A Guide to Christian Theology - Lesson 30

Origin of Sin

From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the concept of sin and its origins from a Christian perspective. It begins by contrasting this perspective with dualism, emphasizing that God created everything, including moral creatures with free will. The lesson introduces the notion of a pre-creation rebellion by Satan, suggesting that evil existed before the physical world. You will also learn that doing good is a central aspect of spiritual warfare against evil forces, and that sin often originates from a desire for autonomy in defining right and wrong, separate from God's guidance. In essence, this lesson provides insights into the theological understanding of sin and its implications for human existence and the ongoing battle against evil.

Gerry Breshears
A Guide to Christian Theology
Lesson 30
Watching Now
Origin of Sin

I. Introduction to the Nature of Sin

A. Initial Discussion on Sin and Its Origin

B. Dualism vs. Christian Belief

C. Exploring Theories about the Origin of Sin

D. The Concept of God Creating Moral Creatures

E. The Role of Angels in Moral Choices

F. The Idea of Moral Creatures Choosing to Rebel

G. Sin as a Result of Morally Significant Actions

H. Unique Perspective on Satan's Rebellion

II. Humans as Blessable Image Bearing Covenant Partners

A. The Purpose of Human Creation

B. God's Mandate for Humanity

C. The Creation Mandate and Its Significance

D. Viewing Doing Good as an Act of War

III. The Temptation and Fall in Genesis 3

A. The Serpent's Deceptive Question

B. Eve's Decision to Define Good and Evil Herself

C. The Importance of Isolation and Self-Decision in Sin

D. God's Response: Coming, Calling, and Questioning

IV. Reflecting on Identity and Accountability

A. The Significance of God's Question: "Who told you that you were naked?"

  • In this lesson, explore the significance of systematic theology, blending academic insight with personal devotion. Learn to interpret biblical texts, understand how theology shapes beliefs, and fortify your faith against deception. This study fosters personal, biblical, and responsible theological growth, vital for spiritual development and discipleship.
  • Learn diverse ways to tackle theological questions, focusing on Holy Spirit baptism. Understand deductive, inductive, and retro-abductive methods. Acts 17:11 and Acts 15 show how community perspectives contribute to nuanced theological discussions, promoting unity amidst differing viewpoints.
  • This lesson provides insights into theological certainty levels, categorizing beliefs into "die for," "divide for," "debate for," and "decide for," highlighting essential doctrines, divisive issues, passionate debates, and less crucial matters, while underscoring the significance of understanding diverse perspectives and theological terms across different Christian tribes.
  • Explore general revelation through creation and conscience (Psalm 19, Romans 1). Responding leads to God, though not salvation alone. Special revelation possible. Diverse salvation views, favoring knowing Jesus. Seared consciences don't always void salvation.
  • Gain deep understanding of special revelation: history, divine acts, and communication revealing God's character and redemptive plan via Messiah. Lesson highlights Bible's key role, conveying God's nature, guidance, and transformative power, emphasizing ongoing divine-human communication.
  • This lesson delves into the concept of divine inspiration in Scripture, citing 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and 2 Peter 1:16-21. It explains "God-breathed" as a term highlighting God's creative influence on words, rejecting mere concepts or dictation. Inspiration involves human authors, their personalities, and styles, conveying God's message to the entire church.
  • In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of God, including their definitions, biblical support, and implications and applications.
  • In this lesson you will gain insight into the Bible's clarity, sufficiency, and authority, and the Canon.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp a deep understanding of God's character. His foremost quality is compassion, like a mother's love. He's gracious, patient, loving, faithful, and forgiving, extending favor even to the undeserving. Yet, He's just, not sparing the persistently rebellious. This lesson dispels misconceptions, urging contemplation of God's profound blend of love and justice.
  • This lesson delves into holiness via Isaiah 6, emphasizing dedication over separation from sin. It challenges misconceptions and calls for church reform.
  • This lesson delves into the fundamental characteristics of God, particularly the Trinity, emphasizing God's essential relational nature within Himself and its biblical implications, while also addressing theological controversies and highlighting the complexity of the Trinity.
  • This lesson explores different approaches to knowing God, inspired by Thomas Aquinas, discusses the doctrine of immutability, and highlights how God can change in his attitude and actions based on biblical evidence, emphasizing the value of in-depth Bible study and open dialogue in understanding God's nature.
  • This lesson covers key theological concepts: sovereignty, election, and free will. It explores differences between Calvinist and Wesleyan-Arminian views on God's sovereignty, impacting God's plan and human responsibility. Emphasis on defining terms to prevent disputes. Speaker is a "Calminian," blending Calvinism and Arminianism for a balanced perspective. Valuable insights into theological complexities and scripture interpretation.
  • Exploring various theological views and problematic issues surrounding the concept of providence, we will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of prayer in providence, as well as the compatibility of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
  • You will gain knowledge about anthropology and its biblical foundations, creation of human beings and the image of God in humans, fall and sin and their implications on human nature, redemption and sanctification, and human destiny and eschatology, including views on heaven and hell and the return of Christ.
  • This lesson offers valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of providence and its profound implications for our comprehension of God's role in the world.
  • The lesson touches upon various types of suffering, categorizing them into six different types: moral evil (e.g., rape), natural evil (e.g., cancer), persecution, sharing the suffering of another, punishment for sin, and suffering caused by the devil.
  • Learn to discern God's will by cultivating a Christ-like character, living by moral principles, seeking counsel, embracing uniqueness, and praying. It's about aligning with your long-term happiness and godly desires, offering a balanced approach to life decisions.
  • Explore Jesus' nature and incarnation. Learn how He balanced divine and human attributes, challenging traditional views. Reflect on His mission and ours, empowered by the Holy Spirit, bridging divinity and humanity.
  • This lesson delves into the incarnation of Jesus, explaining his dual nature as both God and man during his earthly mission, supported by Old Testament, Gospel, and epistle references. It acknowledges the complexity of his divinity and humanity, even after his ascension.
  • This lesson explores Jesus' dual nature, divine and human, delving into emotions, knowledge, sin, and his role as the Second Adam, offering theological insights.
