Tuesday, October 24, 2017

I Wonder

“Brothers and sisters: through one man sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned.  If by that one person's transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many.  For if, by the transgression of the one, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ. 

In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so, through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all.  For just as through the disobedience of one man the many were made sinners, so, through the obedience of the one the many will be made righteous…” (Today’s reading Rom 5:12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21)

This reading from Paul to the Romans stresses the sin of Adam.   Whenever I hear the Adam and Eve story about God conversing with them, the fruit, the talking snake, and original sin, I wonder.    According to our Catechism, “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command.  This is what man’s first sin consisted of.  All subsequent sin would be disobedience to God and lack of trust in his goodness.  In that sin man preferred himself to God and that very act scorned him…”  I wonder.

Much is made of the story of Adam and Eve and how through Adam “sin entered the world” But the story should not be taken literally.  I suspect very few of us do and certainly not our young adults – educated on evolution and our universe’s vastness and timelessness – who wonder if our faith is built on sand and not on rock especially when we rely on a biblical story that is metaphorical.  Our Catechism isn’t very helpful [to be fair, I may not have looked hard enough].

Sin enters our world every day through pride, prejudice, persecution, and perfidy, just to name a few ways.  Therefore, I tend not to focus on original sin, and I always struggle how to understand the concept, especially when I baptize babies.  I understand the theological basis for original sin, but I’m much more preoccupied with daily sin that is easier to understand, especially the consequences.   

I suggest we should not focus on Jesus as the second Adam and his “gracious gift.”   We should be more attentive to his teachings and parables, and, of course, on his crucifixion and resurrection.  Trust in our Creator has not “died in our hearts,” and we “trust in God’s goodness.” 

That’s one reason why believing that God didn’t want Adam and Eve to know the difference between good and evil (eat from the tree of knowledge of good and bad) is odd.  Without eating that fruit, the couple would never have died, so says the story.  Come again?

Paul stressed the sin of Adam.  I’m more concerned about the sins of David and my daily responses to Jesus Christ.

Deacon David Pierce

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