Created Good?

photo by Carl J. Santoro

Return to me with your whole heart

   with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
    and return to the Lord, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
    slow to anger, rich in kindness,
    and relenting in punishment. [Joel 2:12-13]

This is typical fare of Lent. It is traditionally thought of as a great time of penance. We reflect upon our sins as humans, and ask forgiveness. We are mortified by the sacrifice Jesus made, and we make amends as we can, and promise to do better.

I consider this to be “old school” thinking in a sense. It is based upon a model of God as vengeful upon those who turn from love and grace offered. It is based upon a human model in reality. It is how we think God should act. Punish the guilty, reward the good. It is our way.

Much is made of the original sin of Adam and Eve. It has led to the unforgivable teaching that we are born in sin. What an awful idea. This suggests of course, that what God created was not in fact good, but so deeply flawed, that with the first two humans, in an idyllic setting, humanity was unable to keep from its evil impulse.

Surely one cannot accept that an omnipotent God can be guilty of such error. But just as surely God could create “perfectly” in the sense of creating the creature to perfectly worship and obey to the nth degree. So is this not error?

I think not. God could create robots, but what would be the point in that? Surely God needs no worship,  and endless bowing and scraping must at best become tedious.

I believe God created life to evolve into sentience and with the imprint of divine grace capable of seeking and finding its Creator.  This is indeed creation that is GOOD, and one that is, generation by generation, century by century, working its way both individually and collectively toward that perfect unity.

How wonderful is this process. How wonderful to be on this journey of enlightenment. We are in God’s image because we have that imprint of his Spirit within us.

Lent provides us that reminder to be conscious of the journey, to go within with renewed vigor and enthusiasm, as we seek our source, our authenticity, our God.

Amen.

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tim
    Mar 30, 2011 @ 12:07:57

    Sherry, I believe our forebears became fascinated with original sin because it simplified everything to the point no one could dispute their fondness for leveraging sin as a control mechanism. It’s one of those chicken-and-egg problems: do we bring sin into the world and thus make the world sinful, or do we enter a world of sin and become sinful? I, like you, am prone to believe the latter, for the very reason you cite: if we are created with sin, how does our making reflect our Maker?

    It’s like the premise in Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins. If Christianity’s primary purpose is to save us from Hell, then that means Jesus’s main purpose was rescuing us from God–and what does that say about God?

    I’m so passionately convinced we need to reverse this concept of “inherent” sin in every way we can, wherever we can. By insisting the world is full of sinners, we’ve become self-fulfilling prophets; we live in God’s world–a world of utter goodness and grace, filled with people who are born to reflect that, and naturally endowed to do so!

    Thanks for challenging us here. As my dear grandmother always said, “Just because the preacher says it doesn’t make it so!”

    Blessings.

    Reply

    • Sherry
      Mar 31, 2011 @ 14:54:13

      I shall have to look at the book, another for my wish list! lol. I can’t handle original sin, because it, as you say,says way too much about God that seems wrong. We I think have been ill served by the sinner concept. We certainly do sin, but we are constantly being called to a higher place within ourselves and within our community. God created Good!

      Reply

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