Hi @san, I am so encouraged to hear that you are having a chance to delve into religious views with your Hindu friends. That requires faith, love and courage. Praise God for what you are doing. I think there is some useful information in the previous discussions relevant to your question but thought I could discuss that further.
Your first question seems to be - Can the status/fall of the human kind be described as the fulfillment of the law of karma due to Adam’s sinful actions?
I don’t think that would be an accurate representation of the fall as described in the Bible. This is because the law of karma has other dimensions that we as bible believers don’t ascribe to.
- Implicit in the law of karma, is that every person’s moral, mental, physical and social tendencies in this or the next life are a reaction to the actions of a person. In the case of Adam, it was not the “actions per se” but it was the choice to live apart from God’s decrees that brought about the fall that affected the human race. According to the Bible, there is no formula connecting the quality or the quantity of the work of man in determining the moral/mental/physical/social status of man. These are a consequence of man’s rebellion against God’s design. There is no inexorable law of karma that applies to all creatures and God himself as in Hinduism. God is personally involved in His creation and has a plan of redemption (Psalm 104:24,27, Is 57:15, Lev 26:12, Jer 3:19).
- The fall of the world was not a means of justice or punishment that Adam received for his actions but a consequence of the loss of a fellowship with God. Without God’s presence, man and creation lost its beauty as a natural consequence. This is in contrast to what a Hindu believes where this world itself is a punishment/a place of misery brought about by the union of the soul with the body according to the law of karma.
- Karma places a moral value on ‘works’ for our standing before God but Christianity places it in our ‘relationship with God’. All good work is enabled only out of a relationship with God. I think Ez 33:12-16 gives s good picture of how our personal relationship with God and work are related.
Ez 33 : 12 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’ 13 When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die. 14 Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
Did Jesus’s good action (good karma) give us salvation?
Again, it is important for a Hindu to understand that a good act does not make up for a bad act. Justice is necessary for bad acts and transformation of our inner selves is necessary for good acts. Justly, we deserve to die as we choose to separate ourselves from our life-giver. So, the Bible says, wages of sin is death. Jesus fulfilled the demands of justice and died for us (Heb 9:27-28, Col 2:14) as man cannot justify himself before God (Gal 2:16, Rom 11:6, Eph 2:8-9, Ps 49:7-9). Through faith in Him, we have access to God’s Spirit to lead us unto good works that are acceptable unto Him (Rom 8). We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive what is due for the deeds done in the body (2 Cor 5:8-10). If you want to use the language of karma, I would say that the law of karma cannot transform our heart to do God’s will but only God can.
Rom 8: 1-4 1There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
It would be good to have some questions to ask, to help them think through their understanding of karma beforehand. It can be difficult to present our views with clarity amidst resistance. Some ideas for questions - How do you define good? How does karma make us into good people? How is justice met in karma? May God open the eyes of your friends to see the truths you are presenting. God bless your conversations.