Distinction Between the Creator And The Created

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Humanity has struggled with sin since Genesis 3, but it would seem that temptation was a struggle, though limited in nature, since creation itself. God alone is perfect in all his ways (Ps. 18:30; Matt. 5:48). Consequently, God “cannot be tempted with evil” (Js. 1:13). Humanity, by virtue of their creaturely nature, can be tempted with evil (Js. 1:14; 1 Cor. 10:13).  This liability to temptation demands that Christians flee from temptation (1 Cor. 6:18-20). Bavinck noted that “the Old Testament says little of the original state of integrity (status integratis).”[1] Even though little of man’s original state has been revealed, it can be inferred that Adam and Eve were tempted before the Fall.

This struggle with sin has been intensified after the Fall, but the ability or potential to sin had to be present in Adam and Eve before the Fall. If Adam and Eve were not able to sin, then they would not have sinned. Since they did sin, they were able to sin. Since they were able to sin, to be tempted, then it can be known that they struggled with temptation even before the Fall. Since they struggled with temptation before the Fall, surely Christians should appreciate the real struggle which continues in the life of everyone.

Calvin eloquently described the original state of man before sin and emphasized the “glory” of that original creation saying, “Therefore by this word the perfection of our whole nature is designated, as it appeared when Adam was endued with a right judgment, had affections in harmony with reason, had all his senses sound and well-regulated, and truly excelled in everything good.”[2] Calvin continued to describe Adam’s intellect: “In the mind perfect intelligence flourished and reigned, uprightness attended as its companion, and all the senses were prepared and molded for due obedience to reason; and in the body there was a suitable correspondence with this internal order.”[3] Bloesch  wrote, “There is nothing in our created nature that would dispose us to sin, yet we invariably fall into sin as we make our own way in the world. It is an “impossible possibility” that defies human comprehension. Its essence is irrationality and absurdity. This is why it cannot be neatly fitted into any conceptual scheme.”[4]

Even in his original glorious state, mankind was imperfect compared to God’s perfection. Mankind has always been “peccable” as opposed to God’s impeccability. Even before the Fall, mankind was able to sin. This is because mankind is imperfect as opposed to God’s perfection. When Adam was placed in the Garden, he was told not to eat the forbidden fruit. The temptation was real so that the opportunity to sin was real. If there was no temptation or ability to be tempted, then there would be no opportunity for sin to occur. Adam, and all mankind, is made with the potential to sin. God declared to be very good. This “very good” surely had to include the purposes for which God made the world. Those purposes include the glorification of Father through the redemption of sinners by the Son. This would not have been possible if Adam was not capable of sin. Since Adam was capable of sin, he was not perfect. Still, God’s creation was “very good” for his purposes.

Since mankind, even without the noetic effects of sin, has always been in a constant struggle with sin, temptation should be taken seriously. As the question of homosexual behavior is taken up by those in the creaturely realm, the imperfect nature of humanity must be considered. Instead of saying that a trait is acceptable if one is “born that way,” it should be acknowledged that people are created imperfect and in a struggle with sin by virtue of the nature from their birth.

The reality that we sin does not make sin acceptable.[5] In Romans 6 Paul addressed this same question. After looking at the universal problem of sin in Romans 1-3, Paul highlighted the greatness of God’s gift of grace. When we properly understand God’s amazing grace, we are expected to ask “shall I continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Rom. 6:1).

            [1] Herman Bavinck, John Bolt, and John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: God and Creation, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 531.

            [2] John Calvin and John King, Commentary on the First Book of Moses Called Genesis, vol. 1 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 94–95.

            [3] Ibid., 95.

            [4] Donald G. Bloesch, Jesus Christ: Savior & Lord (Westmont, IL: IVP Academic, 1997), 41.

            [5] “Sin” here refers to all sin but especially here to the sin of homosexuality which is under discussion. Queer theologians have argued that homosexuality is not sin, but those claims and the exegesis of those Scriptures has been shown to be incorrect. Therefore, “sin” will be used to describe all those things which are against God’s nature and commands.

 

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