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Why would God punish all of us for Adam's sin?

Postby Zombie » Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:22 pm

Why would a just God punish all humanity just because two people sinned? If a murderer kills someone, you don't give everyone else in their family the death sentence. If a kid cheats on a big test, their entire classroom doesn't get expelled. If a worker screws up, you don't fire all of your employees. Why should a moral God behave any different about Adam and Eve?
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Re: Why would God punish all of us for Adam's sin?

Postby jimwalton » Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:33 pm

Adam and Eve were archetypes (that's different than allegories or metaphors) of humanity: They represented all of us. It's a misunderstanding to think that God punished all of humanity because two people sinned. Those two people were merely the first to sin, and showed us that humans are not only prone to sin, but that sin behavior comes to us quite easily. It's our nature to break stuff—moods, promises, relationships we care about, and our own well-being and other people's. It's a Biblical teaching that humans need to be saved from what they naturally are: people who do things that are wrong (sin). Adam and Eve show us the truth of that: given the choice, they chose sin. Then Cain shows us the same thing. Then everybody else in the Bible (except Jesus). Then you and me. God punishes you and me not for Adam's sin but for our own. Romans 5.12 says sin entered the world through Adam, but death as the punishment for sin comes to all of us not because of Adam, but "because all sinned." With Adam, sin in the world started. You're not punished for his sin, but your own. James 1.14-15 say that you're not guilty because of Adam's sin, but because of your own.
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Re: Why would God punish all of us for Adam's sin?

Postby Eddie » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:27 pm

Could you define sin for me?
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Re: Why would God punish all of us for Adam's sin?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:37 pm

The Bible doesn't give just one definition of sin, but it's a multi-faceted concept. "Sin is thinking, doing, or being anything that demonstrates a dissatisfaction with God." "Sin is declaring ourselves the arbiters of right and wrong, rather than living in a dependent relationship." "Sin is humanity's enmity against God consisting in his refusal to understand and will what is right." "Sin refers to our human propensity to f*** things up." In the Bible sin has been variously defined, not just a simple picture. Sin is a state of being, an orientation, and a behavior. Sin is missing the mark, making mistakes, rebellion, perversion, evil, and trouble. Sin is any lack of conformity to the moral law of God.
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Re: Why would God punish all of us for Adam's sin?

Postby Snow Angel » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:01 pm

So, if just having sinful thoughts counts as a sin, why did God create a brain prone to intrusive thoughts, where you need to actually think of something in order to try to not think about it?

And why is it incredibly easy to damage people's impulse control? A single good brain injury, and your road to damnation is practically assured.

For that matter, why not give kids the reasoning they need to avoid making all the mistakes they will, before their brain develops in the first place?

It's like God likes sin, and just can't wait to punish people for it.

And "Forgive me" is the safe word.
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Re: Why would God punish all of us for Adam's sin?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:02 pm

One of the fantastic characteristics of the human brain is how it can so easily go in tens of thousands of different directions. We can multi-task, plumb the depths of science, write astounding and soul-filled music, do absolutely amazing things with art forms, create whole worlds and histories in books and movies, and ponder metaphysical themes through philosophy and theology. If you want God to restrain intrusive thoughts, you need to play that strategy all the way to the edges, and I'm not sure it's a benefit for God to create those barriers. Secondly, as moral and free-willed beings, subduing intrusive thoughts puts a choke hold on a lot of things that make us human. It sounds as if you want God to create us with these amazing capabilities (so none of our creativities or curiosities are restrained) and at the same time dam up certain thought-rivers so we can't go there. I think you can't have your cake and eat it too; either our minds can go to the outer reaches, or there are walls (that might suppress more good than they do bad).

> A single good brain injury, and your road to damnation is practically assured.

Not at all. In the Bible God is noticeably gracious and tolerant of factors such as motives, situations, and capabilities.

> why not give kids the reasoning they need to avoid making all the mistakes they will, before their brain develops in the first place?

