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Friday, February 24, 2012

A lie I learned at church

Is there any such thing as a sin nature?

Paul said that when he did things that he would rather not be doing it was no longer himself but sin in him. Sin is a foreign dynamic not native to the human nature. We are at our core, the very image and splendor of God. Pretending to be someone you are not never gets you anywhere you can stay. The worst pretense anyone can live up to is this false teaching that at your core you are nothing but a disgusting lowly sinful existence. We are not sinners by nature; we are creations of God by nature. Sin is a contradiction and a parasite that once expelled completely will leave you whole and fully yourself with no original parts missing. Sin has never been your nature, never should be your identity. It has no part in the real you.

Where did this notion come from that we are sinners by nature? It came from Greek philosophy and was made very popular by Augustine of Hippo who was a self-confessed sex addict. It was his struggles with sex addiction that made him embrace this model of our human nature. This, of course, also caused sex to be a significant obsession for those who believe in this false and unbiblical doctrine. It is no surprise that when it comes to working with sex addiction, those who buy into the notion that they are at their core nothing more than a disgusting sinner, are the most incurable. It can be very difficult for them to make the connection between this belief and the inescapable dynamic they are caught up into. It is the very same dynamic Augustine could not escape either.

Managing our behavior is a human problem and for every one of us behaving inappropriately is always some form of maladaptive response to a false notion of inadequacy. The cure for overcoming sin is not repenting of our disgusting nature but rather learning to shift our thinking toward the reality that at our core we have been made in the image of God and we need to invest ourselves in behavior that honors our core value sustained by a confidence that we are deeply loved by God for a very good reason - we are worth it.

It is so strange to me that Christian theology has become the very obstacle it was supposed to be the road towards.