  • Learn about Jesus' life and mission, challenging traditional beliefs like the virgin birth. Explore his spiritual journey, resurrection, and more, fostering critical thinking and alternative perspectives.
  • This lesson provides a comprehensive examination of atonement, its various dimensions, and the theological concepts surrounding it.
  • Learn about the Holy Spirit, baptism, and its role in Christian faith. Understand diverse perspectives on its workings in believers' lives, emphasizing its incorporation at conversion and empowering influence, supported by biblical insights.
  • Gain insight into the relationship between spirit baptism and conversion, the various terms used in Scripture, and the importance of ongoing fillings with the Holy Spirit for special ministry tasks, character, and as a command for all believers.
  • This lesson explores the role of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. It challenges traditional definitions, proposing that any ability empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in ministry is a spiritual gift. The primary gift is the Holy Spirit himself.
  • Learn about the theological debate on spiritual gifts like prophecy and miracles. Explore four perspectives: cessationism, continuationism, functional cessationism, and word of faith. The instructor, a continuationist, emphasizes discernment and scripture while promoting respectful dialogue among believers with differing views.
  • This lesson explores the Bible's view of humanity, emphasizing humans as God's unique creation, made from dust and breath, in His image. It delves into human origins, our role as covenant partners, and the interaction between spirit and body, supported by biblical passages, offering a holistic perspective on being human in God's eyes.
  • This lesson redefines humans as image-bearers of God, emphasizing the role of reflecting divine attributes in all work, gender equality, and growth in Christ-likeness. It promotes dignity for all, with potential for deeper reflection as faith matures.
  • In this lesson you will explore the origin of sin, rejecting dualism in favor of a Christian perspective where sin arises from the choices of morally responsible creatures. The lesson introduces the idea of a pre-creation rebellion by Satan, emphasizing that humans are called to engage in spiritual warfare by doing good and promoting Shalom in the world.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the nature, marks, purpose, structure, and sacraments of the Church and learn about the different views and definitions used to define it.
  • This lecture discusses the leadership offices of a church, including eldership, deacons, and church members, and how they function according to biblical principles of polity, which prioritize following what the Bible prescribes, closely following what it describes, and using wisdom and being Spirit-led in matters it is silent about, all with the aim of effectively sharing the Gospel and achieving unity and focus.
  • In this lesson, you will explore baptism's significance, modes, and theological perspectives, and learn its role in church membership, unity, discipleship, and spiritual growth.
  • This lesson provides an overview of the historical, biblical, and theological aspects of Communion, including practical considerations for its practice.
  • You will gain a good understanding of death and its theological implications, including the biblical view of death, consequences of death, and resurrection and the afterlife. The lesson covers the definition of death, cultural views, and the portrayal of death in the Old and New Testaments. You will also learn about the physical and spiritual consequences of death, as well as the Bible's teachings on resurrection and the afterlife.
  • From this lesson, you gain insight into the biblical concept of God's Kingdom, its significance in Christian theology, and its impact on eschatology, social justice, and the Church's role.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into eschatology, examine biblical perspectives, explore key events like the Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium, and Final Judgment, and learn the significance of eschatology for today's believers.
  • By studying the eternal state, you gain insights into the new heaven and earth, resurrection, judgment, and eternal life, deepening your understanding of Christian hope and assurance.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into the crucial role of church leaders, their essential qualities, and the challenges they face, while discovering the importance of support and encouragement for their growth and effectiveness in ministry.
  • In this lesson, you gain an understanding of the nature of Scripture and learn to interpret the Bible within its historical, literary, and canonical contexts while addressing challenges in biblical interpretation.
  • This lesson delves into the structure and authority of a church, examining different leadership models and emphasizing the overarching role of scripture as the final authority, while also highlighting the need for congregational involvement in decision-making processes and the unique nature of the apostles in early church leadership.
  • Learn Dr. Breshears' local church leadership principles: focus on equipping, inspiring, empowering, unifying, exemplifying, caring for, overseeing, and shepherding members. Rooted in biblical teachings, emphasizes servant leadership. The lesson discusses congregational decision-making, women in church leadership roles with respect for differing views.
  • Learn about church leadership principles, roles of elders and deacons, active membership, mutual commitment, gift utilization, and clear processes in this comprehensive lesson.
  • This lesson explores sacraments, focusing on baptism and diverse theological views. Baptism signifies a profound commitment to Christ within a believer community, emphasizing understanding and promptness post-conversion.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp the essence of baptism, its questions, and debates. Discover belief's role, its confession, and the link to repentance and faith. Explore diverse views on baptism performers, methods, and locations. Gain insights and wisdom for informed baptism decisions in your faith community.
  • From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of Communion, also known as the Lord's Supper or Eucharist. It will provide you with insights into the controversy surrounding its terminology and the theological background of Communion, primarily focusing on 1 Corinthians Chapters 10 and 11. You will learn about various theological perspectives on the real presence of Christ in the Communion elements and explore different viewpoints on the frequency, leadership, eligibility, and practical aspects of Communion. Overall, this lesson will equip you with the knowledge to better understand and participate in the Communion meal.
  • This lesson delves into two ends: individual death and the end of the age. It explores human death, material and immaterial aspects (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Genesis 3), fear, loss of autonomy, cremation, death determination, rewards, and urges preparation to meet Jesus, facing the undeniable reality of death.
  • Learn about the Kingdom of God, its aspects, Christ's return interpretations, and key concepts like inaugurated, Messianic, and millennium kingdoms. Emphasizing humility and mission in theological debates, it prepares you for insightful discussions on Christ's return and tribulation.
  • Learn about Christian views on heaven and hell. Hell is punishment for those who reject Jesus; heaven is eternal bliss with Him on a renewed Earth. Explore differing views respectfully.

