Do you believe that humans were created with the potential and tendency to commit sin i.e. you reject the Chrisitian doctrines of The Fall and Original Sin
Under this view, God essentally set us up to fail because he gave us a nature which precludes us from ever meeting his standard i.e. living without ever committing ANY sin. Even if we have free-will, this may help us avoid sinning in particular situations, but sooner or later our sinful nature will catch up to us and we will commit sin. Here I’m reminded of Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. The fact that God offers us a way to escape the consequences thereof (i.e. redemption through Christ) is a separate issue. The point is God creates us in a way that we cannot live up to his expectations, and then judges us of worthy of punishment when we don’t.
How do you reconcile this with an omnibenvolent creator?
On the other hand, if you believe that the Fall is a description or allegory of a real historical event, then please respond here
The whole story of the bible doesnt really make sense and i think no one can grasp why would God go such a long way creating a free will enitity (the human) predestined to sin and then sacrificing himself as there couldnbt be any other way around the way he intented it to be.
This thread kind of went into this issue a lot. I approached it from a different angle and I still don’t think there was an adequate response to my opening analogy:
imagine this: we know of one million different people from many different generations, using different vehicles have all driven on this same road. Furthermore, we also know that each and every one of them has crashed and died without exception. Is it the drivers who are at fault, or is there something wrong with the road?
To use another analogy from the perspective of a teacher. If year after year, class after class, every single student under their charge fails their course, at what point do we have to start questioning the efficacy, competence and objectivity of the instructor.
The mantra that we are all sinners and all deserve death is pretty standard fare in Christianity. It is by grace that we are saved and somehow Jesus’ death on the cross played a role in this. I am aware of different models of the atonement but this one is pretty standard I think. Somehow Jesus’ sacrifice bridges the gap between God and man. This can range from mere solidarity to Jesus literally taking on sin in some ontological fashion but I digress. Keeping with the road example, I think situation is even more dire for God as theologians believe every future person who drives on that road will also crash and die and also, every person who ever lived and drove on that road that we don’t know about also crashed and died. All people are sinners, past, present and future. Now this is not some attempt on my part to find a sinless human, another Jesus, if you will, but if we assume by default that all seven plus billion people on the planet are sinners deserving death and all those yet born will also be sinners and the tens to billions of people who lived before us were also sinners, is this game not rigged? Is God not setting us up to fail?
For me the problem is not with God but with Christian doctrine. When Paul says all sin and fall short of the Glory of God I think this is true on ap personal level via enculturation but I don’t think we are judged necessarily by enculturation. Also, I get the sense Paul may be speaking corporately here…Jews and Gentiles as a whole.
But who says we can’t meet the standard? I think there are countless passages where we are expected to live a charitable life. Many passages that don’t say “just accept Jesus into your heart and you are saved.” There are countless passages telling us good deeds are required. Standard fare is for Christians to say accepting Jesus produces good deeds. Personally I am not sure if this is even true for many “Christians” and I am not a fan of uncritically merging what may be competing theologies in the Bible. This rests on the dubious assumption of modern inerrancy.
At any rate, I think will only be judged precisely because we can choose not to commit some sins and don’t. I am aware of modern Protestant doctrine about everyone being depraved and the absolute need for grace which seems more to be glorifying God than provide an adequate soteriology. I just don’t like casting these terms in common Christian ideology because they tend to carry original sin and penal substation baggage.
I think we are only responsible for the bad stuff we do that we could have avoided, or that we chose to be less proactive about. Everyone knows there are millions of people around the world starving. Yet here in the US we keep buying bigger and better.
We aren’t judged because of evolutionary traits or tendencies. We are judged for what we are responsible for. What we do with what we are given.
Human beings judge one another by their external actions. God judges them by their moral choices. When a neurotic who has a pathological horror of cats forces himself to pick up a cat for some good reason, it is quite possible that in God’s eyes he has shown more courage than a healthy man may have shown in winning the V.C. When a man who has been perverted from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing does dome tiny little kindness, or refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at by his companions, he may, in God’s eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend.
