The Nature of Sin

The cosmic upheaval that came about as a result of the sin of Adam and Eve can be summarized as alienation.

First, there is alienation between man and nature after the fall. “God gave Adam and Eve dominion over creation, so when they fell their corruption affected everything within the boundaries of their domain.” The ground was cursed and the world became resistant to fallen mankind (Romans 8:22-23).

Second, there is alienation between man and God. “As a result of the fall, we are in a state of enmity with God. We hear people say that God loves everyone unconditionally, but such thinking ignores the reality of this alienation.”

Third, there is the alienation of man from man. “Much violence occurs between human beings, not only on the individual level of broken relationships but also on the grand scale of nations rising against nations.”

Fourth, we see the alienation of man from himself. “Behind the self-esteem movement is a realization that human beings have a problem with self-esteem. The reason for that is sin….It is not uncommon to hear people declare, ‘I hate myself.’ Underlying that attitude is the fact that we cannot completely deny the wickedness that resides in all mankind.”

What is Sin?

Sin is our utter failure to meet God’s standard of righteousness (Romans 3:23). We are guilty of a sin of commission when we do something we are not allowed to do, and we commit a sin of omission when we fail to do something we are responsible to do.

Evil is the negation of good

We cannot understand unrighteousness until we have a clear understanding of righteousness. The term antichrist is meaningless apart from first understanding the meaning of the term Christ. So there is a sense in which evil is dependent upon the prior existence of the good for its very definition. Evil is like a leech, a parasite that is dependent upon its host for its life. That is why we cannot speak of about the problem of evil without first affirming the existence of the good or God as the very standard of goodness.


[Adapted from Everyone’s a Theologian by R.C. Sproul]