Research Paper RW Copy 2 Essay

Introduction

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” Sin is an action that goes against a divine commandment. Therefore, no good whatsoever can come from sin as its original inspiration. As a student of Christian Ministry understanding the concept of sin and how it relates to other world religions will build empathy and help foster relationships with their followers. Human sin is evil in nature and in Hinduism the concept has different consequences than Christianity. The karma in Hinduism is believed to be achieved by following the examples of God (Brahman) and be able to correct mistakes.

Christianity on the other hand, teaches the belief that man is judged before God when he dies. This paper will describe, compare, and contrast the nature of human sin and its consequences in the Christianity and Hinduism.

Christianity

J. C. Ryle argues, “The plain truth is that a right knowledge of sin lies at the root of all saving Christianity.” In other words, the very essence of Christianity surrounds the absolute evil character of sin.

Sin is a very malicious and mortal enemy, an irascible and persistent power, that must surely be known in order to be overcome. Hence, if we want to overcome it and help others to do the same, we must begin by making it known in all its complexities. Faith, repentance, salvation, justification, sanctification, and even glorification all depends on the correct understanding of the nature of sin. Apart from this, the Christian message and doctrine becomes merely another viewpoint to help suffering people go through the hardships of the present time without any deep, abiding significance. From this perspective, the Christian message is a cosmic war against all forces of sin; its evil nature, universal consequences, and satanic loyalty. Unfortunately, in the history of the church this accusation of the absolute evil essence of sin was not always maintained. While the church practically always maintained that Christ is God’s ultimate response to the problem of sin, some theologians in the past have held to mild views of sin, reducing it to human weakness capable of being subjugated by the utter power of free will. In addition, they have made claims that diminished the nature of sin, leveling it to other kinds of evils such as disasters and illnesses; the only difference being that sin is an evil in the realm of morality.

However, the Bible says, “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). The OT suggests, sin is missing the mark of the perfect standard of righteousness in God Himself. This lack of conformity in sin is not simply branded by the absence of good, but primarily by the presence of evil. Sin is a voluntary temperament to rebel against God’s sovereign dominion. Every sin is a struggled attack against God who is the ultimate and perfect source of every good, and sin in its essence is anti-God; hence every sin is evil in its purest form. As a result, evil is ingrained in the heart, sunken deep into the soul, entwined with our very nature, and will never be cured but by a miracle of grace.

Book of Genesis (OT)

The early picture given in Genesis of the Holy Bible illustrates the great harmony that God desires in creation is shadowed by a series of stories about sin—where it comes from, the damage it does, and God’s response to it. These accounts of the sinfulness of mankind, their inclination to evil, and their need for divine deliverance provides the backdrop that explains present day circumstances.

The Fall

The Apostle Paul declares, “By one man ‘s disobedience, many were made sinners” (Rom. 5:19). Genesis 3 carries tremendous weight for Christians when it comes to origin of sin. Christianity customarily sees Genesis 3 as the fall of humanity from God’s grace into subsequent sin because Adam and Eve disobeys the divine command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This tree is the beginning of the genealogy of evil but it presumes neither a direct, divine creation of evil nor the presence of evil in any of the primeval elements of creation. Instead, the description of the tree acknowledges that what makes a human person good or evil is made possible by God.

It is important to note, Genesis 3 does not characterize the eating of the fruit as evil, a sin, a transgression, or a matter of guilt. However, most biblical scholars characterize this act as disobedience or rebellion, otherwise known as the human condition that results from knowledge, desire, fear, wickedness, and difficulty. Moreover, there are consequences resulting from the actions taken by Adam and Eve, which is clear from the opening of the God’s words, “because you have done this . . .” to the snake (3:14); and “because you have … eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it’” (3:17). Surely the “fallout” is not good, as the snake is said to be cursed (3:14) and the ground is said to be cursed “because of you” (3:17).

