THE CHRISTIAN "PLAN OF SALVATION"
IS IT GOD'S WORD:PART OF CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
By JOSEPH WHELESS
Original sin and eternal damnation - "Redemption from the Curse"
THE whole philosophy of what is fondly known as the "Sacred science of Christianity" revolves around two extremes of inspired Bible history: the "curse on man" through Adam, and the redemption from the curse" through Jesus Christ. The second Council of Orange (A.D. 529) thus declares and defines the deadly dogma: "One man [Adam] has transmitted to the whole human race not only the death of the body, which is the punishment of sin, but even sin itself, which is the death of the soul" (Cath. Encyc., Vol. XI, p. 314.)
St. Augustine, profoundest apologist of the Church and its dogmas, states the Christian scheme thus: "The whole Christian religion may be summed up in the intervention of two men, the one to ruin us, the other to save us" (De Pecc. Orig., xxiv; Cath. Encyc., Vol XI, p. 314). This is but a paraphrase of the proposition as formulated by the directly inspired originator of the dogma, St. Paul, who states it very explicitly:
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Cor. xv, 22)
Thus, by the express utterance of inspiration, the Christian religion rests totally upon, is inextricably and fatally involved with, the historicity of the Garden of Eden, of Adam and Eve, of the talking snake, and of the "curse" and the "Fall" -- for upon the verity of these events depends utterly the validity of the divine mission of Jesus Christ, Son of Yahveh God, sent by Yahveh to "redeem the world from the sin of Adam." It was the "original sin" of Adam which brought on the fearful curse of Yahveh which clings to every since-born human soul, until and unless "redeemed" by Jesus the Christ.
This frightful sin was thus defined by inspiration of the Holy Ghost in the sacred council of Trent (the italics are mine): "Original sin is described not only as the death of the soul, but as the privation of justice that each child contracts at its conception" (Coun. Trent, Sess. vi, chap. iii; Cath. Encyc., Vol. XI, p. 314). If this, in the mercies of a just God, is not true, it is the most fearful and blasting untruth which priest has ever inflicted on mankind. Let us examine the dogma with the fearful attention, which it challenges.
Inevitably, if Genesis is not true, Jesus Christ, as God and "Savior," is not, cannot be, true; both stand or fall together; if one, then the other must be relegated to the same limbo of exploded myth. Adam, says Paul, "is the figure of him that was to come" (Rom. v, 15); Jesus Christ, again he says, is the "last Adam" (I Cor. xv, 45). If the "first Adam" goes into the discard, the "last Adam" must needs follow.
In a previous chapter we have examined a score or more of pretended "prophecies" of the Hebrew Scriptures, alleged to have been "fulfilled" in Jesus Christ and sundry of the events of his life and death. Every one of these we have found to be apocryphal. In addition to these ineptly invoked "prophecies" there are many other -- some one hundred and forty-nine -- jumbles of words scattered through the Hebrew Scriptures which the pious Bible editors, or the inspired Church, proclaim to be other "prophecies of Jesus Christ" -- of like quality with the former.
The very first of these is that of the "curse" and the "Fall," with its pretended "promise of the Redeemer." How priest ever proclaimed, and human intelligence ever believed, that a good and loving Father God (as Yahveh is naively described), who said that not a sparrow could fall without his anxious concern, would damn throughout eternity the errant masterpieces of his creation, on the very first day of their existence, for a simple disobedience, and involve all creation and all future humanity in a deadly curse on the soul of man until his Son should come, perhaps, four thousand years later, to "redeem" this humanity from the damnation of "original sin," and then leave damned or redamn all those who would not believe the "Word of God" about it, or who never heard of it and so never had a chance to disbelieve it -- this I leave to more knowing or more credulous minds to try to explain. I simply read the texts of the "Word of God" where this is all said by the priests to be revealed, to discover whether an unprejudiced lay mind can see it as they do.
THE REVELATION OF THE FALL
Chapter iii of Genesis begins with the talking snake, who is praised as being more subtle than any beast of the field which Yahveh had made. The serpent meets, for the first time, Mother Eve under the shade of the wondrous tree of knowledge which flourished in the midst of the Garden of Eden, with respect to which Yahveh, in the first lie on record, had benignly threatened: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." The serpent tells Eve that this is really not a true statement, for the fruit of the tree was good to eat, and if eaten, "your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as the gods, knowing good from evil." Here again the verity of a plurality of gods is asserted.
This was Eve's first day on earth; she was totally inexperienced with the ways of the world or of serpents; so she was "beguiled" by the serpent and did eat of the fruit, and gave some to Adam. While the trio were yet together, but too late to do any good by prevention, Yahveh appears upon the scene, learns of the incident, flies into the most damning of all the rages recorded of him in all his Book of Curses, and immediately damns every person and thing in being and yet to come.
