Was the Original Sin described in Genesis an act of disobedience to God?
Reflection of Self-liberation for this year that begins and gratitude for the one that ended.
A few years ago, while in New York, I had the opportunity to meet Harold S. Kushner, a prominent American rabbi and author who was a member of the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism and, who served as congregational rabbi of Temple Israel of Natick, in Natick, Massachusetts for 24 years.
Listening to such an outstanding personality generated such a profound change in me that made me reflect on Genesis and Original Sin, so I immediately went to my favorite bookstore " Barnes & Noble" to purchase one of his books entitled "How Good Do We Have to Be?
On my way back and during the flight from New York to Mexico City, I took on the task of reading the afore mentioned book, which puts human feelings of guilt and inadequacy into perspective and teaches us how we can learn to accept ourselves and others even when they and we are not perfect.
Without a doubt, this exceptional book How good do we have to be? is for everyone who experiences that feeling of guilt and disappointment.
Harold Kushner, with a style overflowing with generosity and wisdom, shows us how human life is too complex for anyone to live it without making mistakes, and why we should not fear loss of God's love when we are not perfect.
THERE IS NO PARADISE LOST BUT A PARADISE WON
The author begins by offering a radically new interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, which he sees as a story of a Paradise overcome rather than a Paradise lost: eating from the Tree of Knowledge was not an act of disobedience, but a brave step forward in becoming human, complete with the richness of work, sexuality and parenting, and a sense of our mortality.
And this is where confusion appeared deep inside me!
I of Catholic origin, was reading the proposal of one of the most prominent Rabbis of Conservative Judaism, in which he says that in the Earthly Paradise there was no original sin. If I were Jewish, I would have the consolation that we are still waiting for the redeemer, but I, being Catholic, my redeemer, Jesus, arrived 2023 years ago.
However, in either case (Judaism and Catholicism), in the face of the original sin, God promised Adam and Eve a Redeemer, the question is whether there was not original sin as mentioned by Kushner, what is the reason for a redeemer? Perhaps I believe that the work of the redeemer is to make us aware of the importance of Brotherly Love among all of us and, at the same time, make us aware that we are children of God and, since God does not make garbage, we all (good and bad) have right to redeem ourselves and self-correct for our own evolution.
Drawing on modern literature, psychology, theology, and his own thirty years of experience as a congregational rabbi, Harold Kushner reveals how acceptance and forgiveness can change our relationships with others and important people in our lives and help us face the bold and rewarding challenge of being human.
"The Theory of Evolution" by Charles Darwin is the explanation of the physical evolution of man, going from a savage state to a more civilized one.
"The Story of Earthly Paradise" of Genesis, is the explanation of the spiritual evolution of man.
Such spiritual evolution implied the Knowledge of good and evil and the risk of "Being like God" and, in effect, Adam and Eve's "blindfold" fell off, thus knowing what good and evil are, but not knowing how to balance these forces. This is why all human beings wander between the two poles (good and evil), doing good things, but with bad intentions, or doing bad things, but with good intentions. Our challenge is to achieve a point of balance and nothing better than Integrity to resolve the Ethical Dilemmas of our lives, dilemmas that balance between good and evil.
THE CHILDHOOD OF HUMANITY
To understand our origins, we must be clear about two definitions:
The Natural State is the primitive state of man, that is, when he has not developed an evolutionary process that leads him to civilization.
Natural Law contributes to the progress of humanity whose process is civilization; It seems, that natural law is part of our DNA.
The natural state is the childhood of humanity (the Hominids) as well as the starting point of their intellectual and moral development.
▶️ Hominids: within the Order Primates are the hominids or great apes.
▶️Our ancestors: through genetic evidence, it is known that chimpanzees and humans diverged from a common ancestor approximately 6 million years ago.
▶️ Our evolution: many species evolved in the branch that includes Homo sapiens, although it is us the only survivors today.
▶️ Early hominids:
The Australopithecus is a genus that evolved in East Africa approximately four million years ago and became extinct two million. They are especially important to reconstruct our history, since it is considered that the genus Homo evolved from a common ancestor with Australopithecus, about two million years ago.
Due to the very nature of the hominids and, starting with the Australopithecus, they first began to develop their intelligence intellectual by trial and error, in such a way that man tends to intellectual perfection and then to moral perfection.
Man being perfectible and carrying his improvement in his DNA, he is not destined to live perpetually in natural state, nor is it destined to live perpetually in childhood.
The natural state is transitory, and man emerges from it through progress and civilization through the▶️Natural Law.
▶️Natural Law it is a law that governs all of humanity, where man improves as he understands and practices it better; This natural law is part of our genetic information.
📌 When man lives in a natural state, he lives intellectually and morally in a primitive state and, therefore, they have fewer needs.
📌 In a more advanced, more civilized state, the human being is when he faces all the tribulations that he himself It is created through a series of “needs” that are not, pardon the redundancy, necessary and it is when you become aware that you must balance your intellectual (material) progress with your moral (spiritual) progress.
