Sin and Sin Nature
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- This topic has 4 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 9 months, 2 weeks ago by Dave R.
August 15, 2022 at 9:53 am #2879
I have been attending a Southern Baptist church since my wife and I moved to Arkansas less than a year ago. I love the assembly, the pastor and even the teaching. I live in a very small community and the church is right across the street from our house. There are a couple of other churches here but I am now secure in my belief that God has led us here. I will admit that when we first started attending a quote of yours circled in my thoughts about receiving “the right foot of fellowship” because of your beliefs!
As I mentioned it has been a wonderful church, and the pastor’s teachings have been thought provoking; but though it is not gushing from the pulpit I have heard the traditional teaching of Trinitarianism and heaven as our destination and other typical teachings normal of this denomination. But I also recently heard the pastor speak of the church being here during the Tribulation.
I have been attending a small class which the pastor leads and we are currently studying Romans. Through my time in this group I have only generally shared about “changes” I have had the last few years concerning certain doctrines but not shared specifics. But the other day I shared that I believe that sinning is a choice and it is not forced upon us by a built in nature. Needless to say I did get push back but in my defense, the pastor listened as I shared with him the Scriptures you have taught. And I asked a question he admitted he could not answer. It was a very good discussion. We adjourned planning on discussing again the following week. Afterwards I came home and listened again to your teaching on the sin nature.
So let me get to my questions which I posed to our group:
1. If the tempter had been removed from the garden, would Adam/Eve eventually have sinned regardless and why? My pastor’s answer was he felt he probably would eventually have committed a sin. He then asked me the same question and I responded emphatically “no”. And my reason was because he had everything he needed. Why would he sin? But as the discussion continued a thought emerged “then what was the reason Lucifer sinned?” What was the catalyst there? I assume he existed in an environment even better than the garden since he was in the presence of God always so why would he sin? If Lucifer with his advanced position and perfect environment could freely choose to sin (and did without an external temptation) then perhaps Adam would have eventually sinned without help from the tempter also. You mentioned in your lesson that we choose to sin because we are ignorant, not understanding the consequences of our choice and because if feels good we continue to do so until our brain is hardwired that way. (Calvanism – Sin Nature? pt 2 – 41:00 – 43:45)
I then asked if perhaps “free will” plus “living under authority” a recipe for sin? In other words, does free will eventually always collide with authority? This could explain Lucifer’s motive.
As I am writing this I may have stumbled onto the difference in these two scenarios…that being Lucifer already knew the difference between “good and evil” (assumption on my part) whereas Adam and Eve did not. Is it possible that is how Lucifer could choose to sin without external influence but man could have lived forever without sinning because he does not ‘know’ good or evil?
Perhaps your answers here will help with my last question:
What will be the characteristic of our “immortal” bodies in the resurrection or the external influence that will eliminate that desire to sin?
Thank you Tim!
August 19, 2022 at 9:53 am #2881TimothyKeymaster
As you know, I reject the concept of a “sin nature” inherited from Adam which compels us to sin. Eve sinned when Satan deceived her. This shows her ignorance. Deception can only occur in an environment of ignorance of truth. While God told Adam “in the day you eat of it you will surely die,” and Adam had relayed this to Eve, they were ignorant in the sense that they had no significant basis for believing what God had said. So Satan played on this lack of sure knowledge about God’s character and His motives. He got Eve to question whether God was telling the truth, or whether He had some ulterior motive (such as keeping Adam and Eve suppressed and under His thumb). Neither Adam nor Eve had any experience in testing God to see if He was telling them the truth. In fact, IMO, Satan himself wanted to test God to see what would happen when someone disobeyed. Satan got Eve to do it instead of directly opposing or disobeying God himself.
The question should not be whether Adam or Eve would have sinned IF Satan was not present to tempt them. IMO, they probably would have sinned at some point just to see what God’s reaction would be. Just as a young child tests his parents in order to find out the limits, I think Adam and Eve would have done the same. But again, “ignorance” is in their not really knowing whether the authority figure really means what He said. A small child that is testing the limits of the parent does so out of ignorance. They also tend to test repeatedly to see just how far they can push and get their way. Adam and Eve were “infants” in that they had no long-term experience with God as a “parent.”
