Things To Ponder

Well here goes..

I had a recent conversation with friend who is a seminary graduate. As typical, I enjoy gently challenging ‘plot holes’ some Christians create for themselves in bad theology and this was no different. Since this was during the whole Duck crap, the topic started on the ‘sin’ of homosexuality, and merged onto greater philosophical musings such as what is the nature of sin, what is the concept of ‘original sin’, what is the nature of man, and free will. After pondering on the eye-opening results of what they are teaching kids in seminary these days, I went to bed greatly troubled, and awoke with a few specific verses in my head. For the record, that doesn’t happen often, so it usually means it’s time for me to go pondering. If you are easily offended or troubled, don’t continue reading.

”Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish from it, that ye may keep the commandments of HaShem your G-d which I command you.”

Herein lies the problem with almost every basic ‘Christianity’ based religion today. The Word is not only diminished but added onto so much it has not only driven a wedge between people, but been the basis for wars and extinction, schisms, and led people into crazy directions. Pastors and pundits have worked themselves a comfortable bureaucracy, that have kept many in bondage. But far worse it has been corrupted for so long, that they (and their flock for that matter) believe it is the way things were from the beginning. The disturbing pathological psychology of it all, makes me frustrated to no end. Of course what I will say next is bound to be considered heretical, profane and blasphemous, but nevertheless these are the things that I think about.

The concept of Original sin is something many within the church has taken for granted. It is often used as an excuse as to man’s ‘sinful’ nature and imperfections. It tends to reject the notion that Yahweh made us in his image, but rather encoded some defect into us that manifested itself in the Garden of Eden and has continued to draw us downhill from there. It announces that we are not only sinning creatures, but that even the unborn, or within the womb have sinned.. before they even have actually sinned, because of a curse upon us from Adam and Eve’s apple bite and not due to their own responsibilities and choices. Every person who has sinned actually puts their sins as a mark upon the unborn. It goes even further though…

Our illnesses are all caused by sin, implying the typical excuse that we must surely of done something wrong to be unwell and continues into the train of thought that even our infant’s genetic abnormalities and diseases are a product of nothing more than sin. Because of this philosophy, it has extended into creating church bureaucracies of ‘confessional’, giving excuses to paedophile priests to continue their ‘sin’ behaviours while being slapped on the wrist, infant and death baptismal, allowing for a culture of rape (it’s just in a guy’s ‘nature’.. it’s *our* fault really), even taking Alford Pleas in criminal court. And so forth..

Sin it seems is somehow raised into its own entity and deity, with the power to transform bodies before a fetus’ brain tissue and capacity for a thought has even developed, and for merely having the audacity to exist. Sin, therefore is elevated by the church and given a greater choke hold over mankind.

Was it ever supposed to be this way?

I pondered a great deal on this topic, and have come to an interesting direction of revelation on the subject. The concept of Original sin, was not one that directly came from the Bible, but came from man itself. What I mean by that is, concepts like this did not even enter into the picture until early Catholic church fathers started extrapolating different ideas from the Bible to counteract the rising of other faith beliefs at the time.  I’ve explained a little bit about those different faiths before, and how they each had a unique spin on a variety of topics. They arose out of desperation, disagreements in interpretation, melding of cultural religions, fear, survival, and the desire to reign supreme with a world-dominant religion. Some maintained original sin not only destroyed freedom and free will, but literally seemed to trample over the entirety of Yeshua’s sacrifice. It pointed to mindless ritual, confessional, and extra-spiritual acts not found in the Bible as a means of constant atonement, and a constant re-sacrificing of ‘the Christ’ through church activities. It took away our own personal responsibility to following the Torah, understanding the sacrifice of Yeshua, it emphasized works rather than faith (instead of both) — and placed our new responsibility to devoting to perpetual atonement to the church, instead of the Lord. Things got pretty bad by the time people like Calvin and Martin Luther (and even they could not shake the bonds of the doctrine they had been taught) were on the scene. While you had some taking sin very seriously, the whole of the church had found itself dug into a deep hole. Indulgences. Pay a bribe, and the sin would all go away. In Puritan/Pilgrim times, it only got even worse. Free will choices, forgiveness, and atonement all got forgotten.

But anyway, it did provide early church father’s (not within the Bible) with some problems. If Yeshua was born as flesh (the Word became flesh) to flesh (Mary), and original sin existed, was Yeshua bound by those same restrictions? Afterall He exhibited all the emotions of a man (love and anger), He cried out and prayed to the Father as a man would do, He was tempted, He ate and drank, and He kept all of the Torah that were instructed to be kept.

