The Myth of Original Sin




I talked a little in my last post about the myth of a condemning God, and of course, now I’m gonna talk a little about “Original Sin,” and how it plays into our culture and ideas of spirituality.


In the mythical story of Adam and Eve, Eve — of  course — ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This — of course — angered God and He cast them out of the Garden of Eden, condemning all of their descendants to “Original Sin.”


This unfortunate story, which not only reinforces the myth of the condemning God, which I’ve addressed in my last post, but also lead to a number of false beliefs which has lead to a great deal of strife, turmoil, and discord in our society and our quest for spirituality.


First and most importantly, it created the myth that we could ever be separated from God. The religious version of a condemning God who cast humanity out of the Garden of Eden has created a swiss cheese God — a God which is everything, EXCEPT humans, which are separate from God, and this earthly realm, which is also separate from God. Remember, these are the same religions who say that God is everything, including but not limited to the air, the trees, the plants, the flowers, the water… and yet somehow not the realm in which we reside. That realm, we’re told, is separate, and we need to somehow earn our way back into God’s good graces so we can return to Him in Heaven. So, apparently everything we see is God expressed, but just not everything we see. Hmm…


And of course, WE’RE separate from God, so God is everything, except for these little pockets or holes where each human being is. I can tell you with all certainty that God is not swiss cheese. God is everything, the good and the bad, the saint and the sinner, the profane and the profound. There’s no possible way to cast us out anywhere outside of Him, because there IS nothing outside of Him (a point which I addressed in my previous post).


Secondly, it has separated men from women and made women the cause of man’s downfall for millennia, allowing men to feel superior to women, that women were somehow inferior or substandard. Man was created first, woman was just created of man’s rib, as an afterthought. I can also assure you that nothing is superior to anything else in God’s eyes. Is a flower superior to a tree? Is a forest superior to a mountain? Is the ocean superior to the sky? All things are Godly because all things ARE God. Nothing and no one is superior to another in the eyes of God.


Third, in the creation of separation, it has taught us that not only can we anger God and that we must fear his wrath if we do something wrong (a point, once again, addressed in my previous post), but we must somehow earn our way back into his favour. This has created any number of rules and doctrines and dogma that must be met in order to please God, notably accepting His only begotten son as our personal saviour. That, we’re told, is the only way to salvation. We were born in sin, we will die in sin, and there’s nothing we can do about it short of the whole “accepting Jesus” thing.


Here’s the problem. Jesus was a great teacher, it’s true. He performed many miracles, that too is true. But that somehow we have a mark on our souls that can only be erased by the exalted one is simply false.


So let’s talk about sin for a minute.


“Sin” is a wonderful religious term that means a transgression against divine law — in other words, a mistake, an error. So let’s go a little further…


Divine law is supposed to be anything that makes God mad. But what makes God mad? Eating pork? Eating meat on Fridays? Wearing clothes of differing composition? Not keeping your head covered? Working on the sabbath?


Let’s look at God again. God created the relative universe so that He could know himself experientially, as I mention often. (“In the absence of that which is not, that which is, is not.”) He cannot know Himself in the absence of that which is not Him. Of course, everything is Him, so He must create the illusion of something that is not Him. The relative universe is steeped in this illusion, in fact it is born of it. That is its purpose.


And then to experience that illusion, we create physical bodies to lumber through this fantastic world we live on, forgetting our true Selves so that we can enjoy the majesty that is relativity. If we knew who we really are, the game would be up, the jig would be over, the end would be nigh. Ignorance is kind of the point to this world. Our evolution, as Buddha said, is to move out of ignorance and into insight. It is ultimately true that — again, as Buddha said — that the only sin is ignorance.


So any mistake (or “sin”) we make is made out of ignorance of who we really are, our true “Self.” And why would God be angry at us for making decisions out of ignorance that He put into the system? He would only be condemning Himself and His plan! (once again, a point I made previously).


Our goal on this planet, in this reality, is spiritual advancement; to know ourselves as our true Selves by experiencing the relative world. That is to say on a smaller scale, we do what God does, to know ourselves as who we are by knowing who we are not (in fact, we are God doing just that. We are God, expressing itself as God, through us).


That Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is to make a choice, the first choice. You could say that, for all intents and purposes, she created the relative universe by making the first choice to choose one thing over the other. So if you want to believe that man is superior to woman because Eve ate the fruit, maybe you should consider exalting her instead?


