Some Thoughts on Sin

I am taking 2 Catholic theology classes this semester, so I’m forced to approach this question again.

Is the desire to sin innate?
If it hinges on “fallen humanity,” then where did it come from?

Look at the first sin.

The desire was natural. The fruit looked tasty and sweet.
Eve had been warned: if you eat the fruit, you will die.
She did not understand evil. She did not understand death.
Did God tell her the truth? Did she die because she at the fruit? Not immediately.
If death was impossible before the fall, how would she know what it was?

(A separate question: Is it possible to love if you don’t understand what you’re doing? In other words, is it possible to understand love without knowing the alternative? If not, were Adam and Eve truly devoted to God? Did the knowledge of good and evil make them capable of agapic love?)

Sin is a natural desire corrupted. According to tradition, the best way to satisfy all human desires is through God. So sin comes from a flawed attempt to meet natural desires. Knowledge would make it clear that sin is pointless, but we do not have that.

Michael J. Himes says repeatedly that it is good to be created. “I’m not God, and that’s a good thing.” Does God understand what it is to be created? Not from experience, according to tradition. God and created things are separate. So how are we supposed to know it’s good to be human (if it actually is)? We can’t really take God’s word for it.

I think Christian morality is a bit like a sober person giving advice to an alcoholic. “If drinking is such a problem, don’t do it.” “Why drink if it costs you so much money and time?” “Just have one drink and stop.” All of our moral guidance in the Bible comes from God (or Paul. Heh.), who is comfortable making several pronouncements. For instance, he mentions many ways that humans make themselves disgusting to him. Later, he was Jesus and didn’t sin, but we cannot give the messiah too much credit. First of all, he knew the best way to live was without sin. If he had the desire, he could reason through it. If he didn’t have it, there was no problem.

If Jesus truly understood the concept of infinity (and God), then he never experienced the most universal human crisis: doubt. He was a man (?) who never needed to ask if God existed. I’m told Christ’s sacrifice was the crucible of salvation. How can I respect the Lord for passing a test when he knew all the answers? (Then again, perhaps his power did forsake him in the end.)

As I see it, if being human is a good thing, humans certainly don’t know it. If being human is a bad thing, God doesn’t know it. We are told that Jesus is supposed to bridge the gap, but he was not human. He did not have the human desire to sin. If that is not innate, then he didn’t have the ignorance that causes it.

Either way, sinlessness is a bit tricky. I think people should accept that their desire to sin is natural, not from Satan, not to test them, but because they are trying to fulfill a natural need. We always excuse ourselves later, and that’s a shame, because there isn’t any reason to make excuses.

As far as I’m concerned, sin, as defined by God, is just an option, and “righteousness” is another. There is no difference, because morality is not God-given, it comes from human experience. Period.

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