To rectify this issue, heavy emphasis was placed on the sudden perfection and blamelessness of the Virginal Mary. That Mary somehow had escaped any concept of sin, simply because she had not yet had sex with Joseph, and even afterward continued to be perfection (later added that she was immaculately conceived herself and continued to stay in this state because of no sex). Poor Joseph. He was reduced to always sleeping on the couch. Sex, the very thing that the Lord created and instructed his creation to multiply (and we know sex is deeper than just mere procreation), to the church father’s was a terrible no-good thing. No siblings for Yeshua either, we’ll have to overlook that passage. Joseph was the most unwanted platonic husband in the world. Sex was like totally eww and pure evil apparently. Mary it seems, was chosen as the only human exemption in the course of history. But before I diverge entirely off topic — being a virgin or no virgin (depending on your translation) has little consequences to the concept of Mary being ‘always sinless’ or ‘perfect’. These concepts cannot be found within the Bible. The ancient Biblical scholars merely tried to ‘rationalize’ the irrational miracle, denigrating the miracle of the birth in the first place, by inventing a whole host of strange notions around it. It’s funny how Yahweh constantly got constrained to a limited box of human imagination, even in the womb!

But nonetheless these concepts all began out of the constant challenge and blowback ‘Christianity’ was getting from other faiths — and the desire to deny anything associated with the Jewishness of Yeshua. Original sin, No-Sex-Mary, and even the Trinity (of which I’m also having doubts as it’s defined) all come from the same vein.

We are told that we are created in the image of the Lord, and that when He looked upon His creation He was pleased. But we also know several things about the Nature of the Lord. The Lord calls forth Jeremiah and tells us that He knows us within the womb, before we even form. That He is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient. That we are fearfully and wonderfully made…. there are hundreds of Biblical verses like this. It also consistently emphasizes that we have been given the capacity of free will, to make choices, to run toward truth or to the dark. Are we then to say hey sorry little person, you are born of smaller stature because it’s your fault because we all bear a curse? Are we to believe in a transmuted reincarnation? Little people, people who are different, people who are disabled or sick are still wonderfully made.

In the recent movie Lincoln, the character of Thaddeus Stevens, is played by Tommy Lee Jones. He’s a complex man who is staunchly abolitionist and dreams of the day when everyone is truly free. He has the audacity to dream, but is not above scheming, lying, and bullying in order to achieve it. You may notice in the film that he walks with a considerable limp, but not much focus is paid as to why. The real life Stevens and his brother was born with club foot. He later was stricken with fever and lost all of his hair. He and his family endured quite a bit of scorn because of this disability. At the time such disabilities meant that your parents had committed a grave sin, and thus the child was crippled from punishment and condemned. The ridicule and suspicion eventually had a great impact on the family, when his father eventually abandoned them from the shame. Thus Mr. Stevens grew up experiencing feelings of hopelessness but equally felt trapped and punished because of how he was born. You can imagine then, how much empathy he had with African-Americans on the subject of slavery and how much he despised the evil callousness of his fellow-man. Nevertheless through his disability, it gave him greater courage to fight adversity in ways another man would not. Sometimes when we experience the unthinkable nature of creation – it molds us, tests us, and shapes us into the people we become — good or bad. But all for a purpose.

Freedom of choice with consequences to actions as a natural order (the way He created it to work), and forgiveness/redemption through Yeshua, or the crushing damnation of original sin?

Adam and Eve, were also given that freedom of choice. It was through their choices that caused the consequences we live under. It is there that they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and became aware of shame and understood their ‘sin’ and understood responsibility from consequences. It is from that day we humans understood the nature of good and evil, and had the… no, claimed the choice to partake in either one. The action of disobedience (the sin), is not the thing that followed mankind — but the awareness that one could, disobey and what it meant to. It gave full awareness and knowledge of the choices. But even before the ‘fall’, before the apple was bitten, it clearly illustrates that man did indeed use freedom of choice (he just did not fully understand it) — by choosing to disobey. It existed before ‘sin’ itself and has never ceased to be. We were cursed to the prospect of toil and lost ‘immortality’; the consequences were of no way to redemption but to merely die and exist no more (attempts to point out references to ‘original sin’ is bogus.. as it specifically mentions it only in the context of death and mortality, and in the Torah the Jews did not even believe in the concept period.). A woman was given birth pains, and it seems ‘desire’ was introduced. A desire for a woman to be with her significant other and vice versa.

And certainly as the Bible tells us, man did indeed make his choices — showing great capacity for good and for evil until the Covenant. When the Covenant was made, man finally had laws to adhere to — for both public well-being, law and order, civility, and to spell out exactly what it was the people had to do to please the Lord and to ‘cover’ their sins collectively or as an individual. Some of these laws were incredibly complex and not necessarily what modern man would consider fair. Follow the law they were told, love the Lord and obey — no mention of an original sin staining everything one did. There was a collective accountability. There were bad men that made their evil choices, and good holy men that made their choices too. There were even very complex men that had enormous struggles with free will and the consequences of their actions. There was priestly sacrifices and atonements that needed to be made in accordance with the law to ‘cover’ the bad things people did. There was no mention of ‘covering’ Adam’s perpetual biting of the apple, only the sin that was happening right then and there.

