Jesus Cannot Possibly Atone

inhumility

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The atonement and the related issues have been discussed by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad and analyzed as under:-
How could Jesus be born innocent when he had a human mother? If the sin of Adam and Eve had polluted the entire progeny of this unfortunate couple, then as a natural consequence, all male and female children must inherit the same genetic propensity to sin. Females were perhaps more likely to because it was Eve who as the instrument of Satan enticed Adam. Therefore, the responsibility of sin falls squarely on the shoulders of Eve rather than of Adam. In the case of the birth of Christ, obviously it was a daughter of Eve who contributed the major share. The question that very powerfully arises is whether Jesus inherited any gene bearing chromosomes from his human mother or not. If he did so, then it was impossible for him to escape the inevitable inherited sin. If he did not inherit any chromosomes from his mother either, then indeed that birth would be doubly miraculous. Only a miracle could produce a son who neither belongs to his father nor to his mother. What remains incomprehensible is why those chromosomes, provided by Eve, did not carry the innate tendency to sin to the child Jesus. Suppose it happened somehow, and Jesus had that innocence needed to carry the sins of mankind, on condition that they believed in him and not otherwise, another problem would arise: what happened, one may ask, to the progeny of Adam and Eve that died before the dawn of Christianity? How many billions of them might have got scattered throughout the world over five continents generation after generation. They must have lived and died without hope or even the possibility of ever hearing about the Christ their Saviour who was not yet born. In fact the entire humanity between Adam and Christ seemed certainly to be doomed for ever. Why were they never given even a remote chance to be forgiven? Would they be forgiven retrospectively, by Jesus Christ? If so, why?
In other parts of the world, much larger by comparison to the tiny land of Judea, where people had never heard of Christianity even during the life time of Jesus Christ, what happens to them? They never did, nor ever could, believe in the ‘Sonship’ of Jesus Christ. Will their sins go unpunished or will they be punished? If they go unpunished, for what reason? If they are punished, again by what logic? What chance did they have anyway? They were totally helpless. What a distorted sense of absolute justice!
 
Really, you're asking a very theological question, and it depends upon your theological background as to how you would address the matter.

However, trying to say that Jesus was a natural sinner would seem a disingenious way to deconstruct him - after all, as a Muslim, I doubt you would care for the same argument applied to Mohammed - that as a natural human, he was therefore a natural sinner and his message therefore polluted at the start. :)
 
inhumility said:
Therefore, the responsibility of sin falls squarely on the shoulders of Eve rather than of Adam.

you got this real backwards my friend. the scriptures tell us that Eve was deceived in the fall. Adam was not deceived & partook being fully aware of what he & her were doing.
the responsibility falls squarely onto Adam.

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

whatever chromosones the second Adam inherited has nothing to do with each person being responsible for their own willful transgressions, their obedience to the law or their disobedience. each man accounts for his own.
 
I back up what Bandit says. Moreover, as I understand it, original sin is transferred to the child through the sex act of the parents. Since Jesus was conceived in Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit (i.e. no sex involved - virgin birth and all), he was conceived without bearing the burden of original sin. Catholicism even states that Mary was conceived without sex (that's what the phrase Immaculate Conception refers to), although she had two human parents, Joachim and Anna. God, knowing what purpose Mary would later serve, allowed Joachim's seed to impregnate Anna without the two of them even touching, so Mary did not bear the burden of original sin either. In any case, because Jesus did not carry his own original sin, he was able to carry the sins of all humanity.

As for those people who died before the time of Christ, or before the message of Christ spread to where they were, there is a Christian theological explanation for what happens to them, but I will leave it to someone better versed in the details than I to explain it (I don't want to get it wrong). Q or Thomas, perhaps?
 
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Romans 1:18-20)

"God will give to each person according to what he has done. [ref. to Psalm 62:12 and Proverbs 24:12] To those who by persistence in doing seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and sitress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous." (Romans 2:6-13)

Basically, God holds us accountable for the gifts/opportunities we've been given. To those who have been given much, much is expected. For those who have not been given the blessing of adequately hearing the Gospel, or for those who are incapable of understanding it (the mentally handicapped, infants/young children who have died, etc.), they are not held accountable for it.

Christians differ by denomination on how they see this issue. I believe God saves everyone who seeks after Him through His grace. The evidence of seeking after God is in the fruits of the Spirit- in one's attitude and behavior, the clearest evidence of which is agape love. We are saved by grace, but our salvation is evidenced in our desire to do God's will- in our actions. Thus, one can be judged by God according to his/her deeds, as these will naturally come in alignment with God's standards if a person is truly seeking after God.

