What is Original Sin, is it historical, and how do Christ's teachings relate?

What is Original Sin, is it historical, and how do Christ’s teachings relate?

or, more precisely, does obeying Christ’s teachings free the individual from the punishments associated with Original sin as laid out in Genesis 1:17-19:

This is a branch off of Christianity and Love, Part 2.

I will pick this up where I left off, although I already made some confusing statements which may yet come back to haunt me.

Gaudere wrote:

For a good overview you may wish to refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, sections 385 through 421. I won’t vouch for all of this, as I haven’t read it yet (what fun would that be?), but I want to work from some common ground. For example, note the following disclaimer from section 406 I noticed:

I have no idea what that even means!

I am wanting to focus primarily in the areas Gaudere and I were pondering. I would split these into the spiritual issue well put in section 387:

And yet, there is also an historical reality to the nature of Original Sin, per section 390:

As Gaudere and I are both atheists, although I’m arguing a precise Christian viewpoint, I submitted to him my theory that this Fall of Man could be very roughly dated to certain enviromental strains (i.e. the drought which has turned much of Babylon/Iraq and northern Africa into desert and an ongoing population boom) which began circa 10,000-8,000 BC and accounted for a real historical “fall” of the proto-Jewish tribe into the bondage of sin. Which, when reading the beginning of Genesis as a parable, would seem to be supported by the text.

Gaudere wrote:

Yes, I would say that if you had to put an historical marker upon it, I think that would be the cause. Spiritually I would refer you to the spiritual section above.

Gaudere again:

Again, I’m arguing the xtian perspective as I see it, and I am uncertain of the date. If you are not separated from God, when your body dies, your soul, in so much as your soul is in no way separate from God, can not die, because God is immortal. And if one lived in a lush, natural Garden, the toil one would have to get food would be very minimal. Maybe picking apples is hard work for Gaudere – she would rather they fall on her head!

There is a cause, both historical and spiritual. And there is a historical and spiritual punishment, which is a result. And there are various other results which we discussed. I listed the wars, the famines, the abject poverty, the weapons of mass destruction, the suffering of the poor and the weak, etc. as some of the evils which have resulted from the Fall of Man.

Gaudere offered that Technology has improved over the past 6000 years, and that man’s lot is therefor better. I maintain in the Spiritual realm, this is not the case.

I also purported that, out of all the religions I am aware of, I believe xtianity has the clearest solution to the punishment aspect of the fall. I concede that an individual following Christ’s teachings would not solve all the problems of the Fall, however I maintain he is free of its punishment. I also considered Christ came when he did because society has reached a certain critical mass, although I have elaborated that yet. I also think that were there enough believers in Christ, another critical mass would be reached, and indeed some of the other results would be lessened.

I won’t make a purely “Pelagianist” argument as mentioned above, I think to achieve the ends of this faith, there must be a spiritual dimension. But, for example:

  1. Poverty didn’t exist before there was property, and there was a historical time before the fall when there was no property.
  2. Christ taught, basically, that property is theft. If one does not own property, ones toilings are greatly reduced.

I can also present other examples, and I will try to support them scriptually and present whatever other evidence is needed.

FYI, JM, Gaudere is a woman.

Re section 406 of the Catechism:

Which part? I’ve done some research recently into Pelagius, if you’re interested.

So you’re saying that the Biblical fall and expulsion from Eden is merely a Jewish retrospective of a couple thousand years of rising civilization and the concomitant droughts of the Fertile Crescent?

Does this view of Genesis as a historical myth, then relate to the spiritual aspects? Or are they merely unrelated except as causes of the idea of Original Sin?

Er, how do you figure?

Even in a human or proto-human group without “ownership,” there can still be poverty in the sense of famine, poor hunting, little water, etc.

Further, upon what do you base your assertion that there even was a time before ownership? History, at least, doesn’t record such a thing, so it certainly isn’t “historical.” And since some of the earliest known humans used specialized tools, I don’t see any reason to believe they all lived communally.