Even in Biblical times though, some people still thought that they were being punished for no reason. The sick were shunned from fear of association, and compassion was difficult. There is no better illustration of this than the story of Job. A righteous man who was afflicted, not because of sin, original or personal — but for a test from the Lord. Many of his friends gathered around and attempted to convince him that he had done something to anger the Lord, in essence, being tempted to lose his faith. To provoke to anger and doubt.

This is not to say though that every illness isn’t the result of something we haven’t done. Many cancers and disease, even those that happen to others — are those that are preventable, and are a direct consequence of our bad choices. We pump chemicals into our food, air, and water supply. We overpopulate. We consume dangerous substances and indulge in dangerous vices. We do not care for ourselves, our neighbours, or creation. The Lord allows these man-made events to take their course. While ‘original sin’ may not dictate our health state, our genetic blueprint which is affected by our choices and learned behaviours can. For instance, many diseases are inherited from our ancestors. The past choices of our relatives can cause tremendous psychological damage to our mental state and drive us into different directions. We are often so focused on what happened in the sins of the past, and feel crushed by those burdens, we forget the here and now and the future. But for the most part, we still have a choice – to step away from the darkness, to step away from vices, to care for ourselves, to be proactive, and to not let the choices of others sink us into a depression.

We look around and accuse many things of being the direct result of Original sin. The insects we hate ugh, sin. Venoms and poisons, ugh sin. Germs, sin. Bacteria, sin. There doesn’t seem to be any limit to the madness. Insects and scary creatures are all an important part of our ecosystem, bacteria and germs are essential building blocks in life, just as volcanos and earthquakes and were all created with just purpose — to assist with the job of life, death, and rebirth.

I once saw a person state it was perfectly fine to give their dog raisins and chocolate and beer, since they were saved and this meant that ‘god’ would protect the dog — and that ‘god’ doesn’t create anything ‘bad’ and anything bad was just from ‘sin’ or the devil. Yeah, there’s that inescapable free will again. The free will to be stupid. Believe me, I don’t think He wants us to be, but will allow us to choose to be so.. (all the while probably facepalming).

We are told that we are judged for our own sins, each individually, and that we each must answer to our Creator upon judgement. Yeshua’s sacrifice offers us a new Covenant, of forgiveness and mercy. But it also doesn’t give us a free pass, and at the same time gives us greater emphasis on personal responsibility and.. free will. All men, have a level playing field, truly knowing now that there is a choice they can make, free from mindless ritual, and that there is hope and the freedom of truth through Yeshua.

I often think back to the Apostles in their many discourses with Yeshua. Many times they stumble in faith and just as often question. He never rebukes them as sinners that can’t control their nature — but says ”ye of little faith…” He reminds them that they are capable of big choices and greater wonderous faith. The people He does challenge, often angrily and rather directly? The rabbis, the money changers, those within a ‘church’ structure that *should* know better.

Remember that I said the initial topic of conversation was regarding homosexuality and religion? I had some questions to ask of that friend. My first question was a hypothetical one. What if it were proven to a clergy that to be ‘gay’ was a product of genetics and ingrained in one’s DNA just as it is in determining your hair or eye color. What would they think then? The church’s position is often wishy-washy on the subject. 1) Either they submit to a doctrine of hatred and damnation (choosing this sin to be the greatest of all and above all others it seems, even when it was Biblically lumped in the NT with any other ordinary sin — even as ordinary as alcoholism!) or 2) they utilize a tactic of placation and patronization. Many hold meetings to ‘pray the gay away’, and still others encourage that it’s fine to be gay, to forge ‘purely platonic celibate same-sex relationships’ and lust in one’s heart, so long as one does not physically act on it. Be gay apparently, but not too gay around the pastor, and it’s perfectly acceptable — meanwhile of course, do work on ‘praying that genetic inclination away’. Hrm.

This latter stance of 2), even if my hypothetical was proven true (which they didn’t believe it was certainly), was the answer given to me. Can you see why I was troubled? With that answer in mind, I formulated my next argument. If a gay person, is then truly created both in the image of ‘god’ and is also formed though one’s DNA (which is also a part of creation), then how is being gay still considered a sin?

My context here is that it becomes an interesting circular dissertation. There are many commandments and many sins. The Bible tells us we all fall short of the glory, and that we each sin. But to truly be born gay? This would mean that only one specific set of people on the earth would have a specific sin attributed just to them only. And where in the Bible could you actually find such a thing? Is this not sending an incredibly conflicting message and one that is an even greater offense? But surely, I was told, such a hypothetical scenario could not be correct — as anyone can make a choice to actively commit a sin at any time — there is no specific group of person that is subjected or prone to one sin only. Preposterous notion.

