Sin is Not Good #2

Sin is a Rebellion and a Rampage

Sin is moral. It is an act against God. It is a transgression against God’s law. But not only His law but also His good plan.[i] Sin is not merely moral or highhanded treason it is also a rampage because it is mad; that is foolish, a form of insanity. It goes against good sense. It is a rampage because sin destroys the good.

We have all seen the pain and sorrow that moral derogation has wrought in our lives. We see it for instance in sins of others against us and those close to us, we see it in sins which we have sinned against others, we see it in the world at large (e.g. my parents were divorced, a very close friend of mine was molested as a child, and a friend of mine that struggled with drug addiction committed suicide). There is, for sure, a law written on all our hearts, we go against it to the shame and suffering of humanity; and yet, we all do indeed go against it. 

Humanity has and needs a moral standard. This points us to the Creator who gave it to us when He created us in His image. However, it also points us to the Fall. We all fail to measure up to the standard. We can all think of a hypothetical world where everyone followed these standards and where the result was great happiness. Yet, this is not the case. We do not follow these good (innate) standards. How odd. We know the good we ought to do, or at least that there is “a good,” and yet fail to do it.

Sin leads to terrible depraviltiy, hopelessness, and disregard for humanity or anything good. This is vividly portrayed, for example, in Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic book The Road. We don’t want to suffer what is portrayed there. We don’t even want to think of the horrors of Dachau and Auschwitz. We all know the wickedness of Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, and Joseph Kony. Yet perhaps their nearly unbelievable atrocities allow us to belittle (in our conscience) our own wickedness. However, even if our sin is so-called “low-grade wickedness” it is the equivalent of their sin, just on a micro level. It has the same seed, though perhaps it hasn’t came to full bloom yet.

What must be realized is that all sin is a movement towards un-creation.[ii] In C.S. Lewis’ words, through sin man becomes the “unman.” Through sin everything that was very good (see Gen. 1:3, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31) becomes cursed instead. Sin covers beauty, boasts in badness, and hides from the supreme joy we all seek. Sin is a rampage. 

Sin is a leech and parasite. It lives off of and feeds on life and vitality.[iii] And it kills it. Bleeding it away little by little until the carrier is completely eaten away and destroyed. Note that this death, though complete, can be imperceptible.

Sin leads to de-creation as well as desecration. Humans were made in God’s own image yet through sin that image has literally been put into dirt; man becomes dirt and ashes from whence he came (hence de-creation). From perfection to misdirection, from shalom[iv] to shattering. Everything has come undone. The creation groans with longing. Sin is not merely moral. It is the decay of all things. Sin wrought a wreak and we are still wheeling and writhing in pain.[v]

Thus, sin is not good not only because it is moral rebellion against a good and all-powerful God but also because it is a rampage against His good creation.


[i] “Sin represents an attack upon the harmony of the created order, and not merely a moral lapse” ((Revd Victor James Johnson, “Illustrating Evil – The Effect of the Fall as seen in Genesis 4-11,” 60 in Melanesian Journal of Theology 11-1&2 [1995]). If Jesus is the exact image of God and we were created in God’s image then as we image Jesus—as we are recreated—then we get closer to our beginning, closer to where we were created to be; actually quite a bit beyond that. So in Christ and His truth we are being renewed but through Satan and his lies we are becoming undone. The cosmos is breaking up and will finally be dissolved because of sin and yet remade in and because of Christ.

[ii] “Evil is the force of anti-creation, anti-life, the force which opposes and seeks to deface and destroy God’s good world of space, time and matter, and above all God’s image-bearing human creatures” (N. T. Wright, Evil and the Justice of God, 89)

[iii] “Sin is always the corruption of something good. Its existence is parasitic; it borrows, or rather usurps, its reality from whatever it corrupts” (H. A. G. Blocher, “Sin,” 784 in New Dictionary of Biblical Theology).

[iv] “In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight… a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be” (Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995), 10; italics original).

[v] Abnormal, sick, unhealthy, dysfunctional, maladjusted, or pathological—“wherever anything wrong exists in the world, anything we experience as antinormative, evil, distorted, or sick there we meet the perversion of God’s good creation” (Walter M. Wolters, Creation Regained, 55).

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 10 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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