Because of the nature of the topic, allow me to be perfectly blunt so there are no misunderstandings to clear up later.
I am not writing nor re-writing scripture. I am not establishing an edict. Though I refer to the Christian Bible and both Jewish and Christian beliefs, this is not about any particular faith. An open-minded atheist should be able to see my point as easy as a theist. Finally, if your own personal faith is so dogmatic that you can’t consider any variation from it, please read no further.
To understand any given discussion it’s necessary to understand the terminology being used. In this situation I have chosen four words that can be and are understood in very different ways by different people. Therefore it will be helpful if the reader is clear as to my intended meanings of liberty, tyranny, sin, and God.
Liberty: a condition of freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, etc. or the power or right of acting, thinking, speaking, etc., according to one’s own choice
Tyranny: a condition where an individual or a group exercise domination over another individual or group using force or the threat of force
Sin: that which displeases God or is contrary to the will of God
God: that which created what is (For this discussion I don’t necessarily refer to an individual person or entity. Therefore the overall concept I am trying to get across is not dependent upon a belief system like Christianity. God, in this context, can be whatever you see as the source of our existence. It fits the atheist as well as the theist)
Liberty, Tyranny, and Sin
The Judeo/Christian creation story basically goes like this; After everything else is made, God makes Adam and Eve. He places them in a perfect place called Eden, tells them to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth, and gives them only one rule. Namely, don’t eat the fruit of The Tree of Good and Evil. Of course they eat the fruit and sin is introduced into mankind’s heart. God then ejects mankind from Eden. However, there’s a gap in this story. From the point that God commands them to be fruitful and multiply to the point that Adam eats the fruit, something must have happened. Some time must have expired, but nothing indicates how many hours, days, years, or eons of time pass. (more on this later)
What I propose to do is identify the fruit of that tree. What I will not do is dispute the volumes of traditional theological teachings about that fruit, so for the purpose of this discussion, please accept the possibility that I can be both right and wrong.
God’s will and sin:
The Bible tells a story in the book of 1st Samuel chapter 8 and it goes something like this; After roughly 500 years (the chapter doesn’t actually record the time, you have to do the math separately) in “The Promised Land” there was some unrest among the Israelite leaders. You see, during that time they had no central government. A series of “judges” resolved disputes both within the Jewish tribes and with their neighbors. These judges had no authority in the modern sense. People sought their judgment in matters and voluntarily accepted or rejected the results. It was a time described in the bible when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”.
Generally speaking, the Israelites were free to come and go as they wished and trade with whom ever they wished for whatever they wished. When the need arose to confront foreign aggression the judges, being natural leaders, would rally volunteers and fight defensive battles. Near the end of these 500 years of relative liberty, the Israelites began to murmur and complain among themselves. It seemed Israel was situated between several great empires. These empires had magnificent cities where powerful kings sat on thrones of splendor. Many of the Israelites became covetous of the power of these empires, so they began to demand a king. The judge Samuel, at first, took this as a personal insult. But God corrected Samuel and said, “Its not you they reject, its me.”
So after 500 years of liberty, Israel subjected itself to tyranny. To make a long story short, within a couple generations the nation was split into two kingdoms and a couple generations later the northern half of the nation disappeared into the sands of time, never to be heard from again. Jerusalem, the capitol of the southern kingdom, was sacked and burned, the male royalty were mostly castrated, and the bulk of the people were taken into bondage as slaves of the very empire they had envied. They wanted all the fun part of tyranny but what they ended up with was what tyranny always produces. Slavery.
Isn’t that a lovely story? Here’s what I think; Its the same story as the one told in Genesis about Eden and the tree, just told in a different way about a different people in a different time.
The Interaction of Law and Sin:
Here I ask your indulgence. Let’s consider natural law as opposed to man-made law.
Question: What is the source of man made law?
Question: What is the source of natural law?
Answer: That which made man, God. (again, however you perceive God)
If we can agree on the above, then we can agree that to break natural law breaks the law of God and is a transgression against God. Therefore to break natural law is to sin against God. That being the case, logic demands that whatever breaks man’s law is a transgression against man. A “sin” against man. This train of thought then requires the question; Isn’t it the case that when man creates law he takes on the role of God?
Lets jump back to the Bible for a moment.
In the book of Ezekiel chapter 28, one finds the description generally believed to be the devil. Part of the description of this being says he was “perfect in beauty”, gifted in music, “perfect in his ways”, and originally located in Eden. This being had a flaw in his nature and eventually fell from grace, was cast down and rejected by God. His transgression was that he attempted to make a god of himself. Does this story sound familiar? I propose that story is in fact not about the devil, it is the story of man. It is the same story told two other times in this discussion.
I propose that when man chooses tyranny over liberty, man chooses sin. That liberty is the original natural state of man and when man takes it upon himself to regulate the behavior of other men he places himself in the position of God. I propose that when “Adam” chose to make up his own law he chose man as his god. He placed himself in the position of God and proclaimed himself a god.
The End of Time:
Christians and Jews have a variety of beliefs about the end of time.
I propose that “time” as we normally call it won’t end in the way most Christians and Jews think.
For this exercise, lets substitute the word ‘history’ for ‘time’. Consider history from the moment God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, until the moment Adam ate the fruit. Where is this history? Was there no “time” or just no history? How many minutes or millions of years went by unrecorded?
Now think about history. What is history? I propose that history is the recording of the accomplishments and deeds of tyrants. When there are no tyrants, no history is written. Without tyrants heroes are unnecessary, taxes are not collected, and wars don’t happen. Time ticks on but there is no reason to record anything other than the passing of seasons for the purpose of planting and harvesting.
So what of the end of time? Change that to “what of the end of history?”
Many religions believe that someday there will be a return of sorts, to an Eden. I believe tyranny and the law of man will be rejected and humanity will choose liberty and Gods natural law will be universally adopted. That being the case, why would any history of that time be recorded? Time, in a way, will have ended.