Guilt

Donationbuckky
Spirituality 11 Dec '08 17:32
  1. Donationbuckky
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    11 Dec '08 17:32
    The original sin thing seem's all wrong to me. The guilt I feel about numerous things has to do with things I should feel guilt about. If I felt no sense of guilt over the negative, wrong things I've done in my life, I would be an ego maniac. Never feeling guilt is a sign of thinking to highly of yourself, and not seeing the wrong in your life. What Adam and Eve did back in the Graden has very little todo with me other than I guess we were both hopelessly human and feel from grace.
  2. Joined
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    11 Dec '08 22:24
    Originally posted by buckky
    The original sin thing seem's all wrong to me. The guilt I feel about numerous things has to do with things I should feel guilt about. If I felt no sense of guilt over the negative, wrong things I've done in my life, I would be an ego maniac. Never feeling guilt is a sign of thinking to highly of yourself, and not seeing the wrong in your life. What Adam and ...[text shortened]... very little todo with me other than I guess we were both hopelessly human and feel from grace.
    Guilt comes from having a conscience.

    Having a conscience comes from knowing right from wrong.

    Knowing right from wrong comes from knowing the difference between good and evil.

    Knowing good from evil comes from disobeying God.

    Disobeying God comes from being a free moral agent.

    Being a free moral agent comes from having been created in the image of God.

    Or something like that!
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    13 Dec '08 13:571 edit
    Originally posted by buckky
    The original sin thing seem's all wrong to me. The guilt I feel about numerous things has to do with things I should feel guilt about. If I felt no sense of guilt over the negative, wrong things I've done in my life, I would be an ego maniac. Never feeling guilt is a sign of thinking to highly of yourself, and not seeing the wrong in your life. What Adam and ...[text shortened]... very little todo with me other than I guess we were both hopelessly human and feel from grace.
    Do you know about the blood of Jesus?

    Do you know how it has the power to free you from guilt and actually make it so as if you had never sinned ?

    God does not want you to go around feeling guilty. That is one of the reason's why Jesus Christ came to us.

    Christ wants to free you from the guilt of sin and from the power of sin.
  4. Hmmm . . .
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    14 Dec '08 06:41
    Originally posted by josephw
    Guilt comes from having a conscience.

    Having a conscience comes from knowing right from wrong.

    Knowing right from wrong comes from knowing the difference between good and evil.

    Knowing good from evil comes from disobeying God.

    Disobeying God comes from being a free moral agent.

    Being a free moral agent comes from having been created in the image of God.

    Or something like that!
    Let me see if I can work from this in the other direction:
    (1) I don’t think that one can properly speak of moral agency before one can tell right from wrong, good from bad. Free agency entails the ability to make choices from among options without duress (which does not mean that all decisions do not have consequences). So I don’t think that the first humans in the Eden story can be considered to be free moral agents until after eating the fruit.

    (2) “Disobedience” cannot, then, be considered to have any moral weight at that point: the humans could not have known yet whether obedience/disobedience was good or bad. Quite frankly, since the Hebrew words tov and ra refer to any sense of good and bad—from “bad weather”, to “good day” (yom tov, as a greeting), to “that was a bad (morally wrong) thing to do”—the humans were at that point in a state of innocence where they could hardly assess beforehand the consequences of their actions. They would not have even known that “death” was a “bad” consequence, if they knew what it meant at all.

    (3) Disobedience does not follow as a requirement of free agency. Free agency requires the ability to choose and a choice-set from which to choose. That’s all.

    An interesting feature of this story is that Adam and Eve are faced with a choice before having acquired the moral wherewithal to reasonably assess the possible outcomes (consequences) of that choice. In the context of the human condition, we really only learn such lessons by making choices, and realizing the consequences. Parents attempt to provide ever-widening “safe” conditions in which their children can learn such lessons without disastrous results; eventually, children become adults and are faced with choices on their own recognizance.

    Now, whether God might be considered a good or a bad parent in this case depends on how one reads the story. Perhaps God allowed the humans to be faced with this particular choice-set too early in their development. Perhaps he didn’t count on the trickster-serpent tricking them ( the kind of thing that parents hope against when they first send their children off to school, for instance). One can note that God did not send them out into the world naked, but clothed them (and what wonderful allegories we might draw from that!). Perhaps his recitation of what life will be like in the world ought not to be taken as a pronouncement of punishments, but as a warning of what to expect.

    This story can be read on various levels. One is as a coming-of-age-too-soon tale; of (moral/psychological) children being tricked; of the awful realization—too late!—of what has happened (who of us has not felt that at one time or another?). I cannot believe that God did not want the children to ever become adults (what kind of God/parent would that be?), nor to forever be faced with choices (as free agents) without the mental preparation to be able to assess consequences. At some point, the children are expected to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and bad; the tragedy may be that they had the choice foisted on them (by the wily trickster) too soon.