Except, that’s not entirely correct.

Could my friend then at any time choose to be gay as often as he would get drunk?

To illustrate this theological ‘problem’ even further for them, I delved into a realm that many pastors will not go. A person born with a certain genetic disorder and malformation are often refered to as Intersexed. Ambiguous, they are neither male or female. In the early days, doctors and society at large freaked out about these children. They’d often forcibly change their genders via surgery, hormones, and psychotherapy — which led to lives of misery for the children, and then adults. They may look one sex but feel another. They have no idea if they are gay or straight or where they stand in society or with religion. They may often fall into despair and contemplate suicide.

The church fails these individuals. Are they born into a type of ‘unique’ sin through no fault of their own? Are they too, supposed to deny their identities, their capacity for love and kindness, and engage in purely platonic relationships for fear of displeasing their god, the one who created them this way, after all? And there is no question of doubt or scientific dispute, either from the medical or religious community that they came out of the womb that way through no fault of their own.

That was the answer I received. A person born this way should revert to being celibate and never feel the emotion of love to avoid causing offense to God, even if they had been created by Him that way. In essence, sorry person born with a disorder, it sucks to be you, but you were created on purpose to be an affront to God so you better watch out.


I queried to confirm that they believed a person born ambiguous had their sexuality and gender identity ingrained/confused from birth, and the answer was yes. I again queried to confirm if they thought this was not the case with a homosexual individual. Well what proof is there, I was asked? (Pastors typically feel nurture vs nature only applies to those that are gay; they use terms like ‘inclination‘ as a code-word.) Meaning you only became gay because of something your parents did or didn’t do enough, or through some psychological issue, or because you chose to be). What proof is there that your heterosexuality is ingrained from birth (a part of your DNA), I countered? Where is any of these facts listed Biblically?

No answer did come.

And that’s usually as far as I get with the hypotheticals.

Because there never is an answer.

We did touch on the subject of Eunuchs (they were using them as an example to those born Intersexed). Apparently the description of the Eunuch convert in Acts point to the fact that a gay man leading a completely celibate life (not acting on it) in a church setting is acceptable. Except, I can’t really find anything anywhere to imply that the Eunuch in this case was gay. Eunuchs were, in Biblical times, those who were willingly or forcibly castrated or those who were for whatever reason unable to produce children due to dysfunction or disorder – or those who for whatever reason chose to be celibate. Nothing in this implies a Biblical Eunuch was gay, nor does it imply that they did not feel any love or desire or were prohibited from doing so. Yeshua (in Matthew) is pretty clear on what a Eunuch was, when queried. Isaiah instructs a Eunuch to act as anyone else in worship of the Lord, following the Torah and be blessed (I imagine this is why the Eunuch mentioned in the NT was reading Isaiah in the first place. Think of the flood of relief he felt, that he wasn’t doomed!). Now of course, history tells us there were plenty of gay Eunuchs in Greek and Roman settings, so the potential certainly exists. And the Aramaic translation can imply homosexuality, but not in the strong way you’re thinking. A Eunuch was a person that was strong enough to look after a woman in the king’s court as a man, but not a threat to the king’s women/harem (rape, affairs, illegitimate children gaining heir to the throne ect). But I can find no evidence of a Eunuch being told they are an affront to the Lord.

The church states that every life is sacred, so long as it is a life that doesn’t offend them. They decry abortion but take a step back at the problems of rape and incest. They push for more children and preach sex within marriage, but cannot exactly say why it is simple contraceptives are so terrible *within* that marriage. They say polygamy is bad, but yet the Bible is filled with it. They say being gay is a sin, but being Intersexed is too confusing a thought to consider. Don’t even start on how the church treats couples who are impotent and desire to legally marry (I’ve touched on the subject of that documentary before). Humans are in their nature, sexual beings. From the moment the woman left the Garden, her desire was to be for her husband. Am I so wrong as to understand this meant, that desire did in fact mean a woman’s/man’s biological need for companionship, their attraction and desire for one another (let’s face it, you need those components for sex to work properly in the first place) that ultimately can be the source of much love and much complex emotional pain?  In the Bible sex is everywhere. The Song of Songs is filled with all sorts of blushing imagery in comparing the bride and bridegroom’s ‘relationship’ — a love poem suddenly becomes spiritual allegory. And yet, while it is everywhere, and clear simple instructions are given as to its moral limits — no one, neither the Prophets or the Lord himself seem as particularly obsessed with it as the church became (and still is).

