DISCUSS THE NATURE OF “ORIGINAL SIN” USING BIBLICAL EVIDENCE. IS “ORIGINAL SIN” AN ESSENTIAL CONCEPT FOR GOOD LITERATURE?
This essay will define original sin and discuss its biblical nature, when, where and why it was originated and also address the question of whether original sin is an essential concept for good literature. The Catholic Encyclopedia defines original sin as “(1) the sin that Adam committed; (2) a consequence of this first sin, and the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam.” Saint Augustine (AD 354-430) was the first theologian to articulate the doctrine of original sin. He was responding to Pelagius who had denied the existence of original sin, (Williams 1983:168). Augustine’s doctrine was based on his exegesis of the following Bible story. The Serpent tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit by lying to her, assuring her that she would not die and that she would be like God, knowing good and evil, the moment she ate of the fruit. She later gave the fruit to Adam who ate of it (Gen 3:1-6)
Following their willful disobedience to God, dire consequences followed. This included death, alienation from God, a hard life of toil for Adam and increased labour pains for Eve (Gen 3:16-24). Paul also affirms in Rom 5:12 that both death and sin entered the world through one man, Adam. Neither Genesis 3 nor Romans 5 seem to teach that Adam passed on his sin to his progeny. On the contrary, Ezekiel 18: 20 clearly states that God does not blame children for the sins of their parents and vice versa. This means one reaps where one sows. However, I have also observed that sometimes, very young children brought up in morally upright homes do behave dishonestly and selfishly. This puzzling behaviour seems to reinforce the theological idea that human beings indeed have a fallen nature. Even adults have strong proclivities for wrong doing. Matthew Henry in his commentary on...
References: Niebuhr, R. 2007. “Original Sin”, in A. E. McGrath (ed.) 2007. The Christian Theology Reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
O’Connor, F. 2003. “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, in R. Ellesberg (ed.) 2003. Spiritual Writings. New York: Orbis, pp. 71-2.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company by K. Knight Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911.
Towey, A., 2013. An Introduction to Christian Theology: Biblical, Classical, Contemporary. London: Bloomsbury T & T Clark.
Williams, R. 1983. “Sin and Evil”, in P. Hodgson and R. King (eds.) 1983. Christian Theology: An Introduction to its Traditions and Tasks. England, London: SPCK, pp 168-174
Henry, Matthew. 1783. “Matthew Henry Commentary On The Whole Bible (Concise)”
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