human nature

my children are off school/nursery now for 2 weeks - enough to try the patience of a saint, I'm sure you'll agree.

don't get me wrong, I love my children with every fibre of my being - maybe that's why they can bug me so much.

my daughter: going through a very demanding phase - 'mummy mummy what are we doing now' when I've just taken them on a very exhausting trip to the swimming pool is enough to start me on a 'gratitude' rant.

my son: going through a phase of expressing his rage in physical terms.

Anyway, it makes me think about the whole little nugget of 'original sin'. You see, normally I would think that I am a fairly patient person - it's my children who show this up for the ridiculous fallacy that it is. My children are just being children, constant entertainment and random acts of violence towards each other during the holidays is, well, what children do. They are only 6 and 4 after all.

But, I'm not entirely sure that I can totally go with the idea of original sin, well not the way that it has been caricatured by evangelicals. Original sin becomes original guilt in the eyes of many. Suddenly we are told that a baby is born guilty of sin, simply because they are born a sinner. Two distinctly different categories in the Bible. To be born with a disorientated nature, is a different thing than being born guilty.

Our great doctrinal text with regards to original sin is, of course Genesis 3. However, nowhere is 'sin' mentioned, nowhere does it say that the humans have forever changed human nature and in Genesis 4, it appears that Cain is thought to be capable of overcoming sin -'If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.'

It appears that human beings are born with a potential towards good or evil.

I'm in the process of writing an essay about this subject which should be finished in the next month and will probably publish it on my articles page

Steve Chalke got into trouble recently by suggesting that we start to focus on the original goodness of humanity.
I'm not entirely sure that he didn't have a point.

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