And to think that we are born with some kind of mark on our souls that can only be removed at the blessing of “the perfect one,” is mischievous at best. Who has looked into the eyes of a newborn child and thought, “This child is born in sin, it is impure, it is an affront to God.” When I first met my son, I looked into his eyes and thought, “He’s so tiny. So tiny, and so perfect.” Not once did I ever look in his eyes and see sin. Never in his life or the life of my daughter have I ever seen sin in them. I see love, and joy, and purity, and what could be more Godly than that?


Moreover, why would God curse babies? What kind of God would demand that innocent little babies must rush to be baptized over the sins of some long forgotten ancestor? We even know in the laws of man that children cannot be held accountable for the sins of the father. Why would God be so terrible, so unforgiving for all eternity? We’re told that God is just, but what justice is in that? How could one act based create an infinite effect? Obviously, a finite cause cannot have an infinite effect.



So why these last two blog posts about condemning Gods and “original sin”? As I mentioned, religion greatly shapes our culture and our societies, and nothing is so pervasively damaging than the two myths I wrote about. By viewing ourselves as separate from God, we can then see ourselves as separate from one another. By viewing God as wrathful, vengeful, jealous, angry, petty, spiteful, and insecure, it allows us to be wrathful, vengeful, jealous, angry, petty, spiteful, and insecure with others. If God can do it, why can’t we?


But, if you understand that we are never separate from God, and that we are not separate from each other, and that God is simply and completely love, then that radically changes our view of the world. Hate is an illusion. Fear is an illusion. Separation is an illusion. Love is all there is.


What’s needed in our societies is for religion to evolve. Religion has to acknowledge that while they have many things right, they have failed to do what they say they want to do, which is to bring people closer to God. It seeks Heaven, but ascribes Hellish characteristics to God. Is it any wonder then that more wars have been fought in the name of religion than anything else? Who’s fighting whom in India and Pakistan? Who’s fighting whom in the Middle East?


Religion HAS evolved in the past. The Old Testament says that if a man’s son is a drunkard, he should be taken out to the edge of town and stoned to death. If a woman is found not to be a virgin on her wedding night, she should be stoned to death. If a man works on the sabbath, he should be stoned to death (a lot of stoning going on back in the biblical times). We ignore these “commandments” because they don’t make sense in the modern world, or to any civilized society. We can see them as completely counter-productive to the society we want to build.


Yet, these things are “in the Gospels,” which is the word of God. Which means that if we can ignore these things, even though they’re the “word of God,” that must mean that the Bible contains inaccuracies that can be ignored as we progress as a species, right?


The idea of a condemning God comes from the dawn of civilization when things (storms, earthquakes, etc) would happen, and they were ascribed to some all powerful deity that must be appeased or he would be angry and rain death and destruction down on the earth.


But now we have wonderfully holy people who have communed directly with God, and we can simply talk to them and ask them what their experience of God is. Without exception, they will say that God IS love, and that we are all one. They will all say this because once truth is realized, there is no ego to distort it.


We must, therefore, realize that the fear-based God and the illusion of separation from Him (and by extension, each other) is not working. We must redefine God using the experiential knowledge of our divine living saints. Imagine a world where there was no right way or wrong way to worship, that no one religion is superior to another, that no one person is superior to another. Imagine a world where fighting over who has the right God, or the right denomination is fallacious. Imagine a world where people of all faiths (or no faith) are all equally welcome in the eyes of God. Imagine a world without sin, without judgement, without condemnation.


Imagine a world where all there is, is love.


In truth, that is all there is, and all that ever will be.


Spirituality is about knowing your Self. Your Self is divinity expressed. It is not sinful. It is love. Your true Self is eternal, unlimited, and free. Love is eternal, unlimited, and free. Life is eternal, unlimited, and free. God is unlimited, eternal, and free.


Are you getting the message? You are not separate from God. You cannot be. You are God expressed. You are life expressed. You are love expressed. Find your divinity and you’ll find your Self. So know thy Self. And you will know God.




Tommy Heiden is a family photographer based out of Maple Ridge who, when he’s not caring for his amazing wife and two beautiful children, is occasionally found taking pictures of other peoples’ wives and children, and even more often, speaking and blogging about how to add more love to your life.

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