18th September 2018
Chalke Talk 42 - Original sin or original goodness?

This week, Steve continues looking at the idea of “loving ourselves, loving God and loving others” in light of the doctrine of original sin. Concerned with the cycle of shame and guilt people are so often unable to break themselves from, Steve questions some of the thinking behind "original sin."

Created by Augustine of Hippo, and the picked up later by John Calvin, that idea that everyone is born with a sinful nature, beginning with Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden, is not only pessimistic but also deeply troubling. As Steve puts it, “I just do not believe that the lens through which the God, who is love, sees any of us is one of total depravity.” Steve goes on to question the assumptions behind “original sin,” pointing out that Genesis 1 begins with goodness, not sin.

So a couple of questions:

1. Why is it that so many ‘good’ Christians struggle with such a deep sense of shame,  guilt and worry about whether they are acceptable to God?

2. It has been said that, in the end, our wellbeing has much more to do with our theology than our mood – do you agree or not, and why?

Tell us what you think!

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The question is why did Augustine come up with the idea of original sin? He was seeking to account for the fact that every single human being, without exception, sins. Why aren’t there any people who decide not to sin? Humanity is inclined to sin. Very reasonably Augustine conjectured that our sin orientation was passed on to us through our parents. In the age of DNA and the sequencing of the human genome, this is a pretty reasonable assumption.

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