Objections to Karma

(Lakshmi Mehta) #1

Continuing the discussion from Why only one life and not many lives to receive God's grace?:

The topic of ‘reincarnation’ from a previous thread has lead to the discussion of ‘karma’. There seem to be only a few resources that have looked into this at depth.

Where do you all see karma fall short with its logic and relevance? I think there are many areas to explore as we think about issues with karma - identity of man, holiness of God, purpose of creation, ethical motivation, justice, suffering, redemption, unity, stewardship, righteousness, mechanisms of karma – administration, method of atonement, its evidence.

What follows is a summary of my understanding of karma. Look forward to some thoughts on this! Thank you!

Understanding Karma (Dvaita view)

What it means: Just as in nature we observe that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, the law of karma states that every action of moral responsibility also has a reaction that operates through multiple lifetimes. The reactions are determined by the intentions of actions, with bad karma being produced by selfish intentions and good karma being produced by selfless intentions.

How it works: The law of karma is considered to be impartial and inexorable and to act on all living entities indiscriminately. Its purpose is not considered to be retributive, but its purpose is to sanctify. Different karmas take different times for the fruition of reaction due to free-will, god’s purpose and his timing. Karma is not considered completely fatalistic. While bad karma have pre-determined and fixed reactions, the response to the reaction can be controlled by free will and so spiritual orientation is encouraged to allow wise choices that produce good karma and forgiveness of bad karma. This philosophy emphasizes dharma (loving service/duty/right course of action) even at the face of injustice with a focus of purifying intention rather than evading karmic reaction. Changing health, reading, eating, meditation habits are encouraged to increase the chances of man choosing good karma. The new family into which a soul is born into depends on the interplay of karma of the soul and its new family. Good karma alone is not considered to produce liberation but only temporary elevation. As a soul learns to spiritually orient itself, god has mercy on the truly repentant and promises forgiveness and liberation out of the cycle of birth and death.

Types of karma:

Actions that are performed in terms of one’s prescribed duties, as mentioned in the revealed scriptures, are called karma .

Actions that free one from the cycle of birth and death are called akarma (devotional selfless service).

And actions that are performed through the misuse of one’s freedom and that direct one to the lower life forms are called vikarma .

Its logic:

God disciplines those he loves through the process of karma as a loving parent. People will hold themselves accountable to their moral actions only if there is a specific consequence, which is fulfilled through the law of karma. Past-life karma is used to explain the afflictions of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked and the differential distribution of physical, emotional, spiritual, social status at birth.

Answers to some criticisms:

Not everyone knows about karma : Ignorance of gravity is no excuse to not be hurt by disobeying its law. A man is expected to learn about law of karma on birth.

It is payment for unknown karma : Remembering all the actions of all the lifetimes that are causing the suffering can overwhelm a soul and will not help in producing a good response.

It provides no consolation for the suffering : The philosophical explanation of suffering as karma, must come only after initial acts of love (dharma) to alleviate suffering. The way to go through suffering is taking shelter in god as no suffering can take away our core spiritual identity and relationship with god. God doesn’t share in the bodily pain but has concern for the soul’s pain because of his love.

It causes psychological burden to the disabled : The real burden is loss of spiritual realization. Love and spiritual education of disabled will elevate them to better status in next lifetime.

It causes division in society : Caste based division was due to misunderstanding of one’s dharma and the ability to move between castes through spiritual orientation.