    [One reading, based on a phonetic word-play (a pun) in the Hebrew suggests that God did not clothe them in garments of skin, but in garments of light—the words in Hebrew are homonyms that sound alike when spoken (read) aloud. The light of consciousness? A ray of redemptive hope? Of the possibility of enlightenment? The Torah is full of hints and allusions that each reader must unpack for him/herself.]

    Within the context of the story itself, I do not think that the first humans in the story can be judged as anything but absolutely innocent prior to having eaten the fruit. I do not see moral condemnation as being any part of it (except for the serpent, of course). The innocence of God also depends on how one reads the story. I see it as a story rich with existential poignancy all around.

    [And I wonder what hints and allusions there are in the fact that the serpent was permitted in the garden to begin with…]
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    15 Dec '08 17:13
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Let me see if I can work from this in the other direction:
    (1) I don’t think that one can properly speak of moral agency before one can tell right from wrong, good from bad. Free agency entails the ability to make choices from among options without duress (which does not mean that all decisions do not have consequences). So I don’t think that the ...[text shortened]... and allusions there are in the fact that the serpent was permitted in the garden to begin with…]
    "An interesting feature of this story is that Adam and Eve are faced with a choice before having acquired the moral wherewithal to reasonably assess the possible outcomes (consequences) of that choice."

    There was no moral wherewithal necessary. Adam and Eve knew the consequences in advance because God had warned them.

    I wish I had the time and energy to reply more fully, but I used it all up reading your post. 😉
  6. Hmmm . . .
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    15 Dec '08 23:40
    Originally posted by josephw
    [b]"An interesting feature of this story is that Adam and Eve are faced with a choice before having acquired the moral wherewithal to reasonably assess the possible outcomes (consequences) of that choice."

    There was no moral wherewithal necessary. Adam and Eve knew the consequences in advance because God had warned them.

    I wish I had the time and energy to reply more fully, but I used it all up reading your post. 😉[/b]
    I perhaps should not have said “moral” in that sentence, but just “wherewithal”.

    The Hebrew words tov (good) and ra (bad) are not strictly moral terms, as I pointed out. So, if I say, “This will be good” or “That will be bad”—if you have no concept of what good and bad mean (with regard to morals, weather, odors, whatever), then you cannot know what I mean.

    How could they have known what “death” meant? How could they have known if that was a “bad” thing (having, as yet, no concept at all of good and bad)?

    No, I don’t think it can be said that they had the mental wherewithal to be able to understand either the consequence given in the warning, nor any concept of “good” or “bad” consequences at all.
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    17 Dec '08 19:51
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I perhaps should not have said “moral” in that sentence, but just “wherewithal”.

    The Hebrew words tov (good) and ra (bad) are not strictly moral terms, as I pointed out. So, if I say, “This will be good” or “That will be bad”—if you have no concept of what good and bad mean (with regard to morals, weather, odors, whatever), then you cannot ...[text shortened]... er the consequence given in the warning, nor any concept of “good” or “bad” consequences at all.
    "How could they have known what “death” meant? How could they have known if that was a “bad” thing (having, as yet, no concept at all of good and bad)?"

    You know, at first glance I would have to agree with this assessment, but I'm not sure that this is the case.

    Adam was, according to the story, without sin, and in a state of innocents as far as his acquaintance with sin is concerned, but that doesn't necessitate that Adam lacked the intelligence to understand exactly what God was talking about when He said "you will surely die".
  8. Donationkirksey957
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    17 Dec '08 20:42
    Originally posted by josephw
    [b]"How could they have known what “death” meant? How could they have known if that was a “bad” thing (having, as yet, no concept at all of good and bad)?"

    You know, at first glance I would have to agree with this assessment, but I'm not sure that this is the case.

    Adam was, according to the story, without sin, and in a state of innocents as far as ...[text shortened]... gence to understand exactly what God was talking about when He said "you will surely die".[/b]
    Do you think any thing good may have come from the "fall"? Let me just venture an opinion. The curse of having to work or till the ground, I would argue was not a curse, but a gift. It provided man something to do that was productive and it gave him a more realistic view of creation- that is, he would have to participate with it instead of being the taker of it.
  9. Hmmm . . .
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    17 Dec '08 21:09
    Originally posted by josephw
    [b]"How could they have known what “death” meant? How could they have known if that was a “bad” thing (having, as yet, no concept at all of good and bad)?"

    You know, at first glance I would have to agree with this assessment, but I'm not sure that this is the case.

