Jesus Couldn’t Have Died for Original Sin

Christianity tells us that we are all sinners and doomed to Hell, unless we accept Jesus as our Savior.  The reason we are doomed is that we are all sinners. The Apostle Paul says in Rom 5:12:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

The reason that we are all sinners is that we “inherit” the “Original Sin” of Adam.  As sinners we deserve death.  Only Jesus’ death could atone for Original Sin.

Right?

That puts Christians in an awkward position.

Christians have to hold that there really was an Adam and Eve and a talking Serpent in the Garden of Eden.  They have to accept the creation story of Genesis. Most Christians have abandoned this position in favor of concepts like “divinely guided evolution”.  A few Christians still argue in favor of creation a la Genesis but the arguments have been exposed over and over as baseless dogma and have rapidly lost traction among all but the most fundamentalist of Christians.

Or, Christians can accept evolution, even if they qualify it as divinely guided evolution.  Then there was no Adam in a garden with Trees of Life and Knowledge.  If there is no Adam, there is no Original Sin.  There is only our nature (is it sinful?).  And our nature is the product of evolution (is it divinely guided?).  If there is no Original Sin, then why did Jesus die?

40 Responses to Jesus Couldn’t Have Died for Original Sin

  1. Anonymous says:

    Playing devil’s (or would that be God’s?) advocate here for a moment, the simple answer for the faithful Christian would be to assert that the Genesis narrative is allegorical.

    The Adam and Eve fable isn’t literally true, he might offer, but represents the reality that humankind is incomplete apart from God and unable to achieve moral purity. Therefor God’s forgiveness is required, and furthermore a sacrifice required to earn that forgiveness.

    This argument fails to overcome another problem however, in that God doesn’t live up to the moral standards set by Christ. We are told by the Son to forgive our enemies and those who have wronged up. But God Himself seems unable or unwilling to do this unless a blood sacrifice is paid.

    Either A: God is not ruler of the universe, but is circumscribed by moral laws that transcend him, e.g. moral debts MUST be paid (though not necessarily by those who incurred them, oddly enough).

    Or B: God is cruelly unforgiving of a creature that He himself made to be imperfect.

    Neither of the two alternatives describes the character of a God who deserves worshiping.

    • Double D says:

      Playing Devil’s (or God’s) advocate. Your thought is a good one but the Christian (that is, the Catholics I converse with) position is that God DOES forgive the sinner with or without Christ’s sacrifice. But hell is not a punishment so much so as it is the only acceptable state for a person (soul) who does not ACCEPT the forgiveness. In other words, a soul that lives the devout life is spared from hell because they “love God” and accept his mercy – but they do not receive the beatific vision of Heaven without Christ’s redemptive sacrifice. The example they give are all the holy men of the bible who lived BEFORE Christ died on the cross. Question becomes – where were they if not in hell and not in heaven until Christ’s death? Maybe that is where limbo or purgatory comes in?

      • Darian S says:

        I’m sorry, but what is this? There are many religions and many followers of alternate versions of an all knowing God. If christ’s sacrifice was unecessary, then there’s simply no point to christianity.

        It’s nice to attempt to reword it as in people refusing god indefinitely, but at any point they could change their minds, as could those in heaven. But we’re told we have to make the decision one way or the other in this short life, and that it is final decision even without evidence. The whole thing is just an unsalvageable pile of nonsense.

        The god of the old testament is a genocidal petty immoral monster, and a lot of the old testament is made up nonsense. Any one claiming to be that god or connected to it, doesn’t know what they’re doing, and is probably a few screws loose.

    • The Atheist says:

      Double D,
      I agree that a concept that no one suffers in hell is a much nicer than a concept of a God who torments people eternally because they didn’t believe during their lifetime that Jesus died for their sins. I also find it appealing that Catholics no longer hold as they once did that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. However as Anonymous pointed out to KAR (who commented on this post), the New Testament writers did believe in hell as a place of eternal torment, and most believed that salvation was only for believers and hell was for non-believers. I agree with the Catholics that these beliefs don’t make sense and therefore aren’t the inerrant word of God. However I don’t find any reason to accept the alternatives that the Catholics propose.

