I remember learning about the concept of Original Sin during Sunday School classes. The idea was that Adam and Eve brought sin into the world and now we are all born with sin. Sin meaning that we are separate from God. The church I belonged to at the time baptized infants as a way to cleanse babies of sin bringing them back into union with God. Yet when I held each of my children for the first time all I saw was a miracle. A new creation, and although I had each of my kids baptized within weeks of their births, I began to question this notion that we are born already separated from God.
But if we aren’t born already separated from God, when does it happen? Or does it happen at all? As I watched my babies grow, I saw them transform from innocent helpless beings to demanding toddlers and impossible adolescents. But did that come from something within them or did it come from our culture. Our culture that teaches about survival of the fittest, and only the strong survive. A culture that rewards achievements, being number one, being better than others. I watch reality TV shows and hear the mantra “I am going to stay true to myself” which sounds harmless enough, but really means “what’s right is what’s right for me.”
In the animal kingdom we see the theory of survival of the fittest at its best as animals instinctively know that for the herd to remain strong they must sometimes sacrifice their oldest, youngest and weakest members. If humans are simply evolutionary creatures, I would conclude that we should also sacrifice for the good of the herd, but thankfully we are also created in the image of God. A God who has taught us to resist the temptation to think only of ourselves. A God who teaches us to care for the needy, the poor, the down and out, which was what Jesus spoke of in His sermon on the mount, and was radically opposite to the teachings of the strong religious leaders of the day.
No I don’t believe that I was born separate from God, but I do believe that immersion into this culture has caused me to lose my way. I have forgotten who I am and where I came from. And the only way back is through service. Because each time I put someone else’s needs before my own, I move myself forward on the spectrum from my human nature to my spirit nature. And while I may have a long way to go yet, I only have to remind myself that it’s not about being a better person than anyone else, its simply about being a better person today than I was yesterday.