    Adam was, according to the story, without sin, and in a state of innocents as far as ...[text shortened]... gence to understand exactly what God was talking about when He said "you will surely die".[/b]
    You could, of course, be right. Part of the richness of this story is that it can be read in so many different ways. Had Adam and Eve witnessed death (of plants and animals) in the garden, for example? I suspect that we are supposed to see them on at least the threshold of what we sometimes call “the age of reason” (not that chronological age is necessarily of any relevance to the story).

    I keep harping on the fact that tov and ra do not strictly (or even principally)refer to moral good and bad. (Even the English word “evil” did not carry its modern connotation of moral wickedness when the KJV was translated; people would then refer to “an evil smell”, for instance, meaning just that something stank.)

    But I just came across another take on tov and ra—in Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary, the version used by Conservative Judaism (based on the JPS translation). I am almost embarrassed that I had never thought of it before, since I have seen other such euphemisms (which apparently didn’t register). The commentary says—

    “Most likely, ‘good and bad’ is a phrase that means ‘everything,’ implying a mature perception of reality. Thus ‘knowledge of good and bad’ is to be understood as the capacity to make individual judgments concerning human welfare.”

    Now, I don’t think that can be taken to imply omniscience, just a fully mature capacity for discernment and understanding. That explains why I often see the full phrase “the tree of knowledge of good and bad” (etz ha da’at tov v’ra) simply truncated to “the tree of knowledge”—the tree of the ability to know things conceptually.

    And, although I am sure that such a reading is perfectly “good” ( 😉 ), I don’t think it really goes deep enough…

    In any event, such a reading can support either your position—in terms of a developing maturity of discernment and understanding, such that they might have understood what death was, and perhaps had at least an inkling that it might be something unpleasant; even if they didn’t have a full understanding—or, it can support mine—in terms of questioning whether they had sufficient capacity for discernment and understanding.
  10. Standard memberblack beetle
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    18 Dec '08 05:13
    Originally posted by vistesd
    You could, of course, be right. Part of the richness of this story is that it can be read in so many different ways. Had Adam and Eve witnessed death (of plants and animals) in the garden, for example? I suspect that we are supposed to see them on at least the threshold of what we sometimes call “the age of reason” (not that chronological age is necessa ...[text shortened]... —in terms of questioning whether they had sufficient capacity for discernment and understanding.
    Edit:
    And, although I am sure that such a reading is perfectly “good” ( ), I don’t think it really goes deep enough…


    And how "deep" a phrase can go? And which direction? And what is this "depth"? Is it a part of you or It exists on its own?

    😵
  11. weedhopper
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    18 Dec '08 05:17
    Many of us have a problem with the idea of original sin. God even said that we aren't responsible for the sins of our fathers. Yet it is assumed that because one man (admittedly one created perfectly) failed the Eden test, all others would fare no better. It is indeed a puzzle.
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    18 Dec '08 16:16
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    Do you think any thing good may have come from the "fall"? Let me just venture an opinion. The curse of having to work or till the ground, I would argue was not a curse, but a gift. It provided man something to do that was productive and it gave him a more realistic view of creation- that is, he would have to participate with it instead of being the taker of it.
    I've heard it taught that the fact that we must earn our keep by the sweat of our brow is indeed a gift in that it means we have a greater appreciation for God's mercy. It would have been horrible to live in a garden where all of our needs would be met, with unrestricted access to the tree of life, and live forever in sin seperated from God.

    I believe that when God told Adam to "subdue" the earth, it didn't mean that he should squander it, but be the caretaker of creation.

    The curse is for our good. Everything God does is for our good. Even when we don't think so.
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    18 Dec '08 17:20
    Originally posted by vistesd
    You could, of course, be right. Part of the richness of this story is that it can be read in so many different ways. Had Adam and Eve witnessed death (of plants and animals) in the garden, for example? I suspect that we are supposed to see them on at least the threshold of what we sometimes call “the age of reason” (not that chronological age is necessa ...[text shortened]... —in terms of questioning whether they had sufficient capacity for discernment and understanding.
    Is it possible to not see the forest from the trees?

    The Genesis account of the origin of all that exists is by far the most sublime and poetic to be found. I believe that by reading it in faith one is blessed with spiritual insight not revealed by just the letter.

    Nobody was there except God. A simple reading of the content of Genesis without abstract conjecture about possible meanings will produce rewards not otherwise attainable.

    Don't get me wrong. I've nothing against an intellectual and scholarly approach to all this, and the Lord knows I'm not the brightest light, but I believe God has something to say that a child can comprehend.

    So it is with child-like-faith that the original intent and meaning of even the deepest truths of the Bible are understood. In a way, faith can be frightening to an adult since it requires only trust in unknown qualities.
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