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God’s Curse for Original Sin
Posted: 19 December 2010 09:07 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I am posting on a Christian forum site this argument. You have to be careful how to argue here. If you read the EULA it has a lot of prohibitions on anti-Christianism rhetoric. I can’t even refer to anything on this site because one of their statements says that they do not tolerate even things like, “screwed up” as this is intolerable language and another states that I cannot refer to any URL that goes against their terms. Well,... besides the fact we could cause someone there to become skeptical.

Here was my argument:

When I read what I’ve read of the Bible I find that I understand things a lot differently than others. I think that I’m looking at it from a more rational perspective given how things are communicated in everyday language and how you can project that to the past.

For one instance, I asked what was Original Sin according to the Bible and what was God’s penalty or curse? I asked this because as I understood it, Jesus’ sacrifice to mankind was to relieve us from this penalty. That is Jesus saved us from God’s original punishment or doom. So what was it?

God originally placed a tree in the Garden of Eden that represented Knowledge. The passages say that it was knowledge of good and evil. I’m wondering if the original intent was to mean all knowledge in general, where good and evil represented the utmost importance of what knowledge has to bring. This means that the Tree of Knowledge represented the human capabilities to reason and judge right from wrong in the present days the particular passages were written. That is, prior to Adam and Eve eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, we were not intelligent mindful beings knowing the difference between right and wrong and that we were as eternal beings meant to be simple-minded entities enjoying the free luxury of paradise.

But upon eating the fruit, Adam and Eve had learned some of the intelligence of God. Recognizing their nakedness was exemplary of this. God’s curse was to make man and other animals struggle against one another, make childbearing painful, and force men to work the fields, ...

 
 

Gen 3:19
  ...
  until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
  for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.


This last part suggests that the curse guaranteed humans do not get to live to eternity anymore. It was permanent death.

That is,... until a savior comes to save mankind from his eternal death.
This is where I understood Jesus came in. I thought that Jesus originally meant to save mankind from Original Sin by enabling people to go to heaven after their death. But the meaning of Jesus saves seems to mean something totally different now.

Why is this so?

[ Edited: 19 December 2010 09:10 AM by Scott Mayers ]
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Posted: 19 December 2010 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I think you concede too much by even having this discussion.  One has to be careful which premises one grants lest they explode to all possibilities.

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Posted: 19 December 2010 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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the PC apeman - 19 December 2010 09:12 AM

I think you concede too much by even having this discussion.  One has to be careful which premises one grants lest they explode to all possibilities.

I don’t follow. What am I conceding to? Which premises are you referring to and why?

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Posted: 19 December 2010 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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You’re provisionally accepting the existence of the Christian God and its inspired texts.  Why make even this concession unless you think it will lead to a reductio ad absurdum of some variety?  I don’t see that happening here.  Christian apologetics notoriously throws up way too many rabbit trail diversions to make that work.

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Posted: 19 December 2010 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Unlike most atheists, my experience that even enabled me to take a positive stance against religion is due to my ability to argue amongst religious people on their turf. They will NOT come to us these days as they are immunized from reason from very early on in life to evade skepticism. I have planted seeds before like this and they work. It doesn’t mean that I am correct in all that I have to say. But my rationalization seems to hit a cord with many people. If this helps, this is a beneficial to promoting reasonable doubt where there was none before. But I have to allow them to trust that I’m coming at it from their perspective.

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I eat without fear of certain Death from The Tree of Knowledge because with wisdom, we may one day break free from its mortal curse.

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Posted: 19 December 2010 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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We all seem to proselytize for our own ends and means.  Carry on.

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Posted: 19 December 2010 06:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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“Proselytize” may not be quite appropriate. If you think that the likes of Richard Dawkins proselytizes, then I guess you may accuse me of the same. But I think that proposing positive arguments to demonstrate problems to those who have a particular belief that you know to be illogical is, at minimal, worthy of the effort if given the opportunity. You may chose to be passive and wait for them to be the ones to proselytize to you, but then what does that make you? Someone who strives to strike back at their misgivings? Also, you only strike back at the extremes and never help the real people you could be helping.

