We live in a sinful world, created by God, yet God is without sin. This doesn’t make any sense. Why, and even How, would a sinless God create sin? So then is something else the cause of evil? We understand evil to be all the morally, emotionally, and even physically “difficult” situations we encounter. A lie is evil. Murder is evil. A holocaust is evil. A car accident is evil. A tsunami is evil. A child being told he is unloved is evil. A child being raped is evil. All such evils exist out of our own understanding of evil as a composite of all the events in this world that we would rather do without. We believe that events and circumstances are evil based on the near term, perceived consequences.
Is this truly what evil is? This makes evil a subjective and relative attribute. For me, evil might be a child getting driven to study through negative re-enforcement, while in many eastern cultures, that is the norm and expected as good parenting. To you, evil might be murder, yet it’s somehow justified to send troops into battle to commit murder or as it is in these days, commit localized genocide at a push of a button. To some, evil is two people of the same gender committing their lives to one another. To others, evil is denying the right of two people, regardless of gender, to commit their lives to one another. Up until 1967, in many states, it was considered evil to allow two people of differing ethnicity to intermarry. Such anti-miscegenation laws existed in these states until the US Supreme Court made them illegal. Did making such marriages legal all of a sudden make them not evil? The recent uproar over a harmless Cheerios ad proves the contrary.
No, evil, at the eternal and spiritual level must be something more concrete, more absolute. To separate itself from this relative, confused notion of evil, the term Sin is used to describe absolute evil. The definition of Sin makes up for a lack of clarity with precision. It is unclear as to what is sin. It is absolutely clear what is not sin. This neti neti approach to sin is the most accurate description of evil that can be defined. Sin is not “not allowing homosexuals to wed.” Sin is not “accepting gay marriages.” Sin is not “the devil.” Sin is not “the love for God.” Sin is not “murder.” Sin is not “sending troops into battle to commit murder.”
How can such a definition make any sense? Is it possible that all evils (and goods) in our society are “not sin”? Is such a definition even meaningful? Let us see where this definition leads us. Considering the above examples of what sin “is not” it’s safe to say that sin cannot be any action capable by man, whether morally good or bad. These are all possible consequences of sin or perhaps just our own opinion of each such consequence, but regardless, these cannot be sin.
If we try to come up with a generalized definition of what sin “is not”, we can hypothesize that sin is “not anything stemming from God’s Creation as it was planned, or God’s Creation as it is now even in this Fallen State.” This encompasses all actions that man can take and hence the definition is satisfied. Interestingly, this statement solves a another paradoxical argument against God, “How can a sinless God create a sinful or fallen world?” Based on this postulate, He didn’t. Nothing within creation is sinful. So then, what is sin? What is evil? The one thing left for sin must be something that exists outside of Creation. All that is left is God, Himself.
Therefore, sin can only be described as a choice against God. Or stated in three-dimensional terms, a choice against God’s will is sin. When Adam and Eve were in the garden, there was only one choice that forced a decision between God’s will and not God’s will. Whether or not to eat the fruit of knowledge. Quite possibly the knowledge of good and evil that the fruit bestowed was really the knowledge of all choices that were not God’s will. Prior to the Fall, there was just the one choice. But why have any choice at all?
If God didn’t create sin, then at least, why did He allow for the option of sin? Why did He leave the one choice? There are quite a few different theories of this. One is that how could God have loved us if He forced our will to in turn love Him? Which parent loves his child, the parent who allows His child to fail only to accept the prodigal child back when he turns back? Or the parent who forces the child to not have any option but to not fail? Love is a commitment. A commitment made as a choice, not forced upon. In order for God to love man, man should have had the choice. The choice against God’s Will was enabled by the tree in the garden and every act against God’s will that has ensued. These are the choices AGAINST God’s Will. The choice FOR God’s Will became possible when Christ died. So God instead of creating a perfect world, without choice; created a perfect world with choice. He did this out of His love for us, out of His steadfast committment to His own Creation.
Sin is not an action within Creation, but the result of a spiritual choice, outside of creation, to not choose God’s will. God did not create sin, but He had to create both alternatives to the choice in order to satisfy His love for us. In addition, He had to create a being with the ability to view beyond Creation, a being in his image, in order to have the ability to make such a choice. Having said that, man had to experience both choices in order to make the decision in full knowledge and awareness. We had to experience life both with God AND without God in order to make the decision. For this reason, the Fall inevitably happened and Christ purposefully was sacrificed. Through both events, man can now make the choice between God’s Will and not God’s Will.
God did not create sin, but He did form a Creation with the option of sin. The consequences of sin which do exist within Creation are not sin in and of themselves, nor are they evil, in an absolute and spiritual sense. Creation was made perfect and yet remains perfect, but covered under the blanket of what is truly and only sin, man’s choice to not choose God’s Will.