    • Anonymous says:

      God loves but even He must follow the moral rules He set up. One of them is justice.

      Can you imagine if a parent did not discipline his or her children when they have done something wrong? Would it be loving of the policeman not to pursue the murderer of his daughter after forgiveness? Or would it be acceptable for society to think the action of parents asking the killer of their child to stand in court is cruel and unforgiving?

      Simply because God follows His own rules does not mean he is not omnipotent but merely that he is fair and reliable God. Indeed, how could we worship a deity that does not even stand by his/her/its rules of morality but claims to be moral?

      If atheists took the time to actually listen to the members of the opposite side of the belief spectrum or even better, thought about their arguments, the “Existence of God” debate could be more than atheists smugly walking away thinking they have declared some conclusive evidence but deafening themselves to the legitimate rebuttals of the religious.

      • Anonymous says:

        “He is a fair and reliable God.”

        And why it is good to be fair and reliable? Why is it good to follow your own rules? Upon what principle is that idea based? It it just because those are also rules God made? Or is goodness predicated on something prior to your idea of God?

        You’re tiptoeing right into the Eurthyphro dilemma. And your moral sense is telling something important.

  2. The Atheist says:

    I agree with the other shortcomings you cite. But I think Original Sin is a problem even for Christians who accept evolution and believe that the Genesis story is allegory. Paul’s entire discourse in Romans 5 about the need for salvation hinges on his point that Jesus is the spiritual antithesis of Adam: because of Adam’s sin, death comes to us all, and because of Jesus’ obedience, life comes to us all. The inference is that Jesus death was needed to undo what Adam had done. Adam was the disease, Jesus was the cure. But without Adam, sin and death didn’t “enter the world” “by one man” and the justification for the necessity of salvation falls flat.

    The best you can say is that maybe Jesus had to die for individual sin and Paul had it all wrong (maybe Jesus had to die for even minor infractions of basically good people?). But that wouldn’t be a position that is supported by the earliest writings that were accepted as orthodox (Paul’s). So while that might conceivably be considered a Christian view of sorts, it’s probably better categorized as a personal theory.

    • Michael H says:

      Just because a lot of people believe a specific dogma does not make it so.

      However, debating with someone who “believes” that dogma is like trying to teach a pig to sing: “It’s a waste of time and it is only going to tick-off the pig”.

      R. Michael

      • Anonymous says:

        Or is it the other way around?

        That’s the problem with the “Existence of God” debate; each side has already formed an opinion and so it is almost impossible to prove either side wrong. We can throw arguments back and forth all day but I think the real question all you atheists should ask yourselves is “Why am I doing this? If God is nothing to me, why am I so preoccupied with proving he’s not there”. Adults don’t believe in the tooth fairy despite lack of evidence to disprove the tooth fairy’s existence, as said in the analogy on askanatheist.org/believe.org but there are no large forums between children and adults about this. However there are forums debating what you compare to the tooth fairy: God. Now why is that?

        • Frank Miles says:

          The belief in the existence of God, and more directly the claim that He has communicated His laws to certain privileged persons, this can and often does form the foundation of a terrible practice. Truth by authority.

          Truth by authority, whether that authority is invested in holy books, the clergy, prophets, a Dear Leader, the Communist Party, or the vox populi–THAT is the root of all social evil.

          The principle of truth by authority has underlain every mass murdering regime, both religious and secular, that you can name. It unites them all.

          That’s why I care. Because someone’s belief in God, depending on that belief, so often translates into the claim of truth by authority. And then, according to that authority, into hatred of those with unorthodox sexual orientations. Or the violent repression of women. Or the strong arm suppression of my freedom to live and speak as I will while harming no one.

          On the other hand, my belief that insufficient evidence exists for me to responsibly and morally declare that there is a deity or deities ruling the world–what’s that to you?

          My disbelief claims no authority.