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Posted: 20 December 2010 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Scott Mayers - 19 December 2010 06:04 PM

“Proselytize” may not be quite appropriate. If you think that the likes of Richard Dawkins proselytizes, then I guess you may accuse me of the same. But I think that proposing positive arguments to demonstrate problems to those who have a particular belief that you know to be illogical is, at minimal, worthy of the effort if given the opportunity. You may chose to be passive and wait for them to be the ones to proselytize to you, but then what does that make you? Someone who strives to strike back at their misgivings? Also, you only strike back at the extremes and never help the real people you could be helping.

Actually, I choose to strike at fundamental concepts, not picayune details.  If your correspondents there provided a satisfactory answer to your questioning of those particular details, would it change your mind about their fundamental theistic premises?  I would hope not.  Well, I don’t strike at “the extremes” meaning extremist people.  I prefer to strike at claims where I have more at stake.  There’s nothing passive about that.

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Posted: 20 December 2010 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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There are so many problems with the notion of original sin in Genesis. One of the biggest, IMO, is that it’s immoral to blame one person for what someone else did.  (If you want Biblical confirmation of this, though it’s plain enough on its face, Deut. 24:16).  So whatever the sin was supposed to be that Adam and Eve perpetrated, it’d be immoral to blame their children for it.  And that’s really taking the whole story on its own terms: assuming that all the rigmarole is really true.

The thing about the Genesis story is that Yhwh tells Adam and Eve that eating the fruit will kill them on the same day (= it’s poisonous). (Gen. 2:17). But that’s a lie.  (And Yhwh’s claim can’t be reinterpreted as that they will become mortal by eating of the tree, because we know from Gen. 3:22 that Adam and Eve are already mortals, even before eating the fruit). In fact, the serpent is the truth-teller here, when he tells them they won’t die (Gen. 3:4-5).

The story is plainly quite a bit more complex than some would like you to believe.

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Posted: 20 December 2010 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Scott Mayers - 19 December 2010 09:07 AM

I am posting on a Christian forum site this argument. You have to be careful how to argue here. If you read the EULA it has a lot of prohibitions on anti-Christianism rhetoric. I can’t even refer to anything on this site because one of their statements says that they do not tolerate even things like, “screwed up” as this is intolerable language and another states that I cannot refer to any URL that goes against their terms. Well,... besides the fact we could cause someone there to become skeptical.

Here was my argument:

When I read what I’ve read of the Bible I find that I understand things a lot differently than others. I think that I’m looking at it from a more rational perspective given how things are communicated in everyday language and how you can project that to the past.

For one instance, I asked what was Original Sin according to the Bible and what was God’s penalty or curse? I asked this because as I understood it, Jesus’ sacrifice to mankind was to relieve us from this penalty. That is Jesus saved us from God’s original punishment or doom. So what was it?

God originally placed a tree in the Garden of Eden that represented Knowledge. The passages say that it was knowledge of good and evil. I’m wondering if the original intent was to mean all knowledge in general, where good and evil represented the utmost importance of what knowledge has to bring. This means that the Tree of Knowledge represented the human capabilities to reason and judge right from wrong in the present days the particular passages were written. That is, prior to Adam and Eve eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, we were not intelligent mindful beings knowing the difference between right and wrong and that we were as eternal beings meant to be simple-minded entities enjoying the free luxury of paradise.

But upon eating the fruit, Adam and Eve had learned some of the intelligence of God. Recognizing their nakedness was exemplary of this. God’s curse was to make man and other animals struggle against one another, make childbearing painful, and force men to work the fields, ...

 
 

Gen 3:19
  ...
  until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
  for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.


This last part suggests that the curse guaranteed humans do not get to live to eternity anymore. It was permanent death.

That is,... until a savior comes to save mankind from his eternal death.
This is where I understood Jesus came in. I thought that Jesus originally meant to save mankind from Original Sin by enabling people to go to heaven after their death. But the meaning of Jesus saves seems to mean something totally different now.

Why is this so?

Understanding that Christianity is an evolved cultural mindset which probably has little to do with any original meaning from the Bible…

Here’s my take on it. Original sin was not taking responsibilities for their own actions. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.
Eating the fruit taught them how to lie, and feel guilt. Knowing of greed, fear, loss.

Assuming dualism, man is spirit and flesh(dust). Emotions capture and imprison the spirit. Man became attached to and identified with the flesh. Man lost connection to his spiritual nature. So the flesh dies, man dies. Man became bound to the flesh.

