Jesus Couldn’t Have Died for Original Sin

August 14, 2011

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?


Jesus and the Adulteress

May 29, 2008

Remember the Woman at the Well story in John 8? The Pharisees bring a woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus. They tell Jesus that the Law says that she should be stoned to death, and they ask how he would handle it. Jesus says “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Then one by one, the Pharisees leave and Jesus says to the adulteress: “Then neither do I condemn you,…Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The adulteress was guilty; she was caught in the act and no one denies that she is guilty. When Jesus tells her not to do it any more, he implies that he knows she’s guilty. According to the Law, she should be stoned to death.

Note that Jesus never says that she should not be stoned because he forgave her of her sin. In fact he never said that she shouldn’t be stoned. Quite the opposite: he tacitly agrees that she should indeed be stone, but he stipulates that the first stone should be thrown by one without sin. The original Law never stipulates that the adulterer should be stoned only by those without sin – that is Jesus’ modification to the Law (or perhaps it is his supreme understanding of the law). But let’s accept that Jesus, being the Son of God and all, has the right to modify the Law (or is better qualified to interpret it than anyone else). Then according to the law as Jesus redefined it or reinterprets it, the adulteress should be stoned, but one without sin could cast the first stone.

Wasn’t Jesus without sin? Then by Jesus’ own words, he should have thrown the first stone. In fact, didn’t Jesus have an obligation to throw the first stone so that his Law would be upheld? By failing to throw the stone, Jesus violates a Law that he agrees should be upheld – which is a sin.

Here is the full dialog (NIV version):

Joh 8:3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group
Joh 8:4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
Joh 8:5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
Joh 8:6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
Joh 8:7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Joh 8:8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
Joh 8:9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
Joh 8:10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
Joh 8:11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”


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