(two opposing views)
The original sin is a foundational teaching for the Christian religion. However in Judaism it isn’t any more than just a topic for discussion. The “original sin” in Christianity is totally different than Judaism. This article will discuss some of the differences.
The Christian original sin took place in the Garden shortly after the creation of Adam and Eve. The original sin can be found in Genesis chapters 2 and 3. Adam is told by God to not eat from the tree in the midst of the garden known as the, “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. God informed him that if he does eat of it death will follow. Adam was assigned the task of being the care taker of the garden, but he was alone, and God felt that he needed a helper. God brought before him all the different animals for Adam to review and see if any would suffice as a helper. None were found. So God decided to make this helper from Adam, He called “woman”, and the name given her was Eve.
Eve was also given the same instruction to not eat from this tree, and if you do eat of it death will follow. We learn that Adam and Eve were in the vicinity of this tree and Eve is having a discussion with a serpent. The serpent suggested to Eve to eat from the tree. Eve informs the serpent that they are not to eat of it for they will die if they do. The serpent tells her that they will not die, but will become like God knowing good and evil. It appears that Eve eats from the tree, and gives some to Adam and he eats of it as well.
A little later God is looking for Adam and when He comes in contact with him, Adam reveals that he was hiding from Him because he was naked. God challenges him on how he new he was naked. Adam then shares the events that lead up to that moment.
God is disappointed with what had happened. He then issues out the consequences for their actions.
- He is cursed more than all cattle.
- He is to be on his belly from now on.
- He will eat dust.
- There will be enmity between him (serpent) and women, and between their seed.
- He will bruise your (serpent) head, and you (serpent) will bruise his heal.
- There will be multiplied sorrow in conception.
- You will have pain in giving birth.
- Your desire will be for your husband.
- He (husband) will rule over you.
- The ground will be cursed.
- In toil you shall eat of it.
- The ground will bring thorns and thistles.
- You shall eat the herb of the field.
- In sweat in your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground.
- Out of the ground you were taken, for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.
The Jewish view of an “original sin” is only after Adam and Eve leaving the garden and after they have a knowledge of good and evil. The only record of this would be Cane murdering Able, in Genesis 4:3 – 15.
Adam and Eve had two sons. There names were Cain the oldest and Able his younger brother. Cain was a crop farmer, and Able was a flock farmer. Over time Cain decided to bring an offering to God. His offering was a “first fruit” offering. Ables offering was of his firstlings of his flock and their fat. God did not respect Cain, or his offering. The Torah does not give an explanation, however various commentaries provide a variety thoughts. Cain became angry and depressed. God speaks to Cain asking him why he is angry and his countenance has fallen. God speaks to him in the form of a question, that if you do well, wont you be accepted? He continues, if you don’t do well then sin (missing the mark) lies at the door? God says that sin is toward him, but he tells Cain to rule over it (sin). A side note here is that we can rule over sin.
We learn later that Cain is talking with Able and proceeds to murder him. God discovers this and asks Cain where his brother is? Cain lies and says he doesn’t know. God responds, “What have you done?”, that Ables blood cries out to God from the ground. Because of Cains actions there is consequence.
Cain is cursed –
- When you till the ground it will no longer yield its strength.
- A fugitive and vagabond you will be.
- God set a mark on Cain to protect him from being killed (listed with the curses, but perhaps not a curse).
A question may be asked, why does Judaism not see the events of Adam and Eve in the garden as the “original sin” like the Christians do? As in any religion there are several denominations and a variety of views on different topics. I am providing here only one view that I found to align with mine. Looking at the events in a sequential order may shed some light on this. The tree in question that Adam and Eve were not to eat from was, “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. It was a tree that provides “knowledge”, so apparently this knowledge is not possessed until one eats from this tree. This knowledge is the knowledge of “good and evil”. From this it is apparent that Adam and Eve do not have a knowledge at this point of good and evil, until they have eaten from this tree. This becomes evident from their actions after eating, they hide from God, because they are aware of being naked. God then asks them how they knew they were naked. From this question they confess what had transpired.
This can be likened to a baby or a child that has no understanding of good and evil yet. A child or baby can do something evil and does not get punished because they have not acquired a knowledge of it. However there is a consequence of there actions no matter what the age is. And from the consequence they learn.
In summary, Adam and Eve ate from the tree before they had a knowledge of good and evil. They did not know that it was evil to yield to the temptation from the serpent and eat from the tree. God had warned them to not eat from it, because once you have this knowledge death will eventually follow. I do not believe they were punished for their action, but they reaped a consequence consisting of various curses. With the fact that death will eventually follow once a person possess the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve would not be able to live in the garden. They will have children, live and die outside the garden, and there bodies will return to the earth, from which it came. But their souls will also return from where they were created, in Eden.
by Jim Behnke