Understand the core topics of systematic theology, from what we know about God to the future state of humankind. Special emphasis is given to such topics as Christ, salvation, the church, and the future.

A Guide to Christian Theology
Dr. Gerry Breshears
Origin of Sin
Lesson Transcript

We've talked about humans, we've talked about image of God, and I wish we could stop there and talk about where humans is blessed by image bearing covenant partners and just go with that but there's a little more to the story, we call that sin. Hah, well. So, I want to think here for a bit about sin and one of the questions I always find myself thinking about when I start talking about this is where did sin come from. If God is a completely good being, which I think we all agree with, where did sin and evil come from? And they're [inaudible] in your handout, it's always been there and that's called dualism.

And so, there's, in many cases, a good God and there's a bad God is a good force and a bad force and they've always been there, it's just part of the thing. And so, that's a dualism. As Christians, we don't believe that because we believe God is the creator of heaven and earth, of everything. So, God created everything, mass, energy, space, time, laws of nature, all that. There was nothing prior to God's creative activity. So, dualism doesn't work because God's the only eternal being. Maybe it's an accident. Oops, oh, gosh, look at that. God intended to work well but He just didn't quite anticipate things and just fell off the table and broke or something.

I'm pretty lighthearted but there is some of that thing is just a divine oops. God is God but even God can't control everything. So, some would say, "Well, God created evil beings, Satan, for some greater purpose." I don't know of anybody who actually holds that, it's usually done as something to be denied and I think it is denied. God did not create evil beings. But God created the devil. No, that's not what we would say, we would say God created moral creatures. And the angels are moral creatures and he made them with an ability to choose and act responsibly. And so, in this understanding, and this is normal, would be to say God didn't create the devil as an evil being but He created an angel and that angel rebelled somehow and became the devil.

