I’m going to be frank in this post, and it might sound heretical. So I’m sorry. Especially to all my SAGU friends. This is probably a product of my reading (and re-reading) of A Better Atonement by Tony Jones.
The doctrine of Original Sin bugs me for a couple of reasons.
In the Genesis account of the Fall, there is never any mention that Adam’s guilt would be passed on to future generations. Death seems to be the true consequence, when Adam and Eve are chucked out of the Garden. Check it:
Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
(Genesis 3:22-24 ESV)
I’m not arguing that I think Adam wasn’t guilty. It seems pretty obvious that he was, considering he was punished by God for what he did. However – and yes, I know this is not a “biblical” (as in, taken straight from the Bible) argument – it does not seem logical to me that I should be guilty for another person’s sin. I’m not denying that I myself have sinned. I’m simply saying that Adam’s sin is not something I chose to do. Therefore, why should I be placed on the chopping block and labeled as guilty simply for some other person’s mistake? This should (logically) mean that the second my daughter was born, should she die, she would be headed straight for hell (at least according to typical Evangelical doctrine). Believing that Adam’s guilt is our guilt forces us to this conclusion.
I think the more responsible way of looking at the story of the Fall is to view it as paradigmatic of all of our situations. Adam’s story is our story. Thus, we can maintain the reality of sin in humanity without all of these complicated hermeneutical gymnastics to find an answer to the problem of evil.
I’m aware this has implications for the atonement of Christ. I’ll address that soon enough. Stay tuned, dear readers…