Features

Is Sin Still A Thing?

Image of Augustus Henry
Inspiration from New Creation Ministry —
By Augustus Henry (PhD)

The story is told of a man named John who wanted to get time away from his wife. So, he said he was going to fish. Instead, He left and went to play dominoes with his friends for four hours. When the game was over, the scoundrel wondered what devious excuse he would give to his wife who was waiting to eat some fish. As he walked home, he met a young man coming from the seaside with a bunch of fresh fish. He bought four of the nicest snappers from the bunch. As the young man began to leave, John gave the fish back to him and said, throw them to me. As the young man threw the snappers back to John, he caught them and said, now I can tell my wife I caught some fish. Did he catch fish?

Remember that famous incident from Bill Clinton, “I had the marijuana in my mouth but did not inhale and therefore did not smoke.” We are sometimes tempted into believing that compromising or blurring moral principles may be a standard way of living.

Some have gone as far to argue against the evil of sin – saying that there is nothing such as sin – that morality is a figment of the imagination – that there is no guaranteed penalty for sin. This is nothing new. It has been an old trick since creation. These ill-fated dogmas are peddled by the devil himself and are designed to confuse and convolute our mind, obstructing people from standing on the side of right.

Sin, as an ambiguous idea.

In the garden of Eden: Genesis 2: 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; (17) but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

There was a clear moral choice to be made: This is what you may eat, that is what you must not eat. But Lucifer always sought to provide a counterfeit argument to circumvent God’s truth. He sneaks a forged and unsuspecting way to navigate around obedience to God. Therefore, the devil said in Genesis 3: 4, “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. (5) “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Even the devil in the process of deception, establishes a demarcating line between ‘good and evil’. So, there is a clear and unclear standard. There is no misconstruing God’s statement, “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” If you eat of that tree, “you will surely die.” Which do you choose: The clear standard or the made-up one?

Irrespective of the choice you make, some things are still wrong whether you accept it or not. Sleeping with someone who is not your wife or husband is still wrong. There is no such thing as a fib. Lying remains wrong. Stealing time from your employer or receiving without permission anything that does not belong to you is still wrong. Envying your neighbor’s house or car, or job remains a moral violation. Disrespecting your parents is egregious to God. Being resentful and hateful is murderous in the eyes of God. And the pastors and church leaders that cannot keep their eyes and fingers off the young girls in church, that is still sin – pedophilia is still abhorrent in the sight of God.  Some people tell me that advocating for adherence to the Ten Commandments is unscientific, backwards, and close-minded. In that case, I will always have a closed mind. My mind will be closed to anything that ambiguates or waters-down the commands of God.

Sin is real – The scientist says

Orval Hobart Mowrer on His regret of Rejecting Moral Accountability; saying it Was a Big Mistake: For several years we psychologists have looked upon the whole matter of sin and moral accountability as a great incubus and have claimed our liberation from sin as epoch-making. But at length we have discovered that to be free from sin and to have the excuse of being sick rather than sinful, is to quote the danger of being lost. This danger, I believe is betoken by the wide-spread interest in existentialism which we are presently witnessing. In becoming amoral, ethically mutual and free, we cut the very roots of our being and our deepest sense of selfhood and identity and with neurotics have found ourselves asking, who am I? What is my deepest destiny? What does living really mean?

Looking back over his life, over his opposition to God’s moral code; realizing that God was right, and he was wrong, Mowrer committed suicide. Are we human beings if there are no standards of right and wrong?

Mowrer’s point is that he spent his entire life opposing the idea of sin and made sickness and mental instability a scapegoat for it. He refuted the notion that men needed cleansing from sin. He came to realize at the end of his life however, that while physical disease needed healing, the soul needed a different type of therapy – that sin was real, and it came with a cost.

The consequence of sin – you shall surely die

There is consequence to sin, and it leads to death. Some are advocating that young people today can choose their own values and determine their own standards of right and wrong as they see fit. But I say no to this devil-concocted scheme. The bible says that there is wrong and right – choose you this day who you will serve. There is a way that seems right to a man, but at the end of it, are the ways of death. The bible says the soul that sins, it shall die. Believe it or not there is consequence to sin.

Moral accountability is all around us. You steal and kill; the courts are waiting. After that prison might be calling your name. Fornication and adultery breed emotional pain, broken families, and wayward children. And after all that comes death. Ezekiel 3:19: “Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity.” When God said to the couple in Eden “you will certainly die”, it came to pass.

The Call:

Now that we have learnt clearly that sin is a thing, that it is real and consequential, what shall we do?