“No! This Og’s rock. Go find own rock!”

12000 years ago we lived in a lush, natural garden? We were still in the ice age before then (although not all was frozen); all the achievements of modern civilization came about after that–math, the wheel, writing, etc. Because of agriculture, many gave up their nomadic existence and settled down, leading eventually to the specialized and varied civilizations we know today.

Gotta cite? I simply will not accept that there was no concept of “property” before 12000 years ago without some sort of backing. They certainly made art and tools long before then; wouldn’t people have their own particular stuff? And a group as a whole can still be extremely poor even if everyone shares.

::sing-song:: Oh, Libertarian… :smiley:

So, your premise is that by following Christ’s teachings one can A) become one with God and B) become, apparently, a Marxist, which will save us from having to work for unfair rewards. Well, my first objections are A) I don’t think other religions do such a shoddy job at getting people together with God; why does Christianity do it better? and B) how will becoming a herb-tea-swilling Marxist save us from having to “work for unfair rewards”? Marxism has a pretty poor track record; I suppose if implemented by
perfect people it’ll turn out great. But any economic system implemented by perfect people will turn out great! If everyone was perfect and Jesus advocated libertarianism, we’d all freely give our money to the poor. Heck, that sounds a lot more likely than that we’ll forget completely about the concept of property. One of the first thing a child learns is the concept of “mine”.

Reminds me of two blind men discussing a movie neither has gone to.

Well, that was appropriate, Daniel. Thanks for your input.

Or not.

andros wrote:

::smacks forehead:: I knew that. Sorry if I flip pronouns malewise once in a while!


Excellent. That is exactly what I’m saying. I don’t know concomitant, but sounds fine.

Certaintly, from the xtian perspective they must be related. If the fall of man is a real event, and not some fairy tale the fundies use to have us believe dinosaurs are imaginary, I think that would have a real impact on there being an importance to the xtian faith and humanity’s willingness to improve its lot.

Well, there are always bumps in the road. Of course, without such modern concepts as nation states and the like, you just go where the food/water/fetile land is and problem solved. If human population was moderately low, then you shouldn’t have to worry about war etc. to find such a venue. Of course, Genesis describes a perfect garden and who am I to argue. When I say abject poverty, I mean poverty you don’t need to walk ten miles to get out of. And after the fall, they describe exactly the problem where, when they found a good place, there were people already there, and this did not bring about the best of consequences.

You have a good, very legalistic, point. I don’t mean people did not have “stuff.” However, I have no reason to believe, in the land of plenty, if you asked Og to borrow his hammer, and he wasn’t using it, he’d mind terribly if you did. Nor would I think Og would be particularly toiled by having a hammer. Would he to not carry it around, he would have no great effort making a new hammer, should his hammer go missing. As for Og’s camp, should he come home to find strange people camping there, so what? Expand the camp, or if he did not like the company, ask them to leave. I doubt it would be the kind of thing to come to blows.

Gaudere wrote:

True, true. I fail to see your point, though.

Again, absolutely true. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of that.

I agree, that yes, people had “stuff.” I don’t think we have a good word to express the thin difference I am attempting to slice here. I guess I could say they didn’t have mammon, but geez, that is an Aramaic word. Only one of two words in the NT the powers that be don’t bother translating into English (although they drop the “a” on the end – probably to solve a conjugation nightmare!), by the way.

Quoting me, she continues:

Oh man, er… I mean, oh, woman, don’t sick him on me unless you are willing to translate. I’m still trying to figure out my gerundive relation to God from the last thread!


No. Marxism, IIRC, involves the owning of property in common. I’m talking about not owning property at all.

Because, Christianity solves the punishment of original sin.

Hmmm… No, I think you can have a flawed system and even with perfect people it would be flawed. Perfect people wouldn’t adhere to a flawed system though.