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(Patrick Teo) #2

Hi Lakshmi,
Thank you for your explanation about Karma. i take my belief seriously. Spirit & soul investment is a very vital matter in our life. In share market investment, most investors would spend time studying the market before they invest their money in the shares. How much more would we require to study before we invest our spirit & soul.
After i have gone through the study of fundamental four world major religions by using 3, 4, 5 grids testing methods, as well as my personal encountered with the spirit of the living God, i come to the conclusion, the person of Jesus Christ is the only true God i can accept, the rest of the religions are either philosophy or demonic counterfeit.
The Bible has the most logical explanation about everything on earth. Yes, there are some things we can not understand as our brains are limited to three to more spiritual dimensions.
None of the religions founders proclaimed to be god. They are merely humans. i have problems with religions founded by men!
Jesus Christ is the only deity claimed to be the Son of God. His claim fit in with the merit and teachings. He talked the talk & walked the walk. He has the highly wisdom and supernatural undertakings in miracles & healing. His power of commanding the evils to go, His wisdom in handling problems and His love to all men even to His enemies have through & through demonstrate that He is indeed the only true God. To me, He is my best shot in life!
Karma is Eastern mystical profound philosophical principle. For instance, just consider incarnation, if i were bad in this life, i may become a tiger or lion in my next life, how can it be possible to work my way up!! Lion would hunt all sort of animals, killing would downgrade me to even more inferior animal, there is no way i could ever get back to become human!
Throughout my experience & study in life, some religions are very user friendly. One religion regards heaven in living close to their god & hell is lived far away from their god! There is no pressure in believing it. The greatest tumbling block for us is the eternal hell the Bible is taking about! Bible talked very little of hell, we should undertake a more profound study about it.
In conclusion, Jesus is the only deity that make sense to me. After my encountered with the true God and my earnest seeking of the TRUTH, the trinity is my absolute final investment of my spirit, life & soul. i would love those who believe in other religions, but i would never agree God of the Bible & the rest are the same.
i apologise if i have offended you in whatever way. i am a biblical base believer. Praise God to His glory.
i would like someone to voice their opinions about hell.

(SeanO) #3

@Lakshmismehta Thank you for getting this thread going! What are some of your personal objections to karma? In your studies which objections do you find the strongest and how come? I will start with a few critiques.

Inexorable Law of Karma Distorts God’s Character

At a fundamental level, karma as an ‘impartial and inexorable’ law does one of two things:

  1. Makes god impersonal
    In the Bible, God has mercy on those who come and ask for forgiveness - He erases their debts as a loving Father. If god sets a law like karma that is inexorable, he is no longer acting like a person would. A real father would never tell their son who truly repented - “I’m glad you said sorry, but I am still going to bring the full weight of karma against you.” Think of the story of the Prodigal Son - the Father is waiting with open arms for His son to come home.
  2. Makes god incapable
    On the other hand, if karma is not within this god’s power, then this god is no longer the creator of all things. There is a law that exists apart from god that he cannot control even if he wants to do so.

Karma is Unrealistic - No One Can Escape It

This is one of my big objections. I have read through the teachings of some men who were said to be enlightened and it is quite clear from their interactions with their disciples that they were not perfect men. Only Jesus ever lived a perfect life.

No human can actually achieve freedom from karma because no human is perfect. Anyone who claims to be completely free from either sin or desire is simply lying. There is nothing in my experience to suggest that any human can achieve this feat.

Without grace we are stuck forever in the cycle of reincarnation.

Eternity is In Our Hearts

This argument may not apply to every karmic system, but the ones that rely on extinguishing desire and viewing this world as illusion contradict a fundamental human reality. Ecclesiastes points out and the Japanese poet Issa confirms that we realize in our hearts that this world is not mere illusion and that our relationships contain value that ought to last forever.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (amplified Bible) - He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.

As Sam Hamil explains in The Spring of My Life and Selected Haiku: Kobayashi Issa, “after years of legal wrangles, Issa managed to secure rights to half of the property his father left. He returned to his native village at the age of 49 and soon took a wife, Kiku. After a brief period of bliss, tragedy returned. The couple’s first-born child died shortly after his birth. A daughter died less than two-and-a-half years later, inspiring Issa to write this haiku (translated by Lewis Mackenzie).” The impermanence Issa expresses with the word ‘dew’ is therefore not an abstract concept; he is touchingly speaking of the fragile lives of his own children.

The Japanese poet and lay Buddhist priest Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) once wrote:
Tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagara sari nagara
The world of dew —
A world of dew it is indeed,
And yet, and yet . . .”

Karma Depends on Reincarnation

Hebrews 9:27 - And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.

I realize that there is anecdotal evidence given for people who remember past lives, but this type of anecdotal evidence exists in every religion and belief system. It cannot be used to differentiate between belief systems because it is subjective and pervasive. The resurrection of Jesus is a firm foundation for the resurrection of the Christian and the reality that we only have one life much more in keeping with reality as I have seen and experienced it.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #4

@ptengineering, Thank you so much for your thoughts and I am not offended at all. I pray that the description of these other god’s philosophies will not detract anyone from Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Bible and does not offend anyone. I wholeheartedly believe there is only one true God as revealed in Jesus and the other gods are either man made or demonic. I have edited my explanation on karma using lower case ‘g’ to differentiate from the true God where possible . I avoid saying the name of these false gods in my writing as much as possible. As I have tried to understand the philosophical differences, I actually wondered whether I should spend more time figuring out how other god claims fall short of Jesus claims, especially since karma is just a philosophy that is generally accepted by faith and not proven. In my own experience, I was first attracted to Christ because of goodness of the gospel and my experience rather than faults I had discovered through study. My attempts to reason with my family about claims of their god has been an impenetrable conversation so far. What might help is a good explanation for the necessity of resurrection as the hindu mind dismisses the importance of the body. I am not familiar with the grid system you mentioned and I will look into it. Thank you!