God does not play favorites. He loves all His children equally. No just parent would hold their children accountable for what the children did not know. But the Bible tells us that all people are given evidence of God through creation, so none of us have an excuse for not seeking after God. It is our choice whether to seek after Him and thus have right action, or not. If we are also given the gift of the Gospel, we are also responsible to choose whether or not we accept Christ as Savior, which Christians find to help them in their relationship with God and their change in behavior. But unlike some Christians, I (and quite a few others) do not believe that people who are not Christians are condemned automatically.

Edited to add that I'd be interested in Q's and Thomas' responses as well, as I've had glimmers before and would find their beliefs interesting and informative!
 
The Muslim thinking is broad based and is not literally linked to the story of Adam and Eve as narrated by the Jewish/Christian scriptures:-
  • All human beings are born innocent. After birth or more pertinently after the age when a person is mature enough to distinguish right from the evil, every person is responsible for his actions sinful or otherwise. If he repents before God for his sins and resolves before Him that he would not do it again, God in his mercy and sole discretion could pardon him. If God pardons then the person is like the one who has done no sin.
  • All prophets-the perfect men, are innocent and not sinful and that is why they are chosen by God as His messengers to humanity (from Adam to Abraham to Moses to Jesus, from Krishna to Buddha to Muhammad) all prophets of God are respectful persons and innocent and not sinful.
The present discussion is not intended against the factual person Jesus s/o Mary-the perfect human being, but is intended against the mythical Orthodox Christian faith who deify him and present him as Son of God or God. This is solely done to bring such person to realize where they made the mistakes so that they could update their faith based on facts, scientific knowledge, reason and rationality.
I agree on many points with the moderate thinking of path of one which is very close to the human psyche that has not changed much from the time of Adam to date.
To elaborate the point I present what Mirza Tahir Ahmad has stated on the issue:-
Muslims believe that all divine books are based on eternal truth and none can make any claims contrary to that. When we come across inconsistencies and contradictions in any so called divinely revealed book, our attitude is not that of total denial and rejection but that of cautious and sympathetic examination. Most of the statements of the Old Testament and the New Testament, which we find at variance with the truth of nature, we either try to reconcile by reading some underlying cryptic or metaphoric message, or reject part of the text as the work of human hands rather than that of God. While Christianity itself was true, it could not have contained any distortions, unacceptable facts or beliefs giving a lie to nature. That is why we started not with the textual examination but with the fundamentals themselves, which through centuries of consensus have become indisputable components of Christian philosophy. Rudimentary among them are the Christian understanding of Sin and Atonement. I would much rather believe that someone, somewhere during the history of Christianity, misunderstood things and tried to interpret them in the light of his knowledge and misled the following generations because of that.
The reader must be reminded here that this concept of inherited sin is only a Pauline misinterpretation. It cannot be rightfully attributed to the teachings of the Old Testament. There is an over-whelming evidence t to the c contrary in many books of the Old Testament.
In the fifth century, Augustine the Bishop of Hippo, was involved in a confrontation with the Pelagian movement, concerning the controversy of the nature of the fall of Adam and Eve. He proclaimed the Pelagian movement as being heretical because it taught that Adam’s sin affected only himself and not the human race as a whole; that every individual is born free of
sin and is capable in his own power of living a sinless life and that there had even been persons who had succeeded in doing so.
Those in the right were labeled as heretics. Day was denounced as night and night as day. Heresy is truth and truth heresy.
From the above, it becomes comfortingly clear that the concept of Inherited Sin and of Crucifixion are based only on the conjecture and wishful thinking of Christian theologians at a later date. It is quite likely that it was born out of some pre-Christian myths of a similar nature, which, when applied to the circumstances of Jesus Christ, tempted them to read close similarities between the two and create a similar myth. However, whatever the mystery or paradox, as we see it, there is no evidence whatsoever that the Christian philosophy of Sin and Atonement was based on anything which Jesus might have said or done or taught. He could never have preached anything so contrary to, and so diametrically opposed to human intellect.
 
The atonement and the related issues have been discussed by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad and analyzed as under:-

How could Jesus be born innocent when he had a human mother?
This involves a couple of dogmas of the Catholic and Orthodox faiths.
The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception holds that 'Mary was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin at the first moment of her animation, and sanctifying grace was given to her before sin could have taken effect in her soul'.

If the sin of Adam and Eve had polluted the entire progeny of this unfortunate couple, then as a natural consequence, all male and female children must inherit the same genetic propensity to sin. Females were perhaps more likely to because it was Eve who as the instrument of Satan enticed Adam. Therefore, the responsibility of sin falls squarely on the shoulders of Eve rather than of Adam.
The notion that the woman is the source of man's fall is not doctrine, although there is scandalous evidence of mysogeny in the Early Church. I would rather approach it from the symbolist viewpoint, the woman represents 'interiority', the man 'exteriority'. Thus Eve succumbed first signifies that the nature of the sin effects humanity's essential nature, not its outward manifestation.

