The Tangled Web of Christianity

06/09/2014

Christianity has always been a puzzle to me. After all, how did a bunch of Jewish zealots produce arguably the greatest religion ever known?

The origins of Christianity are a tangled web of conflicting beliefs. During its formation (the 350 year period after Jesus), the church fathers, certain influential church bishops and different Christian groups, including Arianism, put forth their ideas for the new religion resulting in diverse interpretations of Christian beliefs. Out of all the confusion finally arose the Catholic Church with its Roman imperial theology which ruled the day and defined what Christians were, and were not, to believe in. Eventually, Christianity would splinter into the Orthodox Church and into Protestantism (through the Reformation) and the Protestant movement would further splinter into a myriad of different denominations and beliefs.

The roots of Christianity, however, go back much further – arguably to the Garden of Eden. The core tenet of Christianity is salvation through Christ and this presupposes the concept of Original Sin (otherwise, if a person was not born in sin, they might not need to be saved) and this in turn is based on the story of Adam and Eve and the Fall of Man. The problem is that the interpretation by Christianity of the Genesis story runs counter to Jewish custom, tradition and religious belief.

This tangled web has its roots in Judaism, as the Genesis story is part of the Jewish Bible (i.e. Old Testament). The Jewish Bible, of course, was written by Jews, about Jews and for Jews. It was never intended for Gentiles. It was never meant to be transformed from a story that is allegorical in nature to one that is supposed to be taken literally. As Origen of Alexandria (the first theologian of Christianity) said about the Genesis story, “For who that has understanding will suppose that the first, and second, and third day, and the evening and the morning, existed without a sun, and moon, and stars? And that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? And who is so foolish as to suppose that God, after the manner of a husbandman, planted a paradise in Eden, towards the east, and placed in it a tree of life, visible and palpable, so that one tasting of the fruit by the bodily teeth obtained life? And again, that one was a partaker of good and evil by masticating what was taken from the tree? And if God is said to walk in the paradise in the evening, and Adam to hide himself under a tree, I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance, and not literally (emphasis mine).”

The Jewish Bible/ Old Testament is not about salvation, but rather is about the Law (the Torah). As Jesus himself said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18). Yet, how many Christians today believe in and obey the Torah. None, of course. However as the Dead Sea Scrolls make clear, the disciples observed the Torah – because they, like Jesus, were Jewish. Therefore, they did not believe in Original Sin (as Judaism did not recognize it); besides Saint Augustine (354-430 A.D.) was the first theologian to teach the concept.

Among the great minds of ancient times, Philo of Alexandria and Saint Augustine did not believe in the literal interpretation of the creation story either. Further, Paul in Galatians 4:21-31 refers to the Genesis story about the sons of Abraham as an allegory. So even the New Testament views that the Old Testament was, at least in part, allegorical (i.e. not the literal Word of God). Surprisingly, there is a diversity of opinion on Original Sin even within Christianity, with some Christian churches accepting the concept and others not. The Vatican, for its part, recently announced that aliens may be real and, if so, may be free from Original Sin!

So if the Genesis story is allegorical, then the concept of Original Sin is just that – a concept, based on a much later interpretation of scripture (Jewish scripture at that). Without the premise of Original Sin, there would be then be no need for a messiah like Jesus. Besides, Moses said, in effect, that a messiah was not necessary as man can and must merit his own salvation (see Deuteronomy 30:11-20). If Moses believed that, why would anyone want to change it? …unless….

Epilogue

“… and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth….” (Genesis 8:21). According to Genesis 8:21 then, man was not born evil, he became evil during his life.

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23 Responses to “The Tangled Web of Christianity”

  1. That’s interesting, but Paul definitely believed that no one does good, that everyone is dead in trespasses and sin, before being born of the Spirit.

    Romans 3:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

    :11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

    :12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

    Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

    The New Testament makes it very clear that no one accepts Yeshua the Messiah by freewill, the reason why no one can accept the Messiah by freewill is because everyone is born with sinful flesh, in other words, everyone is dead in trespasses in sins until God persuades someone to believe Yeshua is the Messiah and then after that, God willing, God will baptize the person in the Holy Spirit, after the person is baptized in the Holy Spirit, the person will no longer practice sin and that makes the person a new creation. Only the new creation can obey God, because it is the Holy Spirit that makes someone obey God.

    Obey God = no longer practicing sin –

    that is what the New Testament teaches, unfortunately there are a lot of people that claim to be Christian that do not speak that truth, those people are not the church of Yeshua the Messiah, the church that the New Testament letters were written to is the church of Yeshua the Messiah.

    The bible does not support the teaching that says, “God gave man freewill”

    Proverbs 16:9 The mind of man plans his way, but God determines his steps.

    • chicagoja said

      Actually, it’s only your interpretation of what the New Testament teaches, which writings (with the exception of Paul’s letters) were penned by unknown authors. As for all of your biblical quotes, I assume that you take the scriptures literally, at least in many cases and at least in terms of your interpretation of them. Why should anyone believe your interpretation anyway? What special knowledge do you have that no one else has and how did you obtain that knowledge? Paul had a vision. So what. Do you believe him. Why? Mohammed had a vision too. Do you believe him? How about Joseph Smith (being visited by angels)? When discussing God, one has to have moral authority otherwise who would believe him. That’s why ministers frequently start their sermons with, “And last night God talked to me” even though it never happened. So where’s the moral authority for your message? If you have one, I’m very interested to hear it.

      • I agree with what God had Paul write, therefore I am in agreement with Paul, I am born of the Spirit, just as Paul was born of the Spirit, therefore I am speaking the same thing that God had Paul speak, no one led by the Holy Spirit would ever deny what God had Paul write

      • That’s cool, I don’t expect anyone that is not Christian to accept what God had Paul write

      • chicagoja said

        Who said that I wasn’t Christian?

      • A Christian is someone that no longer practices sin that believes Yeshua is the Messiah, a Christian would never deny what the New Testament says.

        1 John Whosoever believes Yeshua is the Messiah is born of God.

        1 John 3:9 No one born of God practices sin.

      • chicagoja said

        That’s your definition of a Christian. By the way, the Book of John wasn’t written by John (or any of the other apostles for that matter) so what’s your basis for quoting it?

      • That’s not my definition of what a Christian is, it’s God’s definition,The bible is a Christan book, it says what a Christian is, anyone that claims to be Christian that denies the truth that is in the bible is not Christian, if the bible did not exist then anyone can claim to be Christian, but thankfully the bible does exist so that those who are Christian can see when someone is not who they say they are, there are many people in the world today that claim to be Christian that do not speak the truth that is in the bible, those people are not Christian

        My basis for quoting the book of John is, is to share the truth, those verses that i shared are the truth, those verses make it very clear who a Christian is

      • chicagoja said

        Well said. Unfortunately, you don’t know that it’s the truth. All you know is what somebody told you that it was the truth and therefore you accepted it as the truth.
        It’s fine to say that it’s my belief that it’s the truth but it’s not okay to claim that you know the truth. As for the Book of John, there is no proof that the truth is contained therein.

      • I don’t go by what man says, no one taught me the truth, God showed me the truth, the Holy Spirit that dwells in me is my teacher not man, just as 1 John 2:26-27 says

        1 Jn 2:26-27 These things have I written unto you concerning them that deceive you. But the anointing [the Holy Spirit] which ye have received of him abideth in you, & you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, & is truth, & is no lie

      • chicagoja said

        So you don’t belong to a church?

      • I belong to the church of Yeshua the Messiah, that’s the Christian church that is written about in the New Testament, that’s the only Christian church, that church are the people that no longer practice sin that believe Yeshua is the Messiah,

        even though I don’t believe the English bible in 100% true, that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe there isn’t truth in the bible, the truth is found in the Hebrew and Greek,

        if the English translation agrees with the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament then it is the truth,

        I don’t worship the bible as many that claim to be Christian do, I use the bible to know when someone that claims to Christian is speaking the truth or not, if their words don’t agree with what the bible says, I know that they are not speaking the truth that God had the Apostles teach and I turn away from them, just as the New Testament says for the church to do

      • chicagoja said

        Do your belief systems and your church belief systems differ? By the way, if the English translation agrees with the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament, that doesn’t make it the truth. It simply means that you believe it to be the truth. Even early church father Origen, among other early Christian theologians, realized that the Bible contains many stories that cannot be verified. For example, who was there and heard God say, “Let there be light?”

      • I’m Christian, therefore my beliefs agree with what God had the Apostles teach, my beliefs are no different than what is written in the New Testament,

        it is not surprising that “many” people that claim to be Christian do not agree with what the bible says, because in the New Testament the Messiah said that there will be “many” that believe he is the Messiah that he will deny, and the Messiah said that a “few” find the road that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-23)

        The bible was not written to the world, it was written to the church, Matthew 7:13-23 is not talking about the world, it is talking about those that claim to be Christian that are not born of the Spirit.

        The bible is a book that shows those who are born of the Spirit who is truly from God and who is not, for example, there are many that claim to be Christian that say, everyone is tempted by a fallen angel, but James 1:14 does not say that, James 1:14 says, everyone is tempted by their own desires, that means that the devil that tempted the Messiah wasn’t a fallen angel, the devil was the Messiah’s own desires that came from the flesh.

        Now if someone claims to be Christian and says something that does not agree with what the bible says, then that person is not speaking the truth

        If I tell I’m Christian, and I say something that does not agree with what the bible says, would you believe that I am Christian? I sure hope not, anyone that claims to be Christian that says something that does not agree with what the bible says, is not led by the Spirit. Those who are not led by the Spirit are either deceived (like I was) or they are not born of the Spirit.

        The New Testament makes it very clear that those who are not led by the Spirit are not born of God.

        Like I said, I do not follow the teaching of man, I’m born of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit is my teacher, not man, if someone speaks the truth I accept it and if someone speaks false, I reject it, the Holy Spirit is the one that guides me into all the truth (John 16:13), not man.

      • chicagoja said

        Of course, there’s no proof that God had any interaction with the apostles or in any way inspired the Bible to be written. If a person has faith that he did that is one thing, but there is no proof. As for the New Testament, there is no proof that Matthew, Mark, Luke or John wrote any of it. In fact scholars and theologians pretty much agree that they don’t know who wrote the New Testament, but that it certainly wasn’t the apostles. Just because the English translation might agree with the Hebrew Old Testament, doesn’t make it true. After all, the Hebrew Old Testament could be wrong. For example, the Hebrew Old Testament may not be the original writing of the Old Testament; or, God may have told a prophet what to write but he got it wrong because he didn’t understand the message. It would be sort of like the disciples who didn’t understand the teachings of Jesus (according to the New Testament). Your message is an old message that basically states that “last night God talked to me” and therefore what you’re saying is true. Well, Mohammed and Joseph Smith said the same thing and yet they don’t agree with your beliefs, do they? Apparently (in your mind), only you and your church speak the truth. You see I know these things because I too talk to God and, based on what He told me, I can’t agree with your statements.

  2. To be honest, I am not concerned about who wrote the bible, all I am concerned with is knowing the truth that is in the bible, I’m tired of false teaching, unless it’s the truth, then I don’t care what any of the so-called early church fathers believed, if their belief does not agree with the truth that is written in the bible, then what they believed means nothing to me.

    The majority of people that claim to be Christian believe Christ is God, that belief is false, 2 Cor. 5:19 makes it very clear the God was in Christ, therefore John 1:1 and any other verse that people use to say Christ is God is not truly saying Christ is God.

    The bible does not contradict itself, man is the one that causes the contradiction, Christ was a man that was born of the Holy Spirit, that is what made Christ and God one, and the Holy Spirit makes those who are born of the Spirit ,one with God, just as Christ was one with God, that’s the truth that is in the New Testament.

    • chicagoja said

      Of course, it’s absolutely essential to know who wrote the Bible. It’s a critical element in determining the truthfulness of any writing. Who is the arbiter of truth anyway? You? The Church of Yahweh? By the way, the Bible contradicts itself in many places.

      • The arbitrator of truth is the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), those who are not born of the Spirit cannot understand the bible, I cannot speak the truth that is in the bible without the Holy Spirit, the reason why there is so much false teaching about the bible is because the false teacher is not led by the Spirit.

        I don’t need to know who wrote the bible to know the truth that is in the bible, what I speak agrees with the truth that is in the bible, without the Holy Spirit, I cannot know the truth.

      • chicagoja said

        How do you know that you’re born of the Holy Spirit?

      • I know that I am born of the Holy Spirit because I don’t practice sin, God has led me into temptation and protected me from the flesh that makes me want to sin, without the Holy Spirit I would definitely practice sin and I definitely would not be able to stop practicing sin if I was not born of the Holy Spirit.

      • chicagoja said

        I don’t practice sin: That’s your opinion and a very subjective one at that.
        People who don’t practice sin are born of the Holy Spirit: Again, that’s your opinion, not a fact.
        The end result is that you interpret the Bible as if you, and only you, know the Truth – and as if the truth is even in the Bible.
        That kind of circular reasoning is why people today are so intolerant of one another.
        Good luck with your beliefs. According to what God told me, your probably going to need it.

  3. If I speak something that does not agree with the truth that is written in the bible, then I speak false, the way that you know that I am Christian is, the words that I speak are in agreement with the bible,

    for example if I tell you that satan creates evil, I would be speaking false, because Isaiah 45:7 makes it very clear that God creates evil, & Job 42:11 makes it very clear that God killed Job’s family,

    the truth is, God creates evil and God makes evil happen, God makes everything happen, that’s what the bible says. Now I don’t need to know who wrote that, to believe that truth, all I need to know is that truth so that I will not be deceived by those who claim to be Christian that that say, “satan creates evil”.

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