(SeanO) #5

@Lakshmismehta Could you unpack for us more how you would approach the necessity of the resurrection within your cultural context?

In your own personal life, how did the goodness of Jesus reach beyond the skepticism you held against Christianity?

Looking forward to learning more.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #6

@SeanO, First of all, just want to thank you for the good questions that you ask as they act like guideposts to focus my thinking, so as not be overwhelmed by the deluge of information and my limited abilities. Let me start with the easiest one you asked regarding my conversion experience and then move on to the other questions.

When I became a Christian as a teenager, my family was only somewhat religious and followed it mostly in the form of fulfilling their moral duties lovingly as best they could (sanathana dharma) and through ritual worship of all the different hindu gods. My family’s understanding at that time was that all the hindu gods are forms of the same god and all major religions are different ways of worshipping the same god. The objective of devotional life was to accumulate good karma with the hope of being re-incarnated to a better life. There was little emphasis on personal relationship with a god and the goal of complete release from cycle of death and birth as it was considered uncommon. I came to the acceptance of the gospel mainly for emotional and some theological reasons. The emotional reason was related to me finding confidence, strength and security in the love of God through a personal relationship in Jesus irrespective of my merit worthiness. I often relied on Isaiah 43:1-2 and Romans 8:38-39, the promise of God to be with me through everything. The theological reasons I found at the time of conversion were - 1) that human karma however good may still fall short of the righteousness of the true God as we have finite capacities 2) that there is only one true omnipotent God who demonstrated love through the incarnation of Jesus, that the different manifestations of gods are not the same as each of the gods were granters of only one virtue (knowledge, luck, money etc.) and seemed limited in their potency, these gods also had strange preferences like elephant god liking some ‘sweet balls’, a god liking ‘hair’ for sacrifice, idols being bathed in ‘milk’ ( an important resource in poverty stricken India), these gods also had strange modes of transportation - eagles, mice, lion, peacock, etc. and 3) that salvation is possible in just one life through Jesus 4) that God is not in everything but that the Creator is apart from the Creation. If god was in everything, I should feel guilt for constantly dishonoring god with how I used everything. God used Isaiah 44:19 for my understanding of the folly of idol worship. “No one stops to think or the knowledge or understanding to say, " Half of it I used for fuel, I even baked bread over the coals, I roasted meat and ate, Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?” . 5) Absolute morality is displayed in the gospel in Jesus’s historical life and is different from what is seen in other mythical stories. After conversion, I experienced being impressed by God through scripture regarding some situations in prayer which was a proof of a living Savior for me. Its only after my conversion, that my family has gone deeper into Hinduism and then finally into ISKCON which is different from mainstream ‘Hinduism’ with its emphasis on personal relationship, forgiveness of sins after surrender, chanting, differentiation between demi-gods and main god, and idol worship.

When I have brought up the issue of resurrection to my family a few times, I felt I have to first prove that Jesus is an incarnation of God. They seem to think he is just a prophet or a son of god but not God Himself. If they suspend the objection of Jesus’s deity, the next issue I have to deal with is why I insist on Jesus being the only incarnation of the true God. And finally, they dont feel that a true god has to redeem both soul and body. For Hindus, the real identity of any living entity is its soul and the only reason the soul was given the body was to fulfill the soul’s material desires and the problem of sin is misidentification of the soul with the body (illusion). Matter’s purpose being considered temporary, resurrection may still keep the temptation for misidentification open. Also, since their god changes bodies like clothes, resurrection of only one of the incarnations seems meaningless to them.

So far I feel more confident about the objections to karma for a monistic ‘hindu’ view of an impersonal god where souls are considered to merge into an impersonal god if purified at death. For this view, I think the objections you have brought up such as ‘no human can achieve freedom from karma as no human is perfect’ makes a strong case and also the impracticality of an impersonal god administering karma that is based on personal free choices would seem self-contradictory.

