Wednesday 7 May 2014

Adam, Eve and the Fall: Response to Sophiee Saguy

This article seeks to deal with a point made by Sophiee Saguy of Messiah Truth, a Rabbinic Jewish online forum where debate and dialogue takes place and I want to respond to a point that she made with respect to this issue. The full discussion can be found here:

"Remember Adam and Eve? Think you remember it correctly? Think again!

G-d does NOT expect people to be 100% perfect. If He did He wouldn't have created evil and He wouldn't have created sin. He created them and this entire world as a "classroom" where you can LEARN to choose good over evil.

The whole idea that man is full of sin because of the sins of Adam and Chava (Eve) and that G-d screwed up and needed to sacrifice Himself to Himself to fix the mess He made is insulting to G-d. It is the dual god religion (good god / bad god (Chrstian devil) bad god versus your good god (Jsus). The dual god concept is pagan and primarily comes from Zoroa-striasm, not Judaism).

So there is no "fall" of man. There is no original sin. You can't blame your own sins and failings on a mythical bad god (devil). You are responsible for your own actions! Only you can atone for your 
bad deeds and take credit for your good ones."

Here is a strawman that is being put here. Original Sin doesn't teach that man is not accountable to God. Man is still accountable to God and is responsible to him. He is not going to let men off the hook and man loves his sin. Jesus' doesn't relieve Christians of responsibility for their sins, but he does pay the penalty. The NT hammers home the point that man is going to be judged for good and evil, INCLUDING the Christians.

Another point to make clear is that God didn't mess anything up, we did and God only gave ONE rule in the garden and that was not to eat from the tree of knowledge, which we failed. God gave man the freedom to either accept his authority, or reject it and sadly we took the latter route and that decision damned us.

God certainly did not create evil when he first made the garden, quite to the contrary he said "it was GOOD". Evil is rejecting God's will and doing things contrary to it and thus is our doing, but Satan made the first move by tempting Adam and Eve. The claim that Christians borrow a dual God concept from pagans is a lie, There is no such theology in Christianity. There is only ONE God and Satan or the "Christian devil" as Saguy calls him, certainly is NOT a deity by any stretch of the imagination.

Read 1 Corinthians 8:6. While there are some Christians that believe that Satan has omni-attributes, This is not consistent with the TANAKH and the NT. Satan is finite and limited and cannot be in more than one place. Such can be found in the temptation of Jesus, Satan came to Jesus and then departed from him.

Also, it is not God sacrificing himself to himself, It is God the Son (Jesus) dying on our behalf as a sacrifice to appease the wrath of God the Father. Jesus is God according to scripture, but he is not the Father. I would suggest that Saguy (and I am not trying to be condescending here) would study Trinitarianism before speaking about it and this I would suggest to every Jew.

"Read the story of the Garden of Eden for what it says, not what you think it says. Notice that G-d curses the serpent and the land -- He does not curse Adam or Chava. That blows the whole idea of "man being born into sin" of Chrstianity. (BTW the T'nach actually tells us that man is INCLINED to sin from his youth, not born into sin). . .

So why does Chrstianity have this whole man is evil motif? Chrstianity NEEDS original sin. Most Chrstian theology holds that a sinless Jsus was part of the heavenly Father's plan from the outset, to redeem mankind. After all, the act of disobedience by Adam and Chava in the Garden of Eden, the Fall of Man, placed the stain of sin on humanity, one that cannot be removed through a person's own actions.

This opens the way for Jsus, the perfect sacrificial offering of the future, was born through the impregnation by the Holy Spirit of the virgin, Mary. Jsus was thus born without the stain of Original Sin, since he was conceived of G-d and not through the customary act of copulation by two sinful humans."

If man is inclined to sin from his youth in the TANAKH, that only shows original sin and doesn't hinder it. You don't need to teach youths how to be evil and you don't necessarily need a programme on television to corrupt a youth. A child is awkward and disobedient and needs to be taught righteousness.

