Wednesday night is the night for one of my favorite shows on TV – Criminal Minds. They always begin and/or end the show with quotes that sum up the moral dilemma in which they will be/have been placed. Last night’s show began with: “No man chooses evil because it is evil;he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” Mary Wollstonecraft
The case they were on was concerning a man who was murdering people in order to gain notoriety for an upcoming academic literary work he was to soon publish. Yet it was for the sole purpose of notoriety that he was barbarically slaughtering people, but out of a need to supersede the accomplishments of his father and thus prove his significance in the race of humanity. Oddly enough, he was somehow convinced that the surest way to manifest his prominence and significance to the human race was through killing the human race.
This is the very nature of sin. Eve didn’t disobey and eat the forbidden fruit because she desired to be evil. No! She committed sin because, at that moment, sin didn’t seem to be sin. It appeared to be the most logical, and necessary course for her to take to achieve a good thing – being like God, being able to differentiate between what is good and evil. Some times preachers pass of her sin as if she was directly wishing to usurp God, but I’m not so sure of it (you can give me your thoughts on that in the comment section).
At any rate, the point to be made here is that we choose to sin because it seems to us to be the best and most desirable option at that moment. Yes, we are still 100% responsible, and this in no way makes it less sinful as we were sort of “duped” into it. Eve was deceived into thinking there was a faster/better way to be an imitator of God, but she still fundamentally doubted God’s Words, His love for her thus denying His very nature.
After the fall, we are all born with a distorted view of what is good and bad. We crave the bad, enjoy it even (see the last half of Romans 1). We want enough morality to keep the really “evil” person from having his fun with us via theft, murder, etc.; but not so much morality as to keep us from having our fun in life.
I mentioned paradoxes in a previous post, and here is another one. Sin is not a created thing, for God is the Creator of all that there is. God is good, and only does good, so He could not have created sin. Sin is the negation of good. Sin is the refusal to obey as dark is the absence of light or a whole is the absence of substance. So many times we try to make objects sin when they’re not. Food is not sinful, eating too much of it is. Movies are not sinful, but we can use them to portray sinful acts in sinful ways. The list of sinful things is as long as the list of good things. Sin is the teenage boy who finds females attractive, which is a good thing and God made them attractive for a reason, and has a desire to know a female physically. This desire is also a God-given thing that will bring him much joy upon fulfilling it in God’s way and God’s time. Now the promise of joy that the drive promises on fulfillment isn’t wrong – it’s very good. But if this young man thinks that there is a better path to his obtaining this happiness that God intended for him to have then he will take it. His God-given desire began to search outside the God-given limits of fulfillment. This is when it became lust. When lust found an opportunity to have the God-promised joy without the God-induced waiting period sin was conceived. Here is the paradox – Sin isn’t the pursuit of evil, rather it is the pursuit of good outside of God; which makes it the pursuit of evil.
May Mary Wollstonecraft’s words be a sobering reminder for us to look to our good God for the definition of good and have faith in Him, even when all around us promises us the same end in a shorter time. And may it also remind us to be compassionate to those who are living in opposition to God’s will. For their predicament is one that deserves our compassion. They are blind thinking they are seeing good. They long for water, and mistake hemlock for water. Yes, they think you crazy for telling them they’re drinking hemlock. Yes, they may even get irate if you try to take it away from them seeing as they’ve acquired a taste for it. Sin is insanity. How can we not pity them? Yes, they have set themselves up as god and reject God their Creator, but one of the heart wrenching things is that they sincerely think this is best! You were of such a mindset until God graciously saved you.