          Any religion that takes a primary concern with others’ unbelief in its veracity is demonstrating a very well deserved lack of self-esteem and self-confidence. It would seem that if you have nothing but proof by consensus agreement, then you have very little. And what you have IS, in your mind at least, threatened by my disbelief.

          I hope in time you come to see that goodness doesn’t need the scaffold of religion. It can stand on its own. And better.

          The scaffold always ends up as nothing more than a place to hang the disbeliever anyway.

          • Michael H says:

            I heard someone compare “Truth by authority” for one’s deity by reading that religions Holy Books is no different than claiming “truth by authority” for Superman by reading Marvel Comics.

            • Anonymous says:

              The authority of holy books is “proved” by prophecy and miracles worked by prophets. And this proof evaporates whenever we shine the light of rigorous investigation upon it.

      • Remy says:

        Good one Bro!!!! :)

    • Anonymous says:

      Jesus died as a consequence of sin, of our sin. He did not pay any debt to anyone, i know the language used seems to imply that, and many wrong interpretations have come out of that, but more and more, scholars and theologians are realizing that Jesus did not come to ”save us” as we used to understand that concept. Jesus came to make new ways, to help us mature, to show us the truth of who we are. That was what led him to get crucified, it was not Gods will, or even his. If the people of his time had accepted his message, Jesus would not have died. It is the language that is confusing, but the events say something else.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Playing devil’s (or would that be God’s?) advocate here for a moment, the simple answer for the faithful Christian would be to assert that the Genesis narrative is allegorical.

    The Adam and Eve fable isn’t literally true, he might offer, but represents the reality that humankind is incomplete apart from God and unable to achieve moral purity. Therefore God’s forgiveness is required, and furthermore a sacrifice required to earn that forgiveness.

    This argument fails to overcome another problem however, in that God doesn’t live up to the moral standards set by Christ. We are told by the Son to forgive our enemies and those who have wronged up. But God Himself seems unable or unwilling to do this unless a blood sacrifice is paid.

    Either A: God is not ruler of the universe, but is circumscribed by moral laws that transcend him, e.g. moral debts must be paid (though not necessarily by those who incurred them, oddly enough).

    Or B: God is unforgiving of creature that He himself made to be imperfect.

    Neither of the two alternatives describes the character of a God who deserves worshiping.

  4. razorswift says:

    Interesting point, if there was no literal Adam/Eve then there’s no original sin. At this point, it’s up to the reader to determine/decide if they were historical people or not. However, no one can know for sure.

  5. Danny says:

    you answer these five questions for me?

    1. What is truth?
    2. How do you know something?
    3. What is real?
    4. How do you determine right/wrong?
    5. Who is God, does he exist?

  6. The Atheist says:

    1. What is truth?

    Answer: that which is in accordance with fact or reality

    2. How do you know something?

    Answer: by experience in the case of empirical knowledge, and by reasoning in the case of rational knowledge

    3. What is real?

    Answer: the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined

    4. How do you determine right/wrong?

    Answer: by my upbringing, influence of the culture in which I live, my innate sense of empathy, and my innate social instincts

    5. Who is God, does he exist?

    Answer: it depends on which god you are asking about. for example, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the pastafarians’ deity and he does not exist; for a second example, a god who by definition is imperceptible may or may not exist but is not known to exist.

    if I may in return get an answer to just one question: why would someone post random questions on a blog that have no remote connection with the topic?

    • Philip says:

      I know an atheist who believes his pet rocks have the potential to reproduce. Isn’t it odd how the more one claims to know the more he discovers he does not know? You see it could be that original sin was atheism.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Answer me this: What is good, and what is evil? Or do they even exist?

  8. The Atheist says:

    Hi, is this Danny? If so, I’m still hoping you will interact with my question above: “why would someone post random questions on a blog that have no remote connection with the topic?” In the mean time, I’ll hazard a guess here and let you correct me if I’m wrong:

    I’m guessing that you’ve read questions like the ones you posted on websites with titles like “5 Things To Ask Atheists” and you believe (because you believe for some reason that these websites to be credible) that the questions and their answers are so self evident that anyone who hears them will have to concede that there is a God. Am I pretty close to the mark?