So, our idea is God created moral creatures, and humans are moral creatures, and these moral creatures chose to rebel, set themselves up as equal with God and that's the source of evil. So, we're going to say that evil is the result of morally significant actions of free creatures and that would be widely agreed to. Let me just play with this a little bit and I will quickly say that what I'm going to say here for the next three or four minutes is a Gary thing that is not widely shared in evangelicalism. And so, this is a bit of experimentation except, in a little further down the road, I think I'm right on this.

I would say, as many evangelicals, that Satan's rebellion is a pre creation reality, pre Genesis 1:1 reality. Now, many would agree with that. And so, when I look in the Bible, because of course we're, "Where's that in the Bible?" Right question, exactly the right question. If I go to John 8:44, John 8:44 is Jesus in argument with the Pharisees, this is culminating, this is toward the end of that routine and they're busy in this hot argument. They claim Abraham is their father and he says, "If Abraham is your father, you would respect Me," and they insult Him. And in John 8:44, He says, "You belong to your father," and He identifies their father as the devil. I'm sure they did not really like that thing. But look at this next phrase, he was a murderer when? What's the beginning? Well, that's the John 1:1 beginning and the word was before the beginning, that's the eternal deity of the Lagos but that's the Genesis 1:1 beginning.

So, at Genesis 1:1, as I'm reading it, and this is fairly common, my weirdness comes up in just a bit, the devil is already a murderer and a liar. At Genesis 1:1, the devil is already a murderer and a liar. And I've got some other references in your handout to look at. First John 3:8 talks about Jesus is here to destroy the works of the devil who is a sinner from the beginning, very similar phrase.

What verse is that?

First John 3:8. And so, if the devil is a murderer, a liar and a sinner from the beginning, and I think that's before Genesis 1:1, others would say, and, again, I've been citing Wayne Grudem who's a buddy and a friend and we differ on a few things, and he believes that Satan's fall is after Genesis 1:31 when God says He was very good and Genesis 3:1 where the serpent shows up and tempts Eve. He thinks the devil rebellion was between Genesis 1:31 and I think Genesis 1:31 is he's talking about where He's created and you've heard, I think, that's Eden. He set it up, humans are there, okay, this is very good. He's not talking about the cosmos, He's talking about the work He's doing.

And evangelicals, recent creationists who think that Genesis one is the whole universe would say, outside the physical universe, there's a spiritual world and Satan's falls in the spiritual world. So, I may begin here by saying that there is, in Genesis, I think we begin with a Satan's pre Genesis one rebellion, and this is where I get unique, that results in a war in the heavenlies. That Satan rebelled and fell prior to Genesis one is common but I take it one step further and say there's now a war in the heavenlies. This conflict that we see showing up in scripture regularly, Revelation 12 is the most dramatic talk, I think that's a war that begins pre Genesis 1:1.

So, pre Genesis 1:1 that resulted in a war in the heavenlies and so John 8:44, first John 3:8 are two key passages that indicate that. Then I think, I think, God created Eden, the mountain of God, as an uncultivated, uninhabited good place. That's my understanding of Genesis one you've heard if you stuck around for this. But here's the unique thing, I think it's created in a war zone. See, if you have a young earth creation, it's the whole universe is good but then I'm seeing something beyond the universe, the heavenlies, and focusing on Eden, I think that we're created in a war zone. And, for many, they're saying that the entire universe is a good and perfect place.

Well, God didn't say it's perfect, He says it's good, it'll get the job done. Uninhabited, uncultivated so it's incomplete, it's not perfection. It says uninhabited, uncultivated and then humans are commanded to cultivate and inhabit the earth. So, it's not perfect, for sure, but it's good and I think that's Eden but Eden is created in a war zone. So, what about humans? Humans are created in a war zone. Okay? What does that make us? Well, that's the trick and I think Genesis 1:26 through 28 is saying, and we talked a little bit about an image of God and you see it in your handout, I think God created humans as blessable image bearing covenant partners.

