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:
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.
- Jesus and The Wedding at Cana: The First Sign (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)