From a practical application and view: The Jews were a new forming nation trying to survive, while all around them were other cultures and religions; filled with idol worship, bizarre sexual practices, human sacrifice, brutality, and debauchery. Many times the people backslid. In Noah’s time people went nuts. In Abram’s time, they started going nutty again. In the time of Moses, Baal worship hadn’t even become fully ramped up yet. The instructions given were forewarnings of behaviour to come! By Elijah’s time, it was popular and widespread. Baal worship (Canaanites) involved many same-sex acts and violence as a means of exaltation. Seriously, they ranked up there with the wild Aztec sacrificial bloodbaths. It makes absolute sense that these sexual practices were considered a sin in The Law, just as any of the other sins were. Murder, lust, not being faithful — all touched on Baal. And the rest of the Law were instructions for the good of the public health, safety, and moral and civic ethics.  Who would want to have anything to do with Baal worship after all? It had to be stopped. Sexuality was not understood in the context of identity or coming from birth. To worship Baal sex acts were common. That’s just how you did it. Homosexuality then may not have actually been seen as something from the point of the profane or homophobia as we understand it in today’s terms, but as a practice associated with worshiping a false god. To be sure, other cultures — namely Greek found it commonplace. The sex practices of the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians were notorious.

My point here, may be lost on some. And it is not for me to imply that the Bible does not state that homosexuality is a sin — because it’s there, and it does indeed say so, just as it says many other things are. There’s no real wiggle room around that. I cannot deny what the Bible states, as that would be to diminish it. But neither can I add, as the church often does. But to infer that a person born Intersexed is an affront to the Lord (and created that way on purpose) is mystifying to me. And likewise, if our sexuality is eventually discovered to be completely ingrained into our DNA — then the church has got a big problem on their hands. It has so many you know.

This is not the only term in the Bible that has been used against the concept of sex and procreation. And I realized that once you started looking at other examples in the Bible about love, sex, and relationships – we start to see where the church founders made things a little fuzzy and why. Anna you touched on the ‘be fruitful’ verse earlier this week, and I feel this is another example.

Getting back to the main point here:

Original sin attempts to explain that we were suddenly changed at the molecular level, and instead of creatures wrestling with the ability to use free will, we inherently became evil to our core – if we made a good choice we were really lucky or something. The Bible does not account for this anywhere.

Augustine was one of the early ‘church’ founders on the subject. He was influenced by a lot of other religious philosophies at that time. This helped to shape many of his ideas. He was desperately trying to argue against some of his contemporaries who had a variety of very good and very bad ideas at the time.

Here’s just one example:

”Pelagius was opposed by Augustine, and rejected the Augustinian concept of grace. When Pelagius taught that moral perfection was attainable in this life without the assistance of divine grace through human free will, Augustine contradicted this by saying that perfection was impossible without grace because we are born sinners with a sinful heart and will. The Pelagians charged Augustine on the grounds that the doctrine of original sin amounted to Manichaeism: the Manichaeans taught that the flesh was in itself sinful (and they denied that Jesus came in the flesh) – and this charge would have carried added weight since contemporaries knew that Augustine himself had been a Manichaean layman before his conversion to Christianity.”

Pelagius was incorrect to assert that perfection is attainable in this life nor that man has the ability to ‘save himself’ through himself alone. The Bible tells us that we are infallible beings, and that we do choose to sin just as often as we choose not to — that is why we need Yeshua’s sacrifice, our repentance, forgiveness, and love. On the other hand this is also why we need the wrath and guidance of the Lord (of which Psalms says He is slow to anger but full of mercy and justice in His time). Augustine, however almost looked at the human condition with disgust and disdain. To be flesh was inherently sinful, just by our mere existence.  To breathe air was sinful. To have sex was sinful. To exist was an affront to the Lord (even though we know this to be contrary). Our sins separate us from Him. Our choices to sin is what *is* the offense, not our choices to do good or to exist! Maybe Augustine had a real psychological hangup regarding how he once lived his own life. It seems he always felt greatly ashamed, and did not know how to correctly apply repentance and forgiveness — instead focusing on the fact he felt his mere existence was an affront to the Heavens and thinking with bleak desperation on how to escape it.

”Every created being is so constituted as to be capable of vice and virtue. For he can do nothing praiseworthy, if he had not the power of turning either way” – Justin Martyr

Without life, we cannot have death. Without light we cannot have dark. Without knowing evil we cannot know good. Without natural disasters (perceived as bad) we cannot replenish the earth. Lightning and fire is seen as bad. Both consume and can destroy. Yet, at the same time both help give us the ingredients of life and renewal! And all of these concepts were conceived by our Creator — for they could not exist otherwise.

There can be no other comment with some finality on the subject of ‘sin corrupting our bodies in the womb and giving us afflictions at birth’ than the words of Yeshua on the subject in John.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him,  “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so  that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’

The choice is always there.

