Original sin. The fall of man into his sinful nature. The depravity of our human flesh brought to reality through this one act. The betrayal of the God that gave us everything and gave only one command: but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” – Genesis 2:17
Anyone raised in church or that has gone to church is sure to know this story. It’s the biggest hinge that all of Christianity hangs upon. It’s the reason Jesus had to come and save us. Save us from the hell he’ll throw us in if we don’t love and accept him.
To effectively relay my point I feel that there needs to be some back tracking done or some ground work laid. If you’re the type of believer that believes in the account of creation as a literal retelling of the creation of the universe then I don’t feel anything I’m going to say will apply to you.
If you feel the earth is really 6,000 to 12,000 years old then you’ve effectively showcased your purposeful ignorance to science. You’ve shown that the assertions of an ancient and contradictory text are more meaningful than everything we’ve come to learn about the earth through study and observation.
Whenever someone tells me that I can’t prove that the universe wasn’t created in 6 literal days I simply point them to the fact that, in their bible, the sun wasn’t created until the 4th day. Since we count days as rotations of the earth, which orbits around the sun, there’s no way a literal 6 day count could have transpired.
Also, it seems people are ignorant of the fact that Genesis actually has 2 different timelines on creation:
Humans were created after the other animals: God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” – Genesis 1:25-26
Humans were created before the other animals: 18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. – Genesis 2:18-19
Adam and Eve were created simultaneously: 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
Adam was created first, then animals and then Eve from Adam’s rib: 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. – Genesis 2:20-22
So, if you want to take the creation story as literal feel free to, but know that you have conflicting information as well as no way to count the first few days as literal. To a reasonable person this information, coupled with all we know about the earth taught to us through science, it pretty much is the Mozambique Drill to a literal interpretation of Genesis.
What’s that leave us with if the creation story is not literal? It leaves us where most believers seems to fall. A poetic retelling of what actually happened.
At first glance this seems to do away with many of the problems I stated above. It doesn’t matter that the creation account is scrambled because it’s not literal. It doesn’t matter that the sun wasn’t created until the 4th day because He’s God and He can do those things. It’s just a poetic way to explain the origins of the universe.
If evolution is true, which it is, it creates a massive problem for the creation story, literal or poetic. Even theistic evolution is an insurmountable problem.
What you’ve effectively taken out the equation with a poetic retelling of creation or naturalistic and theistic evolution is original sin.
Please let that sink in. If the creation story is a poetic retelling it means that those events didn’t literally take place. There is no literal Adam and Eve or serpent to deceive them. There is no garden and there is no tree.
Naturalistic and theistic evolution also means that there were no homosapiens around to get themselves into such a quandary. So again, no Adam, Eve, serpent, garden or tree.
So now the big issue. Please try to realize how large of a problem this is and what it implicates. If we’ve concluded that the above statements eliminate the possibility of Adam and Eve and that the whole story is basically not trustworthy and doesn’t warrant serious consideration to be literal, then original sin, Adam and Eve betraying God and bringing about our sinful natures from which we’d need Jesus to be saved, is a sham. It’s a lie. A lie to sell you a cure to a disease you don’t have.
The entire purpose of Jesus coming to earth and being crucified was quite literally for something that never happened. He saved us from something that we can deduce didn’t happen.
The real kicker is that Jesus also seemed to have taught that Adam and Eve were literal people:
6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ – Mark 10:6
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ – Matthew 19:4
And here, here’s the spot where I actually feel a bit bad because it’s all salt on an open wound at this point, but Jesus is shown to be a descendant of Adam in Luke 3:38 – “the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”
So where does this leave a reasonable believer? Someone that tries to make faith and science work together. Or get logic and emotion or feelings to play together nicely. Sadly, I feel that this is a topic that is irreconcilable. There’s jumps in thinking that can’t be made. You can have all the faith in the world, but you can’t be saved by something (Jesus) from something that didn’t happen (original sin).
Jesus, if he existed, was no doubt a very forward thinking guy, but he was no messiah. He was just another guy that made extraordinary claims about being the Son of God. Our insane asylums and prisons are full of these people and we don’t take a one of them seriously.