What does original sin actually mean and what are its consequences?

(Mitchell W McKain) #101

Incorrect. What I said does not mean any such thing. While self-creation in growth and learning is the nature of life, it does not do this in a vacuum. The environment can include farmers, shepherds, teachers and parents who contribute a great deal. There is no room for a designer but there is room for God in these other roles. As for abiogenesis, it is clear that this only occurs is very special circumstances. So a question remains concerning how the required conditions came about. At the very least God created a universe in which this could exist, but I would take Genesis 1 to mean that God had a hand in preparing this particular environment for life, not that we could prove anything. I think God’s hand in our affairs is restricted to considerable subtlety so that it can be dismissed as chance by the skeptic.

The very fact you ask this question points to a fundamental difference between us. Why should God have any utility for you whatsoever? I worship God because of who He is (His character) not because of what He can do for me. Thus when it comes to a choice of serving an evil god for promises of comfort, I will choose calling out praises to the God of love and goodness between screams in the depths of hell.

(Mitchell W McKain) #102

Like I said, some are willing to discard 2 to worship a devil god, I am not. I worship a God who is Holy - totally and purely good, solely motivated by the desire to give of Himself to others. This is the gold standard I see in Jesus. It doesn’t mean that everything He does is pleasant. Like a surgeon, He may have to cut into people to fix what is wrong. And he may have to remind us of the requirements of life which has some rules to it – not all candy and pleasure. The difference was made quite clear in the differing understanding of sin, whether it is all about obedience and displeasing God or all about what does us harm.

Thus I believe in a God who chose love and freedom over power and control – a God who understands that power is NOT an effective answer to all problems. So while I find a solution to the problem of evil and suffering in taking a closer look at number 1, I still say that God is omnipotent – He can do anything He chooses. But I do reject the logically inconsistent extremes people take this to, even coming up with a long list of things which their god cannot do because they contradict their image of a god who values power over anything else and would thus never relinquish the slightest amount of control over everything – a god who is in fact incapable of love because he will take no risks, make no sacrifices, give no privacy, and share no power and responsibility with others. Their god has so many limitations with no power over itself because it is a creation of and enslaved to their theology of power and obedience, it is in fact no more than a tool they find useful for manipulating and controlling other people.

(Marvin Adams) #103

Funny that you conclude that I would say that God has to have utility for me. Told you that you sound pathological in your assumption about other peoples beliefs,as I also smile about those who believe God to be Santa’s big brother to fulfill their wishes. But what do you praise him for if you feel him to be incompetent regarding the evolution of biological life.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #104


It seems now that you are rejecting a particular type of Christian theology, not Christian theology in general. It would seem that you have had some experience with this type of bad theology, so you need to name names, rather than paint Christian theology with a broad unfair brush. Again I urge you to read my essay on Academia.edu. It is not that long.

Clearly some people do use bad theology to try to control others and if you can identify how they do this, it would be helpful, rather than making broad accusations, some of which are justified, but others are not.

In my opinion God designed humans to be free and not be manipulated by others for good or bad reasons God’s power is best seen in God’s love and God’s ability to liberate humans from the sin of manipulating others.

(Mitchell W McKain) #105

You are the one who asked what is God good for? Why would you ask such a question unless you think of God in terms of utility? So my answer was that I don’t think of God in that way.

Criminals and godfathers, like the devil, often makes deals with people so there is a big difference between worshiping a God of love who is purely good and worshiping a god only because of what you get out of Him. I do believe that God does in some sense gives people what they want, but I think our heart’s desire is the path to hell. Heaven, by contrast, is what God desires for us and this is no promise of comfort or lazing about as many imagine.

This makes me wonder where you have been during this whole conversation. Like I said… I praise and worship God because of who He is… His character!

That is sufficient for my praise. While you may be looking for utility and what you can get out of the deal, I do not. You ask this question. I do not.