 Choosing the good inclination (yetser  hatov) helps humanity to live up to their full potential as good creations made  in the image of G-d (Genesis 1:27). Conversely, choosing the bad inclination  (yetser hara) causes humanity to fall short of their potential. Acts of falling  short are named as sins and are described in two basic ways: chait and aveyrah.

The Jews do not believe in original sin, and it hasn’t anything to do with the fact they are still waiting for the Messiah to arrive. For the longest time, myself had always believed that Adam and Eve were punted out of the garden merely because of their ‘sin’. This is often what the church teaches. But according to Biblical tradition this is not so. They were removed from that place, because another tree stood in the garden, that was not for man to eat — the tree of life.

That tree is the very thing being overlooked.

Look at the specific curses that are placed upon man as a direct consequence of Adam stuffing his pie hole. Nowhere does it mention that we incurred an eternal wrath as a mere embryo or that Adam’s error was placed onto us. By Moses’ time the Law was clear. Follow the Torah and keep the Covenant — and you had no problem. But before that — when Adam’s son Cain, commits murder, you must admit God is pretty angry about this, and punishment is enacted — but yet He stops short. Cain still lives out his life, free to make his choices. No discourse about Adam’s transgressions being upon Cain. Lamech too, kept on going. After a while, and despite all the sinning along with goodness man could do — then, right before Noah came along the story of the Nephilim. Clearly at that moment, something changed. It really truly made God angry. The more hybrid-mankind that was on the earth, the less peaceful, ordered existence, and structure for obedience to the Lord became lost. Once the knowledge of how to disobey was revealed, people tended to use it! There were no oral or written commandments to appeal to the human moral conscience and sense of order. More people, at that time seemed to be opting to be bad. It was chaos and anarchy. There was no moral law, no ethics. Was it because the fallen ‘sons of God’ had truly corrupted free will, and taught each of their children that it was acceptable behaviour to be evil through the generations? The Bible tells us that at this time God regrets making us rather sorrowfully, and contemplates what to do. Instead of saying that ALL mankind was a lost cause — He finds that somehow in one individual the freedom to choose good is still working (and no mention of an inherited sin here either) — because Noah and his family are chosen to survive. It’s here that we get to the story of Noah’s Ark. I’m quite sure had humans not had any capacity of free will it would have been a different story. Original sin precludes all freedom of choice, and says that humans are hard-wired to do bad from the get-go having little to no control over their choices. The Bible is saying otherwise. There’s always a choice.

Could anyone please explain if original sin in church doctrine also applies to the angels as well? They never up until a point, committed a sin either (well until the story in the apocryphal Book of Enoch), and you would expect being as angels they would have been extremely pure. Did they bite an apple? No. Did Adam’s ‘curse’ fall upon them too? I think the answer is pretty simple: the Bible is trying to tell us that angels and what is described as the ”sons of God” and the ‘Nephilim’ have free will too. The ‘sons of god’ surely did not eat from the Eden tree, but yet they also seemed to be able to make choices. While Enoch eventually got rejected and listed as an apocryphal work, (see the arguments of Martyr and Trypho.), the reference found in Genesis to what is mentioned in Enoch is there.

I’m not writing this as a means to provide answers, merely I’m in the business of asking questions and testing. Challenging is a good thing. It has taken me this long to finish writing up my thoughts, while under constant doubt as to whether I should.

11 thoughts on “Things To Ponder

  1. what an awesome read for the morning – I plan on printing and red lining and getting back to you on a variety of things you touched on here – but the thing that popped into my mind first off was this – if an inclination toward homosexuality was encoded in the DNA. That is an interesting idea – (honestly I believe that the “in your face-ness” of homosexuality now is a combination of poor nutrition, social acceptance, as well as a genetic inclination,)
    Lets go with RAGE though as a genetic inclination to maintain a little more distance from the hot button topic. Lets say that people with RAGE issues were encouraged (a lá Sparta) Soon you have a nation of warriors. If you are not angry enough or tough enough you better get that way – much like selectively breeding for faster horses.
    The difference is High testosterone doesn’t make offspring unlikely. Being a faster horse doesn’t limit your procreation.
    If the Israelites had been paying attention and removing people likely to worship Baal through sex acts, That inclination could have well been extinguished amongst an entire group of people. If they were not forced into a procreating relationship (which may have well been against their nature) but they are forced into “trying to be normal” and now they have children that are stuck with a genetic inclination that would not have existed in nature.
    Just an idea there off the top…Oh this is very interesting to me… Let me go over it more carefully for the day.
    Thank you for putting it out there..

    • Thanks Ali, that thought has come across to me as well… however people on both sides of the subject would freak out regarding the concept.
      Oh to even further add, to worship Baal with these sex acts did not even imply the person was, as we define it today, gay, or was even inclined to be one or the other or even both! I can imagine that perfectly ‘straight’ people participated (all kinds of crazy stuff you can think of). It was simply how the idol worship was.