    Also, I’m wondering what your response was to my answers to your questions. Do you agree with them? If you disagree, what are your reasons for disagreeing?

    “Good” (as the opposite of “evil”, vs. as the opposite of “bad”) is the adherence to some moral code.

    “Evil” is the violation of some moral code.

    Moral codes exist, adherence and violations to these codes occur, therefore good and evil exist.

    It is interesting to note that because moral codes vary, adherence to one moral code can be considered good from the adherent’s point of view, but can be considered evil by other points of view. For example, suicide bombing is considered good by adherents of radical Islam, but it is considered evil to non-adherents. In this particular case, good and evil exist in a single act: suicide bombing.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Religious experiences of a personal kind- wherein neither God nor the person experiencing God dissolves into an impersonal oneness or void – are real and reoccurring across cultures and down through time to the present day. Many yearn for them, and many of us find them. This provides considerable evidence for the existence of a personal and relational being who is the ground of these experiences. But these accounts of divine encounters do not stand alone; they should be joined to the other arguments. Human quest for the transcendent is best explained. If Christianity is true, then humans stand in a unique relationship to both God and the rest of creation. They represent God as God’s image bearers and so resemble God as moral and personal beings, but on a finite scale. Human possess a unique awareness of themselves, creation and God, are uniquely able to relate concepts rationally within their awareness, and can communicate their rational awareness through signs, both written and spoken. Humans cannot be reduced to the status of an evolved animal possessing nothing but natural properties. Nor can they be elevated to divine status, since their finitude is always with them, despite their divinely endowed capacities.

    • Anonymous says:

      Here’s an interesting take on the human propensity to imagine an agent or “Friend” behind natural law that takes into account our instincts as social creatures:

      “We are gregarious animals; our ancestors have been such for countless ages. We cannot help looking out on the world as gregarious animals do; we see it in terms of humanity and of fellowship. Students of animals under domestication have shown us how the habits of a gregarious creature, taken away from his kind, are shaped in a thousand details by reference to the lost pack which is no longer there–the pack which a dog tries to smell all the time he is out walking, the pack he calls to for help when danger threatens.

      It is a strange and touching thing, this eternal hunger of the gregarious animal for the herd of friends who are not there. And it may be, it may very possibly be, that, in the matter of this Friend behind phenomena [i.e., God], our own yearning and our own almost ineradicable instinctive convictions, since they are certainly not founded on either reason or observation, are in origin the groping of a lonely-souled gregarious animal to find its herd or herd-leader in the great spaces between the stars.

      In any rate, it is a belief very difficult to get rid of.”

      Professor Gilbert Murray–excerpted from a lecture entitled “The Stoic Philosophy,” delivered to the South Place Institute, March 16th, 1915.

      • Anonymous says:

        You have done nothing more than suggest a possible reason for compulsion we have to believe something that is false.

        Here’s the problem: this is a debate about the falsity/truth of religion, not possible reasons that it was conjured. Such talk is only relevant when religion has been proved to be false and it clearly has not.

        All you’re doing is gumming up the works.

        • Anonymous says:

          And one idea that has been presented here in the debate is that simply having a concept or psychological experience of God, particularly because such experiences are cross-cultural, suggests the actual existence of God.

          I have only offered an alternate theory to counter that suggestion.

  10. The Atheist says:

    You and I agree that people from different cultures and different religious backgrounds have experiences that they perceive to be divine. Each of these people believes that the divinity he encounters is none other than the Creator God of his particular belief system. Their testimonies seem equally credible (or conversely, equally incredible). Here are a few examples:

    Vijay Kumar says:

    No questions remaining unanswered I had realized Self … I was one with “God, the Creator”

    And here is one of Vijay Kumar videos:

    Another person who claims divine experience with a new-age type of God says:

    In this experience, my will was? one with God’s will. I was experiencing what God was thinking, and God was simply happy to be loving me into existence. So this is who I really am!

    And here is one of his videos:

    If there is at most one Creator God, then experiences of all but one of the various gods must be illusions, and not experiences of the Creator God. How do we decide which experiences, if any, we should accept as experiences with the true Creator God?

