Danielle Shroyer believes that more than any other idea, the doctrine of original sin has “slowly eroded our understanding of our relationship with God”. Not only that, she believes it is unbiblical, and was rejected by Judaism and many Christian traditions, such as the Eastern Orthodox Church. So we ask Danielle how she understands sin, separation, and our relationship with God. Her answer? Original Blessing.

After the interview, Nomad hosts Tim Nash and new host Jemimah McAlpine reflect on the role Original Sin played in shaping their faith, and what a more hopeful and live-giving theology might look like for them.

Interview begins at 11m 56s

Image provided by Danielle Shroyer. Used with permission.


Original Blessing: Putting Sin in Its Rightful Place


“I think what Jesus defeated on the cross primarily – first of all – is death. All of the Easter celebrations that the early church had was centred around the idea that in Christ, God defeated death and that we are now given life because of it. And to devolve that into just forgiveness of sins feels like we’re really downshifting from how big of a story life and death is, and Easter is. I have to admit that I am always very skeptical of people that say that they know what the cross means. I feel that I’ve been thinking about it heavily for 30 years, and the more I think about it, the more it means. So, when somebody can say in one sentence what the cross did, that’s just not right.”

“If you really acknowledge the goodness in people, you can just see their faces being so receptive and grateful for that. And when you show in the way that you live or in the way that you explain things to that person how that has to do with this connection that we all have to this higher power – this God, this spirit in the world that is life-giving and generous and good – then we end up all kind of on the same page. It’s an act of togetherness rather than, ‘There’s something seriously wrong with you, and until you acknowledge it, you’re going to go to hell.’”

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  1. LP Dion Apr 9, 2018

    Such a timely podcast. I’ve been thinking a lot about Original Sin lately. It’s been such a big deal in my circles. Agonizing about it really. While talking with a Rabbi friend, I thought I’d start us off at a common point; the point where Adam plunges us into an insurmountable problem. Whoa, says my friend, not so fast. What you call the fall, we say something happened and we moved on. Adam actually shows initiative, he tells me. Nothing bad to see there. Also, notice how the serpent doesn’t get to converse with G-d. That’s because Adam and Eve were the only ones given the ability to ‘look up’.

    • So glad you found the podcast helpful.
      Before researching this interview, I had no idea that Jews don’t accept original sin (or that the early church, or Eastern Orthodox don’t!). Yet somehow it pretty much became the heart of the gospel in my church circles. Funny that!

  2. I did a deep study of the first three chapters in Genesis, and I discovered that Adam and his wife ate from the forbidden tree on creation Day six, not on Day seven as most assume. (We are currently in Day seven, according to Hebrews) They where booted out of the garden & sent into the Earth where Adam was originally made. What that implies is that Adam and his wife (aka Life giver), where setup to fail so that they would have to leave the Garden. Why? Because in chapter one we see why Adam knew to give her that name Chavvah, upon blessing them God said “Multiply upon the Earth, and subdue it”. We know this must have occurred at the very end of Day six, because he then says, “look everything I have made is very good” and the Day ends. We are given our first prophet as well, Adam predicts he would forsake his Father and Mother, thus we learn who it was God was talking to in Genesis 1:26. Some will say our Mother is the Holy Spirit, others will say Jesus of Nazareth.
    When I first discovered this I was very upset with God, because we have made a mess of things, and there has been so much suffering, not just for me, but for all of us; moreover, I did not sign up for this, and I feel as if I was forced into it, and I wished I hadn’t been born. It seems that I was lead to the book of Job for my answer, and although I have had to slowly grow into that paradigm shift, going on 10 years now with great difficulty in accepting things are not what I thought, or how I want them to be, that answer is framed in the questions God asks Job to answer, if he can. You see, we can’t answer those questions, we bearly understand what God has made on Earth (which we are doing a great job destroying), and so where does that lead us? We find ourselves 100% dependent on God whom we must trust by faith, since we can’t see him, but we do have his “word” as our flashlight to guide us in this darkness. It isn’t easy at all,(Mat 7:13-14) but we do have each other, to aid us when our crosses get too heavy. Can we say Original blessing? We must do so in faith. Is it easy, to say it is easy would be delusional, but I suppose a lot of people are good at self delusion. Can we look at the glass half full? Yes, but we can’t ignore that it is also half empty.
    Mindfulness practice has been a blessing in my walk, we all suffer but we can get around it in versus healthy ways. Lectio Divina on the “Sermon on the Mount” is very powerful.

    • When I say Jesus of Nazareth I mean to refer to his pre-human existence. We see examples of this in the burning bush where we find an angel, the angel who spoke with Abraham, the angel who fought with Jacob, and the angel who spoke with Hagar. We learn in proverbs, about a person called Wisdom and she we are told, is like a mother to those who fear God. The same is found in the book of Ecclesiasticus a.k.a. Sirach. In the book of Jeremiah we learn of the queen of heaven and we find that she was not frowned upon by Jeremiah, rather it was the hypocrisy of those who honored her, by mixing in other gods with sinful behavior. They wanted their cake and eat it too.

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