The Nature of Sin


I had to laugh. Last Saturday, agent Rachelle Gardner of Rants & Ramblings titled her post, “The S Word.” You may remember, this was the same title I used for my Thursday post. Rachelle, however, was talking about “safe” fiction whereas I was talking about sin.

So, to dispel any confusion, I’m forgoing the obscure title and calling sin sin.

I also have to admit, Kameron’s comment to my Thursday post shook me. I thought only a certain segment of people calling themselves Christians would see sin in a different light, a liberal light that pretty much denies Mankind sins, claiming instead that we only make mistakes, most of which are too ordinary to require any special attention like forgiveness or the blood sacrifice of God’s perfect Son.

But I know this is not Kameron’s view of sin or forgiveness or the cross of Christ.

The result was, I went back to the Bible, asking, What does Scripture show about the nature of sin? Somewhere in college, I learned the importance of going to primary sources, so I went to Genesis to see what exactly the Bible had to say about that first sin.

Apart from Adam and Eve hiding from God, Him confronting them, and assigning their punishment, not much. Not here.

But I don’t want to rush past God’s confronting them. His first question was, Where are you? His second was, Who told you that you were naked? After assigning punishment, he came back to what had happened and said this: “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.”

In other words, something fundamental changed in Adam. He lost his innocence. This was not just one isolated sinful act which required payment. His sin changed the way he saw the world.

Chapter five is significant in light of this radical change in Adam.

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made Him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created. When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.

Clearly there’s a shift. Adam, created in the likeness of God. Adam sinned, gaining the knowledge of good and evil. Adam gave birth to a son in his own likeness, not God’s.

And the question. Do people today know good and evil? Inherently? Not just as something taught? Human experience certainly points in that direction, but so does the Bible. Romans 1, for example, supports that fact:

That which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened
emphasis mine.

Interestingly, Kameron, in his second comment, said something to support this point.

Granted, Christ had his divinity, which made it possible for him to obey the law perfectly where the man could not, but that does not change the fact that it is by choice that we sin,
emphasis mine

What is it that prevents Man from obeying perfectly? I understand this to be the whatever changed in Adam, the thing he passed on to his son. This knowing good and evil we all experience, this darkening of our foolish hearts. Sin.

Published in: on June 2, 2008 at 11:37 am  Comments (11)  
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