The Bible tells us “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. This statement is followed by six days of activity and one day of rest.
A side issue is this. Were these seven long periods of time or seven twenty-four hour days? Since the Bible is our authority we must go with what it says. In each case the day ends with “And there was evening and there was morning,” indicating a normal day. There are lots of reasons why people would choose seven long periods of time. That construct would allow us to ignore God and the miraculous. We need to remember that it is very easy for our magnificent God to create each day’s activity in 24 hours.
The title of this message is “Where Did Sin Come from?” Let me explain the relationship between creation and sin. During the third day the Bible tells us twice, “God saw that it was good.” Again we are told “it was good” at the end of the fifth day. With the creation of mankind in the sixth day the statement was changed to, “behold, it was very good.”
We have every reason to assume that every part of creation was included in that statement. God created everything! The Psalmist (33:6) tells us “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”
After having created everything he then proclaimed that it was very good. Along with the physical creation was the angelic creation. Ezekiel tells us about an exchange between God and Satan. We find it in Ezekiel 28:13 where God says, “You were in Eden, the garden of God… On the day you were created…” He goes on in that same passage to tell us how Lucifer, or Satan, fell from his high place in the kingdom of God through pride and evil attitudes.
So, how could the creation end with “it was very good” if Satan was part of the creation? Something happened between Genesis 1:31 and 3:1 to bring about a change from everything being very good to the good being mixed with evil.
We need to be careful here! God did not create evil. It was man who sinned, and it was angels who sinned, and in both cases they did so by willful, voluntary choice. Blaming God for sin would be blasphemy against God’s character. God’s word says, “His work is perfect; for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4). Abraham asked the question, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). And James, our Lord’s brother in the flesh, tells us, “God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one” (James 1:13). True, the serpent was in the Garden of Eden as a part of God’s creation. Until the snake was possessed by Satan it was just a snake! In an attempt to bring the man and woman down to the level of the fallen angels Satan possessed the serpent and spoke through it. We must never think that sin, as a subject or an event, ever surprised God! It is more our condition to wake up in the morning wondering what the day will hold! God does not! He knows the end from the beginning and has a plan to cover all issues. (Isaiah 46:10)
God did ordain that sin would come into the world. He does not delight in it even though he ordained it. It could only come about by the voluntary choice of moral creatures. God is “not a God who delights in wickedness” (Psalm 5:4). He is one who’se “soul hates the wicked and the one that loves violence” (Psalm 11:5). God certainly does not take pleasure in sin. Yet, for his own purposes, and in a way that still remains largely a mystery to us, God ordained that sin would come into the world.
We know sin was present in the rebellion of Satan and his demons an event that occured after the creation and before the disobedience of Adam and Eve.
Eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is typical of sin in general. The humans decided to doubt God’s word and conducted an experiment to see if God spoke the truth. What a dangerous choice!
Their sin gives a different answer to the question “What is right?” God said it was right to obey him. Satan said it would be right to eat the fruit. They would then become like God. Exactly what Satan, in his rebellion, desired for himself.
Their sin also gave a different answer to the question, “Who am I?” The correct answer to that question is humans were created in the image of God. In a denial of that statement Satan challenged them to eat the fruit so they could be like God. In so doing they were questioning the goodness of God.
It’s very important that we accept the account of the human fall as real history. If two real people, Adam and Eve, did not exist then the account of their rebellion did not occur. The very basis of our salvation rests on the historicity of Genesis 1-3. In order to test that let’s open our Bibles to Romans chapter 5.
In verse 12 we are told “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”.
God thought of all of us as having sinned when Adam disobeyed. Look at verses 18-19. “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
These verses teach us that all members of the human race were represented by Adam. In point of fact we were present in Adam’s DNA. When Adam sinned God thought of all of his descendants as having sinned. We did not commit the same sin as Adam instead we inherited the guilt and tendency to sin when we were conceived.
Humans today often resent the idea that we were counted guilty because of Adam’s sin. We are represented physically by Adam. Spiritually we were represented by Jesus Christ and have his righteousness given to us by God. Adam, our first representative, sinned and God counted us guilty. Jesus, representing all who believe in him, obeyed God perfectly and God counted us as righteous. That’s the way God set up the human race. God regards the human race as a complete unity with Adam as its head. We inherited the tendency to sin.
For example, King David recognized his inbred tendency to sin. True, it was shown to him through the sins of adultery and murder. In Psalm 51:1-5 King David wrote these words, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin! 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your Judgement. 5 I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” David is so overwhelmed with the consciousness of his own sin he looks back on his life and realized he was sinful from the beginning. As far back as he could imagine (his mother’s womb) he was brought forth in iniquity. And tended towards sin. David could not deliver himself. In verses 9-10, David calls on the only one who can help. “Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Our inheritance includes a legal guilt that God credits to us. We have inherited from Adam corruption. Anyone who doubts the fact that the tendency towards sin is present at our birth only needs to spend a little more time with two-year-olds. I know, we tend to think of little babies as “cute”, “sweet”, and even “beautiful”! In spite of that our sin nature is obviously present in infancy. This is evident in the way babies treat their parents and/or one another. Put two two-year-olds in the same crib or playpen and you will hear “no”, “mine” and similar words. They did not have to learn that! However, they do learn a lot of it directly from us.
Our nature includes sinful tendencies. In the same way that we receive our human body from our parents we inherit, from them, the tendency to sin. We are bad but we are not as bad as we could be! Trust me on that. From childhood up we are constrained by civil law, family and society’s expectations. In his Ephesian letter, chapter 2:1-3, Paul recognized the problem. And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
By God’s common grace people have been able to do much good. In the areas of education, civilization, scientific and technological progress, all grow out of common grace that God gives to all mankind. In spite of the ability to do good in many areas of life our inherited corruption and tendency to sin shows that as far as God is concerned, in our own strength, we are not able to do anything that pleases him. All of our righteousness is just filthy rags.
Every part of our being is affected by sin. Look at Romans 7:18, Paul says, “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” In the letter to Titus chapter 1 verse 15, 16, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”
Moreover, Jeremiah (17:9) tells us that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?”
These Scriptures do not deny that unbelievers can do good but they do deny that they cannot can do any “spiritual good” in terms of relationship with God. Paul describes the situation in Ephesians 4:18 “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”
Apart from a relationship to Christ unbelievers are not able to understand the things of God because they are spiritually understood. If God gives anyone a desire to repent and trust in Christ they should be encouraged to do so immediately. The ability to repent is not naturally ours it is given by the Holy Spirit and it will not last forever.
Mankind’s history is primarily a record of sin and rebellion against God and God’s plan to bring man back to himself. A good working definition of sin is as follows: Sin is any failure to conform to the moral law of God in action attitude or nature! Sin includes actions like stealing, lying, murder, adultery etc. the list is pretty much endless! If we look at the 10 Commandments, for example, they do not just forbid certain actions but also they condemn attitudes that lead to wrong actions.
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was he replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).
Our heart must be filled with an attitude of love for God. Sin is a failure to conform to God’s moral law in action, in attitude — our very nature! Our understanding of sin must emphasize how serious sin is!
Sin is not just something that causes pain it is something that is clearly wrong! It is directly opposite to all that is good in the character of God. Sin involves our actions,
James 4:17 “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
Have you trusted Jesus for your salvation? Today could be your day.
All scriptures quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.