Q&A: Original Sin and Psalm 51:7

[First posted in 2012. Christians are soon entering the Lenten season, a time when individual introspection is done.  This article might help in understanding the belief that because of Eve’s violation of the rule to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, that all her progeny are damned with  “original sin” which, if you think about it, was originally Eve’s and Eve’s alone . . . so why does the God of Christianity condemn every child born since then? Isn’t each individual responsible for his/her wrongdoing? The Rabbi here explains the Jewish perspective.—Admin1]

 

 

Question:   If there is no such thing as “original sin”, then please explain this verse: Psalm 51:7 “Behold in iniquity was I fashioned and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

 

Answer:  Rabbi M. Younger/Aish.com

 

Shalom –

 

If one uses “original sin” to mean that all individuals are decreed to damnation unless they believe in the Christian “savior”, that is totally antithetical to Jewish belief. We believe that God presents challenges and that we have the capacity and responsibility – and hence the reward and punishment – to overcome these challenges.   But, if you ask me if there are certain innate drives/forces in a person that are counter-spiritual I will say yes. We are definitely made of a physical component and that part of us makes demands and is part of the challenge. One formulation of our challenge is that our goal is to make our souls master over our bodies.   And there are things that are matters of environment. One who is born in South Bronx will have challenges presented  that are on a “lower” level (e.g.whether or not to mug someone today) than one who is born into Jerusalem aristocracy. The Almighty accounts for that when given the final reward! When one seeks to repent he must minimally fulfill four criteria:   *

 

Regret. Realizing the extent of the damage and feeling sincere regret. * Cessation. Immediately stopping the harmful action. * Confession. Articulating the mistake and ask for forgiveness. * Resolution. Making a firm commitment not to repeat it in the future.   Part of cessation is to be able to identify root causes that induce one to sin. It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles. Realizing that we are formed in a way that is inimical to pure spirituality is a matter of knowing the enemy…..

 

For further study,   read “The Real Messiah” by Rabbi Aryeh  Kaplan

 

You may also want to check out:

 

http://messiahtruth.com/response.html http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/ http://drazin.com/ http://www.outreachjudaism.org/

 

The last, in particular, has a section “Let’s Get Biblical” and essays on original sin that you may find useful.

 

The latter is at http://www.outreachjudaism.org/articles/original-sin.html

 

I hope that this has been helpful.

 

With blessings from the Holyland.

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