    You and I agree on another thing: if “Christianity is true” as you say, then the claims of Christianity are true (some of which you have listed). However, why should we accept that Christianity is true?

  11. anonyomus copypasta…

    […]Jesus Couldn’t Have Died for Original Sin « Ask an Atheist[…]…

  12. Arguing about original sin is akin to arguing about alcoholism and what it is and isn’t (usually arguments about choice). It doesn’t matter. Sometimes I wish Christians would be more discreet about what they think the truth is. For mysel, the the ideas about original sin and ideas about alcoholism only offer a model that I can take or leave to facilitate necessary changes. The truth isn’t an end, and plenty of people have told me the truth over the years. But it hasn’t set me free, so I use models to better myself. That’s part of why I have particular disdain for atheists who would promote an agenda that gets rid of God, as though I can’t figure out for myself what the F I’m doing. Thanks for trying to save me from my “religion” though.

  13. The Atheist says:

    I don’t see how arguing about original is at all like arguing over alcoholism. One discussion is about the theological claim that Adam, the first human, brought sin into the world, even if there is very good evidence to the contrary. The other discussion about alcoholism, isn’t a argument as far as I can tell. So I’m a little baffled by your comparison.

    If you have disdain for atheists, I can respect that. I would however be curious to know more about it. For example, what about atheists makes you feel this hostility?

    • Anonymous says:

      I do not claim to speak for my but myself.

      I find that atheists are hypocrites.

      It’s that simple. Every point you have made, I can prove wrong and I didn’t even take the religion program at my university. I find the points so weak that I question how much thought has been put into the arguments. I feel that the atheist community is merely shoddily constructing points that have not been thought through. It seems as if the atheist community is merely throwing such points into the debate and smugly thinking that they have won.

      The problem is that if someone refutes those points, they are scorned as fools for not being atheists? How is this different from the early Church’s rejection of science?

      (I do not deny the Church in Galileo’s era, that of Copernicus and in the eras of other great men of thought repressed science. I regret that but this was not what God had taught; it was mainly so the Church of those times could maintain its political influence. Peek into the government-Church relationship of any country and you will find this is no longer the case for there is no political influence remaining.)

      This is what peeves me. How can atheists claim we are blind people rejecting the truth and reason, scorning criticism when they are no different?

  14. KAR says:

    Ok so I don’t want to go back and forth with discussion or get into it too deep because I may never land on this site again an lately usually just surf on an iPod.

    But I’ve observed that you are forming conclusions from a limited viewpoint, which is probably exactly what you are accusing believers of.

    For one you claim the bible is referring to a talking snake in the most literal sense, and then point out how cartoonish this is. This reference may indeed be figurative and representative of their internal sense of conscience that they were created with. In other words, they had a profound sense of morality that they must not cross a boundary. In that state they had a flawless existence. However, once they crossed the threshold their world dramatically changed and they could not regain their previous state, nor their connection to divine protection and guidance they once knew they were enjoying. We could get much deeper and there is another probability concerning the snake but it’s too in-depth for a comments forum. But my real point is that for some reason you conclude the only option in the scenario you provided was a literal talking snake.

    Additionally, you suggest that to have a view of intelligent design it can only mean that the individuals Adam and Eve could not have existed. It could very well be that these two were the perfecting of the creatures that God intended to separate from common ancestors and would become the first to which were to fulfill his divine intent for the human race, inheriting a special (spiritual) relationship with the invisible creator.

    I’m not suggesting I know exactly how it all went down, because I wasn’t there. But if you wish to argue that Christians have a narrow view, perhaps you could expand yours a little and also do more research on the bible as well as science.

    • Anonymous says:

      KAR,

      I think the argument on the table here is not about representing what you or I might believe about the allegorical meaning of the Eden fable. St. Paul and others seemed to have believed that Adam literally brought sin and death into the world, and that to save us from death, Jesus had to make an atoning sacrifice.

      That sacrifice can only make sense (and, I think there are problems even in this case, as I’ve pointed out) if Adam brought death into the world through his sin.