For the ISKCON view of personal god, we may need to focus on other objections. I found an old book from 1909 by a British missionary in India online called " Karma and Redemption-AG Hogg". I have to spend more time understanding his writings but he makes some very good points. The reasons he brings up are that:

“1. Karma is ethically defective. Although excellent in its intrinsic connection between sin and punishment, it hinders the profounder development of guilt consciousness. For by its principle, the purpose of every birth is requital, it makes the dispensing of judgment not simply a presupposition but the chief end of Divine providence; and no man can feel it either an absolute duty to cooperate with or infinite sin to rebel against such a Divine end as this…Christianity, being committed to a more inspiring view of the Divine purpose in history, feels unmerited suffering not an injustice but a privilege”.

  1. Meaning of Jesus in History: " But if God be active , then providence is a reality, and if God is the universal Father, then the aim of providence throughout all history must not have been requital but to draw men to Himself in the voluntary service of the absolute good…Jesus’s revelation of God as active Love removes the theoretical difficulty of admitting the reality of moral evil and affords a direct explanation of the origin of evil and unmerited suffering"

  2. Difference in the laws of the political state and the laws of Divine order: " When we comprehend this difference we realize how much lies behind forgiveness; we realize that the reaction of the Divine love against sin does not consist merely in this, that out of pity God adopts the expedient of sharing the karma of humanity as a promising means of checking the drift of humanity toward ruin; but even more than this, that in the face of sin God cannot but sacrifice Himself to the uttermost in the struggle to abolish sinfulness"

I think argument 1 goes along with Tim Keller’s arguments in “Generous Justice” where he talks about understanding the importance of “poverty of spirit”. A middle-class understanding of this will only lead to middle class surrender of ourselves to God. Also Keller through the story of the good Samaritan, shares how only an understanding of unmerited grace as opposed to duty will cause one to love everyone unconditionally.

For me personally, the one thing I absolutely cannot accept about karma is the worth of one’s identity being determined by external forces rather than by ‘the image of god’ alone. My heart screams against calling injustices as deserved and a form of consequence for past actions given by God. I dont think a just God would use injustice against people created in his image to give a consequence. Jesus says, “Whatever you do to the least of these you do it unto me”. He even objects to listening to our prayers if we have unforgiveness against anybody.

Well, I think I have already written a long response, I should stop now. I hope I have answered the questions mostly. Thank you for the questions. Just answering your questions have again filled me with gratitude toward God and Jesus for my salvation.

(SeanO) #7

@Lakshmismehta Thank you so much for that wonderful response! I certainly hope you are keeping good notes - I really think you could put together a wonderful resource to share with others through your continued studies! The book by A. G. Hogg sounds like a very interesting read - I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts as you process it more.

Would you say that your families’ decision to join ISKON was an attempt to maintain their cultural identity in the face of valid objections to their way of worship? Or was it on the horizon even prior to your conversion?

Would you say that the narrative of a God who shows grace / unmerited favor to people made in His image is central to what drew you into the Christian faith? How does your family respond to the idea of grace?

Here is a brief summary of my understanding of your reasons for coming to Christ and your main objections against karma within the context of ISKON. Please let me know if any of them are inaccurate. Good stuff!

Reasons for Coming to Christ

  • human karma, however good, falls short of God’s righteousness
  • Jesus as the incarnation of the true God is more rational than the concept of many manifestations or gods who have human preferences, strange behavior and represent a specific virtue
  • Salvation through Christ in one life
  • God, as Creator, is apart from His creation (Isaiah 44:19)
  • Jesus’ teaches absolute and consistent morality whereas pagan gods are inconsistent and capricious

Key Objections to Karma

  • Only unmerited grace can result in unconditional love
  • karma propagates injustice rather than speaking prophetically against it while Jesus, along with the prophets in Scripture, stand up for the ‘least of these’

May the Lord continue to grant you wisdom as you study and reflect on these matters.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #8

@SeanO, that’s an accurate summary in a few words! My notes are all in different places :slight_smile: but good suggestion. It would take a lot more research for a good resource and right now my aim is just to sort some of the main differences through.

My family’s decision to join ISKCON was not on the horizon. We didn’t know anyone when I was younger from ISKCON. It happened when my sister came to the U.S and got introduced to it and slowly the whole family adopted it. It’s attractive to a Hindu because of the focus on personal relationship.

