I have been back in England for four days and back at the cathedral for two. It has been a real joy returning and seeing everyone. It is interesting, though, how quickly the body and mind fall back into old ways. I have returned and it is starting to feel is as if I have never been away.
I don’t think that is a negative thing. I think it is an example of the great and wonderful way that God has created us. In just four days back, however, I have come across people who, for one reason or another, deny that fact about themselves. The fact that they are created great and wonderful.
While driving back froma great lunch with Jeremy today, this led me to think about the whole doctrine of being born with original sin and how this fascination that ‘we are inherently bad’ seems to have become entwined with our identity.
We are reading Genesis at the moment in the lectionary in Morning Prayer. In the first chapter we read of the creation account and God says, of creation, that ‘it was excellent’. Initially creation was good. Humanity was not only part of that creation, but humans were, and are, unique in that we are created in God’s image. Verse 28 of that chapter also tells us that God blessed humanity. It follows then, surely, that we should talk far more of being originally blessed rather than having original sin. I don’t think I have ever heard this preached in church.
I remember a while back when director at Gillingham YFC that we ran a Christmas quiz. We were shocked to learn that the young people we were working with have incredibly little knowledge of the Christmas story. The one question that 100% of the young people got correct was a question to do with what ‘sin’ was. We concluded that the church, as a whole, was failing to teach the exciting good news …. but it was seemingly quite good at talking about sin.
We talk a lot of original sin and I wonder if this has resulted in many of us developing quite a negative view of humanity and particularly ourselves.
maybe we would be a lot healthier as people if we stopped viewing ourselves as being bound with origianl sin due to the intrusion of satan into the garden, but rather as being origianally blessed due to God’s initial magnificent creative act.