It is as well to put this the other way round. Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge. We see only the results which a man’s choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. Most of the man’s psychological makeup is probably due to his body: when his body dies all that will fall off him, and the real central man, the thing that chose, that made the best or worst out of this material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us: all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises.
If every vehicle going through some particular intersection or traveling some particular road crashed as it was doing so - you can bet something would be done about the intersection or road. Point well taken there.
Or a different perspective from the other side: Might not God be calling us beyond ourselves into something spectacular?
One traditionally shaped conception of early theology is that people fell from a former “perfect” state. But what if humans were always intended to grow? As in … our forebears (“Adam” if you will) was not some premade perfection “already arrived” individual - but instead somebody who is in tune with God and growing into God’s calling in that regard? And that “calling out” and “calling beyond” continued as a more formal law is later revealed, and as prophets try to call people beyond all the law and sacrifice. And Christ shows us that even said law was not the fulness of God’s plan. And Christ promises that after he’s gone, his Spirit will continue to call us to greater and greater things yet. So in that sense - none of us should or could ever legitimately think - “okay - now we’ve got it - we’ve arrived at everything God could possibly expect of us.” Narrow indeed is such a road, because it is such a high road. It isn’t that nobody finds it - it is just that it is difficult for a righteous man to be saved. Much work indeed on God’s part - and eventually ours too as we joyfully respond to what God calls us toward. For some of us (most of us?) (all of us?) … it will take a lifetime.
Or, we could be one of the two guys dying next to Christ. Both are dead men. They are going to die, period. No matter what, their lives are coming to an end. Both mock Christ. Both insult the guy. They are guilty as can be, and they deride Jesus.
One of them wakes up and says to himself, “I’m cooked. What is up with this scene. I’m a goner, deservedly so and I’m all over Christ! He never did nuthin to nobody. I think something ain’t quite right.” The other criminal continues to harrass Christ. The one who suddenly woke up says, “Are you crazy? He done nuthin. You? Me? We’re getting what we deserve, you moron.” Unwilling to look at Him, He says softly, “Excuse me Sir, have mercy on me. I’m an idiot.”
“Today, my friend, we will have a blast in paradise. You can’t imagine.”
There is nothing of any doctrines of the Fall and original sin in the Nicaean creed of 325 AD defining Christianity. Thus the Christian doctrines of the Fall and original sin are a wide spectrum. For most the fall is an alteration in the relationship with God and the original sin is an event with negative consequences for all of mankind. It is certainly not a teaching that humans were created with a tendency to commit sin but quite the opposite, that human beings were created to do good and sin is a contamination and corruption of that.
He knew we would sin.He knew everything before he created us.He new the suffering he will endure.Yet he chose to go ahead and do it.Why?No idea.Doesnt make sense,He could have avoided this but for some reason he choose to make this world a mess in a way
I don’t know if you are a parent, Nick. But I am. And as naïve as my young self was - I knew enough as a young man to know that having a family brings lots of grief, struggle, risk, and even loss. And yet I chose to have a family anyway! And so do millions of others (fortunately for us all!) We do this knowing that sometimes kids die. Sometimes children are a grief to their parents (all children at some times, and maybe a few children nearly all the time.) And yet knowing all this … there must be something (beyond just sex - though … that too) that keeps this all happening. Is it really so hard to imagine something similar for God? Grief in the night, giving way to joy in the morning? At least so our hope lives on. Grief of child birth forgotten over the joy of a child brought into the world. Suffering leading to perfection … these are prevalent themes, which granted; doesn’t tell us why any more than Job got satisfaction in that regard either. But it shouldn’t surprise us.
Mervin you dont get the point man. Im glad you decided tk make a family. I havent yet but i want to as well. Unfortunately God hasnt helped me in this part yet.
