Jesus and Adam

“I am the true vine…”

A primary theme on this blog lately has been asking questions.  As it’s been said, “A good question is better than a good answer.” We should never be afraid of asking questions.  Nor should we be afraid of answering questions.  That’s a way that “iron sharpens iron” as the saying goes.  There’s a question I asked a while back that seemed innocent enough when I first asked it.  I thought that such a simple seeming question would have a simple answer and that it would be an interesting footnote at best in the grand theme of theology and Biblical studies.  As it turned out, it was a tiny pebble that caused an avalanche in my Biblical world view and sparked what I’m thinking of calling “Reconciliation Theology“, though I’m afraid that name is already taken.

Why was it OK for Adam and Eve to be running around naked in the garden before they ate from the tree of good and evil but not Ok for them to be naked after they ate the fruit?

See? It seems like a simple enough question.  It ought to have an easy answer, right? The problem is that those easy, simple answers don’t really answer the question.  These answers tend to focus on the innocence of Adam and Eve.  They were like innocent children who didn’t know any better and so spent their time in the presence of God in blissful ignorance.  There was no sin so all was good….until they disobeyed God and ate the fruit.  The problem id that such answers just skirt around the question without answering it. Once I realized this, I also realized that something didn’t feel right.  Something was being missed.  So I looked at what God said:

 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:11 ESV)

In other words, it was just as “bad” to be running around naked before they ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil as it was after the fact.  God knew that they must have eaten the fruit because they now realized that they ought to be wearing some clothes. What that means is that “since” and not “if” walking around naked was as sinful before the fruit was eaten as it was afterward, then we can’t call the incident at the tree “The Original Sin.”  I suggest that it is better labelled as the “Origin of Sin” since it appears that knowledge/wisdom makes one legally culpable of one’s actions.  It also burdens one with guilt which may be the impetus for God removing Adam and Eve from the Garden so that they would no longer have access to the fruit of the Tree of Life and live forever.

So, in less than 500 words, I just stuck a knife in a major Christian doctrine, the doctrine of “original sin”.  This is not something I take lightly.  I’ve been keeping this on the back burner for quite some time since I predicted that this would anger many people.  It has angered the few I have shared this with in the past and others have just brushed it off like I was crazy.  The thing is, no one has proven this to be wrong.  You see quoting doctrinal statements doesn’t prove this to be Biblically incorrect. I wish it did, in a way.  Then I could just blissfully go on my way.

Of course, the answers to any good question always lead to more questions and I was led to ask, “What does the crucifixion have to do with the eating of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.”  I’m not gong to get too deep in answering that question at this point.  Suffice it to say that it has to do with the previously mentioned culpability gained by knowledge which required the legal payment for our actions.  Sin, as we normally think about it is, after all is said and done, a legal term.

Once one gets over the initial shock of all of this and begins to accept it as Biblically accurate, a new set of questions arise.  For instance, how is Jesus like Adam?  I mean, look:

 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.   (1 Corinthians 15:45 ESV)

That is, without a doubt, a comparison.  Adam’s name is cited, so Jesus is being compared to Adam.  Is this saying that Jesus did what Adam did not?  I think the answer is an unequivocal “Yes”.  Since Paul writes again and again about faith and jumps off of Habbukuk 2:4 so much, this means that the real issue in the garden was not disobedience, but faith.  “…The righteous will live by his faith” (Habukkuk 2:4 ESV).

I could go on and on citing verse after verse etc. But I think my point has been made.  Not my point really.  It’s right there in the Bible.  It’s ok to be critical of this.  My challenge is for this to be proven wrong Biblically (though I don’t think this can be done.  I know what the doctrines say.  I also know that the doctrine of original sin is not an Essential Doctrine of the Christian Faith.

God Bless,

Christopher

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7 thoughts on “Jesus and Adam

  1. I love a good question Christopher – and you have asked a very good question… I love where an aspect of your question has lead me – that perhaps our God created us to be gracious towards us?… even while we were ignorant of His grace.
    I suspect there is more grace in our God than we can comprehend.
    Your question leads to many questions 🙂

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  2. I agree with you and think that it’s essential that we question our faith. To just blindly follow what we’re told does a disservice to us and those we would like to share that faith with! If I might, I’d like to again present the Eastern Christian view and make a few comments.

    In Western Christiandom sin is definitely seen as a legal term, and this is what led to the thought that the crucifixion was a sort of legal payment paid on our behalf. This is mostly due the way that the Roman Catholic Church has developed the concept of “Original Sin.” For them (and those churches which she birthed) original sin is seen as a sort of “thing” that stains our souls and is present from birth, a stain that must be washed away by baptism. Because of the actions of Adam and Eve we all must pay the price. This too led them to develop the idea of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

    The Eastern Churches disagree with this however. For us, we cannot agree to a doctrine that would hold us responsible for a sin that we did not commit. Original Sin was just that, the first sin, the first turning away from God. We maintain that the result of this wasn’t a burden on the soul that must be removed, but rather a propensity in our nature towards sin. We aren’t born with sin, but we are born with a sort of disconnect to God which we must work to restore (of course we cannot do this all on our own, if God wasn’t willing to accept us back, nothing we could do would make it so.)

    In Orthodox hymnology Mary is frequently referred to as the New Eve and Jesus as the New Adam. The last verse of a hymn we sing almost every Sunday, called the Evlogitaria, goes: “O Virgin you gave birth to the giver of life, from sin you delivered Adam, while to Eve you have rendered joy in place of sorrow, He who was from you made incarnate God and Man has directed to life him who fell from it.”

    Where Adam and Eve initiated the fall of our nature from the presence of God, Mary, through giving birth to Christ, and Jesus, through uniting our human nature with His divine, raised us back up again!

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  3. questions questions,..who’s got a question!!!! lol wow,…how goes people??? i dig puzzles! i just do. they are cool,…in facing the little challenges which the pieces offer us,….we can see the big picture,….differently than we see the picture on the box top, huh??? and, for myself,….there is a strange sense of satisfaction that comes with assembling the puzzle as well. hands on is groovy!!!! it also offers us a sense of purpose in “the doing.” or, another way of this being said, “works, for me.”

    but then there are those times when i am patiently and precisely and correctly assembling a puzzle,….and along comes someone else,….if you have ever done a puzzle and one of “these kind of people” pop in,…then you will know what i mean. who are they??? the “edgebenders!!!” yup,…i watch with clenched teeth as they try their damndest to “force” a piece in where it, as any blind man could see,…just simply “does not” belong,…………lol……i hope you all have experienced an edge bender to see the humor in this comment,……..anyway,…more later!!!! toksoon

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