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Original Sin

The official explanation is this: "Original Sin" refers to the belief that the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, had a choice: whether to obey God or not. Although God had given them every good gift, they chose to disobey God, thinking they could be like him and independent of him. In making this choice they forfeited the original holiness and justice they had received from God, not only for themselves but for all human beings. This severe wound to human nature has stayed with the human race, weakening its powers, so that humans are subject to ignorance, suffering, death and the inclination to sin. However, there is hope of redemption through Jesus Christ who heals us and teaches us how to live.

Our own explanation is this: Original sin is what we call the innate and unavoidable tendency for any true child of God to just feel too big for his britches.

Creating true children, in order to share His happiness of existence, was obviously a very tricky thing for God to do. Just as we cannot share our earthly happiness with dogs and cats, (who have little appreciation for the finer things in life like literature and great music and sunsets and Super Bowls and beer), God could not share the complete happiness He enjoyed with any less than true beings like Himself. He knew that He had never been created, and so we, His children, must be a bit self-made also.

We had to have both free will and an almost God-like ego. And those two things do not go well together. It is our job, in order to become true mature children of God, to voluntarily submit our will to God's will and to accept His authority over us. It is a sin not to.

Original sin is therefore our original, natural tendency as His (immature) children to rebel against the idea of having to do God's bidding, thinking that we know perfectly well how to run our own lives ourselves. We all have this tendency. The first humans had it, and the first humans got into trouble with it, as God knew they would.

No evil or sin comes from God. Therefore Church theology reasons that the tendency of all humans to rebel against God's authority had to be passed down to us from Adam and Eve. The theory is that if Adam and Eve had just managed to submit themselves to God's authority for all eternity, we would all live in Paradise with no death and no sin.

But of course there was never the slightest hope of this. The sin of Adam and Eve could hardly have come as a surprise to an omniscient God. In fact, the Gospel of St. John begins "In the beginning was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." So from the very beginning, God had foreseen the necessity of providing mankind with a Redeemer. He knew His own nature, and therefore our nature as His true children, pretty well.

Our pride still gets us all into trouble, every day. We are all sinners. We all think that we can make our own rules for our lives.

But God has always had a clever plan to get around this problem. He would come to earth Himself, and as infinite God would suffer to atone for our sins, which as true man He would be able to do on our behalf.

He had it all worked out in advance. He does love us all, Lord knows why.

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