#0024 Is the idea of Jesus dying for our sins an R or an L-Directed theology?
The theology of Jesus dying for our sins (that is to say the sins of all humanity) is foundational across the board in Christianity. This has been the case for centuries and centuries. It is closely tied to another Christian theology—the theology of original sin. Let’s start with the latter. The concept of Original Sin claims that Adam and Eve, while in the Garden of Eden, disobeyed a commandment from God. God commanded them not to eat fruit from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He warned them that if they did it, they would surely die. If you read the whole scripture, it can be interpreted as a warning as much as a commandment. The next part of the story goes that, of course Adam and Eve didn’t heed God’s warning and they ate the fruit; as a consequence, they were thrown out of the Garden of Eden and they were told that after they lived a lifetime, they would die. A further consequence was added to their punishment after they had eaten the fruit: all of their children and their entire lineage would also be punished with this death thing. From that time until now we—all of humanity—have been included in this lineage and consequently have to pay the price for Adam and Eve’s falling out of God’s grace. There’re 2 or 3 things about this I don’t like—they don’t add up.
- Before God gave the commandment (or warning) to Adam, He failed to mention the part where his offspring (all of humanity) would have to suffer the same consequence as him.
- Wouldn’t God have foreseen Adam and Eve eating this fruit before they did it and put in some safeguards to prevent them making this tremendous mistake? Him being omniscient and all.
- When was eternal damnation thrown in as part of the deal? That’s another pretty big detail God happened to leave out in His original commandment!
Let’s pause a moment in our discussion of Original Sin to broach the doctrine of Jesus dying for our sins a little. One of the sins Jesus died for is this sin of Adam or Original Sin. This sin is the mother of all sins, because if this isn’t washed clean before we die—it’s curtains for us and our souls. The Catholics specifically believe that without baptism—for the remission of original sin—a soul can NOT enter into heaven. Protestants take a different tact in that they see Jesus’s death as the arbiter of all sin; in this His death is supposed to act as a surrogate ritual blood sacrifice offered up to God as a sort of blanket atonement for the transgressions of all people. The only thing we humans need to bring to the table is our profession of faith in Jesus as our personal savior. This makes for a real plug-n-play setup for potential believers and a sweet marketing package for Christians in their quest to win souls for Christ. It is, in effect, religion’s version of teaching to the test (see Conservatives and progressives think differently part VI). What makes this smack of L-Directed thinking is the fact that both baptism and ritual blood sacrifices are such ancient practices as to predate even the Old Testament. There is no big picture thinking involved in the concept of Jesus dying for our sins; let’s break it down for a second. The basis for this belief comes out of 2 ambiguous and untraceable precedents that have been in place—from our present position on the Christian timeline—forever.
The actual concept of Jesus dying for humankind’s sins came after many intense and laborious discussions (arguments and scream fests) among a large council of Catholic clergy over what Jesus relationship to His Father was. What resulted was the Nicene Creed of 325 A.D. This creed is a concise profession of faith that is meant to sum up the high points of Christian tenets. These clergymen were extremely L-directed in their approach to writing church laws and, as I say, they labored long and hard putting this creed together; as I also previously mentioned when these L-Directed thinkers finally arrive at what is, in their minds, the right conclusion, they are apt to stick to it like glue. And that’s exactly what they did and their present-day counterparts are still doing today. History bears out this fact in the 1,000s if not millions who died for not agreeing with their creed. Think of a Donald Trump tirade when someone disagrees with him. Out of this creed and other laws and doctrines that followed patterns began to emerge and methods were established.
In the 80s and 90s, I was in a band and we were doing a lot of recording as well as performing. To get all the instruments and vocals to blend together we would plug everything into a sound mixing board. Using the board you can make everything sound better than it actually sounds; or, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can screw up the sound altogether. A common mistake a novice sound engineer makes is a phenomenon called fader chasing. This happens when, as you’re listening to the mix, you notice that the keyboard is too quiet or you can’t hear it at all, so you find the “KEYS” channel on the board and nudge the fader up to make it louder in the overall mix. At first it sounds better until you realize that the rhythm guitar is now buried and so you nudge that up to find the vocal has been affected. This is called fader chasing. In a way, this is similar to the method these clergymen used in their attempts to deal with problems in the church early on. Eventually they were taking preemptive measures to get out ahead of problems. When a situation arose within the body of believers that caused unrest or disobedience, the Pope and/or a cadre of cardinals and bishops would get to work to establish new policies, creeds and doctrines and sold them to the congregants as coming from God Himself. Moses did this, or we’re told in the scriptures that this is what he did; in fact the definitive example of this is the Mosaic Law which over a matter of relatively few years fader chased its way from 10 Commandments to the 613 commandments and laws of the Mosaic Law. Early on, while He was yet alive on the earth, Jesus warned the Pharisees and His future Church to not get caught up in this chasing the doctrinal dog’s tail.
42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
Matt. 21: 42-45 (KJV)
So you see the doctrine of Jesus having to die for our sins is a fallacy that came into existence as an answer to a different doctrinal fallacy—Original Sin. Before we can really get about the business of Kingdom-building it’s imperative that we who wish to partake in the venture begin writing a new, big picture narrative. In order to do that, we have to search out the real Jesus—not the Jesus Clone—and start using HIM as our reference, our cornerstone.