I was drawn to Christ because of unmerited grace to those made in His image. My family thinks this is available even in ISKCON. They equate the idea of image of God with the presence of ` Paramatma or Supersoul’ in everyone’s heart. The idea of discrimination due to gradation of spiritual progression at birth doesnt seem to bother them as much. They accept it as harsh but just reality of life. They find it hard to believe that the Holy Spirit actually dwells only in the hearts of those who believe in Christ. They also have trouble with the idea of animal sacrifices in old testament as they are reincarnationists. There is a verse in their scriptures that says that their god blinks when devotees accidentally commit sins as a response to love of devotees. They are not able to understand the cost of true Grace. They keep going back to how sincere they are and how a loving god must be inclusive.

Thanks for the prayers.

(SeanO) #9

@Lakshmismehta Thanks for sharing :slight_smile: I am learning a lot and will continue to pray for you and your family. The idea of god blinking at sin would certainly make it difficult to understand the cross of Christ. It sounds like they have not experienced a ‘signal of transcendence’, as Os Guiness would put it - something that would cause them to question their own worldview. Whenever they encounter a concept in Christianity, they simply either find what they think is an equivalent in their worldview or they side with their worldview. May the Lord enable them to fundamentally question what they believe and to experience the grace and glory of Jesus.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #10

Appreciate the prayers. I am learning too. Putting thoughts in writing here on Connect is giving me more clarity. Thanks!

(Patrick Teo) #11

Hi Lakshmi, i appreciate your heart and your thoughts, you are trully one of the deep thinker of the East. i am a Chinese by race, our culture has compelled us to be philosophical in our outlook in life. By the same token, because of being spiritually sensitive beings, we are readily to accept many beliefs as being broadmindness.

If you go to Core Module Elective, the first RZIM elective, you will find the 3,4,5 gridlines method to determine the TRUTH. As human being, we are limited to our knowledge, but we are called to exercise the wisdom from heaven to discern the TRUTH. It may not be an absolute, but at least, we have the desire to how the truth. God will honour our sincerity and grant us the desire of our heart if we earnset seek Him. i strongly believe that we will find Him so He promised :slight_smile:

God bless you & your families. May the love of Jesus leads them to the understanding of truth of the Gospel - the I AM, Amen.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #12

@ptengineering, thank you for the kind words, prayers and the Core Module information. God has caused me to give more thought to Eastern philosophy mainly because of my family’s situation. I hope I am able to take the Core Module course in the near future. Seems like I will gain a better perspective and increase my foundational knowledge to better tackle the questions of faith.

(Patrick Teo) #13

Hi Lakshmi
i thought that you have done the RZIM elective before you are able to participate in this dicussion? May be i have misunderstood :slightly_smiling_face:
Families are the hardest people to convert. The best way to convert our family is to talk the talk & walk the walk in the wisdom and love of God, so that they can see something in us which they also long for have. Always pray for wisdom from heavy - for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.
Even in your business or career, always involve Holy Spirit as your guidance and partner. Ask God for every step you make and you will find you will never make foolish mistake :slight_smile:

(Lakshmi Mehta) #14

@SeanO, As I pondered through your questions and my reply again, I think there are two questions that are foundational to the objections of resurrection for the Hindu mind.

First, just as we as Christians always go back to the concept of original sin to lay the foundations for the need for the Cross and redemption of all creation, we may need to go back to the fallacy of the Hindu concept of sin. The whole idea of reincarnation and release from it is based on the idea of pre-existant souls that eternally existed and were given a material body due to a material desire to enjoy separately from god. How is 'original sin ’ as explained in the Bible better than ‘Maya/illusion’ in explaining the selfishness of mankind? There are some theological issues to explore if souls and God always existed - how did soul get a separate will? what is the basis for God to be worthy of love for pre-existant souls? How can self realization guarantee obedience?

Secondly, a hindu believes in karma mainly to answer the problem of differential suffering at birth. How can Christians best respond to the problem of differential suffering at birth? I wonder if it should be explained from the angle that God is worth more than anything on earth. Perhaps differential suffering can be argued as a non-issue.

Just some thoughts to explore.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #15

@ptengineering, I absolutely agree with the importance of our witness. Praying for God to open their eyes. Thanks.