Cain & Abel

Genesis 4:7 is the first mention of sin, where it is part of the psychological portrait of Cain. Yet, using his brother Abel as a counterweight points to the fact that both good and evil are the reality that characterizes mankind. God says to Cain, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (4:7). Cain feels that God shows favor to Abel because of God’s rejection of Cain’s grain/vegetable offering and preference for Abel’s gift of meat (4:3-5).

In v. 8. Cain willfully rejects God’s offer and invites Abel to a private meeting in the field where he murders him. Cain’s premeditation of murder tends to valorize Abel by portraying him as the innocent and unwitting victim of an unjust scheme. Thus, even with his voice silenced in death, Abel’s innocent blood cries to God from the ground and, like his offering, his testimony is favorably heard (4:10). God tells Cain, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth” (4:10-12).

Noah and the Flood

Genesis chapter 6 tells the story of Noah and the Flood sent by God to cleanse the earth of wickedness and restoring it with righteousness because HE created mankind in his own image (1:27). God regrets His creations and moves to the decision to wipe them off the earth, all except Noah because he is shown God’s favor for being a righteous man (6:5-9). Therefore, God enters a covenant with Noah, gives him instructions on how to build an ark, and outlines the contents that need to be brought aboard has a precursor to a massive flood (6:14-22), they are all who will survive. After the flood God says to Noah, “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans” (8:20-21). God gives mankind another chance to live the good, righteous life that He intended for them.

Consequences of Sin

Other Biblical Accounts

The absolute malignity of every sin is demonstrated not only by the theological reflection developed above, but also by observation of God’s dealings with sin. The Bible holds several instances when God reveals the absolute malignity of sin by how He judges it. Uzzah was smitten for touching the Ark of the Covenant (2 Sam. 6:7); Moses was forbidden to enter Canaan for a moment of hasty action (Num. 20:24); Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt for looking back (Gen. 19:26); Nadab and Abihu were stricken for offering a strange fire (Num. 26:60); The entire nation of Israel was defeated in battle for the one sin of Ahaz in stealing some fine spoils (Josh. 7:25); Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead for lying as they gave offerings to the church at Jerusalem (Acts 5:lff); King Herod was eaten by worms for a sin of omission against the first commandment (Acts 12:23). Nevertheless, the greatest demonstration of the sinfulness of sin is the judgment of judgments against Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ

The Apostle Paul proclaims, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Sin brings separation from God and inevitably death. Therefore, God sent his Son to earth as a human being to proclaim the need for everyone to change their heart and conform to a new way of life, absent of violence, under the rule of God. His message was rejected and lead to his death that he willingly suffered as a means of cancelling sin, forsaken by God himself, to display HIS love for sinners. Christians are united with Jesus in a spiritual relationship based on faith and obedience that allows them to receive God’s grace and mercy.

Christ and His atoning death are the greatest visible representations of the absolute sinfulness of sin. Goodwin said, “It is true that the utmost real evil of the thing itself which we call sin consists in this, that it is the transgression of the command of the great God. But the utmost representation to make that evil known to us, is the cross and the curse of the Son of God, blessed forever.” The absolute merciless wrath that the Father poured out upon His only begotten Son demands that we take sin as the most absolute vile offense. God’s judgments are always righteous, and the value of the ransom for sin is at some extent proportional to the price paid. Only absolute goodness can overcome absolute evil.

Hinduism

The Hindu view life as absolute wretchedness and suffering (dukkha), but death is not an evil because life is cyclical (samsara). The only way liberation (moksha) from this suffering can be obtained is by gaining spiritual knowledge. Moreover, having faith that things will get better is pointless because the result of action (karma) is the reason one is being punished for an unspecified wrong committed at an unspecified past time and place. Simply put, karma says that our present sufferings relate to past deeds. However, its a reassurance that everyone is in complete control of their own fate, that whatever happens is a predictable consequence of our own choices. While it means we are prisoners of our past, it also means that the future is entirely within our control. It entails that there is no such thing as innocent suffering, that everyone gets just what he or she deserves. But then there can be no moral obligation to help others in distress, to protect, to rescue, perform acts of charity, or even to feel compassion for a sufferer. Unlike Christianity, there is no implication of a deep moral obligation to help those in need, to feel compassion and pity for those in pain. Therefore, Hindus focus on ritual and moral behavior in accordance with the ideology of righteousness (dharma) that defines good conduct.

