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The Question of Original Sin

May 2009

     When this world was new, and the only people on it were our first parents, Adam and Eve, conditions were much different than they are today. And I'm not speaking of economics or politics.
     The difference was the reality of an existence without anything negative! There was no downside to anything. No question as to whether there was a good, or better, or best side to an issue, much less a bad side! It was life without sin or evil. There was nothing wrong anywhere. For Adam and Eve, it was a blessed, happy life to which we can make no parallels.
     But that all changed. And it happened because of the sinister work of a spiritual intruder. Sometime, somewhere, outside of the boundaries of this earth, there existed a "spirit being" who rebelled against the Most High God.
     The Holy Scriptures give us a small glimpse into the spirit world, and into these happenings, with the words of the prophet Isaiah. "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:12-14).
     This Lucifer, the "son of the morning," we know today as Satan, the enemy of God. It was he who, in pride, lifted himself up against God. And it was he who intruded God's perfect world, dressed himself like a snake, and came deceptively to Eve, in her perfect world, and introduced the first lie. (Have you ever wondered why snakes have the reputation they do?)
     In short, Satan persuaded Eve to believe him, and reject the Word of God, their Creator. Read the story in the Bible, Genesis chapter 3.
     This rejection of God and His Word was sin. Adam and Eve were both accomplices, and immediately their spiritual condition changed. They now understood and experienced, not only good, but also evil. Also immediately, the perfect conditions of a perfect world were no longer theirs. None of their descendents, including us today, have known it either. The original sin became a pervasive force from which no human since has escaped.
     The lie of Satan, which our first parents believed, appealed to them because of perceived personal advantage. In my own words, Satan told them, you'll be liberated! You'll have something you've never had before! Unfortunately, this "liberation" was nothing but bondage - because what they learned took them down, not up. It brought them sorrow, and bondage, not freedom. It was the original "devil's lie".
     Ever since this beginning of all wrongs, mankind has struggled with the results of his nature gone bad. Is it really possible for us to look at history, to the many atrocities that have been committed against humanity, and not believe in the sinfulness of human nature? Any thoughtful person will recognize that our world today shows the results of "original sin."
     What is the answer? Well, it is certainly not found in secular reasoning. Recently I read a quote attributed to a British organization, "Liberate yourself from the Original Mumbo-Jumbo that liberated you from the Original Sin you never had." This was accompanied with an invitation to buy a "de-baptism" certificate renouncing the church and her doctrines.
     Will such liberation release one from the power of original sin? No. Alan Jacobs, author of the book, Original Sin: A Cultural History, says that even though the doctrine of original sin is unattractive and difficult to understand, we cannot deny its effects on our world.
     When John the Baptist revealed Jesus, the Saviour to his followers, he said to them, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
     Friends, - This is God's answer to the problem of sin.

- Mervin Brubacher
   Barwick, ON
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