Adam and Eve, while not falling prey to the curse of the serpent, nevertheless are punished, Adam with his work being sweaty and laborious and Eve with pains in childbirth but more importantly, are banished from the presence of the Garden. Why is it that man has not returned to the Garden? An angel had been sent to bar the entrance so that no man could enter again. Man had sinned and forfeited their right to live there. They couldn't live in that Garden because they had tainted themselves with their sin and why should a holy God put up with sin?

"First of all: sex is not sinful it is a gift from G-d to be fruitful and multiply. Secondly there is no original sin that makes all of mankind tainted so that a human sacrifice (or god-sacrifice) has to come along to redeem us. Man is not born into sin.

Further we know that G-d didn't immediately punish Adam and Chava and bar them from the Tree of Life because they disobeyed and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but He gave them an opportunity to repent and tell Him the truth (after they had eaten and could recognize that it was wrong to disobey). Teshuva (turning to G-d) thus repenting.

But Adam and then Chava failed to do teshuvah. Instead Adam blamed Chava. Chava blamed the serpent. Neither took responsibility for their sins. THAT was the real sin of the Garden -- a lack to take ownership of their behavior. A lack of repentence. Yet Chrstianity wants to do what Adam and Chava tried to do -- blame someone else!

Blame the devil! Blame sin! Jsus had to die for you because you don't have the cahones to take care of your own soul!

This is the opposite of what Torah teaches. It is the very opposite of why G-d created man and the world to begin with!"

They had the opportunity to repent and had they done so, they would of remained in the Garden, but obviously they chose wrongly and thus were kicked out because of their refusal. If they stayed to eat from the tree of life, their would have lived forever and would have poisoned the Garden continually.

I won't dispute that Adam and Eve didn't take responsibility for their actions, that's a given considering they blamed each other and funnily enough the serpent.

It's a lie to say that Christianity is trying to blame someone else. Satan, though he tempts a person to sin, the person still has to acknowledge that THEY have sinned and THEY need to repent. Again, Jesus death doesn't relive man of responsibility to God whatsoever.

There is nothing in Christianity about shifting the blame to anyone and I would like Saguy to show me any theologian in Christianity or even from the NT where such a thing is mentioned.

Oh and Biblical Christianity doesn't condemn sex in biblically defined marriage.

"So was the real sin the eating of the fruit, or the immature finger pointing and refusal to take responsibility that happened after they ate the fruit? The far greater sin is the second one. The whole point is that teshuvah is an essential part of Torah, and thus Torah gives us the opportunity to partake of eternal life (i.e, communion with G-d) Even when we sin but we must take responsibility for our own actions.
Xians say G-d cursed Adam and Chava to a horribly hard life and to death. This is because of their fall from grace. But that is not what Torah says happened. G-d curses the serpent not Adam and Chava!

Cursed are you, arur atah, is not repeated, nor is a synonym used when G-d addresses Chava and Adam.

Instead G-d says arurah ha'adamah, cursed is the earth/ground. This speaks of the earth/ground that Adam will have to work - but G-d does not curse Adam or Chava.

This major point is lost in the Chrstian concept. G-d does not curse Adam and Chava! Adam and Chava are punished, but they are not cursed. They are told that they will not be "on easy street" because of their transgression - she will have pain in childbirth, and he will have to sweat to earn his bread."

God did curse the serpent but he had punished Adam and Eve with the things mentioned in Saguy's comment above. However, Adam and Eve fell into sin and damnation by their own doing, not by God punishing them. Adam and Eve doomed themselves and their descendants by their own volition. Once again, the Christian position does take into account that man is responsible for their sin and original sin doesn't leave that out of the equation.

"Read the psalm 24 which speaks of man being given a pure heart. In Genesis we also find out that mankind has an "evil inclination" ("evil in their heart") from their youth, not from birth:

Genesis 8:21 - And the L-rd smelled the pleasant aroma, and the L-rd said to Himself, "I will no longer curse the earth because of man, for the inclination of man's heart is evil from his youth, and I will no longer smite all living things as I have done.
No remember, G-d cursed the earth after Adam and Chava ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil -- when G-d did NOT curse them. Here in Genesis 8 G-d removes His curse from the earth -- another point you ignore in the theology of the damned.

