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hamartiology - the doctrine of sin

Mankind was given responsibility from the beginning.  God gave us the ability to make discoveries and to seek out our own personal development.  The graciousness of God giving us choices was also a clear indicator that man would have free will.   Along with the responsibility we were subject to temptation which didn't come initially.  God then gave mankind personal responsibility so that he could discover how to care for and develop the garden of Eden.  Mankind was given authority to name all the creatures God made and to have dominion over them which was a great trust which entailed more decision making and more responsibility.  Adam, the first man, and Eve, the first woman were absolutely free of sin and pure in thought and actions and so they walked with God in the garden sheltered by him and so it was paradise.

Temptation Enters The Picture


The Bible speaks of three avenues of temptation.  They are the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.  All three of these are present in Genesis 3:6 - "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desire to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat."  Food in and of itself wasn't the issue here.  This was the one tree found inthe garden that they were told specifically not to eat.  So then she looked, lusted, and desired to be "as gods" which was the temptation spoken by the serpent.  There was plenty of food provide by God that they had permission to eat.  They didn't need the fruit from that tree, but the idea of being like gods was the draw (the pride factor).  See 1 John 2;16 KJV also about the avenues of temptation and how they are described.

Some people believe the serpent to be either a myth or allegory.  Some would say, "This proves the Bible is a fairy tale.  Who ever heard of a snake talking?"  That response is short-sighted and fails to consider that the God who created a vast universe would have little trouble creating one snake that could talk.  If we believe the snake to be anything but a real snake then we would be required to believe the same about the woman and the man.  If the man and woman are real then reason would dictate that the snake was real as well.

The Lasting Results Of The Fall 

The fall into sin immediately ruined the purity of Adam and Eve.  Up until that point in time there wasn't physical or spiritual death.  Both came into existence right then.  Because Adam and Eve sinned their nature changed to sinful and so they passed that nature unto all their descendants for  all time.  Some would like to blame Adam and Eve for their sins because of this, however it wouldn't be true because even though we have a sin nature we choose to sin by our free will.  Further, God made a remedy for our sins to be forgiven as he did with Adam and Eve.  When a person comes to know Christ as savior he or she is given the ability to have power over sin.

Because of their sin Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden of Eden and were not allowed to return.  They lost their fellowship with God, became aware of their pollution and experienced shame for the first time in their lives.  While their conscience was active before they sinned as proven by Eve questioning the serpent before she gave in to his lies, they didn't realize how the violation of God's laws was also a violation of   their own conscience until they gave in to the temptation.  So in one fell swoop the lost much and the serpent became their enemy for life.

The Character Of Sin

Sin is the result of a free but evil choice of any man, woman or child.  It is a positive evil, always in relation to God.  It includes guilt and pollution and is seated in the heart.  The Bible teaches, "From inward out of the heart the man speaks."  

Sin is personal (Romans 3:10-12 and 3:23) and is a dereliction of duty (Isaiah 53:6).

Words connected with sin are Hamartia; meaning failure to hit the mark, Harmartano; meaning offense, sin and trespass, Apeitho; meaning willful and perverse disbelief (Romans 10:21),  Apeitheia; meaning obstinate and rebellious disbelief (Ephesians 2:2) and unbelief (Romans 11:30), and Parakoe, Parabasis, Parabaino, and Paraptoma,  (I deliberately didn't give definitions in order that my readers might have a chance to do some research on their own.  

Human Depravity 

This condition is described as likely to break down at any point.  Original sin is simply the human tendency to do what we know to be wrong. This is inherent within all of us from birth.  Tell a child not to do something and we all know the result of that.  The Bible terms for original sin would be  The old man (Romans 6:6), the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2), The carnal mind (Romans 8:7),  the flesh (Romans 8:8-9) and selfishness (Isaiah 53:6).  

So sin is essentially egoism or putting yourself in God's place.  It has four principle characteristics; self-sufficiency instead of faith, Self-will instead of submission, self-righteousness instead of humility and self-seeking instead of benevolence.  

Theories Of Accountability

The Arminian theory is that man's responsible for his own actions and nothing else.

The Wesleyan theory is that man is totally depraved and powerless to cooperate with God's grace.

The Edwardian theory is that man is responsible for all his voluntary actions or inactions.

The Calvinistic theory is that The sin of Adam is imputed to all men directly.

The Augustinian theory is that man is responsible for his moral feelings as well as his actions.

The Placean theory is men are accountable for all sins they commit or endorse in others.

Sin is universal as shown in the following scriptures; Romans 3:9 and 3:23, Romans 8:7-8, Galatians 3:9, 3:10 and 3:14.  The penalty for sin 

is death.  The fact that all human beings die proves that sin is universal.  Physical death terminates our present life on earth.  Spiritual death

is eternal separation from God for those who died without God's provision of our salvation.  The penalty for sin begins with the first sin and continues with all continuing sin in our life.  Death has no terror for believers.  (Note: By believers I mean those who have come in sorrow for 

their sin, asked God to forgive them, received that gift of salvation solely base on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary as full payment for their sins and live to love, serve and obey God forever).

The gospel message is for all mankind.  Being truly sorry for your sins, come humbly seeking God  to forgive you and in prayer ask for forgiveness believing in your heart that Jesus Christ came to live, sacrifice himself on the cross and resurrect from the dead so that you might have eternal life.  Then in gratitude for that precious gift live to love and serve the Lord both now and forever.  

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