A Simple Answer a Tough Pill,  Sin

Sin: A Simple Answer, a Tough Pill

As long as I can remember I have wondered why some people end up doing horrendous evil. How can a child raised by loving parents (perhaps just like mine) turn out to be so beastly in adult life. What exactly has to happen for these people to pull the evil trigger? 

One evening at a dinner party I sat next to a leading British psychiatrist. If anyone could answer my question it would be him. However when I asked him he gave the most disappointing answer: “sin.” That was all he said.

How could the complexities of a criminal mind be traced to such a simple, singular root? Sin, of the kind the psychiatrist was talking about, is the willful disobedience of human beings against God. But it is more than mere act; it is a fundamental orientation of life, being for or against God. And this kind of sin is not confined to the obvious criminal; it is all-inclusive – we are all guilty.

What I was struggling with was not the simplicity of the answer, but the difficulty of accepting its ramifications. The problem of sin is that applies to everyone. Not many will commit horrendous acts of evil, but none are immune from the fundamental issue behind such acts. It would be far better to find that only rapists are beset by sin, but that cannot be the case. Sin is truly universal; a pandemic. Well, almost. There was a man once who, though just as human as you and I, was without sin. His life was devoid of evil desire even though he was subject to the same temptations we face. And it is because of that sinless life that we can ultimately be set free from sin. There is hope in Christ for even the greatest of sinners – for you and me. 

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.