Jesus overcame his attachment to the flesh. He sought a spiritual kingdom. He overcame the hell of emotional attachment to the flesh and reconnected to his spiritual nature. He was the first. He resurrection was a spiritual one. When he was released from his flesh he rose in the spiritual realm.

So Jesus was the example, the pioneer to show the way, through hell, through the suffering of flesh to overcome the entrapment of “sin” and achieve immortality. No longer suffer the death of the flesh.

He took responsibility for all the sin of man. All of the evil, lying, greed and hatred. However he was not taking this burden from man but showing man how to take upon themselves the burden of responsibility. Then man can no longer be trapped by sin.

Christians though, didn’t what the responsibility. They worked out a way to not take responsibility by making Jesus the barer of all their sin. They created an ideology where Jesus was a pure sacrifice to appease God for Original Sin. All they got to do is acknowledge that Jesus was the sacrifice for their sin and of course obey the Church so they got to go to heaven.

Stupid Christians didn’t learn anything. They continued in the mistake of Adam and Eve. Trying to make someone responsible for their actions.

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Posted: 20 December 2010 11:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Dougsmith:

The thing about the Genesis story is that Yhwh tells Adam and Eve that eating the fruit will kill them on the same day (= it’s poisonous). (Gen. 2:17). But that’s a lie.  (And Yhwh’s claim can’t be reinterpreted as that they will become mortal by eating of the tree, because we know from Gen. 3:22 that Adam and Eve are already mortals, even before eating the fruit). In fact, the serpent is the truth-teller here, when he tells them they won’t die (Gen. 3:4-5).

Gen 3:22 is after Adam and Eve ate the fruit. It was part of the curse.

Gen 3:21-23
    The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

So the lie that the serpent told Adam and Eve, which makes total sense, is that they would live forever:

Gen 3:4-5
    “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The first claim, “You will not surely die,” was his affirmation and denied. The second part regarding the fact that eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge will provide such knowledge to assure eternity was a lie too, perhaps, but not necessarily because it was a given that the tree in fact does provide knowledge—it just doesn’t say at what cost and effort.

This is an example of why I think such fables come from secular roots. This fable would be explaining why humans are prone to intelligence and other animals are not. It also explains why humans are mortal even when their rational minds tell them they are special above other animals; that is, why would their gods create them to suffer and die? So this fable was probably a secular social fable that people at the time didn’t interpret literally but rather metaphorically. One of the hints for this is the plural use of gods rather than a specific god in the Bible. Living in a multicultural tribal community means recognizing that no one particular god could be certain to be true. So they make up dumbed-down versions of the local myths that no one takes serious to explain and teach things.

Doesn’t this make sense?

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Posted: 20 December 2010 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Scott Mayers - 20 December 2010 11:49 AM

The thing about the Genesis story is that Yhwh tells Adam and Eve that eating the fruit will kill them on the same day (= it’s poisonous). (Gen. 2:17). But that’s a lie.  (And Yhwh’s claim can’t be reinterpreted as that they will become mortal by eating of the tree, because we know from Gen. 3:22 that Adam and Eve are already mortals, even before eating the fruit). In fact, the serpent is the truth-teller here, when he tells them they won’t die (Gen. 3:4-5).

Gen 3:22 is after Adam and Eve ate the fruit. It was part of the curse.

No, that’s a misreading. Nowhere does it say that that was part of the curse. In 3:22 God is worried that Adam might eat of the tree of eternal life as well and become immortal. Ergo Adam was never immortal.

There are two trees in the garden. One is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the other is the tree of life. If you eat of the latter tree you become immortal. Neither Adam nor Eve ate of this tree.

If you eat of both trees you become like God.

(I might add that these passages make God out to be quite the jealous guy. Not consistent with perfect goodness).

Scott Mayers - 20 December 2010 11:49 AM

Gen 3:21-23
    The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

So the lie that the serpent told Adam and Eve, which makes total sense, is that they would live forever:

Gen 3:4-5
    “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Another misreading. What the serpent means is that you will not surely die immediately, “in the day you eat of it” (Cf. 2:17). It’s no lie, it’s the barefaced truth.

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Posted: 20 December 2010 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Gnostikosis:

Understanding that Christianity is an evolved cultural mindset which probably has little to do with any original meaning from the Bible…

Here’s my take on it. Original sin was not taking responsibilities for their own actions. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.
Eating the fruit taught them how to lie, and feel guilt. Knowing of greed, fear, loss.