      • deut. 23 list how many generations before a person of a specific culture/ nationality can become a part of the congregation and also that prostitution and sodomy are NOT acceptable among the House of Israel. and chapter 13 talks about people who encourage idol worship being removed through execution. But if those instructions were not followed and people try to make excuses it is mixing the holy and profane. Now in the NT, the word says if you have a believer and an unbeliever get married and have kids (1 cor 7) the kids are holy. It goes on to discuss how to join the House of Israel during open enrollment so to speak.
        These are people joining of their own free will not being forced into it.
        This kinda fits in with Anna’s earlier point. making disciples of nations is not always (usually? ever?) a good thing – our job is to live right and hope others catch on. But if we walk into a culture where everything is contrary to obeying the word (and often that is the culture we are Bringing to the nations we visit) and we sell them a bunch of Chick tracts and Jesus films – shame on us !

      • yes, prostitution and sodomy also went hand in hand with Baal, but as I said the individuals who participated in these acts may not of done them because they felt ‘inclined’ to any particular sex, moreso they did them because that’s how you worshiped the idol. remember population/breeding and planting was something ancient peoples during these times felt was most important.

        couldn’t get pregnant and needed rain? wanted your animals and future children to be fertile? Baal needed to be ‘stirred’ per say. even moreso, having children was important, because children were continually sacrificed to please Baal and other linked false gods. this kind of puts the story of Abraham and Isaac in a whole new light for me. Yahweh commands him to sacrifice Isaac — something unheard of and only done in Baal-circles. Imagine the prospect of being told to sacrifice your own son, and think about facing the wrath of your entire community because what you were about to do could be seen as linked to Baal. What an incredible test of faith.

      • I do not know how I messed up the other post, so I am replying to your reply here.
        I understand you are saying that homosexual romance might not have been a part of Baal worship – these people do not necessarily Love each other – they might not care about getting married and adopting kids – even Sodom and Gomorrah was not necessarily about the type of homosexual people we encounter every day – it very well could have been that they were just a bunch of bullies (something akin to The Kite Runner bullies). The point I am trying to make – through the internet (ugh) is that people who would have been more inclined to participate in idol worship, involving, sex, poop, blood, death and whatever else 4,000 years ago. They may have those kind of inclinations so ingrained in their essence – that perversion follows their bloodline. Have you ever seen a kid that has the temper or recklessness of their parents – even if they are being raised by someone else? SO forcing Gay folks to pretend to be straight so they can have some children – seems awfully counter productive for the religious community.
        Now we have people who are nice, awesome cool people – and prefer the same sex for whatever reason. And there are many times when I wonder if this prohibition against homosexuality is designed to be in opposition of these bullies and/ or idol worshipers (and if that was the case there are plenty of bullies and idol worshipers to condemn that are NOT homosexual)
        Because I do not see evidence of same sex acts condemned in the bible that are not also tied to idol worship.

      • I agree with you Ali, but with all of that in mind, how does the question get solved? Can a person be gay and ‘christian’ for instance. Many churches welcome a gay person into the ‘fold’, but tell them they must ‘deny’ who they are and act in a heterosexual manner. Or worse still, they try to ‘reform’ them, often with terrible results. We can’t deny what the Bible says in equating homosexuality with a sin — but I’m not yet entirely convinced that we understand what the constraints were around it or it’s true meaning when it was mentioned. If it meant homosexuality period, then we run into the problem of people born ambiguous again. If it meant in the context of idol worship, that idea would be like sitting on a powder keg of heresy. No church member would like it for sure. My seminary friend wrote a disertation on the subject and I was disturbed at the trend of church thinking. I have known over the years many people that are gay. Some feel lost, aimless, and hopeless. Some killed themselves, others were abandoned. Some had no idea where to begin when they wanted to have a relationship with their Creator, but at the same time identified as being gay so strongly, they felt they were being punished by being ‘created’ that way. Many say they wish they could choose not to be. My seminary friend seems to feel they can choose to not be, so I asked could he choose to be? Well no, of course not, he said, afterall he’s a happily married man to a woman. So then I asked, did you choose to like girls? Why no, he said.. I just always liked them (born that way). So just as you were born the way *you* are and like girls, so an ambiguous person is born physically/hormonally/identity confused. How is this different from a gay person, I asked. And around in circles we went. It is often said that we should hate the sin and love the sinner. But modern man understands that to be gay is part of the being of the gay person. It seems apart of just a conscious action and decision (for instance: to lie, to murder, or to steal), it seems a part of the whole person. Therefore it feels that to say the phrase ”hate the sin…love the..” is a copout, and one that makes the person feel hated even more — just that the religious person is hating with a smile on his face.

