4 Esdras 3:21-22 of the Bible says:
“For the first Adam, burdened with an evil heart, transgressed and was overcome, as were also all who were descended from him. Thus the disease became permanent; the law was in the hearts of the people along with the evil root; but what was good departed, and the evil remained.“
It’s one of the world’s most well-known stories: God created Adam and Eve. He blessed them with a life of innocence and abundance in paradise – the Garden of Eden. They wanted for nothing and lived lives of bliss and virtue. God’s only rule was that Adam and Eve must not eat the apples from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But the devil, in the form of a serpent, convinced them to eat from the tree. And because of this sin, God cast them out of Eden and damned them to an eternity in the meager wastelands beyond the garden gates to live a life of guilt and scarcity. All of their descendents were tainted by their sin and lack of virtue.
This is original sin. Many of us believe that we are banished to this sinful world of ours because we are irrevocably infected with guilt and sin. To deny this reality is to deny and shun God. We atone and repent only by accepting and wallowing in our disgusting sinfulness and depravity.
Today’s modern story of self-loathing is nothing new. In fact, it is one of humanity’s oldest stories. For much of the Western world, this story and belief is deeply ingrained in our subconscious, enmeshed in our cultural fabric. Many of us believe that humanity at its core is evil, wicked, and corrupt – deserving of whatever terrible fate awaits us.