The Sins of the Fathers

The Sins of the Fathers

A Chapter by Jordan

The sins of the fathers are passed down to the sons. This is a quote that I have always heard since I was a child in my fundamentalist Christian home and it sounded a bit unfair to me. I, until writing this, was not sure if it was even mentioned in the Bible, but it is actually mentioned in the Bible ink Deuteronomy, Exodus, and 1 Corinthians that the sins of the father are passed on to the son. The main problem with all of this is that it also mentions in Deuteronomy and Ezekiel that the sins of the father are not passed on to the son because only the person who sins shall die, not the son for the father's sins nor the father for the son's sins.

On the surface, it is looked at as a contradiction by many. If you look no further than those words in those verses, it is a contradiction. But I tend to be a bit of a reader, and, as a reader, I look between the lines when something like this is presented because it is a bit of a quandary when taken at face value. This is with any literature, by the way, not just the Bible. (The Bible does have literacy value but that is another discussion for another time.) We look deeper into the metaphors and words of other works of literature, yet many do not with the Bible. Verses like this are exactly why. So, on that note, let's explore this contradiction and see if it is actually a contradiction.

In Exodus 20:5 and in Deuteronomy 5:9, it is stated that, "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me.” This is concerning false idols and other gods; however, ignoring that, God says that the iniquity of the fathers will be visited upon the children and the third and the fourth generations of those who hate God. So, in other words, according to this divinely inspired word written by men, God will punish those who hates God. In Exodus 34:6-7, it is stated that, "Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth; 7who keeps loving kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations." Again, the iniquity is visited upon the children and into the third and fourth generations of a family based upon one man's sin per this word written by man. But then, Paul presents a different idea in 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam, all will die, so also in Christ shall be made alive.”

After saying all of that, then it says in Ezekiel 18:20 that, “"The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself." It also says in Deuteronomy 24:16, “"Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin."

See? Big contradiction. But let's think on this for a moment. What if they are all saying the same thing? In fundamentalist Christianity, there is a belief of spiritual warfare- warfare where demons and principalities are invited in from hell through actions, words, and thoughts. What if these verses are not saying that God will punish the children with a plague or death or poverty (as Calvinism would have you believe) or that you will have to have a Linda Blair style exorcism but rather allow our choices to be what rules us and shapes our reality? In a secular sense and a Zen sense, this means that we invite negativity in by being negative or by being unfair and cruel to others. This is supported by 1 Corinthians in pointing out the sin of Adam causing all of us to die and then us all being reborn because of Christ. It is also supported by the idea of a paradox that I have used in my previous writings before this, “We have the freedom to choose, but not the freedom from the consequences of our choices.”

In previous posts, I have mentioned this repeatedly and spoken of how doors can be opened in our lives when we hang on to anger, when we hate, when we judge others, condemning them to die, and when we allow any of these things to define our lives and to define us. This is where they all tie in together because of this post that I am now writing. I am using Bible verses because that is my faith but I have also seen this idea in other religions such as Buddhism and even in the Jedi path. And I have seen it in my own life through the actions of my family towards myself and others. The thing is, though, they do not just have a religious/spiritual consequence, but even one in a secular sense if you are not religious. The reason for that is because what you hang on to, what you think, what you feel, what you expose yourself to all shape who you are. When you hang on to anger, when you hate, and when you judge others through condemnation , you shape your perceptions and reality on negativity and on a deep darkness that can and will destroy. It also does not just destroy you though- it hurts your loved ones, your friends and affects all other relationships. It affects how you interact with others daily. This is the idea of interconnectedness that I have been on my soap box on all week. You are not the only person these affect. They affect others. It's a domino affect. Plain and simple.

This is why we are called to love. Because that makes the interconnection grow.

© 2013 Jordan

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Added on November 19, 2013
Last Updated on November 19, 2013
Tags: sins, fathers, sons, religion, fundamentalist, Christianity, essay



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