Saturday Sermon: Original Sin

Since this is my first Saturday writing this blog, I thought that on the weekend I would take some time to discuss other topics related to the bible, religion, or even myself. Sometimes there will be a connection to the parts of the Bible I posted about in the past week, but it’s going to be whatever enters my heathenistic head. Since I used to go to church on Saturday evening instead of Sunday morning, I will be calling this feature, Saturday Sermons.

Since I just posted my take on Chapter 3, I thought I would take this Saturday Sermon to talk about the concept of Original Sin. That is, the stain put upon all of mankind’s souls because Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. According to the story, everyone born after them will be born with their sin and would have to be baptized to rid themselves of it or they will be cast into hell.

As an addendum to the previous post (chapter 3), I would like to ask a question. Was it even possible for Adam and Eve to knowingly disobey God when they ate the fruit? The fruit is what would give them the knowledge of good and evil, that is I would assume, knowing right from wrong. If they didn’t already know right from wrong, how would they know that disobeying God is wrong?

As will be a common mantra throughout this blog, I was raised Catholic and learned all about Original Sin and heard the justifications from priests, nuns, and lay pastors for this concept. The idea that my father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc., could have done something before my birth that I would have to pay for makes absolutely no sense. Even if one of my relatives committed a murder doesn’t mean that I’ve committed a murder, which means that I should not have to be punished for it. I might certainly feel some burden of guilt and would want to reach out to the family of the victim, but that would be more in line with saying, “I am not my relative.”

The crime that we’re talking about here is not even akin to murder. It’s nothing more than being caught with one’s hand in the cookie jar. Maybe we shouldn’t be allowed to have anymore cookies for a week, but to be damned to an eternity of torment in the Lake of Fire? That’s a bit excessive.

Announcements:

I am going to start posting larger sections of my Bible commentary to the blog. I will try to keep the reading at a reasonable length, but I also don’t want to pile too many topics on top of one another.

As always, I welcome discussion and disagreement. I only ask that you keep the discussion civil. Address the message and not the messenger.

Genesis Chapter 3

Any five year old who went to any type of Christian school or was carted off to Vacation Bible School to get out of their parents’ hair for a few hours (I did both) will know the story. Eve gets tempted by the snake, eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, gives it to Adam, yadda yadda yadda, they’re booted out of the garden and Azeraphael has to stand guard with a flaming sword.

The snake is just a snake. Snakes have always been considered wily and sneaky in the animal kingdom. This story is nothing more than an allegory to explain why humans are flawed and why the world is the way it is. This story is a ham-handed attempt to explain the world. Remember in the last chapter, God started off his relationship with man by lying to him when he told him that if he ate from the Tree of Knowledge he would surely die. The snake told Eve that the fruit would make them like the gods. That was the truth as confirmed by God in verse 22.

Then the LORD God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Gen 3:22, p. 34). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Another question that I have is, who is God talking to and who is “us”? Likely this story was written while polytheism was still a thing.

Genesis Chapter 1 (and 2)

I find it hard to separate the first two chapters. The first chapter is simply the creation narrative through day six. My only issue with chapter one is everything in it. God created light on the first day, then on the third day created plants and vegetation, but didn’t create the sun and moon until day four. Obviously, day five was spent planting new vegetation because the stuff that was there froze to death. He created the birds, fish, animals, and creeping things on the fifth day and humankind on the sixth.

The NRSV uses the word humankind, and man instead of adam or Adam. That’s because the word “adam” from Hebrew means humankind. The first chapter seems to be more egalitarian than the rest of this book as it states, “God created humankind, male and female,” which says to me that this author is not sexist.

The second chapter starts off with God resting, but then goes into another creation narrative. This one is abbreviated, in a different order (man is created before the animals), and it also includes the creation of the garden of Eden, with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (henceforth, The Tree of Knowledge) and the Tree of Eternal Life. He told the man that if he should eat the fruit from the Tree Knowledge he would die. More on that in the next chapter.

God decides to make the man a helper as a partner, so he creates a multitude of animals for the man to name and hopefully find a helper and partner. When that fails, God gives the man a general anesthetic and proceeds to remove a rib and form it into a woman. This basically states that women are subservient to men in this chapter, and it seems that this is how it goes for the rest of the book. The author of chapter one must have been fired.