contemplation on sin and choice

contemplation on sin and choice
image by dall.e 2

The goodness of my God is boundless for He has yet again answered a question that has long troubled my spirit. Many quandaries pay visits to the theatron that is my restless mind, but one set that has long left me searching is the consideration of why God created humans, and then, why He created us as sinful. These are both complex and daring questions, ones that knock at the very door of God’s heart (that is, why He does what He does and why He is). Ergo, I dare not imagine that I could sit in His place and answer on His behalf.

Instead, I will attempt to unpack some logic that has given me peace regarding these fundamental queries.

To begin, I consider what it means to be sinful. 1 John 3:4 asserts that “sin is lawlessness”. Lawlessness here does not mean “having no law”. It cannot mean that because the law of God exists and by virtue of it being as we also are, we all have a law. What differs between a lawful and a lawless person then, is the relationship that exists between one and the law. The lawful obey it while the lawless do not – posing as though it does not exist altogether. But just because we act as if something doesn’t exist, does not mean that the said “thing” does not exist. One’s ignorance of the existence of the law of God does not equate to the non-existence of this law.

So there is a law, like gravity, to which all moral beings are subject. And living as if this law is non-existent, lawlessness, is sin. That is the first part.

The second part is an extension of the first. That is, knowing that the law exists and not living according to it, is living a lawless life as well. This is a life that is incongruent to the statutes of God’s given law of morality. And it is this latter consideration that I turn to, because God created us with the capacity to understand His law, yet He simultaneously gifted us the capacity to live against His moral law which is good.

Indeed, it is the fact that God’s moral law is good that makes lawlessness “bad”, sinful. For if the law were bad, being lawless would be good, and therefore not sinful. Yet because a holy God created a holy law, disobedience to Him is what makes us unholy. My sense here is that unholiness has less to do with mere disobedience, but rather the consequences of our disobedience.

“The reason God gets upset, humanly speaking, is not because of what we’re doing to Him. It’s because He sees what sin is doing to us”, says the late Dr. Charles Stanley. The consequences of sin, although many, lead to death (Romans 6:23). Death, although enigmatic, leads to separation from God, the creator and distributor of life. Life, although grand, betokens a formulaic relationship between our will and God’s will. And this is a crucial distinction because I doubt that God willed to create sinful beings, per se. Rather, one may suppose, what if He created beings with the will to sin?

And so, in each passing moment, you and I exercise this our will… within God’s larger decreed will – to have created beings such as ourselves. And whatever the human will may be (and now I can speak with certainty), it is subject to reason. The very gift that separates us from the non-moral beings – or perhaps beings under an entirely different moral law. For without killing, the lion will starve to death and without mounting its relatives, the cow would go extinct. Yet in our human moral jurisdiction, right and wrong are all governed by our reason; discernment.

Yes. It is manifest that our mental and emotional faculties have the capacity for choice. To advance medicine and surgery or to build hydrogen and atomic bombs. To feed the poorest among us or to fatten the spirit of gluttony inside us. To wonder of and search for the creator of our universe or to reject and deny His existence entirely. So, it is plain that God did not create sinful beings then, neither those with a simple will to sin, but rather those with the capacity to choose between sinning and not sinning. Those with the right of election and refusal. Those who, upon meditating on these truths, would not have it any other way.

I maintain this because I have meditated upon God’s decision to let us choose what we make of our lives. The word of God says, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). So, we have all that we need to choose to abide by His law… yet we decide not to. So whatever consequences await those of us who keep on sinning, are well deserved. Yet whatever glory awaits those who fight sin, are purely a product of mercy and grace.

For the capacity to sin that I write of was bestowed, I suppose, in equal measure to each one of us. Yet what separates those who walk according to God’s law from those who don’t is the fact that the former have been chosen by God. Set apart for His glory to be revealed on earth. It is these people whom we call “Christians”. People whose lives reflect back to God His beauty, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and self-control. And Christians are able to do so because of the work of the spirit of God who abides inside them. The Holy Spirit that instructs us in the ways of Heavenly wisdom. The Holy Spirit that shows us not only what sin is but also how to flee from it and run instead into the arms of God.

For it is in His arms that we find all that we ever need. It is in His arms that we can cry to Him and ask that He gives us the wisdom to choose obedience to Him. Because there is no life outside that which is lived in accordance with God’s statutes. There is no substance to words, deeds, and thoughts that come to take place without carrying the purpose of God’s glory. And so, God created us for this same glory. When His spirit helps us not sin, God is glorified. When our flesh leads us, expectedly, to sin, it is a reminder that apart from God, sin (lawlessness) appears wise – and in this, we see the need for God and therefore, He is glorified.