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore, riding through the woods… You might recall from Python, he kept stealing from the rich to give to the poor until the rich were poor and the poor were rich. (see bottom half of here)

Moore: “Wait a tic … blimey, this redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought.”

But what would you have the poor do with this “money” as you call it?

It doesn’t matter, because salvation can be achieved individually. You see to think I am implying this would have to be a global change in the behavior of all people at once to work out.

jmullany, do you think it is important for the creation and fall story to be historical (somehow) in origin? i don’t know if it is important or not, but i can’t see how the people who physically wrote the story and those through the generations who passed it down orally could have any idea of the historical elements of what is essentially pre-history. i mean, the concept of fertile crescents and propertyless cromagnons is essentially ours. and that is based on archeology and anthropology u.s.w.

as i said above, i don’t know how important it is that the story be historic. it’s too much of a brain-buster for me to consider the factual nature of the bible, so i look to it more for poetic insight. more what i can get out of it than what was intended to be said.

a recent take of mine on the story of the fall is this. sin’s definition, put very simply, is ‘doing what’s wrong, even though you know it’s wrong’. for some reason everybody who focuses on original sin focuses on the former clause of the definition. what if we should be looking at the latter?

we ate from the tree of knowledge, in order to be like god. all of a sudden, we knew the difference between right and wrong. behavior that for a wolf is not evil, for us is. why? because we know better.

one of the consequences of eating of the fruit was that childbirth would become painful for the woman. in fact, humans are born in a somewhat fetal stage, because if we were born at the more common level of maturity, our heads wouldn’t make it through the pelvis. our big heads lead to cognition and conscience, as well as to maternal aagony.

Jesus never taught that property is theft, basicaly or otherwise, (hence no citation), but He taught that love of property over love of God stands as an obstacle between man and the Kingdom of Heaven.

It is like loving your mother’s apple pie more than you love your mother. God is the source of all property. He is delighted to give it to you, but your thanks should be to Him, and your joy derived from His giving.

Jesus encouraged us to be good stewards of property, as was He when He drove the vandals and trespassers out of His Father’s house.

Property (and the atoms in general) provide an amoral context for man to act out the morality that is in his heart.

It is a modern notion peculiar to Marxism, born of envy, spite, and greed, that there is something wrong with being poor.

There can be great nobility in poverty.

Jesus recognized the rightful ownership of property by going only into homes where He was invited, by keeping a purse (which Judas pilfered) for his disciples, and by using ownership in His parables to illustrate authority.

It was within His power to raise His hand and obliterate poverty throughout the land, yet He did not. Not because He was remiss, but because poverty is part of the very important play.

Man, fretting over the atoms and all things physical, is straining gnats and swallowing camels. There are greater things. Wealth and poverty are morally irrelevant. It is how you handle either that your own character will determine.

The Marxist preoccupation with property misses the whole point of existence (to love God and one another). It is not surprising that God found no place in the Manifesto, except as a target of derision and ridicule. Marx and Engels were not stupid men. They knew there was no room in their wealth distribution schemes for God.

“Oh”, you say, “and who loves money more than the capitalist pigs?!”

At least they keep their greed to themselves. Guard good people from the fraud and coercion of the greedy rich, and the greedy rich are hurting nothing but their own Spirit. We are to leave God to deal with them.

The Marxists would institutionalize their wealth fetish, forcing it upon every man.

Take your eyes off your neighbor’s property, and start being a good steward of your own.

Put your eyes on God and His Kingdom. Rich or poor, the only thing that matters, the only thing that is real, the only thing that is of any significance whatsoever, is the Spirit.

The atoms will be around until the end of the age. Put your attention to those fleeting moments when the Spirit fills your heart with Love.

It is the whole purpose of our passage here.

