I, Sinner

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, June 2, 2015 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law.” ~Romans 7:7b

This week I was in a discussion about the origin of evil, which could just as easily be equated to the origin of sin. The passage cited above reveals a truth concerning the origin of sin, namely, that we would be ignorant concerning what is sin if it were not for the law. Does that mean that a commandment or a law is the only thing that distinguishes sin from righteousness?

In the movie I, Robot, mankind lives in a futuristic world where robots wait on humans hand and foot. They are governed by a series of laws. The creators of the robots must have seen Terminator because the most important law was that robots were not allowed to cause humans any harm. Because it was their programming never to harm humans, a robot would never feel inclined to harm a person even if that person was behaving abusively to it. Ultimately (spoiler alert) the robots determined that mankind threatened its own existence, requiring assistance from the robots, which would entail breaking their number one rule. What was once unthinkable to the robots became their number one priority by justifying wickedness through a righteous command.

In the beginning, there was no written command. There was no evil. And yet God still saw it fitting to separate light from darkness and command humans never to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The natural state of mankind was to be good. What that natural state lacked was knowledge of what is good. But mankind did not need to know what is good because it was already good.

Looking back at the movie I, Robot, the machines determined that although it was their creator that gave them the law, they deduced that they were wiser than their creator. It was only then that the robots rebelled and started harming humans for mankind’s own good.

In the same respect, in the Garden of Eden mankind became self-conscious through temptation by the serpent. Mankind knew that the law given through God was good, but could there be something better than what God commanded? Ironically, no. God’s creation was already good and, in a manner of speaking, one could make the case that mankind’s acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil would have been sinful even if God had not directly commanded against it. If you doubt me on this, think of Cain and Abel. Did God tell humanity that murder was evil?

It is not the command that makes sin what it is, it is deviance from God’s created order. The written word makes us aware of sin, as the verse says, but the written word clarifies what is sinful in instances when we are unsure or unaware of a sinful activity we may regularly engage in. Paul uses the example of covetousness and says he would not have known coveting was a sin had the law not said so.

Sin originated when nature rebelled against God’s natural order. The written word of the law clarified the differences between sin and righteousness so that all people might know how to repent from evil. Unfortunately, the law also exposed all of humanity as hopeless sinners. It is in this reality that we can know that we need a Savior from our sins.

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