Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

illegal fruit

8/10/14

 

My late father was a staunch Southern Baptist, so he had a dim view of sinfulness. Despite that fact, he was fond of telling about how he and his childhood buddies would steal watermelons. Apparently sneaking into the neighbors field and filching a little fruit to eat wasn't seriously sinful in his eyes.

 

As I think about Dad's story of personal mischief, I recall another story of stolen fruit. Yes, I am referring to the story of the Fall. I suspect Dad never considered the parallelism between his recollection and the biblical account. 

 

Not many seem to question why a little illegal fruit could have had such serious and universal consequences, as taught by Christian Orthodoxy. If we were to apply our normal seriousness scale to the original sin, we would dismiss it as trivial, a mere childish prank. Yet, as the story goes, that bit of human malfeasance in the Garden caused such a big problem, that it took thousands of years of work on God's part to resolve it conditionally.

 

It is significant that the biblically forbidden fruit is not said to have allowed mankind to grade sins but only to tell good from evil. I conclude that the biblical story of the advent of sin doesn't jibe with our insistence on ranking their severity.

 

If we pay attention to the rest of the Bible (Jesus and James for example), it explicitly says all sin is equal. Really seeing all sins as exactly the same is very challenging to our mind. Accepting that equality would force us to re-think a great deal about our normal mode of operation, personally and collectively. That remains a tough sell, so we go right on grading sins and patting ourselves on the back for not being as bad as those other guys.

 

Within the context of the Bible, the idea that the knowledge of good and evil was originally forbidden is very strange. Such is generally seen as an essential element in an orderly, ethical society. Why would God warn Adam and Eve against the capability to pass judgment? Why is so much of the rest of the Bible seemingly about judgment?

 

I find it as difficult as anyone to be non-judgmental, but I am beginning to realize just how corrosive the propensity to judge and condemn can be to my peace of mind.  Maybe that is why God tried in the beginning to steer mankind away from that practice.

 

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