“Now, inasmuch as the learner exists, he is indeed created, and, accordingly, God must have given him the condition for understanding the truth (for otherwise he previously would have been merely animal, and that teacher who gave him the condition along with the truth would make him a human being for the first time). But insofar as the moment is to have decisive significance…he must lack the condition, consequently be depraved of it. This cannot have been due to an accident (for it is a contradiction that something inferior would be able to vanquish something superior); it must therefore have been due to himself. If he could have lost the condition in such a way that it was not due to himself, and if he could be in this state of loss without its being due to himself, then he would have possessed the condition only accidentally, which is a contradiction, since the condition for truth is an essential condition. The untruth, then, is not merely outside the truth but is polemical against the truth, which is expressed by saying that he himself has forfeited and is forfeiting the condition…..But this state — to be untruth and to be that through one’s own fault — what can we call it? Let us call it sin. — Soren Kierkegaard
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.–1 Corinthians 15:22
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.–Romans 5:12
a) I am birthed into this world hopelessly polluted by the sin of Man..the sin of Adam, then we can immediately launch into a discussion regarding concepts of justice. If one believes in the Original Sin and it’s eternal ramifications, that individual then understands the need for reconciliation…then one is thankful for Christ. The Christ event is the gift from God (here we will dismiss the scumbag notion…that the omnipotent God created the need for Christ, in another sense, that God created the need for Himself). Christ is the way one becomes reconciled to the foundational and eternal error in his condition, a condition which was brought into existence by way of a man at the beginning of time. Considered one way, the concept of Original Sin has a temporal character which infuriates the individual who proceeds to apply any standard of justice to the situation. One may respond asking what right an individual can claim considering the wrong we have done our creator..of course, but that is not satisfying to one who is in anxiety. When I was born in 1981, I was born against my will, surely I had no will to be forced against! Yet, I was immediately in sin by way of the most distant of relatives (yes, I will concede here and even claim a relation to Adam). I’ve heard something about the age of accountability…I’m not sure what age that is, although, it does not matter. My constitution, from my first breath of air, is damaged, therefore..upon reaching the age of accountability, I then become a sinner. More so, I do not merely sin here, and then merely sin there in isolation and independent of each other…all my sins are a result of a sinful nature…a nature which I had no part in selecting. I am created with the most consequential need for a savior. I need Christ before I know who or what he or she is. How strange, to need something I’m not even aware of. Hopeless and romantic indeed.
b) Now we shall assume that we are in no way made responsible in the sin of Adam. Let us assume we have a radical degree of free will. Let us assume that upon being born, we are as pure as the driven snow..as the saying goes. We enjoy a period of pure innocence up until that curious age of accountability, let us assume we know nothing of Christ…we have not yet received that story oddly named the “gospel.” (That good news which brings upon us so much confusion, so many questions, and paralyzing anxiety regarding the state of our soul which we learn, through the good news, could possibly burn in eternity if we don’t make the right decision.) Therefore, we are allowed a head start, and then we surely sin..we tell a lie in order to get out of a punishment..and we sin again, we think about our next door neighbor who is in her bathing suit in summer time, we insult an individual silently and smile to him outwardly, we cheat, we sin…sin repeatedly. At which point do we, in our radical free will…unattached to Adam in anyway that would make us guilty by association, at which point do we commit that sin which serves as an eternal break thus necessitating a devoted repentance which will bring about this radical transformation and subsequent mode of existence defined by sacrifice and reverence? Which sin, if we are not made guilty through Adam, serves to separate us from Christ? Is it the first sin? Or is it the greatest sin?
A or B? Born inside a form of eternal brokenness, necessitating Christian salvation due to our nature which is given by God? Or are we born free, only to commit a sin (perhaps a sin committed in some shade of ignorance) which blackens our soul eternally? What sin could be worth so much?
These are basic questions and I have no interest in free will or determination at the moment, even though questions such as these certainly lead to such talk. I would like to stay away from that metaphysical corner because we are, when it comes down to it, individuals born without permission (forgive the existentialist cliche) into a world of shifting, culturally defined, and ever evolving ethical parameters we must navigate in order to keep our ahead above the water of this world, let alone the holy water of salvation. There are answers to this basic question..answers from all different types of theology, all attempting to provide an answer to this problem…a problem that when approached simply is enough to say to hell with the lot of it. I do not wish to hear about my lack of hermeneutic scope. There should be no need of biblical scholarship in order to reconcile such integral components of the biblical narrative. What place should these questions of sin and consequence have in the decision to love God? Once one decides to follow Christ, then, at least potentially, he or she is thrown into a community which is chained to a devotion plagued by theology. The existence of sin is intimately attached to a B.C.E. event which is not entirely understood. What faith the new Christian must have, what faith the new Christian must retain! Asking question about theology is more dangerous to one’s faith than spending a week with Christopher Hitchens, Rob Bell….or any number of secular sensationalists.
I would love to experience that revelation…