Copyright © By Dr. Adel Elsaie, Book Title: "History of Truth, The Truth about God and Religions"
7.3 The Doctrine of Original Sin and Atonement
Dr. Adel Elsaie
In Christian theology, every human is born sinful. The origin of this concept has been attributed to Adam who disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit. Consequently, Adamís sin is transmitted by heredity to the entire human race. The Old Testament says nothing about the transmission of hereditary sin to everyone. Also, the term original sin is not found in the Bible. Paul suggested that humans are sinners. He said in Acts 13:39 that we can have forgiveness from our sins through Jesus, that the Law of Moses could not free us from our sins, and every person who believes in Jesus is free from all his sins. In Acts 13:23, Paul proclaimed Jesus, not God, as the savior. And again keep silent about what Matthew said in 7:21. With these teachings of Paul, Christians can commit all sorts of sins, from adultery, homosexuality, using drugs, to killing. In one moment the Christian is a born again by accepting Jesus as a savior, and then and only then can all his sins be forgiven. This was in contradiction with the teachings of John the Baptist, who was carrying the message of repentance to God, as this is the only way to human salvation. In a difficult and vague passage, Paul hinted about the original sin. When Adam sinned; "sin entered the entire human race. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned." Roman (5:12). In the Gospel of Luke 11:13, Jesus was teaching about prayer, he says, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children." Tertullian coined the phrase original sin based upon the above verses of Paul and Luke. Then St. Augustine (354 - 430) took this idea from Tertullian and developed it further.
The church accepted this doctrine of Atonement and original sin four centuries after Jesus. It contradicts the Bible itself as in Deuteronomy 24:16: "The father shall not put to death for the children, neither the children be put to death for their father: every man shall be put to death for his own sin." In Jeremiah 31:30: "... But every one shall die for his own iniquity..." In Ezekiel 18:20: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die, the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." In Matthew 7:1-2: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." In I Cor. 3:8: "...and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor." To prove that children are born without sin, Jesus asked not to let children suffer, (Matthew 19:14): "But Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
In the Middle Age, Aquinas, whose teachings became the essence of the official doctrine of the Roman Church, stated that the sin was in Adam. He insisted that the loss of the original righteousness was an ultimate grace from God and not a part of manís created nature. This concept seems so vague. Most justice systems of the free world assume that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty. But this doctrine assumes that humans are guilty. Does this mean, God forbid, that human systems have more justice than the Creator of Justice Himself?
In Hebrews 1:3, it sates that the death of Son of God, who is made of the same substance as that of God, had purged our sins. But that death was a death of a real man. How, then, did the substance of God die? Christian scholars take great pain in explaining this intellectual puzzle, which only adds to the confusion of anyone. Religion is supposed to be simple, not only understood by the scholars but also by the average person or even the unlettered. How can anyone have faith in this doctrine that contradicts the Bible and is illogical? Faith should be accompanied by common sense. So, was Jesus crucified to save us from our original sin, and while being crucified asked God why did He abandon him?
This looks like a present day marketing ploy of shocking someone and then saving him by selling him a "cure-all." The Church tells you that you are condemned to hell, not because of what you did. Then the only way to save yourself is to accept a story about Jesusí death on the cross. It is agreed upon that no one saw the process of resurrection. They found the sepulcher where Jesus was laid down empty, and came to the conclusion that he was resurrected because the disciples and other witnesses saw him alive after the supposed crucifixion. The Gospels alleged that Jesus should suffer, and that he was going to Jerusalem to die, and on the third day he would come back. But the Gospels did not say plainly that Jesusí suffering had been to save us from the sin of Adam!
Here is another idea for the Hollywood sequel movies "Oh God":
The movie starts with an old man, a father of very many sons and daughters. All of his sons and daughters are committing all kinds of sins from paganism to adultery. All are sinners, except one son who is truly righteous among all his brothers and sisters. The father is very troubled with the behavior of the sinners. He thinks about a way to convince the sinners to follow his righteous son. Finally, he comes up with a brilliant idea. Some of his evil sons should kill their righteous brother to save all sinners!
What would you say about this father?
Islam has taken a unique position on this whole issue, a position that is not shared by any other religion. The Quran states that Adam and Eve were directed by God to reside in the Garden of Eden and enjoy its produce as they pleased, assured of bountiful supplies and comfort. But they were warned not to approach a particular tree so that they would not run into harm and injustice to themselves. This was a lesson from God to teach humanity limits and boundaries. Then Satan intrigued them to temptation and caused them to loose their joyful state. They were expelled from the Garden and brought down to earth to live, die, and rise up on the Day of Judgment. Having realized what they have done, they felt shame, guilt, and remorse. They prayed for Godís mercy, and were forgiven by the Most Merciful. They committed a sin, repented and were forgiven. This is the whole idea. People commit sins, and they repent to God, and He will forgive them. On the other hand, Satan did not repent out of arrogance. The original sin was committed by Satan, who was arrogant and refused to obey God, and refused to repent. It is that simple.