In the case of the birth of Christ, obviously it was a daughter of Eve who contributed the major share. The question that very powerfully arises is whether Jesus inherited any gene bearing chromosomes from his human mother or not.
Sin resides in the soul, so the physical aspect is inapplicable.

If he did so, then it was impossible for him to escape the inevitable inherited sin.
It is dogma that Christ bore no burden of sin, but that he did willingly take a human nature wounded by sin ... fear, pain, doubt etc., as evidenced by the passion and elsewhere.

What remains incomprehensible is why those chromosomes, provided by Eve, did not carry the innate tendency to sin to the child Jesus.
By virtue of his humanity Jesus did in fact carry the tendency to sin, as witnessed by his temptation in the desert. What he did not do was succumb.

Suppose it happened somehow, and Jesus had that innocence needed to carry the sins of mankind,
This would require him to transcend the human condition, or put another way, man cannot expiate the sin of mankind, but only himself ... the offence was against God, not man, so man is not in the position to forgive or determine the nature of the atonement.

on condition that they believed in him and not otherwise,
I don't see this as a condition applying to Christ, although it does apply the humanity ... Christ accomplished what he accomplished despite humanity.

another problem would arise: what happened, one may ask, to the progeny of Adam and Eve that died before the dawn of Christianity ...

The Redemptive Act of the Cross applies today as it did then, and it applies retrospectively also. Thus, from Adam on, salvation was possible because of the Accomplishment of the Cross, and this applies globally ... the idea being that what Christ achieved, as the Logos of God, was written in Eternity, and thus applies thgroughout time and space, and is in fact itself an 'event' outside and above all temporal limitation.

When Moses and Elijah appeared at the Transfiguration, they were on the top of the mountain, not at its foot; they were coming from above, not below. Likewise, and profoundly so, when Jesus told the robber on the Cross, "today thou shalt be with me in paradise" he could only do so from the knowledge of the love of his Father, as his own Act had yet to be accomplished.

Path of one said:
"Basically, God holds us accountable for the gifts/opportunities we've been given. To those who have been given much, much is expected. For those who have not been given the blessing of adequately hearing the Gospel, or for those who are incapable of understanding it (the mentally handicapped, infants/young children who have died, etc.), they are not held accountable for it."
Which is about the Catholic position.

Christians differ by denomination on how they see this issue.
I agree. My own view is that the later the denomination, the less the allowance for those 'outside'. Likewise Catholics rebelled when the Pope visited leaders of other religious traditions, but that is for their conscience to decide. I actually believe that Catholicism is one of the most liberal Christian denominations!

I believe God saves everyone who seeks after Him through His grace.
That's what Catholics believe.

But the Bible tells us that all people are given evidence of God through creation, so none of us have an excuse for not seeking after God.
Doctrine teaches that the exercise of 'right reason' is enough to provide evidence of the existence of God. Contrary to what many believe, faith is not contrary to reason.

But unlike some Christians, I (and quite a few others) do not believe that people who are not Christians are condemned automatically.
I agree, this is not the Catholic position. Nor, might I add, is the assumption of automatic salvation.

+++

However, whatever the mystery or paradox, as we see it, there is no evidence whatsoever that the Christian philosophy of Sin and Atonement was based on anything which Jesus might have said or done or taught.
That's a pretty sweeping and dare I say indefensible statement, in the face of the Gospels and 2,000 years of consistent teaching from the Apostles onward. I refer you to Christ's commission to the apostles prior to his ascension, and well as his words to Peter "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

He could never have preached anything so contrary to, and so diametrically opposed to human intellect.
Does this not make the human intellect the benchmark for the judgement of Divine Action?

Would we not then say, how can Moses speak to a burning bush, or Mohammed to an angel? Rather, they both suffered some order of hallucination, if not delusion? (Let alone the exploits of Kishna, or the musings of Buddha...)

I might add, for if I read Brian right you yourself are Muslim, then Pelagius would have received short shrift with you also, for Pelagius essentially taught that man can work his own salvation independent of God's will or God's grace.

As ever, it's not so much what Pelagius taught, as the degree to which it was 'pushed'. And if Pelagius is right, than the vast majority of humanity has absolutely no hope of salvation, and Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all condemned by the same reasoning.

1 Cr 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Cr 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1 Cr 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1 Cr 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
1 Cr 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Cr 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.



Thomas
 
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