Christianity believes that man is naturally sinful from birth. This concept, original sin, states that
all mankind forever fell from grace when Adam partook of the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Along with this
death sentence, comes the promise of a Savior who will come to die for the sins of man and thus save them
from the damnation associated with their fall. This is a concept, in addition to Christianity as a whole, with
which many British authors of the mid-twentieth century dealt. William Golding wrote his famous novel,
Lord of the Flies, during this time period. This novel is about a group of young boys stranded on an island
and their struggle to survive in the absence of a civilized society. In the novel, Golding incorporates both
the concept of original sin and the promised Redeemer.
Inherent evil caused by original sin in the novel stems from one underlying circumstance. Society
and its rules serve to keep human evil in check and the further the boys move away from its influence the
more their sinfulness is apparent. The first example of original sin takes place when the
signal fire goes out and the ship passes bye without noticing the stranded boys. Instead of staying to keep
the fire going, as was their job, the hunters are so enthralled with the vicious pig hunt that they ignore their
responsibility, and thus abandon any chance of their rescue. The actual act and the savagery the killing of
the pig is also an example of the inert evil associated with original sin. The boys take pleasure from the
exhilaration of hunting and killing the defenseless pig rather than being just being happy that they have
food. Piggy’s murder is another example of the evil. On a whim, Roger decides to push the boulder down
on Piggy, never once considering the consequences. Only as a result of original sin would humans put the
pleasure and evil of the present ahead of those things that are necessary and important to sustain life in the
future.
The other aspect of original sin deals with the promise of a Savior. Golding uses the character,
Simon, to represent the Christ figure. Just as Jesus was a peacemaker, on many occasions Simon is called
upon to keep peace. Another Christlike characteristic is Simon’s willingness and ability to look out for the
helpless “littluns” as Christ protected the helpless human race from damnation. Simon is also mild
mannered and spoke with reason, sincerity, and truthfulness as was Jesus. This trait was obvious in the
way in which Simon spoke of the “beast”. Because “the wages of sin is death” Jesus died and the same is
true with the death of Simon. Only after Simon is killed bringing the truth that the "beast" was merely a
man with a parachute, are the boys finally saved. The finally connection between Simon and Jesus is the
way that they were not seen for what they really were. In the Bible, Jesus comes as the “King of the Jews”,
and the promised Messiah, but is killed becau!
se he is not recognized as such. Simon comes as the Savior with news of the existence of no “beast” but is
killed because he is mistaken for the “beast”. Such a connection between Jesus and Simon helps to
illustrate the importance of original sin to the novel.
Both the element of a long awaited Savior and the idea that man is naturally evil are incorporated
into Lord of the Flies. Indeed, Christianity played a huge role in the novel. Other examples of its
importance also appear in various parts of the novel. At one point, the man tangled in the parachute is
described as “a dead man on a hill”(p.141) which could be a connection to Christ, who was a dead man on
a hill outside of Jerusalem called Golgotha. Yet another possible connection could be the name of Simon.
One of Jesus’ disciples was named Simon Peter and he was eventually killed bringing people the news of
salvation. Due to the immense quantity of evidence pointing to the connection between the novel and
Christianity, it is rather obvious that Golding is attempting to express his traditional Christian viewpoints in
Lord of the Flies.