      No literal Adam, no sin, no death, no need for Christ.

      You could argue, I suppose, that one can take the Jesus story as allegorically as one could take the Eden story. But Paul didn’t do that. Not at all. He insisted that if the Jesus story of physical death and some kind of resurrection wasn’t historical, that everything he preached was false. And all but the most liberal Christians do not think the Jesus story is allegorical either.

      So, again, it’s Paul’s and the other church fathers’ view that Jesus’ sacrifice was necessitated by the actions of Adam–that’s really what’s under fire here. That view and those who support it.

  15. John says:

    The tree of “the knowledge of good and evil.” What is it, and why does God put it in the garden? Throughout the Bible we see that God’s truths are so much deeper than the surface understanding of His words. In Koran I presume it is a straight forward sentence without any hidden meaning. It is like “do this” and “do that”. That’s it.
    It seems like putting your children in the backyard to play and saying, “By the way, don’t jump in the pit with the spikes lining the bottom that I dug in the back corner by the swing set, okay?”
    From the very beginning man held a special place in God’s creation. Composed of both flesh and spirit, man was created in, “the divine image” (Genesis 1:27) of the soul and was imbued with original holiness, justice and freewill. God placed humankind with, “dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
    God created Adam with unique characteristics called free will. In other words, God gave them a choice: to obey Him or disobey Him. Without that choice, they would have been like puppets, able to do only what God wanted. But God gave them a free will — and one day they gave in to Satan’s lies and chose to rebel against their Creator. This free will was also there for angels too. However, these creatures were without flesh and hence immortal. Some of the angels revolted against God by exercising their free will. They being of spirit, there was no way of forgiveness of their sins and as such they remained as evil spirits. This is similar to someone dying with sin and without forgiveness in his lifetime. This was the beginning of evil and the fallen angel Satan. Satan and the fallen angels became the essence of evil, and the tempter of humankind. Out of evil, hatred, and malice, Satan opposes God at every turn. Satan “has sinned from the beginning (1 John 3:8), was a murderer from the beginning and…is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
    God wants man to be devoted to his Creator; to love Him, follow Him, worship Him, have fellowship with Him, etc. But what does it really mean to say, “I want you to love me and do as I tell you, but I won’t give you any choice in the matter, okay?” Therefore, there is a need for free will to His creation. The existence of free will at the time of creation of Adam , indicate that there was already a choice for Adam to exercise his free will, or to choose between two things, that is good and bad. In other words, the evil already existed in the world when Adam was created. The very prohibition from God not to eat from the tree of knowledge, presumes that man knows the rightness of obedience and the wrongness of disobedience. Under these circumstances, why God conceived a wish to withhold moral discernment from man, by telling them not to eat from the tree of knowledge. In other words why God choose to put that tree in the middle of the garden and forewarn Adam not to eat from that tree. Adam had a free will. There was choice for him to either choose good or evil which already existed. Only what was lacking in Adam was to differentiate between good and evil and this was waiting to dawn on him, the moment he will eat from the tree of knowledge.
    If the tree of knowledge was never there than Adam would have continued without the original sin. Here is what I wonder, if the fruit was not eaten and therefore there was no knowledge of ‘right and wrong’, Adam and Eve would have been ruled by an idea of “do what feels good physically”. They would have continued in their original state of original holiness, justice and freewill. Before eating of the tree, they were destined to live forever – NEVER experiencing death, NEVER experiencing eternal separation from God, NEVER committing sin. Before eating of the tree, they had only believed and obeyed God. They were pure and innocent. Once they ate from the tree (sinned) and knew they were naked, they felt SHAME. Before this, man had not known shame or any other negative emotion. Before this, their relationship to God was one of pure trust and adoration. Before this, man was happy to be in daily fellowship with the Lord, having nothing to hide. He was to tend and watch over a self-perpetuating garden, name the animals and reign over them. Man was not created dumb; he was created in God’s image. He was created with intelligence beyond that of the animals and bright enough to converse with and obey God. The knowledge that Adam and Eve had was God-ordained, perfect, and pure. So Together Adam and Eve, were given the loving gifts of free will, original justice and original holiness. God gave them the fruits, pleasures and duties of tending to the Garden of Eden where they lived in harmony with God, each other and God’s creations.
