Discovering Religion: Episode 3 – Purpose of Christ
According to the New Testament, a little over 2,000 years ago God, the Creator of the Universe and all life within, looked upon the Earth and decided it was time to redeem Adam’s original sin by reincarnating himself as a human, suffering an agonizing death upon a cross and thereby allowing all those who wish for their souls to be saved to simply believe in his ultimate act of sacrifice and accept Him, Jesus Christ, as their personal savior.
Creationists put forth the claim in order for the purpose of Christ to be valid, the story of Adam and Eve and the original sin must be accepted as a literal truth. However, Creationists have painted themselves into a corner with these beliefs, as they are forcibly compelled to reject any and all modern scientific discoveries that support the Theory of Evolution, no matter how credible the source or authentic the evidence, solely on the grounds that it contradicts a story found on ancient scrolls belonging to an early tribe of Jewish nomads.
Meet Kent Hovind. Before he was convicted in 2006 of 58 counts relating to tax evasion and lying to the government that resulted in a 10 year sentence to federal prison, he was one of most outspoken Evangelical Creationists in opposition to evolution. Listen to Hovind as he sums up his view on evolution and the purpose of Christ.
“My Bible says God’s work is perfect. He made it right first time. The God that would use evolution is deceitful. Its not the God of the Bible. There is no evidence for evolution anyway. The Bible says God formed the world by His word. He spoke it into existence.
He did it in six days. He told us clearly how He did it. He didn’t use millions of years to get here. I think it would be a retarded God that couldn’t make it right the first time.
I wouldn’t worship a God like that. OK? It nullifies the death of Christ by God using this evolutionary process and, there is no evidence for evolution. So why would we compromise a perfectly good Bible, which has never been proven wrong, with a dumb theory that has never been proven right?”
Lets examine the scriptures to see how Creationists like Hovind acquire such polarizing, extremist views. Genesis 1:31 states God’s creation was “very good”, which implies at beginning of time every work of creation retained the same divine, sinless qualities that would meet the satisfactory standards of a pure and sinless Creator.
The Bible describes life within Eden as a paradise beyond imagination. Adam and Eve lived without clothes and were unashamed of their appearance; food was free for the taking from any plant within the garden, with the exception of the forbidden fruit; and humans lived in harmony with nature and were free to move among all the animals and give them names.
In addition, Genesis 1:29 states at the time of creation neither humans nor animals ate meat, consuming only plants for food. God did not allow meat-eating because life in Eden was not designed to experience fear, from the act of predation, or death, resulting from the taking of life for food. The Bible provides evidence that all animals were vegetarians when God gives His instruction in Genesis 1:30, “‘but for all the wild animals and for all the birds I have provided grass and leafy plants for food.’”
In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve sin against God by eating the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. Once they break God’s command the world begins to change. Adam and Eve become conscious of their nakedness and experience fear for the first time. When God discovers their sin, He curses them by corrupting the world and creating hardships that did not previously exist.
In Genesis 3:16 God punishes Eve, “‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.’” God also changes the natural world to cause humans additional struggle and difficulty with obtaining food, “It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field”.
God disrupts the once harmonious Earth by creating fear and apprehension between all species of life. Only after the actions of Adam does God allow humans and animals to finally eat meat. “Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, now I give you everything”. Therefore, no life within the animal kingdom could have been taken for consumption prior to the Fall.
God reveals that by breaking His command: “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
A curse of death is placed on Adam and Eve as they are cast from Eden to toil for their food and to eventually die: “By the sweat of your brow you will eat the food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return”. With sin, death becomes a part of life, through which the anger of God may be appeased in the practice of sacrifice.
Although the first sacrificial offerings appear in Genesis chapter 4, with the story of Cain and Able, throughout the Bible there exists a cyclical relationship between man and God’s use of sacrifice. In the Old Testament, humans show devotion to God by slaughtering animals upon an altar. In the New Testament, God shows His devotion to humankind by making a sacrifice of His son, Jesus Christ, upon a cross.
Adam, the first man, was the head of humankind when he “fell.” Consequently, his descendants have also “fallen,” and from the very moment we are born we are cursed with the original sin. However, in 1 Corinthians 15:45 Paul explains that God provides another Adam to deliver us from our sinful state.
Jesus, “the last Adam,” replaces the “first Adam” by taking human form as a descendant of Adam’s birth line, essentially becoming a relative of humankind. As the new head of humanity, Jesus became a divine and sinless Savior, responsible for paying the ultimate penalty for sin by shedding his blood and suffering death upon a cross.
Hebrews chapter 9, which discusses the blood of Christ, claims such a violent death is necessary because “God’s law requires nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness”.
Through belief in Christ, humanity may repent the sin of rebellion and once again be reconciled: “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”
The Bible continuously emphasizes the fact that the essential purpose for Christ’s sacrifice is a direct correlation of Adam’s sin. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive”. Another connection between Adam and Jesus is made in 1 Corinthians 15:45, “Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being;’ the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”
The Bible draws strong parallels between sin, death, and the reconciliation of Adam’s curse through Christ: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned… Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come”.
By breaking the “first covenant” a curse of death was placed upon humankind, thereby creating a need for redemption through Christ in the establishment of a “new covenant”. The purpose of Christ is a product of death, death is a product of sin, and sin is a product of Adam. However, there is a major conflict between the relationships of Christ, sin, death, and Adam. The Bible documents two instances, in Genesis 1:30 Genesis 9:3, that show prior to the Fall both animals and humans are vegetarians and flesh is not allowed to be consumed.
These two proclamations, in addition to the fact that human sin causes the curse of death to afflict the entire world, implies every animal fossil found within Earth’s geological record could not have been created prior to the existence of human beings. If all life before the Fall was truly created “very good,” or without sin and death, then we should not see such a multitude of fossils, a good number of which are obviously carnivorous, that are known to predate any historical or anthropological record of humans by hundreds of millions of years.
But, there is an abundance of geological and fossil evidence, as well as natural gas and fossil fuels, that rigorous scientific investigation has shown can be produced in no other way than to have accumulated over a time frame ranging in not thousands, but millions and billions of years. In addition, the fossil record, arranged in order of ascending complexity, provides concrete evidence death and struggle over vast expanses of time is what defines all species of life.
Violence, struggle, adaptation, and most importantly death, play definitive roles in Earth’s entire history and are responsible for why life looks as it does today. Billions of years of adaptation and extinction attest to the fact that life has never been “very good,” or ever existed without death. Therefore, the actions of a human cannot be responsible for the vast timeline of death observed within the fossil record.
By sheer logic we must conclude it is impossible for humanity to be afflicted with Adam’s original sin. If the story of Adam and Eve and the Fall are fictitious, what can be said for the purpose of Christ? When Jesus is discussed in the books of Corinthians, Hebrews, and Romans, he is hopelessly bound to the idea of Adam and the original sin.
Unwittingly, the authors of the New Testament contradict the purpose of Christ with what is told in the oldest, most essential book of the Abrahamic religions. Therefore, how can we place faith in a God who negates the purpose for our belief with the very Universe he has created?
Creationists hit a wall when they adopt a literal understanding of scripture, but this does not deter their faith, for they are ready and willing to defend their beliefs by manipulating the Earth’s geological and fossil record by any means necessary, so long as the scientific discoveries of the 21st Century appear to conform with the perception of reality held by Jewish tribesmen of the Bronze Age.