analogues! Never was there any sort of Fall, metaphorically or otherwise!
    Chat pilot, please delve into such twaddle! And when possible add class to my blogs.
    Carneades-Skeptic Griggsy, amongst other monikers.