    So, you have Adam and Eve and their offspring, all live forever because of the tree of life. They are all running around naked, because they have no shame. I am just explaining my thinking. In a world with no death or disease and no knowledge of ‘right or wrong’.
    Also, you would be provided with all the food you need without having to work for it. The animals would be vegetarian (“everything that has the breath of life in it -I give every green plant for food.”). There would be no reason to kill any animals, because you wouldn’t need their skin for clothing, because you were naked and didn’t care.
    So, everyone having a good time, doing what feels good with no negative consequences, plenty to eat without any effort, lots of friendly vegetarian animals to play with, peace and love are all you know that’s how I think they all would be spending eternity. So, I’m not too happy with my great-great-great…..(you get the idea)grandmother, Eve, for eating that fruit and blowing it for me. Before their temptation at the hands of the devil, Adam and Eve chose to accept and return the love of their Creator, as well as submit to obedience out of love for God. This harmony before the fall of mankind is sometimes called original justice and original holiness. Gen1:27 “God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. God intended to remain it in that way. He had a different plan for us at the time of our creation. May be to live on this earth and make it a different kind of heaven than what is available in His abode. To remain like this, God told his prized creation to eat from all the trees including the tree of life but not from one tree and that was tree of knowledge about good and evil.
    But still the question is why God put the tree of knowledge in the middle of the garden along with the tree of life?
    Well, knowledge of good and evil, of course. God creates man with understanding, obviously, since God is talking with him. If man did not understand, God would have known, and made it clearer. God was giving a simple message to man: “Evil” is the things that you’re not supposed to do, “good” is the things that you should do. The only thing you need to know about “evil” is don’t eat from that tree.
    Here is a Adam whom God created with free will and there was good and evil on earth to choose from. By choosing good things, Adam would be obedient to God and vice versa. Irony is that Adam is not able to differentiate between good and evil for he is without knowledge of differentiating the same. In a way there was no way Adam could exercise his free will, in absence of his knowledge about good and evil and show his obedience to God as he would have been doing everything (good and evil) in ignorance. The only way God could know the obedience of Adam was to put one object, which would allow him to know the free will choice of Adam about his obedience to Him. That is how I presume He planted the tree of knowledge. In a way, by obeying God’s command of not eating the fruit from this tree was a divine barrier for Adam from knowing what is good and evil. This obedience would have kept him barricaded from being dying, even though in course of his lifetime he would do something evil as he would be doing it in the original state of “original justice and original holiness”. With this, one obedience Adam was supposed to live a life doing everything and not knowing whether he does good or evil.
    In addition, as we see today in nature we have two sides for any aspect. For good there is evil, for light there exists its other side, which is darkness. For every positive aspect, there is a negative aspect also and this must be the rule of nature when God created this world. For love, there is anger. For human kind to live eternally there was a tree of life and to oppose it there was tree of knowledge. It was suppose to be there by default because of tree of life. God said to Adam to go on eating the fruit from the tree of life but not from tree of knowledge.
    Sometime in the course of his lifetime, it was quite possible that he would have eaten this fruit, as it was in the centre of the garden and most beautiful tree of all. If God did not mentioned to Adam not to eat from this tree then Adam would have a golden excuse of saying that I did it in ignorance and how I am supposed to know it. Therefore, God in a way gives his first commandment to Adam not to eat the fruit from that tree. Under these circumstances God put that tree of knowledge in the middle of the garden only to make Adam aware that there exits also evil on this earth who will at every turn of the event will try to put him in to temptation and force him to choose evil. However as long as he abstains from eating from the tree of knowledge Adam would be sinless as he would not know what is good and evil.

