Original sin

Original sin April 30, 2016

The idea of original sin really is original, it’s not in the Bible. It’s a concept conceived by Augustine of Hippo.
Augustine’s original sin says that you’re born a sinner as a result of the sin of Adam and Eve.
Because you’re born a sinner, you need the Church to facilitate your salvation.
Augustine’s concept of original sin served Church leaders well — salvation and connection to God could only be found in the sacraments provided by the Catholic Church.

A lot of Christians believe this, which doesn’t make it true, just commonly believed.
In Genesis 1 humanity is made in the image of God. All of us, men and women. Adam, Eve and the “Fall” from the garden don’t invalidate who we are: the created, in the image of the Creator.
If you’re inclined to focus on sin, then you’ll probably see sin even where it isn’t.
Such was the case for the religious leaders who focused on sin and atonement and constantly worked to gain God’s favor. But Jesus told them their focus was wrong. The focus shouldn’t be on sin, the focus should be on the love of the Creator who made us and who continues to love us.
Today’s religious leaders continue to focus on the wrong things — and the wrong things are everything but God’s love.
God loves the others — the Romans, the Samaritans, the unclean, the prostitutes, the rule breakers, the outcasts — everyone the religious leaders said should be avoided.
Today, the religious leaders say others should be avoided, because of their so-called sins.
The message of the Bible is clear- the leaders were wrong then and they are wrong now, for the exact same reasons.
The outcasts, the people on the fringe of the culture, are the very people Jesus came to be with, they are not the people who should be avoided.
Through the example of Christ, we are called to love those that the leaders discriminate against.

Original sin isn’t the sin we’re supposedly born with. The true original sin is turning our backs on the needy, passing laws that strip some people of their rights, and ignoring the examples of Jesus.

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  • Hi Jim, I’ve just stumbled over your blog, and it’s very interesting and helpful. I am a recovering evangelical, getting so enthused about a spirituality that is inclusive, based on love and compassion, and focuses on Jesus’ commandments, rather than legalism and a punitive God. After decades of believing in original sin (although with deep cognitive dissonance), your article is refreshing. Thanks.

  • jim

    Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you found this helpful.
    We are created in God’s image. It’s the first chapter of Genesis. Is there anything more Biblical?