CAN GOD SIN?
Before we can determine if God can sin, we have to ask three more questions.
What is sin?
What is needed to accomplish it?
What is the context?
This musing supposes to answer these questions.
What a neat concept, huh? Can God sin? Of course, our traditional thinking erupts with resounding ridicule at such an "ignorant" question. Everyone, even most unbelievers, will smugly say, "Excuse me? God can sin? Right!!" That only shows how little we really understand about sin. People haven't been taught what sin is. Mostly they are given a list of actions to not do. As a result, a lot of folks think that sin is theft, murder or anything to do with sex.
What is sin?
While it's true that sin is disobedience to God, and rightly so, we fail to see beyond the physical event of the sin, and into the psychological event that allows the physical sin. The psychological event is the invention of a new law. Even though a law says we can't, we find some reason why we can. That reason founds our new law of, "I can." Making laws is a very simple thing. A decision is made, and we act. That answers the first question, what is sin. Making our own law.
This is what Adam and Eve did. They made up their own "I can" about the fruit of the tree. Note that their new law co-existed with the old one. It didn't replace the old law. We don't find God coming to the Garden and saying, "Oh, you didn't like that law? You made up something different? OK, maybe you're right. Try your law." God's rule about eating the fruit didn't change, wasn't annulled. It still obtained. That's why they were tossed out.
We also must recognize that this disobedience of making our own rules depends on the existance of a law not made by us. This is the answer to the context question. A law made by a something greater than the individual units of society: self, family, city, nation, etc. For the good of the family, the individual modifies his behavior. We must all pay taxes.They say it's for the good of the nation. All the levels have a level that supercedes it. Right now we're working on the UN superceding the indiviual nations.
I've looked all around and can find hardly any rules that I've made "strictly" for myself that aren't also based in the welfare of those around me. So, even self-imposed/created law has root in a "good" greater than the self. Many things we avoid, we avoid because of the effects on not just ourselves, but on our families, peer groups, associates, our buddies in the next foxhole. One of the things that keeps us from making up a new law to run away is that in so doing those buddies have a greater chance of getting killed. We place limits (laws) on our behavior, with more than our own benefit in mind. Haven't some parents quit smoking for their children's health, as well as their own? So even disobedience to our own self-imposed laws takes the form of disobedience, resulting in the degradation of the Greater Good.
Without the Greater Good, it's difficult to find disobedience. How do you rebel against nothing? But let's say that by tomorrow morning God supernaturally did away with ALL the rules. There was no more law. People were free to act in any way. Go with the flow. Do you think that if we could see into the minds of people we'd find the capacity to be disobedient had vanished? If the very next day, one simple rule came into existance, would there be some who would break that rule? The capacity to break the rules is a fundamental part of being human. It rests on our ability to choose. Without the freedom of choice, we can't break the rules. This answers the What's "needed" question. We need the ability to choose.
Sin, disobedience, making our own rules, is inextricably bound to the freedom/ability of choice. Does anybody really understand this? It would seem that most Christians don't. The Fundamentalists are right up front with their misunderstanding. They've got rules for everything, including breathing. I can just imagine some uptight "Christian" parent telling his teenage daughter not to take big breaths when she's around men. But the other sectors of Christianity have their own ideas of right Christian behavior, too. Folks all around the world are adomonished week by week to live by some set of rules instead of being taught the simple rules God has laid out in the Bible, and, being shown pratical examples of how those laws are lived on a daily basis. At best, churchgoers are given some titillating, sex-related law out of Deuteronomy in order for the preacher to be able to harrange the congregation about their personal lives.
Understanding sin where man is concerned is easy enough, even if we don't like some of the conclusions we are faced with about our personal behavior. But where God is concerned, we've got two natty challenges to confront.
Can God sin? Yes.
At the same time, No.
We have to do some clarification of the question. "Can" God, is God able, does He have the ability/capacity to sin? Yes. God has the ability and capacity to choose, make decisions. Yes, God can sin.
Here's challenge number one.
If we expand the context from inside God, to outside of God, then we may find that God can't sin. Even if He retains the ability to sin, there is nothing to sin against. He has no context in which to sin.
There is no higher law than God's. He can't break some law Greater or Gooder than His own.
Now, challenge number two.
We can break our own laws. Can't God break His own laws?
It would seem as though He can. But, there is a great difference between God and us (in case you haven't noticed). When we see a law, we can say "I can," when the law says don't. But the law goes on uneffected. The new law that we make up, the "I can," doesn't change the old law. Our new law doesn't become reality.
When God speaks, reality is created, on the spot. God also has the right and authority, as creator, to change what He's said; to make a new law. Upon uttering the new law, the old law becomes non-existant. So God can't, in effect, break a law that doesn't exist. That might start to sound devious, but I think it works.
I've tried to find some example that doesn't fit this whole idea, but I can't; even though I have a nagging doubt that I'm missing some small point. I think, generally it all holds together fairly well.
So, can God sin? Yes. God's got the ability to sin, but the poor Guy can't find a place to do it.
And here's a big "Ah, ha!!!"
What's the only thing in the whole universe that God can't do?
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