In keeping with my theme of “backing talkwards”, I continue to chip away at finding what sin is not (in hopes of narrowing down what it is). Here is #3:
3. Sin is not what we were designed for- “God is love.” (1 John 4:8). If read correctly; this quote is big, profound and intense. I believe we can dwell on those three words for our entire lives and never really understand how many questions they answer, how many problems they solve, how much hope they inspire or how humble we should be. It also defines our purpose too.
Read the beginning of Genesis again. The very first action verb we see is that God “created”. Remember, God is love. It’s a lesson by example. Love is creative. It’s active, progressive and inventive. As designed in his image, I believe we were meant to continue the spread of his love by following his instruction to be the stewards of the earth (Genesis 2:15, Hebrews 2:6-8, Psalm 8).
Stewards are caretakers of someone else’s property.
But, we’ve ignored the example of creativity. For instance; we begrudgingly interpret the 10 commandments as rules to bind us. We should rather see them as restrictions that propel us to focus on being more creative about love (so we don’t “miss the mark”). They’re kinda like bumper bowling for the soul or a love-funnel (for all you hippies out there).
It’s important to know our purpose. Folks whine constantly about seeking the meaning of life. There. You got it in chapter one. We were built to creatively release and expand love (but instead we desired to capture and collect it).
We were deputized to oversee the care of Gods creation. It’s a blessed responsibility. This notion is furthered in Psalm 24:1: “The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it”. We weren’t designed to own it ourselves and see if we could handle it in some weird test. We weren’t designed to improve it. We weren’t made to decide for ourselves what to do with it. No. It’s his. We are to be loving custodians. We were blessed to love our work.
In Leviticus 25, God gives uber-specifics of how to best care for ourselves and the land assigned to us. These instructions (as well as many other scriptures on tithing, farming, sacrificing, etc.) indicate that we were intended to display certain attributes like saving, sharing, rationing, planning, waiting, and faith (These correlate well with the writings that love is patient, kind, non-envious, etc. in 1st Corinthians)
We’re made for one thing, but being used for another. Is it any wonder that a good understanding of sin evades us? We weren’t meant to understand it. Is it any wonder that we over-fear sin? Everyone fears the unknown and sin is most foreign to our core. Is it any wonder that we suffer due to sin? Put leaded gas in a car designed for unleaded, you will see suffering in metaphor.
In returning to 1st Corinthians, we see in the start (Vs 1-3) that even if many great and noble things are achieved, none of them matter at all without having love. Is it any clearer that we were geared for this one thing? Yet we usurped the design for our own wants. It’s like pounding a nail with a hat or carving water with a knife or cleaning windows with a rock. Using something for other than it’s intended only ruins it’s real purpose.
To sum it up; God is Love. That love is perfectly actively creative. We and the earth are one result. We are designed to respond and interact with God. The only response to omnipotent pure love is worship and obedience. We were instructed to be caretakers, savers and sharers. It was a perfect design. We diverted from it. We desired to be consumers, blamers, and takers instead. We suffer. We allow others to suffer. We struggle to understand all this. Obedience would be a proxy for understanding if only we would embrace it. Unfortunately, that’s not our nature anymore. We are sickened with sin.
Genesis 2:7 says “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” If we are to take care of the earth and man is molded from the earth, aren’t we designed to be stewards of each other? Doesn’t this explain the scriptures continued theme of serving, protecting and giving? Doesn’t this explain the mystery we feel as we try to comprehend the meaning of serving any purpose other than our design?
“Love…always protects.” Paul, 1 Corinthians. We should get more creative as mandated.
If sin is not what we were designed to understand then the logical reaction is to obey the one who does understand all things. Like children, we should always be curious to learn, yet never rely on knowing everything prior to submitting to our higher loving authority.