If man was left
totally dead we could have seen his in Godís dealing
with Adam and Eve soon after the fall. Instead we see
God reaching out to them and covering them. Neither do
we see this in Godís treatment with Cain. God tells
Gen 4: 7 If you do
what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do
not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it
desires to have you, but you must master it."
Cain was asked to
master sin. Was God mocking Cain by saying this when God
knew that Cain was totally unable to master sin. In
spite of the heinous crime of murder of his own brother,
God gives him a seal of protection from tribal revenge.
Godís Dealing with
Centuaries later God
told the Israelites the same encouragement.
Deut 30: 11 Now what I
am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or
beyond your reach.
12 It is not up in
heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into
heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey
13 Nor is it beyond
the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the
sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"
14 No, the word is
very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so
you may obey it.
See, I set before you
today life and prosperity, death and destruction.
God clearly tell them
that it is not too difficult nor is it beyond the reach
of any man.
There seems to be some
confusion in the terminologyís of Sin, righteousness,
holiness and perfection.
John defines sin thus:
1 John 3: 4 Everyone
who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.
unrighteousness are therefore synonymous. Righteousness
and unrighteousness in the Bible are always legally
defined in terms of the law.
Ezekiel spreads it out
in detail thus:
Ez. 18: 5 "Suppose
there is a righteous man who does what is just and
6 He does not eat at
the mountain shrines or look to the idols of the house
of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor's wife or lie
with a woman during her period.
7 He does not oppress
anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan.
He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the
hungry and provides clothing for the naked.
8 He does not lend at
usury or take excessive interest. He withholds his hand
from doing wrong and judges fairly between man and man.
9 He follows my
decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is
righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign
10 "Suppose he has a
violent son, who sheds blood or does any of these other
11 (though the father
has done none of them): "He eats at the mountain
shrines. He defiles his neighbor's wife.
12 He oppresses the
poor and needy. He commits robbery. He does not return
what he took in pledge. He looks to the idols. He does
13 He lends at usury
and takes excessive interest. Will such a man live? He
will not! Because he has done all these detestable
things, he will surely be put to death and his blood
will be on his own head.
14 "But suppose this
son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits,
and though he sees them, he does not do such things:
15 "He does not eat at
the mountain shrines or look to the idols of the house
of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor's wife.
16 He does not oppress
anyone or require a pledge for a loan. He does not
commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and
provides clothing for the naked.
17 He withholds his
hand from sin and takes no usury or excessive interest.
He keeps my laws and follows my decrees. He will not die
for his father's sin; he will surely live.
18 But his father will
die for his own sin, because he practiced extortion,
robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his
19 "Yet you ask, 'Why
does the son not share the guilt of his father?' Since
the son has done what is just and right and has been
careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live.
20 The soul who sins
is the one who will die. The son will not share the
guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt
of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will
be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked
will be charged against him.
21 "But if a wicked
man turns away from all the sins he has committed and
keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he
will surely live; he will not die.
22 None of the
offenses he has committed will be remembered against
him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he
23 Do I take any
pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the
Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn
from their ways and live?
24 "But if a righteous
man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and
does the same detestable things the wicked man does,
will he live? None of the righteous things he has done
will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is
guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he
25 "Yet you say, 'The
way of the Lord is not just.' Hear, O house of Israel:
Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust?
26 If a righteous man
turns from his righteousness and commits sin, he will
die for it; because of the sin he has committed he will
27 But if a wicked man
turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does
what is just and right, he will save his life.
Because he considers
all the offenses he has committed and turns away from
them, he will surely live; he will not die.
If what Ezekiel said
were indeed from God, the teaching that Adam's sins were
imputed to man is absolutely wrong. Though Adam's sin
was not imputed to his progeny the consequences of that
disobedience were transmitted to every man. These
included the decay and death of the body eventually.
Hence we read Rom 5:14 Nevertheless, death reigned from
the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those
who did not sin by breaking a command. The physical
death of man came into the world as a result of the sin
of Adam. What is imputed is not the sin of Adam, but the
consequence of the sin of Adam - viz. physical death.
Evidently righteousness is defined in terms of the law.
Rom 5: 13 before the
law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not
taken into account when there is no law.
Thus sin is really not
dependent on the law nor is it really defined as law
breaking. Law breaking is sin, but there is much more to
it. Any act that takes man further away from God is sin.
Incidentally that is how the Hindus define sin. I think
it is a good definition. Law is only a coordinate, which
gives it a reference point and value. "The power of sin
is the law" (1 Cor. 15:56).Rewards and punishment are
inherent in the act. They may not be apparent in the act
but directs to it. These then are present and future
simultaneously. [ John 3: 18 Whoever believes in him is
not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands
condemned already because he has not believed in the
name of God's one and only Son.]
James 1: 15 Then,
after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and
sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Death is not
instantaneous to sin as is evident from the Garden of
Eden story. Neither Eve nor Adam did drop dead. He lived
another 900 years. But sin and its decaying effect
started at that moment. God when spoke to them was
simply stating the facts of the result of sin. In it
there is no mention of total depravity at all. Like the
physical death, depravity and inability will accelerate
to its natural end till they end up in Total Depravity
and Total Inability. It is an exponetial decay process.
I have tacitly assumed
that man was not created totally holy and perfect which
is the premise of Calvinists and many others. There is a
very serious problem here. If man was totally perfect
and holy, he could not have sinned by virtue of his
nature just as God cannot sin. (Can God sin?) Neither
can God create sin. But where and when did this sin
enter the cosmos? All created were created good. But
that does not mean they were created perfect to the
absolute standard of God himself. Then man will be God -
the Advaitic principle. It will not allow for any
growth. That is simply the Nirguna Brahman - a God who
cannot be defined in terms of any concept or properties.
Such a thing cannot exist in time. Nor can it exist in
space as it limits and constraints. The creation will
then be limited when it is in space and static when
there is no scope of change. Dynamic comes in with the
introduction of time and space (not necessarily of 3D
space alone). This permits movement , therefore change
and therefore growth or decay. It would be perfectly
logical to realise that God as known to us in space-time
is only a projection of the infinite dimenional God (
God as incomprehensible and indefinable) and in that
projection God (The Trinity in action within History and
Jesus as God incarnate in History) himself has the
constraints. This will eventually solve many
contradictions that we see in the concept of God. It
would be therefore stupidity to attempt any definition
of God in the absolute. The dialectics of God's nature
arise out of this. This unimaginable qualities of love
personification is what we call holiness. If God is
unchanging in absolute, God acts in different ways in
history. Revelation is an ongoig process and we are
looking forward to a fuller revelation beyond this age.
It is in fact just the opposite of the Sovereign King
concept of God presented to us. A good example will be a
baby. Baby if a perfect person. But there is more to it
because this baby can grow. There is freedom to change.
This change is not just physical. The very reality of
the existence of evil indicates that this freedom is
inherent in creation. It was this freedom that Adam had.
It is the same type of freedom we have. Only the
constraints vary depending on the context.