Fundamental Nature of Sin

     There are typically four positions concerning the nature of sin: pride, unbelief, rebellion and idolatry. In order to better understand this nature, one should look at the original occurrence of sin as well as the overarching theme of sin throughout the Bible. If one uses a bit of logic, pride and unbelief could be removed since it could be argued that they are derived from idolatry and rebellion. Pride can be considered a form of idolatry of the self, whereas unbelief is a rebellion of wrong trust. Having eliminated pride and unbelief, the remaining positions, rebellion and idolatry, can be examined.
     In the garden, God commands Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. One might conclude that because their disobedience comes in a direct violation of that commandment that rebellion is fundamental nature of sin. Paul depicts the sinful nature in Romans 1 as one of suppressing of the knowledge of God found in natural revelation. In addition to these statements, the people of Israel are repeatedly being depicted as rebellious. This picture is picked up by the author of Hebrews as well and applied to the believer.
     On the other hand, when one looks a bit more closely at the garden scene, an idolatrous nature becomes evident. While the act of eating the fruit is indeed an act of rebellion against the direct command of God, this is merely the result of the elevating of their own desires above God’s desire. This causes them to fall. They are deceived when Satan makes ‘equality with God’ an idol for them to grasp. This same fall is played out throughout the Old and New Testaments. During the period of Kings, the evil rulers and the people of Israel follow after false gods, or idols. Ezekiel portrays the people of Israel as bad harlots because they traded a pure relationship with God for a selling of themselves to idols. Jeremiah, similarly depicts them as using a ‘holey’ water pot type religion. Jesus confronted many people guilty of idolatry. Two examples of this include the rich young ruler, who would rather his riches than eternal life, and the pharisees, who would rather their traditions that a relationship with God.
     While rebellion, pride and unbelief are all representative of the fall, they are merely the result of an idolatrous natures. After a believer is given a new nature he then worships the true God in a reversal of idolatry. The ensuing reversal includes that of humility and the ability to believe in and faithfully follow God.

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