So G-d tells us as early as Genesis 4 that we ourselves can master sin and evil that we ourselves must take responsibility and atone. Not only are we NOT born into original sin there is no other person that can take the blame for your actions. You and you alone must atone for your sins."

Christianity and the teaching of original sin don't deny responsibility towards God or taking responsibility for their actions, I have covered that already. There is a stark difference between taking responsibility and atoning for one's sins. Also in the context of the chapter, this is what it says:
"Genesis 8:20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though[a] every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

22 “As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”"
God is not removing the curse from the earth, he is actually making the point that he will never destroy the earth again with the flood as he had previously done but instead will allow the earth to continue existing despite man's corrupt behaviour.

Also, what is Saguy trying to say? That man is given a pure heart?
In Psalm 24, we read:
"1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
    and established it on the waters.
3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
    who does not trust in an idol
    or swear by a false god.[a]
5 They will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication from God their Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
    who seek your face, God of Jacob.[b][c]"

The passage speaks on those who will trust in the LORD and only those who possess clean hands and a pure heart may continue to dwell with him, not those who are filthy and unclean. This is not referring to the time of man's conception that he is given a pure heart nor is it speaking on when the pure heart is given, but rather what the person with the pure heart and clean hands will possess, the relationship with God that leads to Biblical blessing.

"Evil is not external to you a devil or a taint. Evil is internal to you it is part of who you are. Evil and good battle inside each of us and we have the power to choose good over evil. We are, with the aid of G-d, our own saviors."
It's truly sad that this, the statement "We are our own saviours". If you believe that I'd say good luck, you are going to need it. If evil is a part of who people are, then we are in need of a saviour to save us from our sins and wretchedness. This is however NOT an excuse to indulge the flesh, the NT rejects that idea quite vehemently and warns against doing such, as does the TANAKH.

What is sin? Sin is anything that moves you farther away from G-d.

'See! I give you today (a choice of) a blessing and a curse. The blessing, when you listen to the commandments of G-d your L-rd, which I command you today. The curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of G-d your L-rd, and you deviate from the path which I command you today, in order to follow other gods which you did not know.' (Deut. 11:26-28 )
How could we have a choice under a scenario of a sinful, evil mankind? How could we choose between the blessing and the curse when it is the contention that we were all cursed from the beginning.

Torah and G-d disprove this.

BTW, if Chrstians "in reply will argue that you continue to sin" what was the point of Jsus' death? It was worthless -- as worthless as the whole concept of a dying god. . . There is still sin in the world -- still murder and theft and worse. . . so what exactly did Jsus accomplish if his "sacrifice" was to remove sin from the world?"

Jesus death accomplishes the removal of sin from the individual, but only IF they have repented and accepted his offer of salvation. He did die for the sins of the world, but only those repent and believe will receive that atonement, not every individual on the planet. Those who continue in their sin will not be partakers of his atonement.

Saguy also fails to mention that though Christians can be freed from sin, they are not instantly perfect and need to have the Holy Spirit working through them to sanctify them and purify them. Christians stumble and do need God's grace.

Also, Jesus mentions that there will an increase of wars and other adversities before he returns, as found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and other places. There would be an increase in evil before the Messianic Kingdom is ushered in completely.

By Sophiee Saguy's criteria, the Day of Atonement is useless for this reason.

The Day of Atonement covers the sins of the nation of Israel, all their sins, but only if there is repentance. Does this mean the Day of Atonement is useless and that the sacrifice conducted on that day in the TANAKH is useless? No. It's the same principle with Jesus, only on a larger scale.*

Here is the thing, It is simplistic to say that Christians will say in response "that you will continue in sin", we need to define what that actually means. Do you mean deliberately continue in sin, or stumble and make a mistake?

Hope this article helps. Also the point on Genesis 4:7 and Deuteronomy 11:26-28 shall be looked at in another article if the Lord Wills.

Answering Judaism.

* 7th June 2024 Meaning Jesus does it on a larger scale.

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