Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Blaise Pascal believed that without an understanding of the doctrine of “original sin” we lack any possibility of understanding ourselves. That may explain why there seems to be so little understanding of ourselves as a race today—there is so little understanding of the Biblical teaching about sin.
Millard Erickson writes, “As important as the doctrine of sin is, it is not an easy topic to discuss in our day. … We do not like to think of ourselves as bad or evil persons. Yet the doctrine of sin teaches us that this is what we are by nature.” Alan Jacobs says, “…of all the religious teachings I know, none…generates as much hostility as the Christian doctrine we call ‘original sin.’”
Why are people often hostile toward this doctrine? Why do many of us, myself included, tend to dislike even talking about it? Because it offends us. It offends us because we like to be thought of as better than we are, and we even think more of ourselves than is warranted by our own lives. It is the biblical teaching about sin that is the offense of the Gospel. It is indeed where the Gospel starts!
If we want to understand ourselves, if we want to understand mankind, we must understand what sin is and why we are so prone to it. The Bible alone offers an explanation to the puzzle, the mystery of sin, that fits. In order to understand it, we will go where it all started as we explore Genesis 2:16-17; 3:1-8.