The right question to ask of those who teach a “sin nature” that is inherited because of Adam’s sin is this: If all humans are born sinners BECAUSE we have inherited a “sin nature” from Adam, and if we had not inherited this alleged “sin nature” we would not necessarily sin, then … Why did Adam sin, if he was created “very good,” in the “image of God,” and WITHOUT this alleged “sin nature?”
Sin is a product of a free will plus ignorance of truth. So what compels some people to OBEY God rather than rebel against Him? It is the KNOWLEDGE of the truth, having a right understanding of God’s character as both good and just, that His motives are pure, that He only wants what is good and beneficial for mankind, and that we as humans are but “worms” by comparison. The KNOWLEDGE that all of God’s laws and commands are intended for our ultimate good, and the survival and flourishing of the human race, and that by comparison, if we “lean on our own understanding” instead of following the directions of our creator, we are headed for disaster — the natural consequences of NOT walking in the LIGHT that God has provided along the path that leads to LIFE.
It all comes down to pride vs. humility. Pride is an illusion that we are greater and smarter than God, so we go our own way ignoring His directions. Humility comes from KNOWLEDGE of the truth, that we are in total darkness without the LIGHT that comes from God’s commands. Consequently, humility breeds faith, and pride breeds doubt. Thus, “The meek shall inherit the earth.”
August 22, 2022 at 10:47 pm #2882
Thank you Tim!
The point you made about Adam not having a sin nature but still sinned I did bring up. And I would have brought up Jesus as another example yet I know that the answered would be because He was God and man (hypostatic union). That is a conversation for another day.
On another note, how would you suggest sharing with a Jehovah Witness? They tend to share similar beliefs – they dismiss immortality of the soul, the Trinity, eternal hellfire. Thank you.
August 23, 2022 at 2:39 pm #2883TimothyKeymaster
What do you mean by “share?” The major difference between us and JWs theologically is that they are Arians, meaning that they believe that the Son was CREATED by God at the beginning of creation while we believe He was BEGOTTEN by God out of His own Person at that time. So they tend to use many of the same Scriptures, such as those that refer to the Son as “the Beginning,” and “the Beginning of the creation of God” and “the firstborn of all creation.” The difference comes down to the Son’s pre-human essence or nature. What is “begotten” must be of the same essence and nature as the one who begat Him. However, what is merely “created” is necessarily of a different essence and nature from the creator. JWs use the term “begotten” in reference to the Son, but in reality they mean “created.”
The reason JWs (like all Arians) claim that the Son was created of a different essence and nature from God (but above angels and man) was because the ancient Greeks, when encountering Christianity, dismissed it as impossible because Christians claimed that the only-begotten Son was completely transformed in His nature and essence into an entirely human person (as per Phil. 2:5-8). But there was a Greek philosophical principle which claimed that anything that was eternal must be immutable (unchangeable). Therefore, if God who is eternal begat a Son, and therefore that Son had to be of the same nature and essence as God, He too must be unchangeable. A Greek philosopher named Celsus was the first to raise this objection to apostolic Christianity. Certain Christians, who were trying very hard to appeal to the intellectuals of the day, had to answer this problem. The right answer would have been to show that the Greek philosophical principle was wrong. However, unfortunately philosophically- minded Christians adopted the Greek principle and tried to resolve the issue in other ways. Melito of Sardis devised a Platonic nature for Christ (hypostatic union of two natures), that the Son’s divine nature remained unchanged but He simply put on a human body over His unchanged divine nature. Thus no real change occurred to His divine person. Arius rejected this because it made the Man Jesus into a god in disguise. So His solution was to claim that the Son was first created by God of a nature that was similar to God’s own, but was subject to change. Then, in the virgin birth, the Word who had a changeable nature “became flesh” in a complete transformation.
While 4Winds shares many similar theological points with JWS, IMO the real problem for the average member of that group is their required loyalty to the leadership (Watchtower) and that salvation is tied to being a member of their organization. This, IMO, is what makes them cult-like rather than their Arianism. This is what they need to be delivered from, IMO.
August 23, 2022 at 10:05 pm #2884
Tim, thank you for the education. The “sharing” part referred only to the 3 points I had mentioned. I had read about their belief about Jesus being created vs begotten prior to writing. I just wanted confirmation that this was not just a translation issue or a “subtle”difference on their part.
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