At the beginning of the Bible, Genesis, God creates the world and everything in it and pronounces each thing “good.” It is good. God creates and it is good. His design is perfect and His human creation is perfect. (Genesis 1-2)
Genesis 3 brings us to that one disastrous act. Yes, tempted by the seductive and subtle allure of lies being whispered to them by the serpent (the representation of all that is evil and all that is against God) Adam and Eve disobeyed God (sinned) and altered the spiritual DNA of every single person who was born after them. We are all descendants of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. The consequences given to Adam and Eve have been given to us as well. Psalm 51 discusses this.
DNA is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. DNA makes us who we are. We receive our DNA from our birth parents and from their ancestors. When we talk about spiritual DNA, we are not talking about our religion, we are talking about what we inherited from our ancestors. And that, sad to say, is the sin nature. That does not mean that we cannot choose a moral path, or do good things. However, God is perfect and holy. We were once perfect and holy, in the garden in Genesis 2, before Adam and Eve disobeyed God. However that all changed after that one act, commonly referred to as “the fall.” “We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners.” That is a fantastic encapsulation of this concept stated by R.C. Sproul, an American theologian.
For anyone who struggles to wrap their head around this concept, that we are born with a sin nature rather than we are born a blank slate or good because as a newborn, we have not yet done anything that can be determined to be good or bad, let us analyze further. As David laments in Psalm 51 (verse 7 in Tanakh which I linked here, verse 5 in Old Testament editions) “Behold, with iniquity I was formed, and with sin my mother conceived me.” David is not saying that he was conceived out of wedlock or his mother committed any sin in his conception, David is acknowledging the human condition of “fallenness” having that sin nature in him from the moment of his conception as it is an inherited condition. Other scriptures that discuss this are Genesis 8:21 “for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” Psalm 58 (verse 4 in Tanakh which I linked here, verse 3 in Old Testament editions) “The wicked become estranged [even] from the womb; those who speak lies go astray from birth.”Job 14:4 “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean one? Not one” Job 15:14 “What is man that he should be innocent, and that one born of woman should be just?”
God cannot embrace what goes against His holiness. And, there is no debate about the authority of God. It is really that simple. If we do not understand our sin condition, we will not understand the kind of savior we need or that we need a savior at all.
A fantastic explanation I recently read is as follows, “I saw a God whose nature was creative love. He made man in His own image for the purpose of forming new and free relationships with Him. But in his freedom, man turned away from that relationship to consult his own wisdom and desires. The knowledge of good and evil was not some top-secret catalogue of nice and naughty acts that popped into Eve’s mind when a talking snake got her to eat the magic fruit. The knowledge was built into the action of disobedience itself, It’s what she learned when she overruled the moral law God had placed within her. There was no going back from that. The original sin poisoned all history. History’s murders, rapes, wars, oppressions, and injustices are now the inescapable plot of the story we are in.” Andrew Klavan, The Great Good Thing.
As you ponder this, please, if you have ANY genuine questions, comments, concerns, thoughts, that you would like to share or express, please contact us! Thank you!
L’Chaim – To Life! “You shall let me know the way of life, the fullness of joys in Your presence. There is pleasantness in Your right hand forever.” Psalm 16:11
What is grace? The basic definition of grace is favor, the free and undeserved help, one way, as the person receiving the grace did absolutely nothing to deserve it or warrant it. Unmerited (undeserved) favor.
We can and do give grace to other people. However, grace in it’s purest expression, the deepest meaning of it, is a gift from God to individuals. It is generous, free and undeserved. There is a depth to it that is unimaginable because it is so huge, so deep, so vast.
There is common grace which each and every person receives. And whether a person wants to believe it, or not, it is from God. Whether a person believes something or not does not change it from being factual truth.
Nothing exists simply because it exists. There is something holding it together. God. Common grace is called common grace because its benefits are experienced by, and intended for, all of humanity, without distinction between one person and another.
There is God’s sustaining care for His creation called providential care in creation (meaning advantageous, favorable.) We have rain, sun, crops grow, we breathe, we wake up and our planet still exists.
There is a restraint of sin, or providential restraint of sin. While some individual people do absolutely horrendous things, people as a whole group are not as bad and horrific as we could be. There is something restraining us, a conscience, some sort of moral code. Problems arise when people are designing their own moral codes, but again, there is something restraining many to most individuals that they can behave in a semi civilized way and do not totally and completely run wild.
There are providential blessings to mankind. Advancements in medicine, technology, basically anything that people have done that improve the lives of other people are outcomes of God’s common grace. His creation, the brains He gave people, the ability to reason and experiment and study and learn and design, all our from God and His common grace. med are seen as initiated by common grace.
And then there is a special grace which is different. Saving grace. That is the grace from God by which God draws people to salvation. What is salvation? Well, there is an eternal existence for our souls. There are two possible destinations. Although it may feel like death is the end when someone we know dies, it is not. Not for that person. We do not all go to heaven, and hell is not a place to be joking about. Both are real. In 2003 a research group discovered 64% of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die, but less than 1% think they might go to hell. Once again, truth is truth, reality is reality, whether or not an individual decides to believe it. For more in depth information, the big picture, please visit this page.
Understanding the reality of an eternal existence is important because it shows how infinitely dependent we are on God for everything. The Biblical language for hell is symbolic. Souls without bodies cannot have a literal fire burning them. However, fire and darkness in hell are vivid descriptions of what happens when we lose the presence of God. Remember, physically alive here on earth, whether we believe it or not, whether we accept God or not, there is that common grace from God sustaining us and our life. Darkness in hell refers to the isolation, and fire to the disintegration of being separated from God. Away from the favor and face of God, we literally, horrifically, and endlessly fall apart. It is almost unimaginable it is that horrific.
To be away from God is the worst thing that can happen to us. Why? We were originally created to walk in God’s immediate presence. God is everywhere and upholds everything, only in Him do we all speak and move and exist at all. So in that sense, it is impossible to be away from God. Even hell could not exist without God upholding it, and having a purpose for it being there. The Bible says sin excludes us from God’s face, His presence. All of our life; the joy, love, strength, purpose, meaning, ability, everything is found in God’s presence, His favor.
Separation from God and His blessings forever, hell, is the reality to which all the symbols in the Bible that describe hell point to. We are not destroyed out of existence but we are ruined and destroyed, completely incapable of all the things a human soul is for. No more reasoning, feeling, choosing, giving or receiving love or joy simply because the human soul was built for enjoying the true God, and all human life flows from that. It is a common grace that in this world, every person, even those who have turned away from God are kept capable of reasoning, feeling, love, joy. Hell is the place where we lose God’s supportive presence all together, and no matter what a person is experiencing here on earth, it is not the hell of eternity.
As you ponder this, please, please, please…if you have ANY genuine questions, comments, concerns, thoughts, that you would like to share or express, please contact me! Thank you!