Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Original Sin vs Consequences of the Fall

While rambling on with my friend Barbie today - we stumbled onto the Protestant doctrine of Original Sin vs the Consequences of the Fall (the LDS and Catholic stance on the two). Don't ask me to repeat the Catholic stance as I understood what she was saying, but really don't believe I could do it justice. Suffice it to say - it was a very interesting conversation. We discussed a few things - purgatory, the Spirit World, rewards of heaven, etc.

It made me really think of "far fetched" LDS doctrines and how similar they really are to Protestant doctrines. For example, the issue of Original Sin and the Fall are constantly on my mind. I have two children - so on one hand when they are fussying, biting, scratching, screaming, tantrum throwing little monsters lying about who kicked who and who did what, I totally am inclined to believe they are sinners just like me. Except, when I step back and think about it more logically - I really don't agree with the Protestant stance on Original Sin (or at least how I understand it).

From the amazing Wikipedia:

Western Christian tradition regards original sin as the general condition of sinfulness (lack of holiness) into which human beings are born, distinct from any actual sins that a person may or may not commit later. Different views exist as to whether a person bears real guilt or personal responsibility only for actual sins that they personally commit, while being tempted by original sin, or whether they bear actual guilt for the sins of ancestors.

Eastern Christian tradition too identifies original sin as physical and spiritual death, the spiritual death being the loss of "the grace of God, which quickened (the soul) with the higher and spiritual life"[3] Others see original sin also as the cause of actual sins: "a bad tree bears bad fruit" (Matthew 7:17, NIV), although, in this view, original and actual sin may be difficult to distinguish.[4]

Now perhaps I am getting into semantics or just being my usual, annoying and painfully specific self - but for something that really is essential in Christianity (why on Earth would one accept a Savior if they didn't believe in a Fall, Original Sin, or that they are a sinner in the first place?) one would think this doctrine would be nailed out. Here's my take on this (which is of course, the LDS one too).

There was a Fall - was it God's plan for us? I'm more inclined to say yes - absolutely it was. (*Insert gasp here*). If there's anything I've taken from my time at Grace Point it's this - God is sovereign. Sure we have free will, but ultimately - God is God and we are not. God is sovereign (which does not make me a Calvinist :P ). Therefore, for me, it's not like God was chilling out in heaven, sipping a Virgin Daqueri with a pink little umbrella when suddenly Adam and Eve ate the fruit and He was shocked. Oh so shocked. "Well, what the hey do I do now? Shoot, they messed everything up..." Of course, perhaps the omniscent viewing time outside of time, just might be another assumption of the Bible. Grrr - now I've gotta keep a better list of all the assumptions I've heard the Bible makes - just alone about God's nature it's adding up. Warning - don't read that blog, it'll be horribly long. :)

However, I do believe God knew (whether I believe this from assumptions I've just accepted or scriptural backing is currently irrelevant - but something I'll look further into) that the Fall was going to occur. Hence, why else create Jesus? (C'mon folks - at some point God the Father HAD to create Jesus - however you want to explain it, believe, etc etc, using a bit of common sense - the Father seems to have created or became the Son.) I believe God already had a "plan" ready - ie Jesus and that He knew what was going to occur. As such, I am not sure where I stand on the whole, "sin" vs "transgression" issue (something for sure to ask the missionaries on Monday night) but I do certainly believe, from a certain point of view - the Fall was God's plan.

As such, it then leads me to the consequences of the Fall. Which brings us back, through all my ramblings, to original sin vs the consequences of the Fall. Original sin - a sin we are held accountable for that we did not personally commit. However, my take is this - Adam and Eve fell. They introduced sin into the world and therefor, their children and future generations until the end of time. However, I don't believe that people are held accountable for Adam's transgressions (which brings us to AoF #2 when I still haven't fully addressed AoF #1). But rather - completly and totally their own sins. I do believe, that because of the Fall, that mankind WILL eventually sin and that sin is their default nature, however I don't believe that they are born as sinners like I am a sinner today. When my children entered the world - they entered clean, pure, and blameless as they had not personally committed any sins at this time. However, as they grew - they did committ sins. "Paul, did you kick Mommy's seat?"

"No Mommy, Anya did it." Uh-huh sure. She's all the way across the car, but she did it.

Certainly he knows what he is doing wrong. But in the LDS church, until he reaches an age of accountability where he can not only understand what he is doing is wrong but also a sin and sins are an offense to God, then his sins rest on my shoulders as his parent. I return to Jesus' words:

Matt 18:3
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matt 19:14
14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

My son, four years old and fully capable of driving me out of my mind with his horrible behavior - while still a sinner, cannot even acknowledge that he is a sinner much less in need of a Savior. And isn't that the essential for salvation?

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