Original Sin is one of those concepts which few people really want to seriously address. It’s not surprising – those who believe we are sinful tend not to care too much about detailed histories and conjectures, because they really just want to be healed from sin, and those who do not believe we are sinful by nature reject the whole environment as invalid from the start. As a result, people tend to miss the intention of the concept, and to take the good news it offers.
The first thing I would say in addressing this phrase, is to remind the audience that God is indeed good and loving, and therefore, if Original Sin exists as a condition, it is there for a good reason and not to trip us up. Some of the weaker preachers out there try to scare folks into believing in God, by warning they will go to Hell if they do not surrender. And to that end, they sell Original Sin as a way to say ’It doesn’t matter if you do good and love everyone, you’re born condemned and you need Jesus – or else!’
I mean, sheesh, God as Tony Soprano? I don’t think so!
So what’s the deal? Well, I start from the fact that we all sin. We all sin, and that’s just a fact. So we have to do something about it, because sin is a poison, one which an eternal being cannot tolerate. And when I say ‘eternal being’, I’m not saying God has that problem, I mean that we are eternal beings, and the sins we commit in our lives must be addressed or we will forever be pained by them.
For here, I will leave off the importance of being Christian, because I think that’s another major issue which has gotten greatly misunderstood. But we do need to reconcile with God, not because He’s standing off somewhere with His back to us and His arms crossed, angry because we broke His precious rules, but because He is perfectly pure and holy, and we cannot be with Him unless and until our sin is removed.
Basically, we need three things with regard to Sin: We need to clear our souls of sin, we need to change our nature to a holy one, and we need to put our faith into action and produce good fruit. This is the common theme throughout the Bible. The forgiveness of Sin comes from God, who after all desires that we should be free of evil and the pain it brings. The production of faith into good works is the natural result of a grateful soul aligned with God, so the only missing piece is the change in nature. The concept of Original Sin is important to this part, because when properly understood it explains why that change is possible. It’s “Original Sin”, not “Eternal Sin”, meaning that while we must wrestle with moral and ethical questions throughout our lives, we can be comforted in the knowledge that just as our bodies will be left behind when we die, while we receive perfect bodies in the life to come, so too our nature for sinful behavior is also locked into the body, and no longer torments us when we pass over to God. Therefore, the concept of Original Sin should be seen as the promise of hope, not a threat or condemnation.