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2-29-80

Paul and original sin.

Paul is saying, Man after the Fall is still fallen. The Torah has not restored him to his pre-fallen state. This is the point Paul is trying to make; the Jews believed that the Torah, in particular the decalogue, was sufficient for man's needs, but Paul points out that the Torah doesn't save; i.e. it doesn't reverse the damage, the effects, of the Fall. Man stays as he is: blighted and occluded; what Paul calls "in a state of (original) sin." Again, the Torah is for fallen man.(1) It tells him first of all what not to do ("Thou shall not" etc). How has this changed fallen man? Original sin is simply a term telling us that Adam alone did not fall but that all men fell with him and are fallen now. This is simply a statement of fact, unless you reject the doctrine --notion-- of the Fall. But Judaism accepts that notion.(1) Does Judaism believe that Adam's descendents re-arose to a pre-fallen state after Adam's death? No, of course not.(1) Paul says, "The Law (Torah) can only condemn, can only convict of sin." This is so. In itself it has no power to save; in fact Judaism is devoid of a concept of any method by which man can be restored to his pre-fallen state.(1) It as a concept simply does not exist in Judaism. Man will stay fallen forever, abiding by the Mosaic Law.(1)

Another objection. Let us concede that the theophany at Mt. Sinai took place, that the Torah was indeed handed down to Moses by YHWH. Well, let us compare it to Jesus' teachings. We find that Jesus' teachings are superior. Then if we regard Jesus as only a man and not God or the Son of God, we are faced with the impossible notion that a mere man, a prophet or preacher, could come up with a

(1) I am wrong; Rabbi Herz says that for Judaism there was no Fall (and of course no original sin).


Notes