So, He blessed us, we're image bearers and we're covenant partners and He gives us a command, be fruitful and multiply. That's not make more babies, that's only a step in the process, it's make more blessable image bearing covenant partners. It's not just childbearing, it's child-rearing and, as all of us in the room that have kids know, that can be a challenge at times and I realize is a great blessing. So, humans are blessable image bearing covenant partners and commanded them to fill the land with more blessable image bearing covenant partners ruling the rest of creation, whatever that means there in Genesis 1:28, ruled the land, doing worshipful work. And we're creating communities of beauty, justice, faithfulness, generosity and so on. That's our job.

Now, that's not controversial that we're blessable image bearing covenant partners to make more image bearing-


Oh, it's in the handout, yeah. God created blessable image bearing covenant partners and commanded them to fill the land with more blessable image bearing covenant partners to rule the rest of the land and create communities and, putting your favorite words there, beauty, justice, faithfulness and so on. That's our mandate, it's called the creation mandate. That's not controversial particularly, that's fairly common though it's said in different ways. That's our mandate. Here's the unique thing, I think that's an act of war. That doing good is an act of war against the serpent, often called and correctly called the chaos monster.

His job, murder, lies, sin is to destroy Shalom. And I think that's the heart of sin, sins that which destroys Shalom. That command that God gives to create more blessable image bearing covenant partners and creators of communities of justice, generosity and so on is an act of war. My key verse there is Romans 12:21, do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. And Paul summarizes in one verse what is a theme all through scripture is, when we are doing good, and doing good is creating justice and beauty and so on, we are creating communities where all relationships, God, others, self, rest of creation are well-ordered as God designed them to be. That's the work that we're given and, thus, my definition of work was we're creating Shalom. In that work of doing good, that's an act of war against the chaos monster.

And so, we don't recognize doing good as an act of war and that's where this is Gary uniqueness, or not uniqueness, but it's not unique to me, not even original to me, but it's an emphasis I make that most others don't make that doing good is an act of war. So, the first act of war in the Bible that's recorded is not Genesis 3, it's Genesis one. We are commanded to fill the earth with blessable image bearing covenant partners who will rule the land, create communities of generosity, justice, beauty, integrity, so on, love, forgiveness and so on and that's an act of war against the chaos monster.

Now, when I look at Matthew 28, which we all know the passage probably but haven't thought about it like this. Matthew 28:19, what does Jesus tell us to do? Go and make disciples of all nations. That's make more blessable image bearing covenant partners from the nations which are belonging to the dominion of darkness. So, we're plundering the dominion of darkness to bring them into the kingdom of light, make disciples of all nations and having them identify with the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, that's make more blessable image bearing covenant partners, and teaching them to obey everything I've commanded you. That's form communities with generosity, justice, beauty and so on.

What do you call those? We call them these days churches, kingdom outposts. Same mandate, exactly the same mandate just in different context. And that's an act of war against a chaos monster who wants to destroy communities, destroy Shalom, same thing. I think that's what we're here for is to do good as an act of war. And then Genesis two gives a little more detail about that, about keeping and caring for and those sorts of things and it creates marriage there as one act of good and having kids is an act of good and all that. And then Genesis 3 is where you get the chaos monster at work, the serpent who attack, counterattacks, I would say. The serpent has a counterattack against God's first attack and His attack is doing good and we're doing the same kind of attack it seems to me.

So, when we're doing spiritual warfare, our primary thing to do spiritual warfare is to do good, help people become blessable image bearing covenant partners in terms of Ephesians one, as I put it there, help people become a beautiful bride for His precious Son and, in so doing, we crush the serpent's head. I think that's what we're here for. And our primary weapon, just like God's primary weapon, is doing good. Now, there are times we do other things as God sometimes do other things, and if you can remember my model of providence, I know that was a lot of videos ago, but I think that providence is God at war with evil, using good is His primary weapon to overcome it. Sometimes he guts out with worms, I've got some candidates, God, I want to blind them while I'm at it. But see, that's not the primary weapon, that's me buying into the serpent's power tactics and that's a primary temptation is use his way to accomplish God's good and it will never work, ever.

So, have you bought anything I've bought so far? Actually, it'll change your world. And in spiritual warfare, and I do a whole stuff around spiritual warfare, it's of course on BT, we do things like kick out demons and that sort of stuff and it can get very dramatic sometimes but most of spiritual warfare is doing good. When we reconcile broken relationships, that's an act of war. And the better you are at it, the more likely you're going to run into opposition because Satan doesn't like it when we do that so he will counterattack. I don't want to over dramaticize things but that's what Paul is saying in Ephesians six when he says our conflict is not with flesh and blood fundamentally, but for powers of darkness in the heavenlies. We're fighting a spiritual enemy headed by the devil, the serpent, Satan, and that's what our war is.