Joshua 24: 14 Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in truth …(15) And if it seems evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. In another place the scripture says, “Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man.”

My call is to be obedient to God and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

1 Comment

  1. “There was a clear moral choice to be made: This is what you may eat, this is what you must not eat.”

    For thousands of years, the identity of the forbidden fruit eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden has been unknown. If the fruit in the story is the traditionally believed apple, or another literal fruit, it would simply be called by its literal name, and not the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because eating a piece of this literal fruit would give only knowledge of the literal fruit’s taste, not knowledge of good and evil. So…

    If literal fruit is not the fruit in the world’s oldest and greatest mystery story, then what is the fruit? Why are the two super secret trees assigned the mystical names “tree of life” and “tree of knowledge of good and evil?” Is the talking snake Evil Angel speaking words, or does the talk represent something more subtle? Could two men have yielded to Adam and Eve’s temptation? Why would a smart man and woman succumb to a forbidden fruit tree, instead of to one that is NOT forbidden, especially when both “trees” are right next to each other in the center of the Garden? How is the couple’s disobedience of the very first commandment to be fruitful and multiply while in the Garden linked to their decision to make only fig leaf aprons, instead of complete clothing, in this incomprehensible narrative, with its guesswork of interpretations and its hints of sexual behavior?

    A lone exegesis combines all six questions for one answer, using only evidence in the dreamlike Bible chronicle, for an intelligent and sensible explanation of the world’s oldest and greatest fruit mystery. This evidence in the Genesis 2 and 3 Bible story identify the fruit as carnal pleasure. The solid evidence offers no support for historical fruit identity opinions. But, even with the evidence, is this unique exegesis the correct exegesis?

    *****
    Bad Day in the Garden

    They eat the fruit, but what do they eat?
    We lift the veil, for a wary peek.
    Through a forest of mystery hiding it all,
    We see a body, naked and weak.

    “The Random House Dictionary of the English Language” defines allegory as “a representation of an abstract, or spiritual meaning through concrete, or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.” It’s difficult to imagine a better definition than this one. But it’s even more difficult to imagine anyone making any sense of the second and third chapters of Genesis by taking everything in the two chapters literally. When was the last time someone went into a grocery store and bought some knowledge of good and evil fruit?

    Although most elements in Genesis 2 and 3 represent something else, there are a number of facts in the story that can be taken at face value.

    1. Adam and Eve have real human bodies.
    2. Adam and Eve are not wearing any clothes.
    3. God has forbidden them to do something.
    4. They have disobeyed God.
    5. God has punished them both for their disobedience.

    The above five facts form the basis for the religious beliefs of many people who are not interested in allegories, and of many who are. But there is an all-important sixth fact, the knowledge of which would do no harm to anyone’s religious beliefs.

    This BODY is the Garden in whose center grow
    The two famous trees, but nowhere a weevil.
    Here is the tree of life and the one
    Of knowledge of good and knowledge of evil.

    This sixth fact is the key that unlocks the door, opens it, and solves the mystery: both trees are in the center of the garden. This fact is so important that it is mentioned, not just once, but twice: Genesis 2:9 and Genesis 3:3. (In Genesis 3:3 the tree of life is not specifically mentioned, but we know it is there, because we were told it is there in Genesis 2:9.) Technically, both trees could not occupy the center of the garden at the same time, unless they were entwined. But, there is no evidence for entwinement here. What these two verses tell us, is that both trees are very close to each other.

    Because the two trees are right next to each other
    Care must be taken to avoid the one bad.
    For the fruit of both trees is pleasure,
    So the pleasure is there to be had.

    To be fruitful and multiply eat from the first.
    But eat from the second and no one conceives.
    So here we go now: one, two, three–
    Pleasure, shame, fig tree leaves.

    God’s first commandment to Adam and Eve was to be fruitful and multiply. To be fruitful and multiply, eat from the first. But eat from the second and no one conceives. Adam and Eve eat from the forbidden second tree, and as a result, produce no children while in the Garden of Eden. Instead of engaging in the procreative process as commanded, they use, as a procreative organ, a delivery system designed for delivery, but not for delivery of children.

    This material is not just a brain teaser, nor hopefully is it an example of sophomoric cleverness. It’s really quite simple: explanations of certain fearful mysteries buried in the story for thousands of years, have been exhumed by using verse, rather than prose, to more easily reveal these explanations. The quality of the verse is both irrelevant and unimportant.

