Monday, April 20, 2015

Look at Original Sin With New Eyes

Nobody likes the idea of original sin. The people of today's world like to choose which beliefs suit them and "original sin" certainly does not suit them. If I were shopping for beliefs, I'm sure I wouldn't buy that one. Who would?

"Original sin" may be the two most important words you will ever hear. And, as strangely paradoxical as this may sound, if you hear them, while listening with an open mind, you will understand something beautiful. You will understand how much God loves you. You will understand how to be joyful and at peace. 

But, if you close your ears to hearing these two words, and close your mind to taking in their meaning, any experience you may have of spiritual freedom will be counterfeit. 

Once upon a time, in a galaxy (thankfully) now far, far away in my mind, I was told a little story. It went something like this:

A baby is born in perfection, radiating perfect love. But, later the people and culture surrounding the child convince him that he is imperfect. They are all lying to him! How the people appeared before him who were imperfect and able to spread the imperfection came to be is a mystery, but that's what happened.

Because, you see, Adam and Eve never really left the Garden of Eden. We're still in there. The problem is that we can't see the truth that is around us. We believe we are walking around in a broken world,  but this is nothing but a "bad dream" based on lies about our imperfection. That is what the knowledge of "good and evil" was- The lie that there really is good and evil. There really was no original sin, but only an original judgment, which began when Eve and Adam ate the forbidden fruit and gained that "knowledge."

If we can extricate ourselves from judging ourselves, life's situations and others, we can return to the innocence of realizing we are perfect and our world is perfect. As a result, the Garden of Eden, Heaven on Earth, will appear to us. 

Sound extreme? Although it is the norm in our culture to shun judgment of others, some take it to its natural extreme conclusion and it becomes a "spiritual path." It's not just a philosophy, but a dedicated lifestyle. 

What do I see happening here? Fifty shades of profound loss.

The story you have just read is perfectly plausible if you deny original sin. As I pointed out, who wouldn't want to deny it? It's not an enjoyable idea, and it's certainly not an "empowering" one. But, let me explain to you the outcome of not believing in original sin, and perhaps you will see how harmful the denial of original sin can be.

I spent over six years trying to create Heaven on Earth by training myself not to judge anything. And the condition of my soul, by the time I found out the real truth, was dead.

What is lost when original sin is denied?

God can't get through to us. He can't strengthen what isn't weak, heal what isn't sick, fix what isn't broken. 

Of course, the point of being born perfect is that you are also born all powerful and can accomplish all that strengthening, healing and fixing just by denying, denying, denying original sin. If you deny it well enough, you will feel happy, like the dear little carefree child you once were. 

Yes, it would be great if it worked this way. The problem is that it doesn't. Just like children who aren't able to feed and clothe themselves from the moment they are born, we always need to depend on what is beyond ourselves. 

We are created for God and we weren't meant to live and operate without our connection with Him. 
If we deny that there is any God beyond ourselves; believe that we are that God; or that someone else is a god; that all of us are one god together; that we don't need God because we can tap into some place called the "source," or any other variant of this denial, we're missing exactly the same boat.

With an understanding of original sin comes the understanding that we are not in Eden any longer. 
Our first ancestors disobeyed God and as a consequence, that door to Eden was shut. We were born outside Eden as a consequence of what they did. The world outside of Eden is a broken one. And suffering and evil are randomly unleashed on the earth in ways that are not just or fair. 

God loves us too much to leave us like that, abandoned, outside of the world He intended for us. 
Disobedience is what caused our first parents to sin, and they disobeyed based on the pride that they wanted to be gods and not need God. When we return to Him and admit we need His help, His guidance, His mercy and His love, the doors are open once again to paradise. When we return with humility and with obedience (the opposite traits to the ones our original parents had), we are able to repent and break free. 

One reason original sin is a hard idea to take in is that it makes us feel "originally puny" when we think about it. Nobody wants to feel puny, or bad just for being born. However, I don't mind feeling puny anymore, because now I can accept the love and mercy of the omnipotent Creator of the universe who cares about each soul as if it is His only one. 

I'm talking about restoring natural connections that were broken when I talk about original sin. We are floundering in an unnatural state when we resist the idea of original sin, which negates the possibility of an antidote. 

If we don't accept the illness, we can't receive the medicine. 
And our souls die.