Now, I want to take a look at Genesis 3 and just unpack that a little bit. Okay, go to Bible. I need to start in Genesis two, in the command that God gives us there, Genesis 2:15. Genesis 2:15, the Lord took the man, put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and care for it, NIV says, the Lord God commanded the man, "You're free to eat any tree in the garden." Could they eat the tree of life? Could they eat the tree of life? Yeah, of any tree of the garden you may freely eat but not that one. Now, later, they're barred from the tree of life post sin but here they're free to eat it because, when you're living, you're free to eat the tree of life. Did they eat? It doesn't say but I bet they did but you must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of knowing good and bad would be a better translation than good and evil.

And I think that knowing good and bad is defining what is good, right, true, beautiful, real. It's not doing it, it's not knowing what is bad, it's defining what is bad. That's the heart. And if you go through and look at this idiom, Isaiah 7:15, before the virgin born baby, who isn't virgin born Isaiah's day, before he's able to take care of himself, you'll see these two guys beat up. What does knowing good and evil mean there? It means the age of accountability, able to decide what's good and bad. And the tree of knowing good and bad, I think, is who defines what is good, right, true, beautiful, real, putting your adjectives there. I think that's His command.

And what He says, what God says is don't eat that tree which I think means don't define for myself what is good, right, true, beautiful, real, let God define that. And He's defining this tree as bad and He's defining the tree, he says, "Dangerous tree, don't eat it, it will kill you." God says, "That tree, dangerous tree, don't eat it, it will kill you." Now, some people say this is a test, eat it, you die, don't eat it, you live forever. I don't think that's what He's saying at all, though that's common. Dangerous tree, don't eat it, it will kill you and He goes to some other stuff and we'll skip all the rest of that.

Now, you go to chapter three verse one and here's the serpent. Now, whole thing, who is the serpent, we're going to skip all of that. Go listen to BibleProject Podcast, they'll help you deal with some other Michael Heiser's Naked Bible Podcast. Serpent is more crafty. Now, the fun thing is, the term crafty, we always read it negatively but, in Proverbs, we're told to be crafty, it's a positive word. My daughter, Cindy, is crafty, she's a really good craftswoman. She loves all kinds of crafts and she's wonderfully good at it. So, Cindy is crafty, the serpent is more crafty. We say, "Oh, everybody recognizes that's a bad guy." No, no, no, it's not.

Again, we bring stuff in there, it's not in the text. More crafty than the other wild animals the Lord had made, he said to the woman, "Really? Really? Really? Really? Did God say don't eat from the tree of the garden?" What the serpent is doing is raising an innocent question. "Did God say don't eat that tree?" He's being subtle and deceptive, that's what serpents do. "Did God really say that?" What does Eve do? "We [inaudible] the tree of the garden but not that one." Does she understand that God said dangerous tree, don't eat it, it will kill you?

Now, again, there's stuff we can dig into, we're not going to dig into here. What does the serpent do? Verse four. "You are not going to die. God knows that, when you eat from it, your eyes will be open and you'll be like God knowing good and bad." What's the serpent saying? The serpent is saying, "Well, God said dangerous, you don't eat it, it'll kill you but it's actually a good tree, eat of it, it'll make you like God." In what sense? Defining what's good, right, true, beautiful and real. What the serpent is saying, "Don't be a dependent little girl, grow up and be your own woman, that's what God wants you to do, I think. "Don't be a dependent, do it yourself. You're a grown woman, come on."

I don't think the serpent is weaving a deceptive spell which is often the way it's done, that's the way it's often done is the serpent weave the spell and hypnotized eve. I don't think that's the case, I think the serpent is appealing to her as an image of God person and saying check it out for yourself. Don't trust me, check it out for yourself. So, what does she do? God saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, so hyperlink. What does that hyperlink back to? It hyperlinks back to chapter two verse nine. God made all trees go out of the ground, trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. It hyperlinks back to 2:9, trees are pleasing to the eye and good for food, she looks at the tree and what does she see? She sees this tree is good for food and pleasing to the eye. This tree is just like all the other trees. How did she figure that out?

