"Doubter" posts: "If we are all sinners because of Adam's choice, then are we forced to sin? Do we have no choice BUT to sin? Is this what God arranged from before the world began? And doesn't this make God a manipulator-- He forces us to sin so we have to turn to Him?"
I think current neuroscience illustrates our choice pretty well. It has been proven that most people who are addicts have a genetic "switch" in their brains that makes them an addict. Should a certain enviornmental condition exist, that "switch" is triggered and the person becomes an addict. From that point it is difficult, almost impossible on their own, to stop being an addict. It is something they deal with the rest of their lives.
Even so, this is how our "choice" is of sinning. Adam and Eve were created with a "full" choice, but this does not mean that we do not have choices. We and our parents have the choice to determine what our enviornment is. We may not be able to determine our reaction once we enter that enviornment, but we can make the choice as to whether we go there and connect with those people. Of course, that choice is also limited-- sometimes we are forced by other circumstances to be in circumstances we never would have chosen. Nevertheless, although we are "weak" we still have a choice.
This fits with Scripture. Humanity (read, "adam" in Hebrew) has been given rule over the earth. Every person is given kingship over certain areas. But humanity is no longer one or two people-- it is a complex of control issues. We have multiple rulers over each person-- parents, governors, creditors, police, etc-- and we have a complex system within ourselves which is partly moral and partly a mess of a bunch of desires, some positive, some not so. It seems to me that we have, then, two problems-- we don't know ourselves very well and we don't have control over our situation. This combination causes us to sin.
Is this God's fault? Did God set this up? I think that this is one of the possibilities that God established, but it wasn't necessarily His only plan. It is NEVER God's will or plan for people to sin. He doesn't want his children to rebel against him. But if they do sin, then He has a backup plan.
Are we forced to sin now? I guess the circumstances of our ancestors pretty much made it impossible for anyone's "switch" not to be triggered. We will end up in an enviornment in which we will feel that sin is our best-- and only-- response. Adam is the only one who ever had a full choice without being coerced.
Does this make God a manipulator? Well, yes and no. Adam could have a full choice because he was already in relationship with God. God created Adam to be under His authority. Adam could only be a just ruler if he listened to God and paid attention to God's recommendations. We however, from the time we are born, are under the authority of others who, like Adam, have chosen to make their own moral decisions apart from God's will. And we don't know how messed up this is until our whole lives are shattered because of our sin-- until our desires hit a road block and we realize that we aren't doing what we were made to do.
So what is our best and only choice then? To turn to God-- as we were created to do-- and to repent and to allow God to give us a new start. This happens through Jesus. And when we turn to Jesus we receive the Holy Spirit and become a NEW CREATION. This means that we become like Adam. We then have full, free choices to live in God's will.
So, perhaps, we only have a full, real choice in Jesus. But that is because Jesus is recreating us to BE new Adams. That is where real freedom begins.
-Posted on MennoDiscuss