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To Sin is Anti-Human

To Sin is Anti-Human

The conception and definition of "sin" have changed more than a couple times throughout church history. As with many church doctrines, there are a slew of paradigms from which the same truth can be viewed and appreciated.

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One of these is the doctrine of sin. It is certainly valuable to begin with the generic definition that sin is disobedience to God's commands. This can be expanded to be that sin is unbelief in anything revealed by God. Anything that is without faith is sin as Paul and the author of Hebrews elaborate. These ways of understanding sin broadly describe sin in our relationship to God. From this paradigm, sin is principally viewed in how we are responding or interacting with God.

There is an additional angle that can be taken to round out our understanding of sin. This paradigm looks at sin from the perspective of God's intended purpose for man. This understanding can be seen in the early portions of John Calvin's Geneva Catechism,

"Q1. What is the chief end of human life?
A. To know God by whom men were created.
Q2. What reason have you for saying so?
S. Because he created us and placed us in this world to be glorified in us. And it is indeed right that our life, of which himself is the beginning, should be devoted to his glory.
Q3. What is the highest good of man?
S. The very same thing.
Q4. Why do you hold that to be the highest good?
S. Because without it our condition is worse than that of the brutes.
Q5. Hence, then, we clearly see that nothing worse can happen to a man than not to live to God.
S. It is so."

Here Calvin argues that the worst thing that can happen to men is that they not "live to God." This not living for God is sin. Sin is the worst thing that happens to men and makes them "worse than that of the brutes." When man denies his "chief end," he becomes less than the creatures of the field — for they do fulfill their created purposes. Karl Barth put it this way,

"If man misses his destination, he is inferior to the rest of creation. Not only beasts, but also stones, stars, insects, and all we see around us, leave us behind in this task of responding to the divine destination. Around us, praising is perpetual. The whole creation joints together in order to respond to God who created it. But man, in the midst of this chorus, of all this orchestration of creation, man stands still and does not do what he should do. This is man's misery: not to fulfill the meaning of his creation." The Faith of the Church, 28

Sin is not merely against God as He is, but it is also against man as God made him to be. Sin is always ever against God. But it is also against God's purpose for man. In sin, man fights against God's purpose for himself — he becomes less than God's divine purpose. In sin, man becomes less than the human that God designed — man truly becomes less human.

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