Well, she looked for herself and also desire for gaining wisdom. What is wisdom? Defining what's good, right, true, beautiful and real so she took some and ate it. What does Eve do? God said, "Dangerous tree, don't eat it, it'll kill you." She looks at it for herself, "Hmm, tree just like those trees and I will grow up so, okay," and she takes the tree and eats it. I think that's what happens. I think that's the heart of sin, the foundation of sin is I don't trust God. This is not rebellion, I don't think she's rebelling here. That comes later but not here. I think, at this point, she says, "I'm going to grow up and do it for myself, that's what God really wants me to do." And that appeal, I want to do it my own way, based on my own judgment means, yeah, God's a good guy, He's got his view, I've got my view, I think that's the heart of sin.

And she eats and gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate it and, of course, it turns out really, really bad. But see, when you become like God, it's like God in the sense of defining for myself what's good, right, true, beautiful, real. God defines what's good, right, true, beautiful, real, we should trust that thing even when it makes no sense. Satan says, "You're a big boy, you're perfectly capable, don't go whining up to God and lick His boots and do everything He tells you to do. After all, He's a busy guy, He's got other things to do. He wants you to grow up and be your own person." And that's what she does and it does not work out well.

So, when I think of sin, where it comes from ultimately, where it comes from ultimately, we don't know. Why is it that this cherub hint in Ezekiel 28, the throne bearing cherub wants to be on the throne. It's only hinted but it's there. Why does that cherub, this powerful angel decide he should be in charge? The sin of pride. Just vaguest of hints and it makes no sense, it makes no sense whatsoever why this cherub would differentiate from the other cherubs and rebel against God, we don't know. So, the [inaudible] of sin is a great mystery. So, the tree of knowing good and bad is who defines, let me fill in some blanks for you, who defines what's good, right, true, beautiful and real. Satan's innocent question, "Really? Really?" brings God's character into question. What kind of God would make that tree and then tell you not to eat it?

He encourages Eve to grow up and be a big girl like God defining good, bad for herself, be a full-blown person. And Eve decides by herself, and here's a point, who is in this conversation that Genesis is recording here, that Moses is recording. I think Adam probably wrote this originally and Moses put it together in the Pentateuch. Who's in the conversation? Who are the active participants in the conversation? Eve and Serpent and Adam didn't say a thing. Adam was not part of the conversation. Who else was part of the conversation? Doesn't say a thing, doesn't say a thing. See, and we immediately put ... No, no, it's only two, it's serpent and Eve. And that's a technique of the serpent in sin is talk about God instead of with God. So, he says, "Really?" and he says, "Hmm." What would've happened had Eve said, "Just a minute, Mr. Serpent. Mr. God, Mr. God, could you go here a minute? Mr. Serpent has a question for you." Would anything have changed? Everything.

What would've happened if she, "Just a minute Mr. Serpent. Adam, I knew you're working in the church but I need a little help. Could you come here and help me out?" Would anything have changed? Everything would've changed. See, Satan wants to isolate, decide for myself. Don't talk to God, don't talk to grace partners, decide for myself. So, isolate, decide for myself apart from anybody else that's there, that's Satan's tactic. It's from the beginning, he still does it. So, there's no consultation with her husband or with God, she decides for herself. That's Satan's tactic, isolate us from God and other grace Christians.

Now, the question is, and I want to play with this just a little bit as we finish up here, what does God do? This is a context of betrayal, lack of trust, what does God do? Verse eight, what does God do? He comes, He comes. Can God be in the presence of sin? Well, here it is. God comes, what do they do? They hide. They're spiritually dead, they have already died. That relationship with God is broken and, when God comes, instead of going up and walking with Him and naming some other animals or whatever, they hide, they're dead. So, God comes, verse nine, what does He do? God calls. In the context of sin, God comes and calls. What does He call? Where are you?

Okay, now, I know this is speculating. Do you think God knew they're over in the bushes? Yeah, yeah, for sure. What's He doing here? When He says, "Where are you?" He's not asking for a physical location, He's asking for spiritual location, He's inviting confession. God is inviting confession here. What He wants to hear is, "I ate, it was wrong. I should have trusted You." He's inviting confession. What does the man do? I heard you in the garden, I was afraid because of the naked so I hid. How's he doing? He's actually doing really well as far as he goes. I heard you in the garden, context. I was afraid, emotion. I was naked, identity. So I hid, action. So far so good. I heard you in the garden, circumstance. I was afraid, emotion. Because I was naked, identity. So I hid, action. It's incomplete, there's no I ate, it was wrong.