THE "CURSE" IN EDEN
This "curse" is a triple-plated damnation -- against the serpent, against the woman, and against the man. It is well worth the while to pause a moment to dissect it, curse by curse, as set out in Genesis iii:
THE SNAKE CURSE
"Yahveh Elohim said unto the serpent; Because thou hast done this,
 thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field;
 upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
3. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed;
 it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Gen. iii, 14) 15)
While this is quite a blustering curse, it seems of slight practical consequence -- though the Bible editors and the inspired Church assure us that this really and truly is a pellucid and positive divine promise of Jesus Christ. As the serpent naturally went on his belly anyhow, one may wonder where is the point in cursing him to continue to "wriggle in and wriggle out" as usual; and as to eating dust for a steady diet, this must be a mistake, if the "curse" applied to snakes generally, as the "Funny-mentalists" insist, for snakes are not known to eat dirt, but they suck eggs, and eat birds and rabbits and rats and other snakes; not even Barnum's circus at its heyday ever had a snake addicted to such unusual and economical diet as dirt.
This dust diet is really prescribed only to this particular serpent; and there seems no just reason to read into the plain language of Yahveh the curse of a perpetual dirt diet for all snakes for all time, which is not in effect anyhow; and it would hardly be just in Yahveh to condemn all snakes in the world for the wrong of one snake. "Shall not the judge of all the earth be just?" And should the "just suffer for the unjust?" We shall consider the words "enmity between thee and the woman" and "thy seed" when we have noticed the other curses in their order.
THE CURSE ON WOMAN
"Unto the woman he said,
" I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception;
" in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;
" and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." (Gen. iii, 16)
Here the choleric Yahveh simply inflicts poor Eve in her own single person with increased pangs in child-birth and a multiplication of sorrows, which would do no credit to any kind and loving God. As for the rest, a desire or love only to her own husband, instead of her running off after affinities and soul-mates, would seem to be a blessing rather than a curse; and the subjection to her husband as the head of the household, is no accursed thing within reasonable limits of equality of personal privilege.
This curse on woman was also evidently limited to Eve alone; and there is no justice or reason in claiming, as some expositors insist, that Yahveh cursed all women for the simple act of one woman, any more than he did all serpents. The whole curse against Eve was really pain and sorrow in giving life, not eternal damnation after death.
THE CURSE ON MAN
"'Unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it:
" cursed is the ground for thy sake;
" in sorrow shalt thou eat (of) it all the days of thy life;
" Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee;
"[4) and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
"[5) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; "for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Gen. iii, 17-19).
This was Adam's share in the tremendous curse; and just what was it? Let me state its terms again: 1. The ground is accursed; 2. in sorrow shalt thou (Adam) eat it all the days of thy life (though he was to die on the very day he ate it); 3. thorns and thistles shall grow from the ground; 4. thou shalt eat the herbs of the field; 5. thou shalt eat bread in the sweat of thy face until thou return unto the ground; that is, until thy death.
This is every single solitary item of the fearful "curse on man." It is no curse upon Adam (man) at all, except the one item of having to work for an honest living; all the rest of the "curse" is upon the harmless and helpless earth, which Yahveh had just created with such a deal of pains that he had to rest a whole day -- which with him is as a thousand years (2 Peter iii, 8). But there is not a single word or remotest hint of sin, or death of soul, or eternal damnation. If Yahveh ever said: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (ii, 17) he either "repented" as usual, or it was all a brutal Jahvic bluff; for Adam continued to live, after that fatal day, for just nine hundred and thirty years, if the vital statistics of Genesis are to be credited. But I repeat that there is not one word in the whole record of sin or death or damnation as a penalty against Adam himself, much less against his posterity and all humanity.
THE "CURSE" INNOCUOUS
The "curse," as we have seen, is principally against the ground itself, not upon the man: "accursed is the ground for thy sake." The man is humorously condemned to eat ground, as was the snake; there is no "of" in the original Hebrew. The ground also should grow thorns and thistles; yet, according to Genesis i, every kind of herb and plant and tree, including, of course, thorns and thistles, had already been created and "the earth brought forth" the same, on the third day (i, 12). The man was further condemned, as part of the "curse," to eat "the herb of the field"; but already, and as a divine providence for man, these same herbs of the field had been graciously bestowed upon him for food; for it is recorded: "And Elohim said, Behold, I have given you every herb, and every tree, in the which is the fruit; ... to you it shall be for meat" (i, 29). As for eating bread in the sweat of his face, or working to make the ground bring forth its produce of food, why, that was the express purpose for which man was created in the first place (in the second version of his creation) and put into the Garden of Eden -- a blessing of healthful work instead of idle existence. For, after the earth was created, and before man was put upon it, it is recorded: "And there was not a man to till the ground" (ii, 5). So Yahveh proceeded to form man out of the dust of the ground, and then laid out and planted the Garden of Eden. Then Yahveh Elohim took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden "to dress it and to keep it" (ii, 15) -- thus providing for him useful and healthful work, so that "by the sweat of his face" he should eat of all the varied products of nature which Yahveh had given the man for food, until his return to the dust from which he was taken.
