My understanding of spiritual and psychological counselling comes from my views the human psyche. I reject the notion of Original Sin as taught in some brands of Christian teaching. It is not a Credal Statement or a test of Faith, That is, the perception of an original rebellion against the express will of God by Adam and his co-partner Eve in the Garden of Eden. This is derived from the creation stories in Genesis chapters 1 to 3. This often leads into an interpretation of the human soul being debilitated by an inherent wickedness.
Literal truth cannot be derived from non-literal sources. The great Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said it better: ”The line between good and evil passes through every human heart.” My experiences in deprived areas of Asia and Latin America have indicated multiple attestations of the incredible human capacity to derive goodness out of horrible and oppressive situations.
The apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans wrote in Greek, but his thinking was very Jewish when he spoke about the good that he wanted to do and didn’t do and the evil that he didn’t want to do, but went ahead with it! He was thinking of the yetser ha tov and the yetser ha raq , “the good and the evil spirit”, which are held to be in conflict in the depths of the human psyche and sometimes very close to the surface in the Jewish map of the soul. We should have stuck to it!
I don’t think that Adam and Eve committed a primal programmatic sin in the garden of Eden to be inevitably replicated in humanity. If anything, Adam’s actions of hiding himself in the garden from God, and the eating of the forbidden fruit may indicate an Original Forgetfulness of our most lasting ‘proof of identity’, that we are made in the “likeness and image of God” (Genesis 1:26-27). We ourselves do it all the time! Robert Alter’s translation of the Hebrew in Genesis chapters 1-3 has Adam and Eve standing alongside one another facing life together. Wonderful!
When the underlying radiance of our being comes to the surface, when we truly remember who we are, then the worst possible situations can be changed and reshaped or at the very least dealt with via renewed energy and dignity! It is this vision of humanity that I would like to bring to my spiritual and psychological counselling in a spirit of remembrance and reshaping and redevelopment of our whole person!