I seem to misundertand you often. You said previously: “Again, I’m arguing the xtian perspective as I see it, and I am uncertain of the date. If you are not separated from God, when your body dies, your soul, in so much as your soul is in no way separate from God, can not die, because God is immortal. And if one lived in a lush, natural Garden, the toil one would have to get food would be very minimal. Maybe picking apples is hard work for Gaudere – she would rather they fall on her head!” which led me to believe that prior to “the fall” you were saying that the world was a lush, natural garden, and I was simply pointing out that that was not accurate.

You have said this. I want to know why: 1) it is better at bringing man and God together than other religions and 2) why lack of property will keep us from having to toil for unfair rewards more than any other solution. If you are saying that without property there is little toil, it seems as if Buddhism’s elimination of desire would do quite as well; certainly, if you lack desire you will not want many “things”.

Perhaps I lack imagination, but I cannot think of any economic/government system in which perfect people would not make it work perfectly. Communism, socialism, anarchism, democracy, monarcy, what-have-you, they all seem like they’d work great.

I imagine, being perfect people and valuing themselves as the equal to other people, all the wealth would become equalized.

How would it work individually? Closer to God, that I can understand as an individual thing. But a person with no concept of “property” would have a real rough time staying alive, I think. How do you think these people would live in this world? It seems like without property you would have no home, no money, no keeping food for a couple days so you can tide yourself over a rough spot…

[Aside: this seems rather someone trying to convince others that Buddhism is the best religion, since none of the others have the proper method to relieve the suffering of desire. Of course not! The suffering of desire is a Buddhist tenet, not one necessarily held by other religions! ]

jb_farley wrote:

Part of this debate is over whether it is (somehow) historical in origin. Is it important that water freezes at 32 degrees?

Rosencranz: Wake up, Gilderstern, history starts today.
Gildernstern: History starts today? Well, I’d better write down what I did yesterday.
Rosencranz: No, History starts today.
G: Ah, but I clearly remember yesterday.
R: Well, you have to forget it. Yesterday is before history.
G: Forget it? Well, alright, consider it history then.

The Fertile Cresent is a “concept?” Are you implying it is imaginary?

jb_farley, the Anti-FoG. As I said in the OP, there is nothing wrong with both spiritual and historical elements coexisting.

I don’t understand you. Did you read the catechism link in the OP?

I can’t think of an example of the behavior for a wolf which would not be evil for them but would be for us.

True, but that is out of scope. Some say Eve represents Mother Earth in this passage as well, so this does relate to the overpopulation theme. But I’ve bit off a big enough already.

geez dude! so i’ll just leave already…

Howsabout killing and eating a human? Perfectly natural for a predator like ol C. lupus, but not smiled upon as a human behavior.

( tell ya, ya have one little plate of fava beans with chianti . . .)

I’m enjoying this thread, and don’t have much to contribute for now, so I’ll keep lurking. There is one point that I wanted to toss in. Gaudere wrote:

There is one fact that may support jmullaney on this. Various studies, consisting both of attempts to recreate the “cave man” experience and of observations of modern hunter/gatherer societies, have alleged* that in Cro-Magnon society, the amount of work necessary to gather enough calories to support oneself and one’s clan/tribe averaged 20 hours per week. To me, that’s paradise in an of itself.

'Course, one of the trade-offs was that most everyone died by the time they were 30. I don’t think this figure is significant, as it had little bearing on the “toiling for unfair rewards” concept, but instead reflected lack of knowledge of disease and medicine, as well as the fact that the food often didn’t take kindly to being hunted.

*I use the word alleged because, while I have read abstracts of these studies, I cannot for the life of me remember the studies or the authors. Therefore, feel free to debunk or ignore - I have no ammunition to back up my assertion.

I believe that that statistic is true for modern-day hunter-gatherer societies as well. (At least, unless they start producing excess for trade; cro-magnons probably did some of that as well, I suspect.) I think that it is simply an aspect of that sort of society, not a measure of whether you are in paradise. Modern technology permits us to thrive in areas that a hunter-gatherer tribe could not; hunter-gatherers have to live in places where food is fairly readily available. Once we had to live in a “paradise” area; now we can live just about anywhere. And we’re much less susceptable to starving just because of a bad year.