So we see that every single clause of the "curse" on man, was no "curse" at all; every item of it, except that of "eating dirt" all his life like the snake, and which he never acquired the habit of doing, was already provided by the bounteous Creator Yahveh as particular blessings for his masterpiece of creation. The statement about his death and return to dust was no part of the "curse" at all, for man was never designed to live on earth forever, but was mercifully to be released, in due time, from that intolerable fate. The pretense of some pious persons and of the Council of Orange that but for this awful "original sin," man would have lived always without tasting death, besides being utterly absurd, is distinctly denied by the inspired record; for, in a very curious passage,
Yahveh Elohim is represented in a colloquy with some of the other gods, anonymous in the record, and, says Yahveh: "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore Yahveh Elohim sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken" (iii, 22, 23). Thus the man was driven away from the tree of life, which had the magic property of making earthly life everlasting, expressly to prevent him from acquiring immunity from death.
And he was driven forth from the garden expressly "to till the ground from whence he was taken" (iii, 23) -- which was exactly the purpose for which he was originally put into the garden, "to dress it and to keep it" (ii, 15). So the "curse" is seen to be quite innocuous; and I pledge my word of honor that there is not another word nor the remotest allusion in all the Hebrew Bible to the whole incident of the garden and the snake. The Old Testament is as silent as Sheol (the grave) about any pretended "original sin" and "curse" and "Fall," and of eternal damnation on account of that or of anything else.
THE "CURSE" LIFTED
And just here one very singular circumstance may be mentioned, which is another falsehood imputable to Yahveh. Just after the Flood, when pious reckless old Noah destroyed one-half of all his breeding stock for a burnt sacrifice to Yahveh, we are told that "Yahveh smelled a sweet savor; and Yahveh said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake" (Gen. viii, 21). This would certainly seem to indicate that Yahveh was appeased and the "curse" lifted, and that the new race of mankind would now have a fair new start in life. But this is evidently a mistake; for the "curse" of Eden yet rests upon the ground. Indeed, "all things continue as from the beginning of the world"; the ground still brings forth thorns and thistles, and in toil man still eats of it in the sweat of his face (for, as the poet sings: "How salt with sweat is the laborer's bread!"); snakes still wriggle through life on their belly; and in pain do women yet bring forth children. So Jahvistic injustice is still universal and his Holy Word is broken, believe either phase of it one may prefer.
This is the whole of the fearful "curse" and "fall of man," whereby, we are told, all humanity was placed under the "curse of God," and Jesus Christ had to be sent into the world by his Father Yahveh, after four thousand years of weary "watchful waiting," to suffer and die ignominiously in order "to redeem mankind from the sin and curse of Adam." But one may wonder where is any eternal death and damnation in all this, or any scheme of redemption -- where is the joke? I shall reveal it.
THE RIDDLE OF THE SERPENT SEED
Utterly all of the "plan of salvation" is revealed, or concealed, in one fatal verse of Genesis iii. The whole trick is in the riddle of Yahveh and his talking snake: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (iii, 15). Yahveh Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, in his infinite wisdom, said those few cabalistic words about snake- and woman-seed, and about bruising heads and heels, to his talking snake; and out of this inspired sentence the inspired oracles of the new dispensation, over four thousand years afterwards, conjured this fearful and wonderful combination of curse and prophecy, clear as mud: Mankind is damned through the sin of Adam to the last generation; but the merciful and loving Yahveh will send his son Jesus Christ, the Lord knows when, to "redeem and save" all those who believe this childish Jewish fable, and to re-damn in hell fire, not then invented, all those who do not and will not believe a word of it.
Of course, Yahveh did not say this in words that anybody but a talking snake or a priest could understand. The mystic remark was made to the serpent; it does not appear that Adam and Eve heard it or understood it to mean anything, and certainly not the tremendous curse of death, damnation, and salvation, four thousand years afterwards evolved out of it.
IS IT GOD'S WORD?
