Rethinking the Fall of Man

There is only one sin, and it’s six words long.

Lucifer cast out of Heaven

Sure, there are a lot of things we call sin, from theft and murder to gossip and gluttony. But all of them are manifestations of one single burning impulse six words long.

Does that sound like reductionism? Any list of things can be generalized down to a smaller set, right? To one common trait (no matter how tenuous)?

It’s a fair concern, but this one’s a little more compelling. Why? Because it’s the same story as the Fall of Man. It’s original sin.

There is only one sin, and it’s six words long:

I’ll take care of this myself.

Do you see how much that clarifies? In this one understanding, I can reconcile a loving God with the concepts of sin and condemnation, because these six words make so incredibly clear what sin is.

Sin is that which separates us from God. Not because God expects us to be more perfect than he made us to be. Not because God is so perfectly Good that he can’t tolerate being in the presence of any evil. It’s so much simpler than that.

Sin–the only sin–is the act of turning away. Turning away from God doesn’t distance us because of his decisions or his personality or his ineffable characteristics. Sin distances us from God because the only sin there is, is a human choosing to step away from God.

Thus grace. Thus redemption. Thus the prodigal son’s ebullient welcome home. None of that is because God is so very good that, under the right circumstances, he’ll forgive us completely and pretend it never happened.

No. God is so much better than that. He’s unchanging, unmoving, and permanently loves you as much as he possibly can. Which is more than you could possibly imagine. The only way to dim that glow is to turn away.

Adam did that in the garden. We all did that as children, chasing independence. It’s the fall of man, and it happens over and over and over again every day.

I’ll take care of this myself.

Yeah, don’t. You don’t have to, and you probably can’t. Don’t even try.

Choose love. Dwell within it. Enjoy the bounty of providence. And take time to feel the power of God working in your life. It really is a lot more fun.

I love you all. Have a great day today.