FANDOM


Sin Edit

Every culture has had a way of speaking about "that which separates" — those attitudes and actions that alienate us from Reality, from one another, and from ourselves. In our culture, these attitudes and actions have traditionally been referred to as "sin."

---

Sin is nothing that can be "believed in" or "not believed in." It simply is. What we call "sin" is an integral part of the human experience.

---

Compost happens; thank God!

---

A fundamental truth that previous generations could not have known is that reality is composed of nested "holons" — creative wholes that are part of larger creative wholes that are part of still larger wholes, like nesting dolls — subatomic particles within atoms within molecules within organisms within planets, and so forth. Everything is simultaneously a whole and a part — a holon. "God" is a sacred name for that Ultimate Creativity or Infinite Whole having no other whole of which it is part. "God" is a proper name for that all-embracing Reality which includes, yet transcends, every other level of reality.

---

Another truth about the nature of reality that was first noticed a century ago but has only recently begun to be widely accepted as factual is that there is a direction to divine/cosmic creativity. The Universe, expanding within the heart of Mystery (God), is becoming more complex, self-aware, and compassionate over time. An arrow of progress has been moving through Creation since the beginning — albeit slowly for much of history and not without chaos and setbacks which, in fact, are major drivers of transformation. We can relate to this directional process as Creation itself maturing, as expressing greater cooperation, interdependence, and awareness at ever-increasing scale and evolvability. Humanity and our supportive technologies are now integral to this process.

---

As our understanding of Reality expands and evolves, so, too, naturally and inevitably, will our understanding of sin. Once identified (in oral cultures) as the breaking of taboos within the context of one's tribe, in literate cultures sin came to be seen as violation of sacred, written "laws of God." In secular America today, while the word "sin" is not much used (at least not in public discourse), right and wrong is generally thought of in terms of what is legal or not, though most of us feel in our gut that a purely legal interpretation is far too narrow and problematic.

---

Given these two great post-biblical revelations: 1) Creation is nestedly creative, and 2) evolution has a direction, sin can now be understood in a simple and compelling way that honors and embraces, yet transcends, earlier interpretations.

---

Every generation must reinterpret the core elements of religious faith in light of the inner and outer realities of its time. For the 21st century (keeping in mind the analogy of nesting dolls)...

Sin can best be understood as "pursuing our self-interest at the expense of the wellbeing (the self-interest) of the larger or smaller holons of our existence."

When we attempt to fulfill our personal desires at the expense of the larger realities of which we are part — our community, work environment, society, bioregion, or the body of life — we sin.

When we attempt to fulfill our personal desires at the expense of the dependent realities for which we are responsible — our children, employees, neighborhood, or our own physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing — we also sin.

And if "God" cannot possibly be less than a sacred name for "The Whole of Reality, immanent and transcendent", then to sin in any of these ways is, truly, to sin against God.

---

What is the opposite of sin? Being on-purpose: pursuing your great work, your calling, your destiny. What comes naturally from following the guidance of your heart in this direction? Shalom — the peace that passes all understanding — and renewed passion for life, knowing that you are leaving a positive legacy.

---

Maturity (salvation/enlightenment) is found, at least in part, in truly getting that my REAL self-interest (as opposed to my perceived self-interest) is served only by taking into account the wellbeing of the larger holons of which I am part and the smaller holons for which I am responsible. In other words, it's being on-purpose. Co-creating win-win, lose-lose environments at all levels of society is not some New Age approach to management; it is our destiny as a species.

---

God's will for us individually, today, is essentially what Jesus said it was two thousand years ago: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor (including your enemy) as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Translated into modern-day speech: "Love the whole of Reality (immanent and transcendent) passionately, with everything you've got, and know that by pursuing the wellbeing of the larger and smaller holons of your existence, you are not only furthering your own wellbeing, you are fulfilling the Law and ushering in the Kingdom!"

---

"Sin is the refusal to realize one's radical interdependence with all that lives: it is the desire to set oneself apart from all others as not needing them or being needed by them. Sin is the refusal to be the eyes, the consciousness, of the Cosmos." — Sallie McFague

---

"Sin is cosmic treason." — R.C. Sproul

---

From an evolutionary perspective, "the fall" of Adam and Eve carries a profound meaning: Something in our evolutionary history caused us as human animals to lose the direct and immediate guidance of The Whole that all other animals are born into. Was this juncture the advent of symbolic language? or perhaps an inherently inadaquate sense of right and wrong? In this way Genesis can be seen as eternally true (true for everyone, everywhere, at all times), without being literal history, and without our having to agree on any one causal interpretation.

---

Our religious story of humanity's fall into sin also reminds us that, as cultural conditions change, the instinctual and behavioral urges that once served us and our communities may begin to play out in ways that are no longer benign. In a context of artifacts and possessions, the sins of envy and greed are born. When the complexities of culture require children to be given many years of nurturance and education (hence, the foundation of family), the sins of adultery and lust are born. When wealth can be accumulated and inherited, the sins of laziness and pride are born.

---

From an evolutionary perspective, the concept of "original sin" points, among other things, to the fact that none of us asked to have inner drives and urges that may have helped our ancient ancestors survive and reproduce, yet, if followed indiscriminately today, can damage us and our loved ones. Who among us chooses to feel the pull of sugar, fat, caffeine, or other addictive foods and substances? Who among us asks to feel anger that festers and wounds, or envy that consumes our goodness and better judgment? Who among us wishes to feel resentment and an overpowering urge to retaliate or seek revenge? Who among us decided that what we really want is to feel the allure of sexual temptation, power, status, greed, and to pursue a degree of self-centeredness that not only hurts others but diminishes our core character?


These inner motivating forces may have gotten us where we are (that is, they may have served our ancestors well in their need to survive and pass on their genes), but they will not usher us into the Kingdom of Heaven. They will not give us deep peace. Nor will they allow us to further evolution's arrow in the direction of greater cooperation, interdependence, and awareness of The Whole (God) at increasing scale and evolvability. These drives and urges were given to us, unbidden, by the evolutionary process itself, and they must be transcended or transformed if we are to fulfill our destiny, individually and collectively. How? That's what the gospel is all about! Faith in God (trusting the Whole), thinking and acting like Christ, and being on-purpose are the keys.

---

Sin, like bad news, sells papers. Thus, the church has invested heavily in telling us not to sin. Unfortunately, however, such teaching against the negative, rather than reinforcing the positive, is often counterproductive, at best. What if the church,, instead, focused more on teaching people how to listen to the divine wisdom of their heart and make choices accordingly? Might "the second coming of Christ" be found in this direction?

---

We assume separation, when we could be tasting the sweetness of heaven. Perhaps each of us commits our own "original sin" by assuming we live in the suburbs of Eden instead of in the heart of the garden.

---

Sin is not merely an individual matter. Corporate sin includes social injustice, corporate crime, collective violence, institutional corruption, and all pursuits of group self-interest that damage, destroy, or diminish the integrity and wellbeing of the larger holons of which the group is part or the smaller holons of which it is composed and for which it is responsible.

---

The recognition of sin is the beginning of salvation.

Resources Edit

"Let's Stop Trivializing God, the Universe, and Our Role in Evolution!" - foundational essay

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.