Saturday Morning reflections…
A discussion on the SacredCowTippers Yahoo group led to my posting the following about our “sin nature.” I thought I’d stick it here for the fun of it.
Last evening Julie G. asked for my thoughts on original sin. I was too zonked to answer. I’m not sure I’m all here this morning but I’ll give it a shot.
I’m no theologian. I didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, either. lol Ahh, but that hasn’t stopped the old Trailerpark Scholar (me) from talking like one, eh? So, what is “original sin?”
The idea pounded into my head as a good Baptist and carried forward in assorted other protestant churches I attended is that “original sin” is a kind of “bad nature” our spirit inherited from Adam and Eve. This it cannot be. Why? Let me ask, should a son be sent to prison for what a father did?
Say, hypothetically, that Joe lost his temper and killed a couple of guys when he was twenty. Fearing the law, he buried them. Nobody ever knew. At age 25, Joe has a boy, Joe Jr. Fifty years later Joe Sr. dies of a heart attack. In his personal effects Joe Jr. finds a letter of confession, directions to the bodies, etc. Joe Jr. Calls the police. See where this is going? Yes, the police come, dig up the bodies, arrest Joe Jr. and he spends five hears on death row for capitol murder before being executed in Huntsville (Texas death row).
Wouldn’t the “sin nature” as it’s taught be exactly the same thing? Sending everyone to hell who don’t get the right spiritual judge (Jesus) and make the right plea (varies according to denomination) for something two people did thousands of years ago doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Neither does it seem fair.
Yesterday while I was mowing I noticed right in the top of a young pine tree, fifty feet in the air, there was a clump of bright green leaves. It looked weird. When I looked closer I saw that it was the top end of a vine that had climbed the whole tree and reached beyond the tree into the sunlight. On this earth everything that lives has an incredibly strong desire TO live. It’s amazing.
If there is something like “sin nature” it would have to be a genetic trait we inherit from the “human mammal” side of our existence. It’s that tendency for self-preservation and desire to live at all costs that every living thing on the earth has. We do fight against that. That is our struggle. Being sentient, spiritual, enlightened beings (of a sort) we of all species recognize that we humans are much more than mere biology. But even as we do we ARE biology. Jesus told us we had to overcome our humanity (our mammal side). Paul said the same. It’s not a badness inside us or a dead spirit we’re lugging around. It’s just that we are biological beings on this planet with an inherited DNA.
Blaming our selfishness (sin) on a “sin nature” is a way of excusing ourselves for being selfish. “OF COURSE we do bad. It’s in our blood!” Bull. The only thing in our blood is what we put there through our stomach, our lungs, or with a needle. Serving God has nothing to do with biology. It has everything to do with mental attitude and spiritual focus. We are without excuse. Either we look into ourselves and the knowledge of God all over the planet and follow it or we don’t. Period.
I must bring up a Buddhist concept for a similar one does not exist in Christianity. Gautama’s path is called the “middle way.” It recognizes our humanness but doesn’t consider it either a hindrance or a positive. It just is. The goal is to overcome those elements of it that hinder us. When we spiritualize the “sin nature” we place it where it will always and forever be in the way. As long as we’re “in the flesh” we’re “absent from the spirit.” My brother is eat up with this silly notion. It is probably the one single thing standing between him and Truth.
We should be indifferent to our physical body. We should neither feed its desires nor treat it with disdain. Serving God has nothing to do with it. It is the tool we use simply because it’s the container that holds our spirit–for now. When we realize this then we’re able to recognize and overcome our human nature (sin nature) much more easily.
Like Paul said, everything is lawful. Not everything is expedient. We could feed our body what it wants, eat, drink, whatever, in such a way that it would not be “sin.” But SHOULD we? No, for we destroy our body, making it useless, and we contaminate our mind, which is far worse. We have to find the “middle way.” We must maintain our body so it functions as it should but not contaminate it with junk so that it does not become a hindrance to our purpose.
Our purpose, if we have one, is to glorify our Creator by loving him absolutely and by loving others instead of ourselves. This, alone, is what Jesus taught. Christian theology and doctrine never tells us HOW to do that. Why? Because the focus is all wrong. The focus is on the “sweet, by and by” and “making it through to the end” and all that junk. Even less is there a mention on the proper way we should view our bodies or practical guidance on how to deal with ourselves or others. One must look elsewhere for aged and inspired advice in those areas.
Just before we rise to sing the benediction let me conclude by saying that on a physical level we fight against flesh and blood–our own. This is our personal struggle. On a spiritual level and in some mysterious way (which I cannot fathom) we are engaged in a spiritual struggle–those “principalities and powers” of the dark world.
BEFORE we can make any headway in the greater struggle we must overcome the former, the physical, struggle. We’ll never do that if we don’t recognize that we’re not battling our own demons but our own flesh, our humanness, which contradicts what we know we should do (love beyond ourselves and give rather than get) not because it is evil but because it is what it is.
In other words, we’re not inherently evil, we’re inherently HUMAN. Whatever else we are–that breath of life God breathed into us–is something entirely different blended with our humanity like one of those symbiotes (is that spelled right?) on Stargate. To serve God our symbiote–our sentient spirit–must overcome the body.
Too bad our eyes don’t glow when we do like on Stargate, huh, it’d be easier for us to recognize who is “in the spirit” and who is “in the flesh.” Ha.
There. Sermon over.
What do yall think?
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