(SeanO) #16

@Lakshmismehta Thank you for sharing those thoughts.

Sin vs Maya/Illusion

To me, it seems that defining sin strictly as material desire or even as rooted in material desire is a fallacy. How did the angels rebel - they are not flesh? Pride and envy do not require physical desire or even the existence of a material world. Selfishness is a heart issue - not merely a material issue. I think this definition confuses desire with disposition. We can have a sinful disposition even in the absence of sinful desire.

In addition, a man can enjoy material things without sinning. A man can enjoy food and yet give up his meal for someone in poverty. The fact that he has an attachment to material things does not prevent him from making a sacrifice to be generous. Generosity does not require extinguishing desire, but rather self-control and self-less love - heart issues.

Original sin in the Bible is rooted in learning to trust in God’s goodness and to discern between good and evil. It is at a heart level that we love and obey and self-control and sacrificial love are the answer; not extinguishing desire.

Hebrews 5:14 - But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Galatians 5:22 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

In addition, our own experience teaches us that it is not possible to extinguish physical desire. It is part of our humanity. The idea of doing so is contrary to our nature. God made us to enjoy good things in the physical world while exhibiting love through self-control and sacrifice. Sin is when our heart is distorted and we cease to exhibit self-control and sacrifice.

Is that a fair critique? What do you feel the response would be?

Differential Suffering

Here I think there are a few things to consider. From the Christian perspective, God has actually suffered with us and can comfort us in the midst of suffering. We only live one brief life and then we have eternity - Paul says the sufferings of this world are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us (Romans 8:18). And on the Day of Judgment Christ will judge those who have afflicted others.

  • God suffered with us through Christ on the cross
  • this life is only a vapor
  • God will judge injustice and oppression

In a sense, Jesus addressed this question indirectly in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). Lazarus was crippled and poor while the rich man enjoyed all of the good things of life. But after they died - they were judged for how they lived - not based on their status in life.

What are your thoughts? Thanks again for sharing.

(Natalia Love) #17

Hi Lakshmi,
I’ve always loved learning about worldviews. Your post had me thinking more about Grace vs. Karma, and how we can reach out to the New Age folks, who are so caught up in Karma, that they have no true idea or experience of Grace.

The Greek word “aphiemi” used in the Gospels and translated “forgive” means to leave or let go, and to give up a debt. So therefore, forgiveness means that a relationship has been renewed and restored despite a wrong that has been done, or if I dare say in modern day application “karma” is erased by “grace.” This is where aphiemi goes beyond human forgiveness to the loving grace of God, where believers are so forgiven that, in God’s eyes, it is as if they had never wronged and they have no debt to pay. That is the power of ultimate love and grace to which karma breaks down as it cannot be held against one.

It is those who realize the depth of their sin that can truly appreciate forgiveness. It is those who love much that are forgiven much.

“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” – Jesus (Luke 7:46-48)

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit,whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus the Christ our Savior. And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)

(Lakshmi Mehta) #18

Hi Natalia,

Such great thoughts! Thank you for sharing about the Greek word. I think using that language of `Grace erases Karma’ will be very useful in relating to those with an eastern mindset. Karma is all about initiating a relationship with God in our goodness but Grace is about God initiating with us in His goodness. Trying to be good through karma only reduces our perception to sin and our need for God.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #19

@SeanO, thank you for the great thoughts and your time in helping me think through this. I like what you said about ‘sinful disposition’ being present even in the absence of ‘sinful desires’. I have shared from Matt 15:11 about this issue before but not the way you have explained it. So your explanation may work because ''pride" while in heaven is considered as the reason for the soul to come under the influence of “Maya”.

Regarding original sin, they may agree that sin is about knowing the difference between good and evil through knowing god but here’s something contradictory. Maya is described as the female counterpart of god; which makes god both good and evil, a source of deception.

DA Carson’s message was very insightful and I think I will keep coming back to it. Bible references on how malicious / accidental sin is unrelated to distinctive evil are very helpful. What I came away with on listening to the message is how valuable suffering is and how it’s deceptive to just focus on the externals. He turns evil around for good. When God has absorbed our sins, there is no need for karma that makes God contingent on man.

(SeanO) #20

@Lakshmismehta When you say counterpart, what exactly does that mean about the connection between ‘Maya’ and god? Is ‘Maya’ part of god? Is it like yin and yang?

Thanks for your thoughtful posts.