Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Did Jesus Really Achieve Anything?

The question raised in the title of this post is requires no answer, at least for me. I know what Jesus achieved. He achieved salvation for you and me, and changed history in the process.

So let me rephrase the question to accurately lay out what I am trying to say here:

"Did Jesus Really Achieve Anything in Light of what Traditional Christianity says about Him?"

I have been thinking about this question for a long time, and it still remains a topic of personal research. This morning I had the opportunity of listening to "evangelists" from Korea on the topic "Christ the Savior". Much can be said about the merits and demerits (mostly demerits) of their sermon, for they were representing a famous but controversial denomination in Korea. 

But they made one claim that really stuck in my head. This is something that I have heard from dozens of preachers, and something that I also used to preach. They said, because Jesus was born of a virgin, he remained sinless, and hence, He could give his life as a sacrifice for our sins. 

In other words, if Jesus was not born of a virgin but rather was born of both father and mother, he would be sinful like the rest of us. 

Traditional Christianity teaches the doctrine of "Original Sin". Now the the exact meaning of this theological term varies among different Christian groups, but one of most popular interpretations of this doctrine is that babies are not born pure, but tainted with a sinful nature that originally proceeded from Adam. 

But is this really true? And most importantly, does the Bible teach this?

I am yet to find a satisfactory answer to this. For what I know, the Bible teaches that there is an age of accountability (Isaiah 7: 15-16-implying the purity of a child) and also that infants who die go to heaven (2 Samuel 12:23, Luke 18:15-16).

Where is the text that teaches that sin or the sinful nature is inherited? I haven't found one, but I am open to correction. Some people point to Psalm 51:5, but that talks about a mother bearing a child in sin. If that is to be taken literally, then Jesus was also born with sin because he was born of a woman.

The deeper question is, did Jesus, the Divine Logos need the Virgin Birth to be free from sin? Consider the fact that Mark and John, though implying the virgin birth, do not record it. If it is so important to the Gospel story, they should have explicitly mentioned it. The same goes for Paul, and other writers of the New Testament. See this link for more information.

If Jesus was born free from sin and without a sin nature, wasn't it arrogant of him to claim perfection (John 8:41)? And what was the point of His temptation?

If Jesus achieved salvation for the world by prearranging immunity from sin, ask yourself, did He really achieve anything? And is it fair for God to expect me to be like Jesus? These questions need to be answered. 

As of now, I am quite skeptical of the traditional theology associated with man's sinfulness and Christ's humanity. And the fact that humanity shares in Adam's sin seems more of an Islamic concept than a Christian one (see Sura 2:38). In fact, Muslim friends should also think about what Jesus really achieved in light of traditional Islamic teachings.