But all this could have been avoided if he wished to. Death in general coukd have been avoided if he wished to. Our predestinesion to sin coukd have been avoided.
But God chose not to. We woukd have been already to the new Jerusalem if he wished to from the begining. No sin,no death,no evil.You cant change the fate of death. God could . He didnt though. Why? Who knows
I hope God blesses your family Mervin!! Family its important.
But how do you interpret Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
From my persepctive, a religion that promised a reward in the afterlife based on your conduct in your earthly life seems intuitively more just than one based on whether you happen to believe that a god exists (which is not a conscious choice). You cant become a Christian or accept Christ as your saviour if you dont first believe that god exists. But I realize that reality and intuition dont always match
God proves He is God, special delivery if we really want to know Him. He never dreamed of forcing us to believe in him without providing plenty of evidence that He Is. It amazes me how often we don’t give him credit for even the most basic common sense.
Maybe I shared this before, Forgive me id I did. Are we born with a bent toward sin?
Mom leaves kids with babysitter. She returns hours later. “How did it go?” “They were angels.” “Wonderful”
“Billy, how did it go with the new sitter?” “Mom, I tried my best. I swear, mom. I never tried so hard in my life. I gave it everything. Ask anybody.” “Well, what happened?” “I don’t know”, his eyes fill with tears. “No matter what I did or how hard I tried, I just couldn’t be bad. I wanted to lie. I wanted to hit Katie. I meant to take most of the cake, I tried to be rude to the sitter.” Balling hysterically, “I AM SORRY MOM”
“The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.” Malcolm Muggeridge
That good works are required is not because they in themselves gain anyone heaven, but because they are evidence that a person really is a child of God and obedient. If someone thinks they are a Christian and is not living like it and if their heart’s desires do not align with God’s, they need to question if their adoption is legitimate.
Exactly. Works in themselves don’t cut it. There are multiple scriptural metaphors that indicate that – being born again and being adopted are major ones, neither of which is a result of an individual’s good deeds.
The grace, unmerited favor of God was shown in Jesus’ execution, Jesus becoming sin and a curse and His resurrection. Who could have ever imagined asking the Father for this to happen? It was all the Father’s choice, plan and action. He did what was needed to bring us forgiveness, freedom from the Law of Sin and Death that abides in the flesh and the recreation of our inward man in His own righteousness.
It was the Father’s will and grace to crush Jesus and cause him to suffer.
Isa 53: 10 “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.”
What it took to free us from sin’s mastery was Jesus becoming sin, a curse, being judged and rising from death. He stood in our place, as if it was us on the cross; He was the second Adam, the Son of Man. He carried me through all that with Him the moment I put my faith, trust in Him. He did what was necessary to save me from sin’s power and God’s just condemnation upon me. My life blood was required of me because of my sins but Jesus redeemed be with His life blood. So that was all by the Father’s will. GRACE, UNMERITED FAVOR. We had nothing to do with what the Father did through Jesus. We couldn’t have conceived of such a thing.
Works come in to equation because of our trust and love of the Lord. If we love Him we will obey Him. If we trust Him than we will do what He says. If we are born of His Spirit and follow the Spirit, then of course we will do works or righteousness. For it is the Father at work in us creating the desire to obey and giving us the ability to obey. Jesus is our Lord now, nothing else is. We have been translated from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God.
How obeying God delivers us from temptation now is simple. When tempted, we trust what Jesus said about sin and that we are freed from its mastery and we understand and trust that the way of the Lord is freedom. So we obey because we love and trust Him, and that delivers, saves us at that moment from sin. God is living in His people, He is actively saving them daily as long as they trust, rely, lean on Him.
We are initially saved through what Jesus did in His death and resurrection. We continue to live in that salvation as we follow the Spirit, by obedience to Him by doing the works of the Father. But it is not our works that are saving us, it is the working of the Spirit of God in us. So even our good works are from faith in and love for Jesus. It is all through what the Father did through the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. It’s all because of Jesus.