The end of the ice age 12000 years ago did cause environmental upheval in certain (most?) areas, and led to agriculture, line-fishing, etc. enabling us to produce a surplus and thus provide for more humans even in places where game was scarce. However, the “paradise” of little work was availiable in untouched areas even then, and still is today; just find a temperate area with enough game and edible plants and commence foraging. Personally, I prefer my 40-hour weeks and the medicine, science and technology that come from doing more than eking out a living. (And if you think everyone works all of those 40 hours… <g> Of course, there are people who work for far more than 40 hour weeks.) They do have a lot of time for leisure in hunter-gatherer societies, but I don’t find modern society particularly lacking in the “quality of life” department. I am always suspicious of “the good old days” being near as good as they were claimed to be. :slight_smile:

They were better for some things, and worse for others.

Always are. :slight_smile:

THat would depend heavily on what you meant by “32 degrees.” Centigrade? Fahrenheit? Kelvin? Angular?

Libertarian wrote:

Sure he did. Did he say so in so many words? No. Imagine an alternate universe where he had.

You think fundies are bad now? Hah. Picture them all walking around naked!:eek:

Libertarian wrote:

No, he did not teach that man can serve two masters, as long as the master he loves more is God. He clearly makes it an either/or situation.

Yep. Thanks for saving me the typing :P.

God is the source of all property? And where does Libertarian come up with that? His basis seems to be “all things” come from God and some things are property. Therefore all property does, by extension, come from God. But since things which are not considered property by man also come from God, you can hardly say God has taken a position advocating property.

God gives us arsenic. Arsenic can be used as poison. Therefore, God is delighted to have you poison people, and their joy shall be derived from his giving.

I thought what he said was “you shall not make my father’s house a den of theives.” And then he went totally medieval on them (anachronism not withstanding). You do not en-courage people by en-fearing the heck out of them.
Libertarian goes on to quote Jesus out of context, completely leaving out his preface to this remark

The parable in full recounts the story of a man, knowing he is about to be fired, forgiving customers a portion of what they owe the company, so they might help him out once he is jobless. This is commended by his boss as shrewd. Jesus makes his statement that can be interpreted as either a) the people of the light are stupid for not being shrewd or b) being merely “shrewd” is not a good thing. I think in the context of Jesus being pro-light-people, he is saying this mere shrewdness is bad, and thus with that preface, what he quoted makes my point quite well:

He is preaching to the unconverted here, who, one would presume, still have worldly wealth, and telling them to dispose of it wisely. “When it [your unrighteous mammon] is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” Having mammon must be untrustworthy in and of itself if the manner of getting rid of it is regarded with such importance.

Libertarian makes a few other bizzare statements about property, but then says:

I agree.

Libertarian, quoting the Bible:

And he is here commending someone who gave away all her property.

Hmmm. But he also stole food when he was hungry, didn’t he? I’m not saying because you do not own property you can just ignore others who do – to do so would be foolish. If someone says “get off my land or I’ll shoot,” you’d better get the lead out.

Can I get a reference where Jesus kept a purse? I know Judas Iscariot had a purse but, well, I think you have picked a poor example for a good follower of Jesus.

I don’t understand how using ownership in the parables symbolically undermines what the parable themselves are about. Please explain futher.

Well, I’m not 100% on about this being the reason. But, more of a bad thing wouldn’t solve the problems of original sin. Perhaps the old phrase the rich get richer would apply here?

Well, if that is the point Libertarian trying to make, I don’t think he has a standing argument at this point.
I agree about Marx versus Jesus though
Libertarian, quoting the bible again:

This is a mistranslation. The word is not money. The word is mammon, which means (essentially) property. Still, I’m getting pictures of FriendOfGod dancing naked in my head, so I don’t want to put too fine a point on it.
Libertarian writes:

Well, again I agree. As I said, salvation can be achieved individually.

