What I Believe: Inevitable Sin

The reason there is so much sin among us humans is that we have so many opportunities. We are corrupt in some of our actions and desires, are tempted by the pleasures of this world and its overwhelming presence in our lives, and actively assaulted by spiritual forces of evil.

It seems evident, I believe, that we cannot overcome sin on our own. In fact, trying to perfect ourselves that way can lead us in two directions. Minimizing our sins and becoming self-righteous is one of these paths. Learning the futility of perfecting ourselves on our own on the other hand can lead us to disillusionment with Christianity, anger with God or hedonism depending on our temperaments.

The answer to sin, I believe, is not focusing on it but on Christ’s love for us. Through his grace we can be enabled to love God, our fellow humans, and ourselves. In this state of mind we can see that sin is always harmful to someone and thus find (though not every time) an effective counterbalance to the things that pull us in the direction of sin.

What I Believe: Inherited Sin

In all the material realm sin is an attribute only of humans. This is because no other physical entities can know right from wrong. All things other than people do only what God has given them an instinct and ability to do. What they do may not suit what we think they should do. However, since they do not choose their actions based on knowledge of right and wrong, they are free from guilt. I believe that this was true of the first-creation humanity before the later version came to know right from wrong and hence to be able to make sinful choices.

The new type of humanity came to know right from wrong by doing wrong. You know the story and it seems only fair to credit both Adam and Eve for this addition to human capabilities. However, we should note that their punishments differed. Adam, I believe, bore the guilt that has been transmitted to all his descendants. This guilt could not be transmitted through Eve because a woman was to bear the child that would offer all humanity redemption from our guilt.