Incorrect. You may equate competence with being a control freak, but I do not. You may equate love with incompetence, but I do not. I believe in a God who chose love and freedom over power and control and this is the very reason why God created life because God is not a self-absorbed control freak incapable of love who only creates tools by design to serve his own purpose. Instead He takes risks, makes sacrifices, gives privacy and shares power and responsibility in the creation of life so that He can have a relationship of love which requires all these things.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #106

It seems to me that when I say that God is Holy and Holiness means Good, then God is Good to me and Good to all. That sounds like utility or benefit to me and for me.

We do not praise God in order to receive a benefit from God. We praise God because God is worthy to be praised and God is worthy because God cares for everyone including us. Unfortunately some think that God plays favorites.

(Mitchell W McKain) #107

Exactly! For YOU “God is good” only means that God is good to you because you look at God in terms of utility. You automatically add the clause “for me” because that is the only kind of good you can comprehend. But for me, good does not mean good for me. God is wholly and purely good because love is his ONLY motivation and to be a servant of servants is the ONLY greatness He believes in. But none of that means that He can do anything for me. And that is the point. Even if I am a lost cause and there is nothing God can do for me, it does not change the fact that God is good and thus I will praise Him regardless. In other words, I make my praise and worship for God utterly devoid of any attitude of entitlement whatsoever.

In my view, much of Christianity has effectively wandered over into Gnosticism with a gospel of salvation by knowledge and by works of the mind where they think they are entitled to salvation because they do or believe the right things. It is no wonder that the god they worship sounds so much like the Demiurge of the Gnostics – an evil, hateful, vengeful, ruling by fear, self-centered meglomaniac who only cares about obedience to every whim and monstrous command he make – because the only goodness of god they really care about is what their god can do for them.

Many pay some lip service to this idea, but they really don’t try very hard and the result is that so much of what they say and do is inconsistent with this. The result is that when they do say such things it sounds rather hollow. They may say they are doing things without expectation of reward and yet act like they are being rewarded for their actions and beliefs. People see this falseness. But above all, you cannot worship a self-centered god who rules by threats and makes everything about him and yet expect people to take you seriously when say that your god is good, let alone that you are not following this example you are lifting up.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #108

It seems to me that you make your praise and worship for God devoid of any relationship to God whatsoever.

If God does love you then God must care about you. If God does care about you then God would give you the gift of eternal life, you are a lost cause. However you are not a lost cause because you say that you praise and worship God, unless you are telling a lie.

Now I can agree that much Christianity is Gnostic, but I wish you would be more specific. Have you made a detailed survey of all the branches of Christianity in order to come to such a conclusion. It seems unlikely, so just who do you mean?

Also you are including me in with the Gnostics without knowing me and my theology.

Are these words addressed to me or not?

(Michael Peterson) #112

Genesis 2:7 supports you. See here


(Quinn) #113

First off I wish to say that humans have original sin and that all humans have it. I see it more as a spiritual issue rather then a biological one that cannot be solved by science. It starts in the heart at birth and over time with maturity it grows in us and we become evil in our thoughts in ways such as not listening to our parents when we are young, stealing toys, being means and as we get older it gets much worse.

Humans did have knowledge of what was good and evil and we got it from God. The issue was that when we ate of the Forbidden Fruit, we decided on what was evil and good outside of God and thus became like our own gods defining what is right and wrong. God gave the first humans divine inspiration to have knowledge and the capacity to do so. The issue is not that we had now knowledge, but the issue is that we decided to no longer trust what God had told us what was right and wrong and decided to define it ourselves.

(Randy) #114

Greetings, Quinn. Thank you for your note. I think that behaviorally, we all do sin. My church would agree with you. However, I’d be interested in your thoughts on the potential of misinterpretation of Romans 5:12 as per Pete Enns https://peteenns.com/?s=romans+5%3A12. It’s an interesting thought.

I appreciate reading your tag. Which Bible school did you go to, may I ask? I appreciate your sharing your thoughts and insights; I imagine we all have struggled (I have, and still do) over the questions of evolution and faith.

