Introduction of Sin

The Introduction of Sin

Why God permitted sin to enter into the world is not disclosed ill Scripture. The manner of its entry is clearly recorded (Gen. 3). That the event did not take God by surprise is evident in that He had, before time began, determined how to overcome it. 'Sin,' says Moule, 'is both an insoluble riddle, and a terrible fact in the freely created universe of the Holy God. It is impossible to reason a priori on the effects of an unknown cause.' God in His sovereignty permitted it, and by its presence took occasion to emphasize the responsibility of man to Himself.

The Scriptural record of the fall of man makes it plain that he was a responsible, willing agent in the matter. God had entrusted him with free-will: that fact in itself incurred the liability of its abuse. That liability, however, did not relieve man of his guilt, nor did man's sin defeat God in accomplishing His purpose. Adam, we are informed, was not deceived (1 Tim. 2. 14) : what he did in Eden he did with open eyes, wittingly. Nor did the deception of the woman relieve her of responsibility. The imposition of the respective penalties shows that God recognized individual accountability.

In the sin of Adam was the sin of the race, 'for that all sinned' (Rom. 5. 12) when he sinned. Just as Levi, who was not then born but was in the loins of Abraham, is reckoned to have done what Abraham did (Heb. 7. 5 ff.) so the race is reckoned by God to have sinned when Adam sinned, though none was yet born: all, however, were 'in the loins' of Adam.

In consequence of Adam's sin his will became enslaved to sin, under whose dominion he had willingly put himself. This was true of him and of all his posterity: it is true of the race. Man's free-will is now an enslaved will, in bondage to sin. He, therefore, that sinneth is a slave of sin (John 8. 34).

Further, by the fall man acquired the knowledge of good through evil (Gen. 3. 22). Thereafter for man both right and wrong were open and he was under an obligation to 'discern the things that differ' (Phil. 1. 10). Paul's letter to the Romans deals with this: he there states that, even apart from the written word of God, there is the voice of conscience within (Rom. 2. 15). Moreover, in the physical world without there are evidences of God's eternal power and Godhead (Rom. 1. 20) so that man is declared to be 'without excuse.' Additional privileges increase responsibility, but basically all men are sinners although there are different degrees of guilt.

Lamont has written: 'God who is the Creator and Ground of all has an immediate relation to everything in the Universe. He is related in one way to what is good and in another way to what is evil but both relations are distinct and positive. It is impossible to imagine sin as out of all relation to God. He keeps His hand upon it, deals with it in infinite wisdom, and patience, does not allow it to pass beyond the limit which He Himself has fixed…’


© Douglas Carr 2021