Friday, January 15, 2016
The Gospel: Reality's Foundation Part 2
If we are honest, each of us knows that not one of us has ever lived up to our own moral standards as we live to various degrees within this moral order we find ourselves in. We have, on many occasions, broken this moral law and are offenders. If we follow this natural train of thought, we find that we have offended the intelligence that is back of creation, and back of the moral order. If we posit that the First Cause established morality innately within each of us this only stands to reason.
The biblical term is sin. It means missing the mark. We have broken the law and become offenders. More-so, we do it by choice and by nature.
For example: if you are pulled over for speeding you can’t plead with the officer that you have gone the speed limit 99% of the time. He may reply that you get no reward for doing what you were supposed to by obeying the law. Your infraction of the law is an altogether different matter, and you are subject to punishment by the established authority; in this case the officer who writes you the ticket. Human authority safeguards society in every nation by establishing laws for the protection of the people: ourselves and others. Then it is reasonable to posit that the moral order or moral law was likewise instituted to safeguard the human race from harming ourselves or others by actions contrary to the nature or person of the First Cause; but I'm getting ahead of myself a little.
Here is what the Bible says about sin, and its effect on us.
Genesis 2:16-17 “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” It was disobedience, not magical fruit, that brought the consequence of death upon Adam. Death is a daily reminder that we have transgressed and the words of caution and judgment given to our first parents hold true to us today. As a criminal running from the law does not have perfect freedom to operate any longer, having forfeit their freedom to act contrary to the law, so do we suffer under this penalty. We need to have the legal matter of our moral rebellion taken care of before true freedom may be granted us.
Ecclesiastes 7:29 “Truly, this only have I found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.”
Isaiah 59:1-2 “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”
Ezekiel 18:20, 26, 30 “The soul who sins shall die…when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies…repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.”
I acknowledge that these verses of Scripture are lifted out of the context of their original messages, but the whole message of sin's trespass and its manifold consequences should be apparent. I mentioned earlier that we sin both by choice and nature. God did indeed make man upright, sinless and innocent. But by an act of volition man chose to disobey the word of God; it was an act of distrust and rebellion. This also suggests that in the beginning mankind had access to more than our conscience or the witness of the created order to testify that the universe, and man especially, are the special objects of creation. In other words, before human authority erected governments to police and protect the people there was divine government from which all authority descended. Here we have an origin for the commonality of how the moral order is so similar across cultural and geographical boundaries. There was a singular source and from this source, perverted or diluted in various ways over time, human government contrived laws and the human conscience is provoked by the innate, inbred memory of the First Cause: namely God.
When there were no societal factors to sway Adam or Eve, when they could not blame stressful jobs, negligent spouses, or a bad situation, our first parents chose to sin. We have since inherited this nature from Adam, who we all descend from. So we have in us, each one of us, a native understanding of what is right but an inability to perfectly perform it. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), because according to God's standard and judgment which humanity must be measured by, there are none good, save God Himself, Romans 3:10; Mark 10:18. God keeps the moral order perfectly, being its originator and author. He is our guide as to what we must do to cease being offenders and have our legal transgressions pardoned.