Actually, the Bible says God did do that. In the Genesis account, it was people who decided to make a mess of things; it wasn't God's mistake either in the design or manufacture. They had the reasoning capability, and they were duly warned of the consequences of defiance. They had every tool they needed to avoid making the mistakes, but they choose to pursue the wrong path anyway. Romans 1.18-32 teaches the same thing: people choose the wrong path through no fault of God's. I mean, just watch any American election process. It's pretty obvious that people, despite their reasoning capability, make horrible choices.

> It's like God likes sin, and just can't wait to punish people for it.

This is a complete distortion of the truth. God put tools and capabilities in place for people to avoid sin. He even warned them up front, more than once. And even a simple reading of the major prophets lets any reader know that sin grieves God viciously and tears his heart out. God also instituted a way for people to have their sins atoned for, taken away, and he even gives not only a different motive for behavior but also a different nature to enable compliance. To think that God likes sin and can't wait to punish people for it suggests to me you haven't read much of the Bible. It's like suggesting that Barack Obama hates America, or that a surgeon really hates his patients and likes to see them suffer and die. It's a thought that is distanced from reality.
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Re: Why would God punish all of us for Adam's sin?

Postby Eddie » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:04 am

Why should it matter what God says or thinks? Why should I care about offending God?
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Re: Why would God punish all of us for Adam's sin?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:12 am

It only matters if God is real. If God isn't real, you shouldn't care about offending God, because he doesn't exist anyway. He's just a fantasy of crazy people. But if God is real, it matters a lot. That means he has oriented his entire being to your salvation and a love relationship with you. It means he has moved heaven and hell to transform you into what you were created to be. It means he has gone to great personal sacrifice to restore you to himself. But if you ignore that, and you willingly and continually offend him, choosing to separate yourself from his care and protection, then he cannot protect you from the fate that you have chosen for yourself. The descriptions in the Bible of that fate assure us it's the least desirable possible state of affairs. That's why it matters.

But if you don't believe any of that, you are free to make your own decisions and bear the consequences, whether good or bad, of your decisions. You can pilot your life as you wish. But if God is real, it changes the entire equation. Your choice, your future, your consequences.
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Re: Why would God punish all of us for Adam's sin?

Postby Eddie » Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:58 am

I wouldn't have chosen any fate for myself, because I would choose not to be punished by this god. If God sends me to be punished in the prison he created for to save me from, that's on his head. He can choose not to send me there, so if I end up in hell, that's all on him.

It's a colloquialism to say people do it to themselves when they're punished, but that's not actually true. The one doing the punishing could choose to not punish the person in question, meaning the one responsible for someone getting punished is the judge. This also applies to God. If I am punished, it's God's fault.
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Re: Why would God punish all of us for Adam's sin?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:06 am

You have it backwards, according to the Bible. According to the Bible, God invites everyone to come into relationship with him and to spend eternity in his presence. It's up to you if you walk through that door or not. Your choice is the one that determines where you stand. If I invite you to my house, and tell you I have an awesome party going on, and you are welcome to come, but then you don't come, and you have a lonely, lousy evening, that's not my fault. I didn't design or choose your "punishment," you did. The punishment is not an active effort on my part, the the passive consequence of your decision.

Maybe you still object. Let me try a different, also fitting illustration. Suppose I have a sixth sense, and I warn you that an earthquake is coming and will hit your city tomorrow night at midnight. I plead with you to come to my house, where I know we will be safe. You laugh at me, don't believe me, and choose to stay where you are. Don't blame me, then, for "punishing" you. You chose not to respond to the invitation. I'm not "doing" the punishing. The "punishing" is the mere passive consequence of your choice. I can't choose not to punish you; the earthquake is coming. All I can do is warn you of it and invite you to safety (salvation). If you choose to stay, don't blame me. And don't blame God if you choose not to respond to his invitation and bear the consequences of being apart from God by your own choice.
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