A Few Example Posts:

  • "The End of Faith: A Short Response to Sam Harris"
  • See also:
  • "A Long Response to Sam Harris' The End of Faith, by Neil Shenvi"

  • "Is John Piper the Best Answer to Emergence and Postmodernism?"

  • "Captured"

  • "The Storm is Over"

  • "If Golfing Were the Pursuit of Moral Perfection"

  • 9.26.2005

    Ultimate Discussions 7

    The Ultimate Rebellion: SIN
    See Ultimate Discussion 1 below for introductory material

    When I lived in Idaho a few years ago, I went to the local animal shelter to find a dog. The people there let a pack of assorted canines wander loose in the building. A large black dog stepped out of the pack and came right up to me. His name was Zeke. And we became good friends from that moment. He trusted me, and I enjoyed him. Sometimes we would drive my Jeep into the Sawtooth National Recreation Area to go exploring in the Rockies. With the Sawtooth Mountains rising above us, I’d open the back of the Jeep and release Zeke into the wild, and he’d run off into the sage brush.

    One day I watched Zeke run into the distance and disappear all of a sudden. Then I noticed all four paws flailing away just above the sage, and I figured he had found something putrid to roll in: usually some filth that the elk had left behind. I knew it was going to be bad. He soon returned to me--proud of himself that he’d collected a store of slime on his collar and shoulders. Then he jumped up and wanted me to pet him. The words rank and rancid only begin to describe the stench. I had no way of cleaning him up out there--so it was a long forty minute drive home.

    I’ve often wondered why dogs love to roll in filth. One time, I saw Zeke roll on a dead fish that washed up on the shore of a lake. Why is that? I can only conclude that dogs and men have different natures. What appeals to canines repulses humans.

    So it is when it comes comes to men and God. What appeals to men is repulsive to God. Just as I did not want to get close to Zeke until I cleaned him up, God cannot get close to man until man is cleaned up. Man must be purged of his sin.

    In our last discussion, we mentioned the distance, between a holy God and sinful man. That distance came about when the head of the human race rebelled against God.

    On day six of the Creation week, God made Man and Woman and placed them in the Garden of Eden. This garden was lush and full of trees that had all kinds of fruit. Traditionally, people assume that God commanded them not to eat from an apple tree. The Bible does not say what kind of tree was forbidden to the first couple, but God was clear in saying, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”1

    Genesis chapter 3 introduces the person of Satan who tempted our first parents, Adam and Eve, to sin. I thought James Montgomery Boice described well what Adam’s response could have sounded like: “I don’t care if I am allowed to eat of all the trees north of here, east of here, south of here, and west of here. So long as that one tree stands in the garden as a symbol of my creaturehood, so long as it is there to remind me that I am not God, that I am not perfectly autonomous--so long as it is there, I hate it! So I will eat of it and die, whatever that means.”2

    Adam rebelled against a holy God, and sin entered into the human race.

    Theologians debate exactly how Adam’s sin was transmitted to you and to me, but the Apostle Paul is clear: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”3 The Scriptures teach, (and we all know) that every man is sinful. And this sin separates us from God, for time and eternity. He cannot get close to us--nor we to him.

    Thankfully, God is willing to deal with the sin of man. He said, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”4 How God cleanses sinners--and closed the distance between us--is the topic of our next discussion.

    1 Genesis 2:16-17
    2 James Montgomery Boice, Foundations of the Christian Faith, (Downers Grove, Illinois; Intervarsity Press, 1986), 195-196.
    3 Romans 5:12
    4 Isaiah 1:18


    At 9:16 PM, Blogger Joe said...

    Just one rule. Just one!

    And we couldn't even obey that one.

    To think there are those who think they can please God enought to get to Heaven by obeying His ten rules.

    Or even hundreds of rules.

    Fat chance.

    Good post!


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