Re: Apologists and other salesmen

Murphy (
Thu, 31 Oct 1996 07:52:47 -0500

John Misasi wrote:
> I would only ask the following to your statement, and that is if there is
> no concept of original sin in the old testement, what is the need for
> sacrifice? Sacrifice was an atonement for sin, which was in itself
> a part of their salvation. Also, Psalm 51:5 (when david commits adultry)
> says, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother
> conceived me." This sinful nature was inherited from somewhere. I doubt
> God would create a creature that natural tendency was to rebel against
> Him. But i do find it concievable that He would make a ceature that is
> capable of rebellion, but once that rebellion occurs all his (man's)
> decesndents would be cursed through adam's (and eve's) curse.

OT sacrifices are for sins but there is nothing at all to
suggest that they were understood to be for an inherited sinful
condition. The writer of Ps.51 (David according to the non-canonical
superscription) says "I've been a sinner all my life." If we want to we
can, from a Christian perspective, go on to speak of that in terms of
original sin, but the psalmist does not do that.
The point at issue is not whether the doctrine of original sin
is true. I believe it is - though it needs to be thought through
carefully in light of human evolution. The question is whether or not
it can be found clearly in the OT alone. It can't. That should be no
surprise - the same is true for the Trinity.

{Omit your remarks on Romans - no problem with them.}

> Therefore, the concept of original sin is important. And, we must always
> look at scripture as a whole, if not, why have it. If you say one part
> of the scripture is fiction(Genesis 1-3), and then another part (i.e.
> Romans) bases its theology on it, you are essentially invalidating
> Romans. My statements were simply meant to say, before you say one part
> is fiction, look how that will affect the 'big picture' of scripture.

No disagreement that the doctrine of original sin is important.
And no disagreement that the problem goes back to the origins of the
human race. Though the term fiction is a bit loose, we can say that
Gen.3 speaks of the beginning of human sin, as well as the ongoing
disobedience of all of us, in fictional terms.

Gen.3 need not be accurate history in order for the doctrine of
original sin to be correct. Conversely, accepting it as literal history
- as I think Pelagius did - does not force one to accept the doctrine.

George Murphy