Natural law establishes that the Man cannot return to the natural state, since he was created to progress incessantly, and he cannot return to the state of childhood.
MORAL PROGRESS ALWAYS FOLLOWS THE INTELLECTUAL
Reviewing the history of humanity and especially contemporary history, we can realize the great scientific (intellectual) progress we have had; however, Moral (spiritual) progress is highly deficient, which, due to what has already been mentioned, is normal and the challenge of human beings is to balance moral progress with intellectual progress.
Moral (spiritual) progress is a consequence of intellectual progress, although sometimes the process is slow and, for this reason, we see that, in our highly technical world, moral progress, especially everything we are experiencing between the fight between Democracy and Autocracy leaves a lot to be desired.
For this reason, the most technologically advanced countries are often the most perverted, due to the emphasis they have given to technology without balancing moral progress.
We must take into account that complete progress (intellectual and moral) is what all peoples and individuals on earth tend towards, but this is a slow process, step by step. As long as the moral sense is not developed in them, today they can use their intelligence to do evil:
“Morals and intelligence are two forces that only balance each other in the long run.”
CAN MAN STOP THE MARCH OF PROGRESS?
They cannot, but sometimes they do manage to hinder it, and some individuals who present themselves as leaders of the world and of companies, who oppose the progress of all men, will be dragged for the current they want to stop.
The progress of humanity is a living force that dark characters have tried to stop as Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin tried to do in the last century, but they were never able to stop the progress of humanity.
Progress is a living force that goes beyond the retrograde and petty laws imposed by false leaders, who will eventually be dragged down and eliminated for trying to sustain the unsustainable.
Man cannot remain perpetually in ignorance, because he is enlightened by the force of the things that happen in the world, such as the moral and social revolutions, which infiltrate little by little new ideas and concepts, which allow the moral evolution of individuals and countries; These ideas germinate for entire centuries and then suddenly explode and cause the decayed edifice of the past to collapse, no longer in harmony with new needs and new aspirations, as happened a few years ago with the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union.
The greatest obstacle to moral progress is pride and selfishness that causes intellectual progress, generating vices, ambition and love of wealth and power.
We have reached the point where characters like Donald Trump (USA), Andrés Manuel López (Mexico), Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua), Nicolás Maduro (Venezuela) and Vladimir Putin (Russia) ), just to mention a few names, they think about returning to their former greatness and in some cases, making their countries great; nothing as noble and good as that, however, fundamental themes appear in these characters whose ideas do not have a good basis:
↘️Nationalism is a concept that is part of the history of the 19th and 20th centuries, since, starting at the end of the last century, when the concept of globalization and its three stages was developed, the new world order is and will be made of States (Nations) interdependent and not necessarily independent.
Therefore, just as the world of Empires died at the beginning of the 20th century, the world of Nations will face, during the remainder of the 21st century, its decline, giving way to the era of interdependent nations that will shape the new world order.
↙️We have already seen these new Messiahs of Nationalism mentioned above before and, in addition to the passage of history, we have seen the fall of some of them, since centuries ago we learned what "Power concentrated in a single person" Over time, it generates social unrest, discontent and revolutions and, as proof, let us remember the rise and fall of those "idealists" called Hitler, Mussolini who were actually Megalomaniacs / Mythomaniacs.
⬇️Evolution is always progressive (there is no involution), which means that what worked 30 years ago will not necessarily work in this new world.
The era of absolutist monarchies had to give in to moderate monarchies (remember Oliver Cromwell) going through the English and French Revolution and the independence deeds of many countries.
⤵️ We are at the beginning of a new Geopolitical Era, called a world without borders, where the new Dynamic is the absolute awareness that "nations are not independent, they are interdependent."
⏬ Autocracy as a political regime in which a single person governs without submitting to any type of limitation and with the power to enact and modify laws at will, is a formula seen since the time of monarchies, which no longer works in this era because “In human beings and worldwide, there is more and more awareness of the need to evolve morally ” and where the characters already mentioned will finally be defeated by the force of progress, which is a living force that goes beyond retrograde and petty laws imposed by false leaders, who sooner or later will be dragged down when trying to sustain the unsustainable.
A WAY OF CONCLUSION
Life is not a trap that God sets for us to condemn us for failing. Life is not a spelling bee, where it doesn't matter how many words you get right and if you make a mistake you are disqualified.
Life is more like a baseball season, where even the best team loses a third of its games and even the worst team has its days of brilliance.
Our goal is to win more than we lose, and if we can do it consistently enough, when the end comes, we will have won it all.
In the beginning, in the childhood of the human race, as in the childhood of an individual human being, life was simple. Then we ate the fruit of that tree and gained the knowledge that some things are good and some things are bad. We learned how painfully complex life can be, but in the end, if we are brave enough to love, if we are generous enough to rejoice in the happiness of others, and if we are wise enough to know that there is enough love for everyone, then we can reach a plenitude that no other living being will ever know, we can then re-enter Paradise.
Harold Kushner (1935 - 2023)
Allan Kardec: “The Book of Spirits”
Kushner, Harold. How Good Do We Have to Be?