What does God do in response to this incomplete confession? It's a pivotal question. Who told you you were naked? If you're dealing in sin, listen to God, He does it really well but it's probably not surprising. Who told you you were naked? What is the source of your identity statement you just made? Because the identity, I'm naked, vulnerable, I'm going to hurt. Who told you you were naked? Go for the identity statement. Not the context, not the emotion, not the action, go for the identity. Who told you you were naked? Well, God sure didn't say that. And then He asked another question, "Have you eaten?" What's He doing here? He's inviting more confession and prompting it.

See, many people read this, the smoke is coming out of His ears and He just about had it. I don't think that's at all, I think He comes with a voice of kindness. God's kindness leads to repentance. I think He kindly invites more confession. "Did you eat?" What should Adam say at this point? "Yup, I did and it was wrong." What does he do at this point? Well, let me act out a bit. "The woman that You gave me, she did it." Blame shifting. Bad, off the charts bad, starts well ends badly. He goes to the woman, "What is it that you've done?" She says, "The servant deceived me and I ate," much better. Not perfect, but much better because she was deceived. She did fall for the deception and she did eat. She does better, and we could do a little bit better yet, but, actually, the woman does fairly well.

And then what does God do? He goes after the serpent, that's the true enemy. And in this context, He promises a messiah, act of grace. To the woman, the increase of childbearing and child-rearing is increasing but there's still desire, there's still work. To the man, cursed the ground, does not curse Eve or Adam. You'll see thistles and thorns and trouble but you'll still get stuff out of there. Adam named his wife Eve, God made garments of skin, act of grace. God puts them out of the garden, dries them out, which is consistent with death, but it's actually protecting them from the further destruction that would come from eating the tree of life in the place of death. Now, I've done a very quick summary of the Genesis 3 I'd love to take more time for it but we don't have it.

The thing that's surprising in the second half of Genesis 3 is the grace of God. And what we see in Genesis 3 that we should see and many times miss is the grace of God and the help of God in the context of sin. Now, there is punishment, I don't want to downplay that for a minute. There is punishment, for sure, but the shocking thing, the attention grabbing thing is grace. So, to finish this out, God's question, where are you, is inviting confession. And when He's, who told you, He's exploring lies about identity, lies that we believe. I think that's what He's doing. So, what's a source of sin? I think the fundamental source of sin is me not trusting God to define what's good and bad. Not trusting God to define what's good, right, true, beautiful and real. That was and still is. What's the basic tactic? Isolate from God and grace community and decide for myself.

And so, the see, take becomes a sin pattern and that's all the way through. So, heart of sin and this is where we're coming from. Very, very, very sad thing. Created in a war zone to be blessable image bearing covenant partners, trusting God to define what's good and bad, the serpent counterattacks and Eve falls prey, Adam sins knowingly, apparently commits the greater sin if my interpretation of Paul's right in first Timothy two. Eve was deceived but Adam sinned without being deceived. Greater sin, I think, is on Adam's part. A lot we could do but there we go. Questions?

In Greg Boyd's Repenting of Religion book, he talks about some of this section and he says that the main sin is that we want to determine what's good or evil so we take that into the church and we determine that other people's sins are worse than ours. So, we criticize them to make ourselves, look better and we determine what sins are acceptable or not. Would you agree with that? Is there something-

[inaudible] agree with that.

... that you have? Have you seen that?

Yeah, that's just a bigger scale problem of the same sort. What comes out of that though is, if we criticize somebody else's sin, we're being evil and we're absolutely to bring truth to sin in a context like God does of helping people see in a grace context leading to healing. So, pointing out to somebody that their sin is not a problem if we do it with the right attitude. But he's talking about doing it with the wrong attitude, trying to make me look good by making you look bad. Yeah, that's sin, that's bad.

Okay. So, is Satan predestined to be Satan? And in some aspects-

No, no.

... does that make it so God allowed or created sin?

I don't think Satan is predestined to sin. If you're a Calvinist, you would believe that. I'm not a Calvinist, I'm a Calminian. And there's nothing anywhere in scripture even hints that God has predestined Satan to sin. He's predestined him to hell now that he has sinned. But no, I think there's stuff that happens is against God's will in every sense and Satan's rebelling is one of those things fundamentally. If He did predestined him to be sin, coming from a Calvinist perspective for our providence discussion, then I would say that God uses his sin to accomplish His greater good, God's greater glory but He does not make him sin against his will.

And this is a key from a Calvinist is you've got to say that God never forces anybody to sin against their will. If you're a fatalist, I'm a pawn and whatever I do is what God makes me do but good Calvinists are never fatalists. Many Calvinists end up being fatalists and they shouldn't be and I get really annoyed with them even if I don't agree with their fundamental premise.


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