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Sin: A Family Tale

We continue a series of blog devotions based on the CRC Contemporary Testimony “Our World Belongs to God.”. These devotions incorporate both Christian and non-Christian student reflections on the statements.  The series begins HERE if you wish to read them all.

Suggested Scripture Reading – Genesis 3

But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Genesis 3:9-11

Our World Belongs to God – Article 13

In the beginning of human history,
our first parents walked with God.
But rather than living by the Creator’s word of life,
they listened to the serpent’s lie
and fell into sin.
In their rebellion
they tried to be like God.
As sinners, Adam and Eve feared
the nearness of God
and hid.


imagesWCG35L78I recently had the chance to visit my parents and I was reminded of a particular way in which members of my family sit. When we’re relaxed, we’re inclined to sit with our bottoms on the edge of a chair, our legs stretched out with feet crossed, and often our hands folded over our bellies. I sometimes think of this position as the coffin position because it’s how they usually arrange a body in a coffin. Yet in our family we attempt this position as we sit in chairs. My dad does it, I have cousins that do it and I do it. It’s hard to say what part of this sitting position is a learned behaviour and what part of it might be genetics. Either way, it was passed on to me through my parents.

The thirteenth article of Our World Belongs to God makes a thoughtful choice of words. As it begins to discuss the topic of sin and how sin exists in the creation, the subject is made personal. By beginning with the imagery of parents walking with God, it emphasizes our connection to the entire history of our human family. So often when it comes to the problems of our world we like to point fingers at other nations, races, religions, etc. etc. But to understand the problem of evil or sin we must look at ourselves. N.T. Wright in his book “Simply Christian” says it so well:

imagesC0OS667AThe line between good and evil does not lie between ‘us’ and ‘them,’ between the West and the rest, between Left and Right, between rich and poor. That fateful line runs down the middle of each of us, every human society, every individual. This is not to say that all humans, and all societies, are equally good or bad; far from it. Merely that we are all infected and that all easy attempts to see the problem in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’ are fatally flawed.”

The story of sin is OUR story.

untitled (8) When we read Genesis 3, we must hear an incredibly personal story about the way in which so many of us choose ourselves first. Genesis 3 is not just a story about the first sin, it’s a story about the way things go wrong. Our family history shows us a long and sordid tale of people who are constantly seeking ways in which we can be all-knowing. The problem of sin is a family story of learned and genetic behavior where we are always trying to live beyond our means. And in our contemporary society, we only need look at advertising slogans to see how we’re prone to lies of putting ME first – “Just Do It – Nike” “Because You’re Worth It – L’Oreal,” “I Want That – The Source,” “Have it Your Way – Burger King.”

The life aimed at serving the self is a lonely life, something that is emphasized in this article when it points out that as Adam and Eve chose themselves first they feared the nearness of God and hid. Life works best within the confines of a way where we as humans do not put ourselves first, where who we are exists to serve the creation as stewards of the garden, where we seek the good of our neighbor and ultimately where we acknowledge that only God can be all knowing. What lies might we be listening to these days? What does our chapter of the family story look like?


Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen