Rethinking Christianity

What is Sin….Really?

In the Gospel of Mary, Jesus explains what sin is. The scripture reads:

Peter said to him, since you have explained everything to us, tell us this also: What is the sin of the world? 26) The Savior said there is no sin, but it is you who make sin when you do the things that are like the nature of adultery, which is called sin. 27) That is why the Good came into your midst, to the essence of every nature in order to restore it to its root. 28) Then He continued and said, that is why you become sick and die, for you are deprived of the one who can heal you. 29) He who has a mind to understand, let him understand.

English: Gospel of Mary, discovered in 1896. P...

English: Gospel of Mary, discovered in 1896. P. Oxyrhynchus L 3525, Papyrology Room, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What? There is no sin except doing that which is like the nature of adultery? What can that possibly mean?

When I was practicing the Christian religion I was made aware that sins are numerous. Commonly agreed upon are the sins to avoid per the Ten Commandments, but save that, Christian denominations vary widely on what constitutes sin, from card playing to wardrobe and all manner of indiscretions in between. Some Christians even think that wearing wire rimmed glasses is a sin. Surely, if God wanted us to avoid sin he would not have made it so complicated. Then I realized that he didn’t make it complicated at all….he who has a mind to understand, let him understand.

The most common Hebrew word translated as “sin” in the bible is the word chata’ah, which denotes to inadvertently be in error or make a mistake.  Another Hebrew word translated is pesha, which represents a deliberate act of rebellion or defiance, and is often translated as “transgression.” The other Hebrew word is avon which conveys perversion, distortion, and evil intent. Avon is often translated as “inequity” in the bible. The Greek words translating to sin in the bible are hamartia and hamartano which mean to be without a share, miss the mark, err, be mistaken, possess a tragic flaw, wander from the path, or violate God’s law.

Sin is a trespass against God’s will. Jesus stated succinctly what the will of God is when he said that all of the law and all of the prophets were summed up in two commandments: Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.

I have stated the following in previous posts, but I think it is worth repeating again. The main religions, from Judaism to Taoism, all have at the core of their beliefs the same commandment that Jesus taught– regard others as you regard yourself. It seems to me that if God has a will for mankind, he has made it known in this central tenet common to most religions.

In the scripture from the Gospel of Mary quoted at the top of the post, Jesus conditioned his statement that there is no sin, with the words, “but it is you who make sin when you do the things that are like the nature of adultery.”

What is the nature of adultery?

The nature or characteristics of adultery are those of temptation, infidelity, impurity, betrayal, disloyalty, treachery, faithlessness, deceitful and being disingenuine and inauthentic in a vowed union.  When used in a sexual connotation it describes the betrayal of the marital bond of oneness, defiling the joining of two bodies as one. But in spiritual terms, it describes the betrayal of the union of the soul and the Source, a willful separation of the spiritual oneness of the Source and the “I Am” essence within. It pollutes the purity of the divine status of unity which is the requirement for the soul existing in a material plane to remain bonded with the Source. The “I Am” essence within is the one spirit of God, entwined within each being and unified in the All. To corrupt the unity of intertwined souls is to break the bond with the Source; or to desire anything more than the faithful union with God constitutes spiritual adultery, and the act of sin.

The “Seven Deadly Sins” of greed, gluttony, sloth, pride, envy, lust and wrath are well known in the Christian culture. But they are not “the” sin; they are the consequences of sin, which is the failure to love. We miss the mark (err) and deliberately rebel (transgress) and manipulate or perverse the will of God (create our inequities) when we choose not to follow the one commandment to love others as we do ourselves, or more specifically when we fail to maintain the interwoven souls of our brothers and ourselves in the All of God. The only true sin is to not love, but the ramifications of this failure are great and many.

The Apostle Paul most eloquently defines the state of love:

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

If the soul abides in the state of love, the consequences of sin do not manifest. Our fall from grace is to forsake abiding in the conditions of love. This is our great sin, not being the inherently inferior descendent of a man who ate an apple.


17 thoughts on “What is Sin….Really?

  1. I read once about holiness and it changed my perception of sin. God is holy and he existed before everything else, eve sin, so holiness can not be the absence of sin. Holiness has to be defined by something other than sin. Holiness is right relationship. God as the trinity was in perfect relationship with himself before anything else existed. Thus sin is anything that damages our relationships with others, with ourselves, and ultimately with God. Love is the thing that makes, keeps and repairs relationships.

    Thus love covers a multitude of sins.

    Also, I loved your last line. Great stuff.

  2. Good post! I particularly like the phrase: “the betrayal of the union of the soul and the Source.” That pretty much sums it up. I think that is what was meant by the “sin against the holy spirit” – considered the only irredeemable sin.

    • Your comment makes sense to me. I used to be terrified of the “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” because no body seemed to really understand what it meant, and whatever it was, it was unforgiveable. But if I think of it in the context you have suggested, it suddenly makes sense. If the union between the soul and source ceases to exist there remains nothing to forgive.

  3. Universality…. I’m noticing a lot of people are attracted to this (I assume a bit of what youre talking about when you mean “the source”) in spirituality these days. Sin certainly makes much more sense in that context. I could never get attached to the core support idea here though as it feels like it draws away from individualism.

    I thought I had a point somewhere in all this hah… Anyways good take on sin though. Legalism aint getting anybody anywhere.

    • I have noticed that people drift from Legalism into liberal progressive Christianity and then some to Universal Unitarian. The idea of Source and unity seems to represent a more New Age approach to me, but I didn’t realize that until after I started finding my way into it. (and I don’t claim myself as a New Ager, but I tend to agree with some of their concepts)
      I think of the spirit essence as what is universally connected while the identification of self is still very individualized. Or, I recognize myself as Ann, but there is an “I Am” spirit within that is not only a part of me, but a part of everyone else. I tend to think of that as the collective or universal consciousness.

      • Where do you get the actual sense of connection though? Surely we are all intrinsically connected by cause and effect, and more intimately than we’d oft cede, but on a level of conscious or soul, I don’t quite understand it. Or in the least dont think I experience it.

      • At odd times and on varying occasions I feel a connection to others which is very intense (as I try to describe in my post: Dead Bird…) Given that I am by nature an aloof personality with little emotional regard for anyone (outside family), when I have these increasingly more frequent episodes of empathy it makes me feel that there is truth in a collective spirit, and that occasionally I am allowed to experience it.

        I hate to admit it about myself, but for the most of my life I have been a snobbishly selfish person. As said in the south, I was someone who would not take the time to piss on someone if they were on fire. I could not be inconvenienced, let alone, burdened with the problems of others. When I went through my briefly committed religious spell I made a failed attempt to be a better person. But only in the last five plus years when I began a different spiritual path did I find it in myself to actually attempt to acknowledge or help others, something I still struggle to commit to more times than not.
        It could be that I woke up and found myself approaching middle age with more years in the rearview mirror than the sight ahead, or I stumbled onto a spiritual meaning that made me a bit of a better person. I choose to think it was the latter.

  4. I remember reading that post. I guess where I get confused is that choice part. It sounded like blaming it on personal development was at least a tenable option, and to me, less presumptuous than an actual spiritual connection of some sort (especially on any universal consciousness level). So why the later? How does that belief get separated from being more than just a gut feeling or an emotionally-rooted ideology? That’s the stuff I haven’t been able to get in the more ?New Age? philosophies which sound similar to the path youre on now.

    • I think that as we humans approach middle age we often have a personality change, a mid life crisis if you will, that results in a negative or positive emotional change that is temporary at least and often permanent. I would be remiss and lacking any sense of rationale if I didn’t acknowledge that my own changing personality could be the result of reaching a point where I am taking stock of my life history as do others. So it is for me a tenable option. And I accept that it could just be a mid life crisis that I am trying to read a spiritual context into.
      But, as I have said the reason I can’t let go of spiritual inclinations is because of those extraordinary experiences that I have had and cannot define with a material explanation. The whole reason I have not abandoned anything supernatural is due to that fact.

      I don’t think spiritual matters can be separated from gut feelings or emotionally rooted ideology when I think about it, because that is what they are. They are spiritual (of the spirit) and not material (of the physical). Even without those experiences I still “feel” spiritual, and not just in a “God” context, but in a sense of experiencing the phenomena of nature, consciousness, magic and mystery. But those experiences keep my skepticism of God off kilter, otherwise my spirituality would be simply enjoying the magic of a miraculous world without a creator source.

      As for new age, I am being honest when I say that I found my way into similar concepts without being influenced by that philosophy. Before someone asked me if I was a New Ager, I had thought of them as phony spirit channels, crystal ball and tarot card readers, la la land extortionists preying on weak and gullible minds. I was quite surprised to find that many of the things that I had started to consider such as unity, collective consciousness, etc were a part of their philosophy as well.
      I resolve the dueling nature of my spiritual/skeptical factions by just being open to possibilities and rolling with the flow, respecting both the skeptic and believer in myself. Truth is elusive and if I “deeply pocket” one ideology as an absolute I am certain never to find it.

      • The strong divide between physical and spiritual never jibed well with me (especially in the sense that one can not discuss or prove the other sufficiently). They both simply seem to be a part of our universe and how it works (if both exist) and can be seen, described, and even demonstrated in personal opinion (or at least I wouldn’t see why not). Still, I understand better what you mean though now. Perhaps even the only prime divide between our thoughts is just that I haven’t had such experiences. As for which, I’m a bit jealous hah.

        By the way, speaking of New Age, there’s a few books that might interest you in said sections of the bookstores. There was one I read previously, “The Self-Aware Universe” which tied in quantum mechanics that was in the least interesting. Admittedly, I think a lot of said crowd uses quantum in a very ad hoc and not accurate way, but it still does free up some possibilities for such a universe. Said book does do this a bit. Unfortunately the writer seems to think and attack the issue as if he is proving it is so (which is off-base in the least and not a successful strategy imo), but again it does provide an interesting framework that could give these ideas better footing.

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