(Quinn) #115

Onto looking at it I seem to have a common agreement in what Pete Enns says and is basically what I say. Adam while an individual also represented all humanity and thus all who are human are guilty of sin and thus the spiritual issue of sin and turning from God take place. I disagree with most ways of thinking in seeing sin as a biological infication in the human body and see it as a spiritual matter and takes hold of humans the moment we are born and it festers and grows in us as we grow older and see the evil of the world.

I went to Victory College (formerly called Victory Bible College when I went to it) in Oklahoma. It was a good Pentecostal-Charismatic bible college and taught me a lot but it taught somewhat heavily in YEC and I took it on due to the idea of “If the Bible is true to all it says then Genesis1 is literal and true as well” I held onto YEC for years and it was a mental-intellectual prison for me of sorts, I couldn’t enjoy documentaries when they spoke of the age of the year in terms of millions of years and I would cringe and I couldn’t enjoy museums and nature tours. But since I have come back to EC I feel free and am able to enjoy these things once more.

(Christy Hemphill) split this topic #116

15 posts were split to a new topic: George explores the meaning of concordism and the marketing of GA to creationists

(Albert Leo) #129

Scripture refers to the Israelites as "God’s Chosen People". Does that not imply favoritism?
Al Leo

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #130

Yes and No. God chose the Greeks to invent philosophy. God chose the Romans to rule the “world” for hundreds of years. God gives nations roles in history, just as God gives individuals roles in society and history. Special roles mean special responsibilities, so no one is really favorite meaning that some persons have privileges other do not.

David was the “apple of God’s eye,” but he had to pay the price of his martial life, his adultery with Bathsheba and coverup, and his failure to discipline Amnon and Absalom.

(Mitchell W McKain) #131

It is quite possible that it is devoid of any relationship to the god you describe. And that is a good thing as far as I am concerned.

God does love you. God does care about you. God does offer you the gift of eternal life. This is true of everyone. The problem isn’t God. It never has been. The problem is that it remains our choice whether to accept the gift or not. But Jesus and Paul were also quite clear that entitlement does not work.

Primarily I speak of the Gnostic gospel of salvation by a secret knowledge such as correct doctrine, which I have heard affirmed numerous times by people identifying themselves as Christian. What Jesus and Paul taught however is the gospel of salvation by the grace of God. I have no idea whether this has anything to do with denomination or not, but it seems pretty widespread to me.

Well now you know my criterion, it is for you to say according your theology which I assume that you know even though I do not. I am not really interested in making discussions personally like that. I am only interested in the principles.


Not really. The people of Israel also had a great responsibility, and when they failed they were punished terribly.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #133

You have a problem here. You equate secret knowledge, which Gnosticism with correct doctrine. They are very different. Secret is secret, They are not shared or discussed publicly, which is o primary reason this movement died out although some people are trying to revive it.

Correct doctrine on the other hand is widely discussed and shared. That is the reason why it has lived on and developed.

The argument that Jesus and Paul had with their opponents was over Legalism. Jesus and Paul opposed the correct doctrine of salvation by grace through faith over against incorrect doctrine of salvation by works under the law. Ironically many “Christians” try to make a work out of what they deem as correct doctrine.

quote=“mitchellmckain, post:131, topic:39404”]
it is for you to say according your theology which I assume that you know even though I do not. I am not really interested in making discussions personally like that. I am only interested in the principles.

If you do not know my theology, then how can you know my understanding of God.

But you did.

(Mitchell W McKain) #134

No. Your reaction is not the same as what I did. If I really did what you claim then you wouldn’t have asked if what I said had anything to do with you. Thus my reaction is, “why does everything have to be about you!”


As I look at the whole of scripture, it seems that God chose the Jews mostly just because he had to choose someone. He seems to have chosen them not because they were special in any way, but because they were pretty much like anyone else at the time. They were a good representative sample of humanity. He used them to form a nation that worshipped him and had a history and culture that could be used as a language by which we can understand Jesus. If Israel had never happened, we wouldn’t know what to make of Jesus. We may as well thank them for their service. Thinking that they were chosen because they were special in some way is just the sort of mistake we humans with our hubris tend to make.