Vaishnavism

Despite the dissimilarities between the foundational philosophies of the religions, Christianity and Hinduism are both extraordinarily diverse in their communities of faith. So, it matters very much which tradition one is considering. For example, there exist vibrant, sophisticated expressions of classical Hinduism known as Visistadvaita Vedanta, or ‘qualified nondualism’, that originated with the eleventh-century Vaishnavite saint Ramanuja that are openly and unmistakably monotheistic, not monistic or polytheistic. It is rooted in bhakti, or personal love and devotion rather than in jnana, knowledge or philosophy. But most shockingly, its utterly dependent on the gracious initiative of God, rather than on human spiritual attainment. This God-loving, grace- based version of Hinduism may surprise some of us, for it comes much closer to the ordinary intuitions of historic Christianity than we might have expected.

Vaishnavism is intensely committed to a doctrine of incarnation. More specifically, it frequently expresses its teaching about a personal God and a saving love using the important and rather technical language of avatars. The term itself derives from Sanskrit roots that mean ‘to cross (over)’ and ‘down’. Hence, Hindus use the term to refer not, of course, to personas in virtual technology, but to the ‘descent’, ‘manifestation’ or ‘incarnation’ of a deity in recognizable, embodied form. For Vaishnavite Hindus, the loving initiative of God is concretely expressed in exactly this way: God himself (Vishnu) enters our world for us and for our salvation. As is generally known, standard Hindu doctrine affirms multiple avatars or incarnations, each of which is an occasion for the overflow of divine favor into a broken world; by contrast, the Christian doctrine speaks of only one incarnation, the unequivocally final coming of Jesus Christ into our midst. This difference regarding the number of incarnations is an apt place to begin, because its significance is sometimes thought to be self- evident, as if simply declaring that ‘they have many incarnations, but we have only one’ clearly and obviously explains what distinguishes the two approaches.

Incarnation

Hindu incarnations can be viewed as parallel to OT theophanies. For instance, like OT Israelites, Vaishnavites thankfully celebrate a multitude of instances of God appearing among them, a multitude of incarnations where God does not become a man; instead, he shows himself as a man, and in this way he is present among us to provide what we need, namely a revelation of God or of God’s truth that can restore the cosmic order (dharma) whenever ignorance, corruption or evil have grown strong enough to threaten it seriously. His coming reaffirms the truth, the frightful disaster is averted, and we are at peace, but only until the next potential disaster looms on the horizon.

The monistic Hinduism of Sankara, with its unrelenting insistence that ‘all is Brahman’ (the divine, absolute reality) has no true doctrine of creation. However, the monotheistic Hinduism of Ramanuja, by contrast, does have a real doctrine of creation, and so we expect salvation in this view to have something more of a Christian feel to it. For Ramanuja, forgiveness and restoration are obtained through a combination of sheer personal grace on God’s side and intense love and gratitude on the human side. This is real forgiveness and real restoration, and that’s good. Yet from the Christian perspective, it is still mere forgiveness and mere restoration; both are simply revealed, not unimaginably achieved. It is a forgiveness without the staggering anomaly of God’s atoning death, and a restoration that involves merely a return to innocence, not a hypostatic union between creatures and their Creator.

Conclusion

In summary, this paper describes, compared, and contrasted the nature of human sin and its consequences in the Christianity and Hinduism. Human sin is evil in nature and in Hinduism is concept has different consequences than Christianity within their sacred writings. In short, Christianity views sin as an evil that runs into the very nature of our humanity. In contrast, Hindus believes in the chain of karma, however difficult it may be to break, it is never understood as entailing an all-inclusive Fall that corrupts mankind.

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