- Pathfinder

Reply To: Did any of the similarities or differences between Christian and Jewish theology surprise you? If so, which/why?

Ilona Chebotareva

I was interested to hear that the Jewish and Christian understanding of human nature differs. “Traditionalist and Modernist Jews teach that human nature is free to do what God commands. Christians differ there, teaching original sin—the inborn tendency to be selfish—to prefer myself to God and others. This means we require rebirth and regeneration through Baptism and faith, as well as grace from God.”

The difference in this understanding of our innate human nature raises a few questions. If Jewish theology doesn’t start from the standpoint of our human nature being sinful, by that logic, is what compels Jews to keep covenant with God different from what compels christians? How so? And if so, what does that say about how Jews and Christians perceive their role to be in the covenant? Is there a perspective of indebtedness that Christians have toward their part in the covenant, and a feeling of ownership that Jews approach being in covenant with God? Does this difference in understanding even matter? Does it change the way we chose to live our our covenant?