Sin has been a thoroughly contended concept since long before I was born, and, since the major theologians cannot agree, I may be treading where even the angels will not go. Since the genome project assures us that Eve was of darker skin tone, there are no depictions of her that can even come close to accuracy, but hey, I want to discuss the inaccuracy of our perception of sin, anyway.
Calvinism provides a definition of sin as being that of total depravity, a twisting of what is right into something altogether wrong. That kind of nastiness is present in our world, but is not what was meant by the teachings of old. It would seem that the intent was to understand that humans were incomplete, and imature, in the sense that mistakes are more easily made than correct moves in the dance of life. Hence, humans are born with intelligence, the ability to learn how to “dance”.
When one looks at the average individual in our world, this, indeed fits far better than the
idea of depravity. The issue then, in the Tanakh was that G-d was perfect, complete, and therefore man needed a buffer between himself and G-d in order to participate in a relationship with G-d. I believe that the reason that modern Christianity, Calvinistic Christianity needs Y’shua to be a G-dman is that, for them, nothing less than that could untwist the twistedness of the soul. Yet, if Hashem did not see man, per se as twisted, there remains a question of degrees.
I was contemplating David’s words in the psalm, “cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be clean”. If the ancients sensed that, that something like hyssop, an essential oil from plants, would cleanse one both physically and spiritually, where did the need to place one’s sins on the back of an innocent lamb and slaughter the poor thing come from? I have wondered if there were a larger lesson even in this command from Hashem. What if the desire of the Holiest were that we see just how wrong it is to put our shortcomings on the backs of the innocent?
Look at Buddhist practice for a moment, here. The ceremonies and rituals, as well as the practice of mindfulness in order to get one’s mind out of the gutter and thinking on higher thoughts is rather effective, as well as accepting the issue of taking responsibility for one’s own thought processes. I like that. If I take responsibility for thinking what I think, then there is no “power” that can coerce me into doing something I do not feel is right. If I lay the blame on the “devil”, then the devil can make me kill or mame others, not acceptable behavior before any court of law. If the voices in my head tell me it’s time to kill the neighbor, then I can tell the voices to do it themselves, I have other things I prefer to do rather than shed the blood of a human.