Assuming dualism, man is spirit and flesh(dust). Emotions capture and imprison the spirit. Man became attached to and identified with the flesh. Man lost connection to his spiritual nature. So the flesh dies, man dies. Man became bound to the flesh.

Jesus overcame his attachment to the flesh. He sought a spiritual kingdom. He overcame the hell of emotional attachment to the flesh and reconnected to his spiritual nature. He was the first. He resurrection was a spiritual one. When he was released from his flesh he rose in the spiritual realm.

So Jesus was the example, the pioneer to show the way, through hell, through the suffering of flesh to overcome the entrapment of “sin” and achieve immortality. No longer suffer the death of the flesh.

He took responsibility for all the sin of man. All of the evil, lying, greed and hatred. However he was not taking this burden from man but showing man how to take upon themselves the burden of responsibility. Then man can no longer be trapped by sin.

Christians though, didn’t what the responsibility. They worked out a way to not take responsibility by making Jesus the barer of all their sin. They created an ideology where Jesus was a pure sacrifice to appease God for Original Sin. All they got to do is acknowledge that Jesus was the sacrifice for their sin and of course obey the Church so they got to go to heaven.

Stupid Christians didn’t learn anything. They continued in the mistake of Adam and Eve. Trying to make someone responsible for their actions.

Normally, it would seem fair to assume that you are correct because of how people today perceive what Original Sin means. But I don’t think that it what it originally meant. In fact I think this interpretation came about later during the Dark and Middle Ages. The Roman Catholic Church, or just the Church at the time, had started selling Indulgences for the relief of Sins. But it got out of hand and many protested them thinking that the Church leaders shouldn’t have so much power to do so. This evolved into the idea by some that only someone without sin as Jesus was could absolve one from sin. Thus the Protestant movement began and a new ideology of Sin that focused Jesus’ purpose into the paschal lamb. This is the predominant view of him now. And so they somehow view Original Sin to be something it is not. Some innate evil that we are born with that represents are passion to do all that is wrong to come unless we choose to turn to Jesus to be “saved” [Paschal lambing].

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Posted: 20 December 2010 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I believe the Christian interpretation of original sin comes from Paul.

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Posted: 20 December 2010 01:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Dougsmith:
No, that’s a misreading. Nowhere does it say that that was part of the curse. In 3:22 God is worried that Adam might eat of the tree of eternal life as well and become immortal. Ergo Adam was never immortal.

There are two trees in the garden. One is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the other is the tree of life. If you eat of the latter tree you become immortal. Neither Adam nor Eve ate of this tree.

If you eat of both trees you become like God.

Okay, that’s a technically irrelevant condition you’ve presented on denying his mortality. You’re saying that you prefer to define someone immortal as someone who can live forever without any intake whatsoever. Does that mean they aren’t allowed to breathe too? You’re forgetting that these are people writing myth about people. So when they assumed a Tree of Life was necessary in their Paradise story, it was because it was relative to what they experienced. As long as Adam and Eve lived in Paradise and continued to eat (their condition) from the tree, they were guaranteed eternal life. So as far as any intention goes, the story intended to mean that they had eternal life granted to them unless they ate from the Tree of Knowledge.

Dougsmith:
Another misreading. What the serpent means is that you will not surely die immediately, “in the day you eat of it” (Cf. 2:17). It’s no lie, it’s the barefaced truth.

But the passage reads:

Gen 2:17 but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

If I said, “but you must not smoke, for when you get cancer you will surely die,” does this imply that death is immediate?

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Posted: 20 December 2010 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Scott Mayers - 20 December 2010 01:49 PM

But the passage reads:

Gen 2:17 but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

If I said, “but you must not smoke, for when you get cancer you will surely die,” does this imply that death is immediate?

I don’t believe that’s an accurate translation. Indeed, I suspect it’s basically a mistranslation, done for Christian purposes.

HERE (Young’s Literal): “2:17 and of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou dost not eat of it, for in the day of thine eating of it—dying thou dost die.’

HERE (NRSV): “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’”

HERE (Hebrew/English): “17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’”

Or to really be sure, since I don’t myself read Hebrew:

HERE (Interlinear Hebrew):  ” But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

Now, the question is, if someone said to you, “Don’t eat that pie, for the day you eat it you will die”, that implies that death is virtually immediate, yes. Certainly it is implied to occur within a day.

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