Introduction to this series of blogs: here
Part 1 - Original Sin, A Depraved Idea
If that’s not a clear sign of where he’s going in this chapter, then I don’t know what to tell you. For those who aren’t familiar with the topic, “Original Sin” is often paralleled with a Calvinist doctrine called “Total Depravity” which posits that man is born with inherited sin from Adam. I’ll go into more detail as my objections to Tony’s thoughts come up, but that is enough explanation for now. Seeing that Tony believes Original Sin is a depraved idea led me to think that he would go into what makes the idea depraved. He begins by giving his conservative background where Original Sin was always a given in the various Christian circles he was a part of. It wasn’t until college that Tony learned more about the formulation of the doctrine over the centuries from Augustine to John Calvin. This led him to learn that the Orthodox Church had never accepted the doctrine of Original Sin. Tony then says the following:
“I have come to reject the notion of Original Sin. I consider it neither biblically, philosophically, nor scientifically tenable.”
This is when I got really interested and a little confused. Being a Reformed believer myself, when I consider a doctrine I immediately ask the question “Is it Biblical?”. So I don’t tackle whether it’s true on the basis of science or philosophy until after I see that it’s biblical.
Let me explain, I esteem philosophy and science. However when I read the Bible, I see it as God’s own word. So if I find something in the Bible that doesn’t line up with some philosophical problem or scientific problem, I don’t neglect what the Bible says or what philosophy or science says. Instead I do my best to humbly harmonize what I see. With science, the war rages on about evolution and the age of the Earth. Personally I don’t know anything about science except that it changes all the time and that it’s probably not something I should be quick to base my beliefs on. My own conviction (and I have many good friends who disagree with me) is that a Christian can believe in an old Earth or evolution as long as they stick with a real and legitimate Adam and Eve. How they do that, I don’t know, but if that is where their conscience leads I won’t condemn them for it.
As for philosophy, ours is what leads us to read the Bible the way that we do. However our aim as Christians should be to understand the philosophy of the biblical authors. I have never bought into the idea that because we come from a certain culture and background that we cannot truly understand what the biblical authors are communicating. On so many occasions I’ve been told “that’s just your interpretation” and now I just have to reply with “give me a more accurate interpretation.” I have no doubt that to an extent every human’s interpretation of the Bible will be imperfect but I also have no doubt that God is perfect and has sufficiently communicated with us through the Bible.
If Christianity bent with every whim of alleged philosophy or science then no Christians would pray or believe in God. Scientific studies have shown that prayer is not effective. Philosophers have deemed that God does not exist and if God does then it isn’t the God of the Bible. So in the end we are bound to look as skeptics at the various findings of philosophy and science. Not entirely neglecting them but seeing them as subservient to what we know from God through His word.
With that said, what I wanted to see the most was Tony’s biblical reasons for rejecting the doctrine of Original Sin, for if they are strong then I can really consider his philosophical and scientific reasons.
- 21centkid posted this