When I was reading the Bible, I was being really open minded about everything I read- not questioning the authenticity of the writings and the errors found in different parts; instead I chose to take in what made sense, and question what did not make sense.
And what made no sense was the concept of original sin- that we inherited the tendency to sin because of Adams’s disobedience to God. This concept was raised only in the later part of the Bible, in the letters of St. Paul. Ok, St. Paul’s letters made me reaaaalllly uncomfortable, and I don’t buy the ‘you can’t read it like it’s written, look below the surface’ thing. After all, who writes letters to the public and expect people to read it like a literature text? An example,
“I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate. Since what I do is what I don’t want to do, this shows that I agree that the Law is right. So I am not really the one who does this thing; rather it is the sin that lives in me. I know that good does not live in me—that is, in my human nature. For even though the desire to do good is in me, I am not able to do it. I don’t do the good I want to do; instead, I do the evil that I do not want to do. If I do what I don’t want to do, this means that I am no longer the one who does it; instead, it is the sin that lives in me.” (Romans 7:14-20)
You know if some ordinary, average person like you or me said this, people would think he was loony. Yes, the sin that lives in me is doing the wrong things, but isn’t it you just the same? How could you say that the sin comes from you but yet isn’t you? BUT you mustn’t forget, this is St. Paul we are talking about, who has had 7-14 books in the Bible he can claim authorship to! (Note the wide difference range. That’s because no one can know whether some were really written by him or not…)
Anyway, as St Paul proclaims, “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor 15:21-22)” because through Adam sin became existent. And sin is universal, present in all of us, because we were all “brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my(our) mother conceive me(us).” (Psalm 51:5) That’s why we need Christ to save us, because we cannot be blamed for the sinful nature we have inherited. (See here for more info).
Now for me I cannot accept that
1. God created us with a sinful nature.
2. We blame our sin on one person or proclaim it is something that cannot be helped.
3. Sin is not part of me, and I cannot be blamed for the sins I do.
What I can accept, though, is
1. God created us sinless, but because we grow up in a culture and world that sins, we learn to sin.
2. We are responsible for our actions and cannot blame it on anyone or on our inherent human nature.
3. The action of sinning comes from my hands, my feet, my mouth etc. which belong to me, so don’t the actions belong to me too? Don’t I have to answer for the sins I have committed and take the responsibility as my own?
Now the concept of original (inherited) sin has to exist for Christ to save us. Because you cannot save someone if he is basically committing sins of his own stubborn free will. From my own understanding, if someone commits a murder because he wants to, vs. someone who is forced to, someone who is forced definitely needs the saving because he doesn’t want to do it but has to do it. Imagine going up to a person who wants to murder, and telling him “hey, I am gonna save you from doing this.” He’d probably kill you first, because you’re standing in his way.
Which is precisely why Jesus was crucified. His mission was to proclaim God’s word, the way to save mankind. But he was standing in the way, because we didn’t want to hear the way to be saved. If his mission was to die for our sins, he should have actually just told someone to kill him…. Right?
Anyway I’m just stating thoughts on this concept of original sin, and not the mission of Jesus. He is very dear to me, having accompanied my past 23 years of my faith journey. And only Allah knows what his mission is, whether it was to die for our sins or to spread His Word. And that’s all we need to know. And we only need to do our part.