Look around you. Think about every situation you’ve ever been in. Every day of your life (including the very best and the very worst) has somehow been affected by sin. There is a fundamental difference between the world as it was when God created it and the world as it stands after Adam and Eve rebelled against God.
God placed His first man and woman in a beautiful garden where they lacked nothing. They experienced an intimacy with God that is difficult for us to get our minds around. But when they rebelled, everything changed. The ground was cursed and work became frustrating instead of joyful (as God designed it to be). Something as beautiful and life giving as childbirth became exceedingly painful (so I’m told). Adam and Eve were displaced from the beautiful home God had prepared for them, and found the entrance heavily guarded.
It has become axiomatic that relationships are difficult. Every book on marriage, relationships, communication, and pretty much everything else assumes that relationships are difficult to maintain. But that hasn’t always been the case. Relationships were whole and untainted by sin and doubt before the fall. We are specifically told that the man and woman were naked and were not ashamed (Gen. 2:25), a reality that signifies a complete trust and acceptance in their relationship.
Once sin entered the world, however, all relationships became problematic. Sin takes that which is designed to be whole and divides it. Sin divides man from God, and it took the death of Jesus to restore this broken relationship. Sin also divides man from man. We mistrust, mislead, and misuse one another regularly. Psychologically, man is also divided within himself. We find the ravages of sin within our hearts, minds, and actions (more on this in the next post). Finally, man is divided from creation. We were tasked with lovingly caring for the creation, but now we must protect ourselves from it and we find ourselves abusing and exploiting it.
The “wages” of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and everything around us is touched by death. Death inhabits every page of the Bible (aside from the first few and the last few). Our world literally falls apart as entropy moves everything from a state of order to disorder. We feel it in ourselves, and we see it all around us. The author of Hebrews even goes so far as to say that we are subject to lifelong slavery through the fear of death (Heb. 2:15). Death is a bitter enemy, and it will be the last enemy destroyed (1 Cor. 15:26).
All this is the result of sin. We cannot have an experience of the world that is not stained by sin. This should cause us to hate sin. It should lead us to long for something more. We all find this desire for an unbroken world deep within ourselves. And we are not the only ones who long for a world set to rights:
“The creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.” (Romans 8:19-25)
Paul’s words assure us that a discussion of sin—as horrific as it is—does not have to be depressing. There is hope and healing, but we’ll wait on that until later this week.