How Judaism and Christianity Differ on the Original Sin


Video from Jewish learning Institute


Rabbi Yitzchak Brietowitz discusses how Judaism views mankind's first sin.


Many Christian thinkers believes that Judaism stands in a special relationship to Christianity and, therefore, that Jews cannot be addressed as people in need of salvation. In this regard theologian Karl Barth wrote:

"For it is incontestable that this people as such is the holy people of God: the people with whom God has dealt in His grace and in His wrath; in the midst of whom He has blessed and judged, enlightened and hardened, accepted and rejected; whose cause either way He has made His own, and has not ceased to make His own, and will not cease to make His own. They are all of them by nature sanctified by Him, sanctified as ancestors and kinsmen of the Holy One in Israel, in a sense that Gentiles are not by nature, not even the best of Gentiles, not even the Gentile Christians, not even the best of Gentile Christians, in spite of the fact that they too are now sanctified by the Holy One of Israel and have become Israel (Church Dogmatics, II, 2, p. 287)."


"The argument is that the sacrifices brought in the Temple had only limited efficacy because they had to be repeated periodically, while the death as a sacrifice of Jesus was perfect and was therefore the sacrifice to end all sacrifice.

Judaism rejects this view on simple grounds. The God of Israel forbids human sacrifice. Again and again, in the Hebrew Bible, God condemns the sacrificing of children to Moloch with particular vehemence (e.g., Leviticus 18:21, 20:2-5 among 5s). While God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac perhaps established in principle God’s right to demand human sacrifice, his last-minute intervention established his firm desire that not human beings but animals be sacrificed to him. Once this is grasped, it becomes impossible for the faith of Israel to accept the account of a human sacrifice as conforming to the will of God. It can be argued that the death of Jesus was not a sacrifice in the sense in which human sacrifice is forbidden, since it was voluntary on his part and those who killed him did not do so for the sake of bringing a sacrifice. But if that is so, then the death of Jesus can only be considered a sacrifice metaphorically and cannot substitute for, and certainly cannot terminate, the sacrifices specifically commanded by God in the Hebrew Bible. Many Jews and Christians see the reestablishment of the State of Israel as the beginning of the redemption of the Jewish people as foretold by the prophets of Israel. These same prophets foretold the rebuilding of the Temple and the resumption of the sacrifices (e.g., Zechariah 14:21, Isaiah 60:7, Malachi 3:1-4), a resumption for which traditional Jews have prayed since the time of the destruction. These prophecies in themselves indicate that the Hebrew Bible never envisioned any event that would make the reestablishment of the sacrifices in Jerusalem unnecessary, and if this is so, then the death of Jesus cannot be considered the sacrifice to end all sacrifice." from the article: Jews and Jewish Christianity - The Forgiveness of Sin

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