  2. Wow. You hit a TON of topics, and… that was a lot of reading, I must admit!

    I often fall into (and have been, the last two days) thinking that I’ve done something wrong – perhaps with the whole ‘Go ye Therefore’ thing? – that I have been ‘punished’ with sickness. I’m falling apart, over here, at the moment. And I tend to think, “I’ve done something wrong… what did I do, that He’d smite me like this?” So that part of your blog… I owned it when I read it.

    As to original sin… I always went back to Psalm 51:5 – “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” What do you do with that? I fully believe that Messiah was born without sin, and lived a life with no sin… but I can’t say it’s the same for the rest of us – we have a different conception than He did. I’m thinking about this…

    • Anna: believe it or not, I’ve gone over the verses most use to point to ‘original sin’, I’ve compared it with how the Jews though of it back then and now, and various commentaries of today — and it completely changed how I look upon it: It seems the translation of these passages have a great deal to do with the Hebrew word being used and how it relates when the same word is found in other areas of the Bible. Here is one person that attempts to explain it a little better than I could and used Psalm 51:5 to do so:
      and here from a Jewish one:
      There were a few others from some rabbis, both Jewish and Messianic sources that also tackled the issue… *sigh* I lost them them when I had too much info to research. I have seen it mentioned that the Jews considered the ‘age of accountability’ (probably not the correct term) to be the time when the child was responsible for his own choices, his own sins (not being covered under the mantle of his parents). This is a part of why events such as Bar/BatMitzvahs also were such a big deal.

      We certainly do and did have a different conception than He, nevertheless the practical philosophical problem of ‘original sin’, was Yeshua a fleshy man or just ‘looked the part’, was he just a spirit/breath into a fleshy vessel ect, was he a whole man with just Divine knowledge drove the ancient father’s batty over how to solve it. To do this Augustine turned to sex, for reasons I still can’t figure out. And this is a part of the reason why many of the false teachings the church has today go hand in hand.

      For some reason I don’t know why the argument of Predestination and Free Will are so opposed to eachother. Yes He knows what we will do before we do it, but as He is the Lord of all, and the Creator, He has made it so that we are free to make our own choices in the matter. He does not affect our choices or changes our free will ability to make different ones that may spiral us onto a different path. He merely knows what we will choose, and where our ultimate destination is. Now while I say that he doesn’t affect our free will choices, there are and have been times He does certainly prod, intervene on ocassion (as seen in the Bible) poke, test, and SHOW us the path we *should* go. But it’s still up to us to DECIDE to listen and follow. You offer me two apples. You don’t know that if I bite one apple I will choke to death. But if I bite the other apple I won’t choke to death. Yahweh however knows the outcome of what will happen when I bite either one, but it’s still my decision. Its… hrm.. how to explain it. The Japanese/Chinese have a term… the red strand of fate (it has a lot to do with really complex scientific theories going on now about dimensions believe it or not). It says that if two people are to meet one another at a predetermined time in the future, the ‘gods’ tie an invisible string to them, so that they are forever bound. No matter how events and fate and choices and free will decisions may put each person onto a different path — the string keeps them attached, so that, no matter what they will always meet irregardless of different and infinite potential happenings in their lives.It’s kind of a crude way of explaining it I know and may not be completely right. I am always challenged on if God knows what we will do before we do it, why does He let us make stupid, wrong, and evil choices contrary to what He should want for US. I say simply it’s because that’s how He wants it to be. I’m told that means it’s all a false choice since He knows what will happen, but I don’t think that negates the fact He lets us choose either way. Yeah I know it’s a crazy argument that’s been going on for centuries.

      *sigh* Anyway this is the crazy stuff I think about… And I don’t think He’s punishing you.. I don’t think it offends him in the slightest when we simple humans ask questions. How else does He want us to grow into a deeper closeness with Him?

  3. Forgot to mention the whole Romans 9 thing: “21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,…”

    Vessels are the person, which exists before birth… so these verses state that God knows and has even created people so that they have a predestined…

    Oh, wait. Let’s not do the Calvinism vs. Armenianism thing. Predestination vs. Free Will? It’s been hotly debated for centuries… and never the outcome we’ll see.

  4. One more thing on this – for an example – I have Psoriasis which is a silvery flaky skin condition – it is genetic but Lev 13 would have me running to the temple every other week with skin lesions to see if I was in or out. Or consider people with Irritable bowel syndrome or Ovarian cysts or MSRA or many other issues we have in this day and age. Those might not be as severe in their prohibitions from being a part of the assembly because there are times when you might be okay – but can you imagine if you were constantly examined on the basis of a health issue out of your control on if you would be admitted to the assembly or not…that would be pretty stressful I think. Of course they didn’t know that it was genetic – Much like Job’s friends I imagine many people thought genetic issues were a “punishment”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s