  16. John says:

    Here is how the original relationship with God was broken by eating of forbidden fruit. By his action Adam and Eve in way demonstrated to God that “God, I know you say that you know best, and you claim to have told me everything I need to know, but I want to find out for myself.” To eat from the tree would be to say that God was not trustworthy, and that’s a serious accusation, especially at this point in history. Atheists and agnostics have raised time and again very thought-provoking points about the character of the Biblical God such as why He would allow suffering if He is supposedly good. That argument wouldn’t hold water in the garden, at this time of creation, as there was no suffering, no death, nothing but a man, a woman and some trees.
    The Church teaches us that this first sin of man constituted a loss of trust in man for God and an abuse of the freedom of mankind. Because man had disobeyed their creator and indulged in sin, man finally knew of evil and lost his original justice and holiness.
    Adam’s Sin brought devastating consequences: death and the upset of the harmonious balance between God, man, and creation. In addition, the will of man is forever weakened by the first sin. Original sin, the loss of original justice and holiness, impacted the progeny of Adam and Eve through weakness of will. Man no longer harbors original justice and holiness and instead is drawn toward evil and selfish pleasures. We call this weakness of the will concupiscence. The continuing temptations of Satan and the loss of the gifts of original holiness and justice marred the soul of Adam, and as he is the head of the human race all of his descendants were likewise convicted. The stain of original sin is inherited by all humans at the moment of conception and brings its effects of ignorance, concupiscence, death and suffering.
    By the very nature of man’s original sin, no person can hope to receive the kingdom of God upon natural death. Original sin has separated God from man and weakens the will of man to prefer evil. Job laments, “Who can make him clean that is conceived of unclean seed?” (Job 14:4). Man, through the father of our race, has rejected God’s love and privileged state and cannot hope to attain everlasting life by his own merits and power.
    Fortunately, God’s mercy prevails over sin and death. Jesus Christ, Son of God, true God and true man, offered himself to an undeserved death and became the sacrifice for man’s sins. The passion, death and resurrection of Jesus was offered once and for all for the sins of mankind, so that man can be saved by the grace of God.

  17. Anonymous says:

    //This argument fails to overcome another problem however, in that God doesn’t live up to the moral standards set by Christ. We are told by the Son to forgive our enemies and those who have wronged up. But God Himself seems unable or unwilling to do this unless a blood sacrifice is paid.//

    The fallacy in this line of argumentation is that one equates the moral accountability of created beings with that of their Creator. You’re comparing two kinds of beings. Those who have done wrong (the created), & those who have not (Creator). Those who have no inherent authority over others (created) & those who do (Creator).
    Created beings are, per se, on morally equal standing with one another. Yet one will do wrong to another. It is not controversial to state that all created beings have done wrong to other created beings, in an attempt to impose false authority over them. As such, all are morally in debt. The Christian argument is that payment is an availability. So that it is expected of those who have wronged others to forgive those who have wronged them. It is not an expectation that a Being that has done no wrong should be expected to forget wrongs in the universe & never hold those who do them accountable.
    People who have wronged others have no right to not forgive wrongs. Only if you’ve never wronged. Theologically, sin must be punished in order for holiness to be maintained. You’re suggesting that perhaps God should simply forgive sin without ever punishing it. This avoids the theological fact that right & wrong are punitive. A false interpretation believes that wrong can simply be forgotten & never face consequences. This is not a proper understanding of right/wrong, even from a non-Bibilical perspective. That no matter what happens, wrongs can & should be forgotten & consequences thereof never faced. This is unjust by any reasonable moral view.
    Yours is a very myopic interpretation.

  18. gram says:

    I believe Jesus died for challenging state religion and representing a potential threat to state control in the conquered region. The concept of original sin (inherited stain) is inarguable- and immoral to suggest.

  19. Anonymous says:

    IN ADDITION, JUDAISM HAS NO CONCEPT OF ORIGINAL SIN!!! THEREFORE, THIS IDEA OF ORIGINAL SIN WAS NOT PRESENT DURING THE TIME OF JESUS! THIS DEVELOPED IN THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION IN ORDER TO GIVE A REASON FOR WHY JESUS DID NOT FULFILL ANY OF THE MESSIANIC PROPHECIES! MEANING HE IS A FAILED MESSIAH!

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