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Christ and the Original Sin


"We hear that the uncleanness of the parents is so transmitted to the children that all without any exception are defiled at their begetting. ... We must surely hold that Adam was not only the progenitor, but, as it were, the root of human nature" John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian religion, vol. II, I, 6.

Augustine,4c, taught that the whole human race sinned in Adam. Adam was the head of the race. Therefore, when he sinned he made human nature corrupt. We were involved in Adam's sin, not consciously, but as seeds. His sinful nature was individualized into billions of persons by their inheriting his sinful nature. He taught that God imputed the sin of Adam to all his posterity, in virtue of that organic unity of mankind - not individually, but seminally, in him as its head. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that sin is transmitted genetically by generation i.e from parent to child.

Did Jesus inherit the Original Sin?

Whether imputed or inherited it would mean that Jesus Christ inherited the original sin. There is no other way. However this will not cover the sin-world into which Jesus was born into. As part of the human race every man bears the sin of the whole mankind. If this original sin includes total depravation, Jesus himself was totally depraved. By reducing the parentage of Jesus to single parent do not reduce this depravation in any way unless it is the sexual act that is the cause of transmission. Mary was as much Adam's daughter and Jesus was Adam's son, which meant everything it implies. In fact Luke traces the lineage of Adam through several generations to Adam and to God. The issue of Christ's spinelessness arises because He was born into the world as we all are. The implication of Adam's sin for all his posterity brings us face to face with the fact that Christ was born of a sinful mother, who was the daughter of Adam. If the transmission of sin is by natural propagation, then Jesus must have inherited from Mary what we all inherit from our parents, unless we favor some form of the immaculate-conception doctrine whereby Mary was made perfect. In that case God could have made Jesus just the same way. What advantage had God in going one step backwards?

One clever solution was suggested by a scientist that the original sin be transmitted only from the father to children. Male chromosomes are the carriers of the defect. So when God eliminated the human father from lineage of Jesus, he became automatically sinless. This probably why the proto-evangelism promised:" Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." This will explain the verse Matt. 11: 11 I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.', Where Jesus refers to man as born of woman. There were only two persons who were born not of man Adam and Jesus - and only one person who was born of woman without a man Jesus. This is a very logical and possible explanation. This will then support the Roman Catholic interpretation and would not require the vain effort from the Church to make Mary immaculate in dire conflict with the scriptures. Jesus did inherit the mortal body because in Adam the whole Adamic universe was subjected to decay and death. So death reigned not because everyone sinned. It reigned even over those who did not sin as Paul clearly mentions. A deprivation and separation of man from God was transmitted only through male semen then Jesus was safe. But then the depravation Calvinist talk about is not of the body. This cannot be achieved by this assumption nor can it be achieved by any other assumption as long as the Mary link is there. We cannot break it either.

Jesus indeed was human with all the frailties of man. Heb.4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. This verse indicates that Jesus was tempted like every man. Thus evil desires were part of Jesus. The temptations of Jesus were described in Mark 4. Desire in itself is not sin as James points out.

James 1:14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. It can lead to sin if it is not controlled by the knowledge of good and evil.

The incarnation God entering into space-time by his own volition is possible for God. The infinite was expressed in the finite not in its fullness but as a projection. Even God has to accept the limitations of space and time in the incarnation and the limitations brought about by the material body and the human mind and inaccessibility of his own divine nature. Once he entered and limited himself Jesus was subject to all temptations (God is good and cannot be tempted) as every one of us. He held no special privilege. Only after resurrection did Jesus return to the father and took up his God nature. Jesus did not sin not because he was God but he used his freedom to choose the right and to be obedient to the will of his father. This is the only reason why Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man. He was simply the New Adam placed in the environment produced by the Old Adam. Jesus' Godhead played no part in sinless life. If it did Jesus will cease to be the representative of mankind and unfit for payment for human sin. Was Jesus fully man? He was fully God which he emptied himself in the process of incarnation. This is another way of saying that he consciously relingquished it and never used it while he was on earth. He identified himself fully with man. As a man he became obedient and fulfilled all righteousness and offered himself as atonement for the whole mankind.

What do we mean by saying Jesus was sinless? How did Jesus bear human sin in his body?

Heb 4: 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.

1 John 2:1-2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.}
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 Pet. 1: 18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

As we can see in all such references, we are referring to Christ as blemishless, righteous etc. We are talking in terms of personal righteousness and not the righteousness of the mankind as a whole in which Jesus form part. Jesus was tempted, but he did not commit sin. He kept the law.

Yet he was part of the sin of the world. Let me illustrate what I mean. When Jesus lived we know for certain that slavery was in existence. People were sold as animals in the market. There were dictators like the Roman Emperors who unleashed persecutions on all who were not Roman citizens. But we do not see Jesus once talking about these. He never talked about the society, which was built on selfishness. True he warned about the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sauces and the Herodians. There was a reason for it though. Once in this selfish based world you have no escape from this. You live in an upside down world where authority and power is based on how much you can control and manipulate other people. How much we can exploit others. This is in sharp contrast to the Kingdom of God where Kingdom and authority is based on love and service. Christ as an individual human could only start the fight against this self-based society but could not accomplish it in his generation. He explained these principles and in a limited way demonstrates to them the fact as in the Last Supper when he washed the feet of his disciples. As such Jesus himself bore the sins of the world. It is in this sense that Jesus bore the sins.

22 "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

He actually bore it and because of that he was sacrificed. It is this sacrifice that started the power of change, which will be completed in the age to come. The power is made available to every believer in the presence of the Holy Spirit, which will continue to wage war against the enemies of the Kingdom (figuratively and in human tendencies) within themselves and with the external world.

Rom. 8:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
25 Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.
8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.