Nor did a single patriarch, priest, prophet, or seer of Israel, with all their frenzied visions and fiery cursings, ever imagine or mention anything of the sort. Of all persons on earth, these Old Testament worthies surely would not have overlooked so momentous and terrific a curse, in the very beginning of their own Book of Curses, if either by inspiration or ingenuity they could have unriddled such a sense out of these seemingly senseless words. Those holy ones of Israel surpassed all human skill of those ages in devising curses to terrify the Chosen People into abject submission to the priests and to Yahveh; but, fearfully effective as it was afterwards made, not a word of the awful "curse of Adam," with eternal hell fire and damnation, do they utter, or even hint, or suspect.
A BIG CHANCE MISSED
Moses is Yahveh's arch-terrorist; he piles Pelion on Ossa of threats and curses throughout all of his reputed Five Books, and sums them all up in his schedule of curses in the closing chapters of Deuteronomy. He elaborates the most frightful and blood-curdling catalogue of curses ever framed or imagined prior to the gentle and loving Jesus and his apostles and to medieval churchly anathemas. All which he threatens "shall come to pass if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of Yahveh thy God, to observe to do all his commandments; ... all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee." Cursed shalt thou be in this and cursed shalt thou be in that:
"Yahveh shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, ... until thou be destroyed. ... Yahveh shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land.... Yahveh shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew. ... And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters" -- and countless other blood-curdling and diabolic horrors. And when old Moses has exhausted his powers of invention of terrors and his vocabulary of horrors, and is choked off by an apoplectic fit of rage, he sputters and spits forth a residuary clause of curses: "Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will Yahveh bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed" (Deut. xxviii, 15-61).
These gentle admonitions to belief and obedience, be it remembered, are by Moses himself -- the same inspired author of the riddle of the serpent seed, supposed by Christian propagandists to signify eternal damnation in hell fire. Read in the light of hell fire, this "curse of Adam" would have been the most potent of all the terrors of the priests of Yahveh, just as it always has been, until lately, of those of the later triplex Deity. Moses imposed the yoke of the priest upon the people by the threat of death: "The man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto [obey] the priest. ... even that man shall die" (Deut. xvii, 12); and he exhausts the vocabulary of terrorism to instill the abject fear of the hierarchy into the minds and souls of the deluded Chosen: but never once does he hurl at them: "Doubt and be damned" -- "Fear him who hath power to destroy both soul and body in hell!" What a chance he missed!
But Moses, in all his fluency of frightfulness and fury of invention of terror, never once includes the "curse of Adam" in the catalogue of "all the curses that are written in this book"; he evidently did not read his own riddle that way; and no other priest or prophet from Moses to Malachi even hints at Adam's curse, or Fall, or eternal damnation in hell fire. Hell and its fire are totally non-existent in the entire Hebrew scheme of penalties and punishments.
Again, let it be noted in the reader's mind, and written indelibly upon his memory, that from the first "curse" in Genesis iii until the final "Lest he come and smite the earth with a curse" in the last verse of Malachi" amid all the fearful cursings and ravings of the prophets of Yahveh calling down death and destruction upon his Chosen People, there is not one single mention or remotest reference again in all the Hebrew Bible to the snake story, or to the curse of Adam, or to the "fall of man," or to the necessity or propriety of redemption from "original sin" and from the fires of hell. All the furies of the dread Yahveh, invoked by all his holy prophets, are temporal terrors; all his pains and penalties are ended with the death of his miserable victims. In the grave (sheol) they are at rest; they are never pursued into any hell fire on account of Adam's sin or of their own. We must give even their Yahveh his due.
DAMNATION A CHRISTIAN DOGMA
Whence then, comes this fearful doctrine of "original sin," of the "fall of man," of eternal death and damnation -- of this curious and accursed "plan of salvation?" It is all a fiendish invention of the apostles and priests of the new dispensation, as will now be very easily seen. Hell fire and damnation are simply the genial sanction of the religion of the gentle and loving Jesus. But Jesus Christ never once even mentioned Adam or the pretended curse and the Fall; he never once intimated that his mission was due to the pretended talking snake scene in the Garden of Eden.
More than that, not one of the four writers of the so-called gospels utters a word about Adam, or the curse, or the Fall, or of "redemption" by Jesus Christ for any sin of Adam, which is never even remotely referred to throughout their gospels. The single reference by the gospel writers to any Mosaic antecedent for any of the events of the life of Jesus Christ (except some pretended "prophecies" elsewhere examined) is by John, "the disciple whom Jesus loved," his dearest and closest friend; and he only says: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up" (John iii, 14). But this is not because of the serpent in Eden, or of the "curse" on Adam and mankind, but simply, as John says, "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." Thus neither Jesus nor any of his inspired biographers makes the remotest allusion to the very cornerstone of the "plan of salvation."
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Revealing the Spiritual duality of the Bible. For it serves neither God nor truth to try and rationalize irrational things the Bible has said of God.