Rumraket Asks About Original Sin

@swamidass

Your description (above) would NOT be considered St. Augustine’s version of Original Sin by the Orthodox.

The test case is infant baptism. The Eastern Orthodox offer multiple reasons for Baptism… BUT EXCLUDE SIN as one of them.

I wrote a fairly detailed summary of 23 entire pages, in response to Rumraket asking what you believe about original sin. I’m sure he’ll ask if he’s interested in more detail about rationale and explanations. I could just write out the entire 23 pages instead.

Thanks but we will stick with the original plan.

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These distinctions, in my opinion, are overly simplistic and certainly wrong at times.

First there are many different understandings of original sin in the tradition. This is just one, and it is not necessarily the most important one.

Second, hamartia (the term for sin) is used in ways that clearly indicate it can mean different things in different contexts. There is a whole field of biblical theology, hamartology, that studies this precise issue. Transgression seems to mean knowledgeable violation of a command, which is one type of sin. The word also can indicate Unknowledgeable wrongdoings. Sometimes it is connected to iniquity, or sickness. Sometimes it is discussed as ancestral. The concept of sin is far too rich and complex to reduce this way.

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Sadly, only in the sense that it left me with more questions than I set out with.

I appreciate that you take the time to answer, and (sorry to pull a Trump) believe me when I say I do not ask these questions to insult anyone or trash Christianity, nor to put anyone down, or call them stupid, or anything of the sort. People’s thoughts on moral philosphy are interesting to me, both within and without a religious context, and I think it’s an important subject. Perhaps one of the most important ones. I can think of few things as important as the problems and questions that arise from thinking about how we should treat one another, how we should behave, what is right and wrong, what is and do we mean by words like responsiblity, culpability, guilt, sin, and free will.

I’m a bit confused about the capitalization of the word Sin in the first bulletpoint. Am I to understand that to mean ‘Sin’ in ‘Original Sin’, is not the same as just ‘sin’?

Normally I’d take what you wrote to entail that Original Sin = original act of transgression. Which I’d normally take to mean the first. The original idea = the first idea, the origin of the idea. Something someone did that was the wrong thing to do. And it was the original, as in first, wrong thing they did.

But then you write that it was not the first act of sin, as in the first act of transgression, not the first wrong thing to do. I hope you can see why this would lead me quite confused?

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Thank you for the clarifications and for taking the time to try and summarize @Swamidass positon. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to be satisfied with your characterization of his position, and since I haven’t read it myself I can’t comment on it’s veracity. That is not to say I have any reason to find things you say untrustworthy, because I do not.

But as with so many things, what people mean by things they say always has to come up against both their ability to express themselves, and the ability of the reader to comprehend it. I guess that just means I’ll have to read it myself at some point and then ask for further clarifications where I feel it necessary.

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Ladies and gentlemen:

Considering how entrenched the doctrine of Original Sin is in Western traditions of Christianity, I am not convinced that analyzing, or even attempting to dismiss it, is very helpful to the PeacefulScience.Org mission.

Not really.

I never had a problem with the idea that humans have a sinful nature. And I never had a problem with the idea that human nature is inherited.

What seemed unjust, to me, was the idea of inheritance of blame or guilt.

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Must everything discussed around here be very helpful to the mission?

I’m interested in where you came to understand we inherited blame or guilt. My background is pretty conservative YEC / evangelical, but my understanding was alwas that guilt was based on our own actions.

Caleb

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The term “sin” already has that implication.

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The point I was trying to make (and evidently failed to make, sorry for my failure @Rumraket :slightly_frowning_face: ), is that the doctrine of the Fall, tells us that all of humanity is corrupted in such a way that now we most often choose evil instead of good. God could have made us to choose good all the time, but that would mean we would be automatons, not agents with free will. In this sense, Original Sin, is not physically inherited, rather it is just part of the spiritual condition of being human in the present time (since the Fall). However, we are to be redeemed in heaven, as we choose to believe in the sacrifice Jesus made to save us from this fallen condition.

Yes, I agree, that is how I understand it, as well. Our own actions are what condemn us. This is taught in both the Old and New Testaments:

Ezekiel 18

25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? 26 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the sin they have committed they will die. 27 But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life. 28 Because they consider all the offenses they have committed and turn away from them, that person will surely live; they will not die. 29 Yet the Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, people of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust?

30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!

Romans 3

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded.

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

@nwrickert

The Eastern Orthodox agree with you completely!

But this just seems wrong.

It says that my nature, as a human, is the result of a behavior by Adam. That’s just bonkers. It doesn’t work that way, unless God is completely evil and used supernatural methods to impose that on us.

It would be better to say that there are problems with human nature, and what Adam did merely illustrates this.

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I think we can get bogged down on these parts of theology, that aren’t that important to Christianity, and are often unclear in the Bible. The fundamental message of Christianity is that we are sinners & because of that Jesus came to save us. Exactly why we have a nature capable of sin, isn’t really that important (but may make for interesting discussion).

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3 posts were merged into an existing topic:
Is morality based on standards set by God?

The Bible makes a distinction between circumstantial consequences; evil (sour grapes) and moral evil (the soul that sins shall die), is this what you’re referencing re “affect us”, ie circumstantially?

What I find curious is, Adam was originally in a perfect body, in perfect circumstances; good, yet sinned. thereby negating any possibility circumstance/environmental pressure was causative re moral choice… at which point God was justified in imposing adverse circumstance; the Adamic Curse. Jesus demonstrated that circumstantial evil did not necessitate the performance of moral evil. This seems to create the divide between the physical consequences and spiritual consequences of “evil” re God’s Law.

Beyond this, I wonder if most, if not all, the mystery surrounding our corruption isn’t predicated upon a vague definition of “man”, and I wonder if this definition were hardened somewhat it might resolve a lot of issues re the blending of the physical evidence with the Biblical accounts and assertions?

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I agree, Michelle (not sure if that isn’t the “kiss of death” :wink:

Imo, this is the basis of any religion, specifically Christianity, which asserts a “moral standard” to which we are accountable. It must explain, within the context of the very moral law to which we’re held, how this moral corruption is legally a universal condition… for upon that resolution all other doctrine/dogma is derived.

The reason why one gets “bogged down on these parts of theology” is because w/o an explanation for how/why we became corrupt, notions of “salvation”, “grace”, “redemption”, “atonement” or even “guilt” and “punishment” are incoherent, undefinable by the very moral law through which we’re judged. Before YOU did anything; good or evil, your fate, re moral criminality was sealed. This is at irreconcilable odds with Biblical Jurisprudence.

We were born here corrupted, alienated from God, guaranteed to screw up; either by conscience; Hamartia, or Ordinance; Parabasis. This universality, certainty of failure demands an explanation, for, as I said, w/o it, all the “important” parts of “Christianity” are moot.

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14 posts were split to a new topic:
Is morality based on standards set by God?

This thread should be reserved for discussions of original sin. Further posts on the more general topic of God and morality should be directed to this thread: Is morality based on standards set by God?
@moderators please take note.

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