    Please note: some parts of the story are totally acceptable as both symbolic and literal narrative, at least up to a point. For example, the symbolic garden can be juxtaposed with a literal garden, complete with fruit trees. Other sections can be taken as literal accounts, extra material such as Genesis 3:20-21, in which Adam gives Eve her name and God shows compassion for the pair by clothing them in animal skins for warmth, before evicting them from the garden, symbolic and literal, into the graceless and cold outside world.

    *****
    Preliminary Wrap

    The Genesis story tells us in Genesis 2:9 and 3:3 both trees are in the center of the Garden. So the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is right next to the allowed tree, the Tree of Life, and its fruit. If the forbidden fruit from the forbidden tree is literal fruit, the eating of this fruit would give only knowledge of the fruit’s taste, not knowledge of good and evil. But the covering of the genitals with fig leaf aprons following the eating of the “fruit” does indicate sudden acquisition of knowledge of good and evil, a knowledge that results in a certain type of shame. It is difficult to understand how eating literal fruit results in this type of shame. And it is difficult to understand how normal and necessary physical relations between Adam and Eve result in this type of shame, since the first and only specified commandment to them is to “Be fruitful and multiply” in the Garden, a commandment they disobey, because no children are produced until after the eviction from Eden, and after they have normal and necessary physical relations for the first time in Genesis 4:1. But their obedience is too late: guardian cherubim and a flaming sword prevent reentry into the Garden.

    Adam and Eve execute a double disobedience when they eat of the forbidden fruit–they fail to procreate, by doing what they are forbidden to do. And they fail to procreate, by not doing what they are commanded to do. Both failures occur simultaneously. The fruit in the Garden of Eden is not forbidden carnal pleasure, but forbidden nonprocreative carnal pleasure–nonprocreative carnal pleasure derived from a specific forbidden physical act.

    *****
    Postscript: Traditional Identity of The Fruit Persists

    The widespread belief that the fruit is an apple has its genesis in the 12th century, based on Saint Jerome’s earlier 4th century Vulgate translation, in which he substituted the later corrected “malum,” meaning “apple,” for “malus,” meaning “evil,” to identify the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve ate. And this error remains the apex identity reaching us in the 21st century, still based on no evidence for the existence of a literal fruit. But to end on a positive note, the acceptance of the evidence-based exegesis of the identity of the fruit in the world’s oldest mystery story is at last making headway, as increasing numbers of people manage to set aside the emotions and feelings spinning them in circles, and acknowledge–at least until a better exegesis appears–the evidence in the Bible story of the talking fruit snake. This long-forgotten exegesis explains everything as it superimposes the allegorical Eden Garden upon its literal counterpart. The exegesis offers enlightenment for the untrue and oft repeated, “Only God knows what fruit they ate.” Yes, a Deity would know what “fruit” they “ate,” but the evidence in the Genesis story reveals the Deity’s knowledge of the fruit’s identity to anyone who wishes to know, and has the courage to overcome their emotional resistance and uneasiness resulting from being exposed to this knowledge. Would this exposure be eating once again from the forbidden tree? Would a Deity want us to remain ignorant of the Genesis story’s meaning? No to both questions, because our garden is not their Garden–we are no longer living in the Garden of Eden’s state of grace. And secondly, the evidence in the story clearly tells us that Adam and Eve did not disobey the “be fruitful and multiply” Genesis 1:28 commandment for the purpose of acquiring knowledge of good and evil. Their acquisition of this knowledge was a byproduct of their disobedient behavior, which was to experience nonprocreative physical pleasure by eating allegorical fruit from the allegorical wrong tree in the center of an allegorical garden, while at the same time quite possibly living in a literal garden with literal fruit trees and literal snakes that do not talk to women.

    *****
    Just Another Doctrinal Neologism?

    Is this exegesis beginning with Genesis 1:28, continuing through Genesis 2 and 3, and concluding with Genesis 4:1 just another neologism? No, it is not. If the exegesis is only another neologism, but not the exhumation and revelation of the original story, then not only do the individuals who first hear the story have absolutely no idea what the story means, but neither does the original storyteller. Imagine the storyteller saying, “Sometimes I just say things. I don’t know what they mean.” It is somewhat difficult to imagine this event happening.

    If it does happen, then the original storyteller tells the story while having no understanding of the words being said, unless the storyteller decides to deliberately disguise and beautify the story, to hide its true meaning. This will certainly require complex ability, to intentionally mystify at the very dawn of human consciousness. It will also require the original listeners to not ask the original storyteller any questions about this new story–a story that makes no sense. So, the mystification probably happens later. And, of course, when it does, everyone will know the meaning of the entire story. For a while.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.