Again, I agree. But Libertarian seems to be confusing atoms with property. The radioactive decay of uranium property? Yes, Judas was a thief and a beggar. He hung out with Jesus and had the poor among him. This passage is really about money, which, as some of you may have noticed, clouded Judas’s judgement from time to time. If Judas were truly poor, he would have come to see the utility inherent in the perfume – instead of using the shrewdness Libertarian tried to say was a good good from Luke chapter 16. However, merely knowing that objects have utility does not in anyway suggest what Libertarian is trying to make it suggest:

Simply false. A camel will sooner pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man enter the kingdom of heaven.


Stop equivocating. Either He said it or He didn’t. And what do alternate universes have to do with anything?

What on earth are you talking about?

Who said He did?

Makes what?

The typing of what, this? — Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

If it were the property that Jesus despised, He would have told the man to go burn it or something. He merely told the man that, to be perfect, he must give the property to someone else. That was because of the man’s adoration of his riches. That misplaced adoration was his obstacle to New Life.

The property wasn’t evil, else you are saying that Jesus advocated giving something evil to the poor.

Why are you addressing me in the third person?

I never said God advocates property. I don’t even know what that means.

I said that property (and the atoms in general) provide an amoral context in which man acts out his morality. You had said that Jesus considered property to be theft, an assertion that remains unsupported by you.

That was rebuttal to this? — He is delighted to give it to you, but your thanks should be to Him, and your joy derived from His giving.


The only thing I can guess is that you believe you have constructed either an analogy or a syllogism. Since my assertion was not a syllogism, yours cannot be an analogy. Therefore, it must be a syllogism. But I don’t think your conclusion follows from your premises.

Yeah. He threw 'em out.

Toward what is that relevant?

Yeah. I also left out the first sixteen-hundred pages of the Bible.

Your point? And what exactly is that?

After repeated readings, I still find that remark incomprehensible. “Untrustworthy” is a character attribute, and applies to a person. You have attributed it (as inherent) to a gerund phrase, “having mammon”. Could you untie that and make a point?

Gratuitous and unsupported assertion.

I am greatly relieved.

So, because His “commendation” came after her giving away all her property, His “commendation” must have been because she gave her property away?

Bzzzzzt. That’s called a coincidental correlation, or post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this).

Jesus wasn’t talking about the property, but about the woman, specifically about her heart, which was so filled with Love that she gave all she had to her Lover, God. She did not give something evil to Him.

Do you honestly believe that had she walked up and slung the exact same coins at the temple, screaming, “Here, take it, ya bastard!” that Jesus still would have “commended” her?

Good lord. What a ridiculous assertion.

And that is relevant to what?

Aside from the one I already gave you? Okay, here’s another — Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. — John 13:29

(Note for the implication impaired: Since Jesus had authority over the money, as in telling Judas what to do with it, and since the money was kept in a purse like all money was at the time, Jesus had a purse.)

Judas didn’t have a purse. He held the purse for the group. It’s called a “treasury”.

Explain what? I never made the assertion that you say you don’t understand.

[looking around…]

Are you talking to me?

Yes he does. I mean, yes I do. So there.

The word is Strong’s number 3126, the Greek, mammonas (mam-mo-nas’), from the Aramaic, mamona (ma-mo’-na), meaning ‘riches’.

There is a difference between a translation and a transliteration. The former is useful.

Well, that might explain much.

No he isn’t. I mean, no I’m not. So there.

Okay, so Judas was a beggar, but he wasn’t truly poor. The passage is about money, which, as the audience is aware, confused Judas. Libertarian, I mean I, tried to say it was a good good. But the mere knowledge that objects are useful doesn’t imply what he, I mean I, am trying to suggest.

Is that pretty much the way of it?

“With God all things are possible.” — Jesus