Trying to explain Sin

on October 24, 2016

Trying to explain sin to kids or non-Christians and quite often people in the church can be quite tricky.  It doesn’t sit well with our concept of self-esteem, our wanting to be a good person, we really don’t like to think of ourselves as sinful.   For most people I find when you say ‘sin’ they think of the extreme end of sin; sin meaning evil, murderers, scoundrels, thieves and anything above and beyond that.  Well of course nobody wants to think of oneself as being in that category, especially when thinking about us being born with sin.  How can a little baby so innocent be classed in such a category? They have done no wrong.


So for any explanation or understanding we need to go back to Adam and Eve.  What was it like in the garden with God? Well from what I can gather pretty good, they wanted for nothing, water sprang up from the ground for them to drink, all the fruit and veg they could eat was provided ( they definitely got their five a day) all they had to do was go and pick it, tend it and guard it.  We can assume the weather was pretty good as there was no need for clothes, it sounds idyllic and man was good. Until it all went horribly wrong.  So what did go wrong?

God had only one rule ‘do not eat from the tree of knowledge the knowledge of good and bad if you do you will die the same day’.

The snake:

Some people like to blame what we commonly think of as the snake. He came and tempted Eve. He lied to her and tricked her in to eating the fruit from the tree.  Saying ‘did God really tell you not to eat the fruit from any tree in the garden? We may eat the fruit from any tree in the garden’ Eve answered ‘except the fruit in the middle of it. God told us not to eat the fruit  or even touch it if we do we will die’  The snake replied (and here’s the lie) That’s not true, you will not die. God said that because he knows that when you eat it you will be like God and know what is good and what is bad.’

The seed of doubt was sown, the doubt that God was telling the truth.


Some people like to blame God,  If he hadn’t put the tree in the garden in temptations way no one could have eaten it.  As I see it God trusted us, but did we trust Him?


Eve, the poor woman who has shouldered the blame throughout history. … and yep she ate it all right.  ‘So when woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes and the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of it’s fruit and ate and also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate.’   Her husband who was with her and he ate it too.  So  Adam was with her he heard the same thing from the snake, Eve didn’t tell him about the fruit he was there, don’t miss that bit…. and they both ate.  So man and woman equally responsible.

So what was the first sin?  Where did it all go horribly wrong.  Before all this the tree had been in the garden untouched by human hand, we trusted what God said to be true and God trusted us.  Before all this we wanted what God wanted, and I would imagine there was only “thank you God for all the wonderful things you provide for us because you love us so very much, we want for nothing”.

So where did sin begin? I think it started with the word ‘I’…. and then was quickly followed by ‘I want’….  ‘I want to be like God’ was what was going through those first humans minds, I want that fruit. I want that knowledge. We went in an instant from what God wants to what we want.

So what is sin?  Contrary to the belief of many sin is not just the extreme end of what we would describe as evil.  It starts with ‘I’.  A small word of one letter a tiny seed planted, that grows with our ‘wants’ and selfishness is born.  When we think of sin in this way it is much easier to see why God cannot bear to look at it, even the tiniest amount.  We can also see how even a little tiny baby has sin instinctively in them.  In fact now we have been thrown out of the garden on our own we cannot survive without ‘I want’. Selfishness dictates survival, if we insist on surviving alone. It’s much easier to see how our small seed of selfishness has created the times we live in; where half the world is starving and homeless and the other is sat hoarding its ‘wants’ in a huge pile.  Sin is much easier to see when we look around and see the consequences our selfishness.

But all is not lost.  God has given us a way back through Jesus his Son.  His two commands to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength and all your mind’, make God’s ‘wants’, your ‘wants’ and  ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’,  make your ‘wants’, what your neighbour needs; I myself would not want to be hungry, so feed them,  I myself would not want to be lonely, so give them friendship etc.  See how Jesus is teaching us to turn things around?

When asked what do I have to do to follow you, the reply was, give up everything and follow me, (all your ‘wants’).  Make your ‘wants’…… Gods ‘wants’.  It is an offer to get back to the Garden to be with God, back to where we wanted for nothing because he can provide everything we need anytime, anyplace, anywhere, if we trust Him; and so we go full circle back to where we belong, back to God.

God gave us free will to get back to him, we have to want to.  We have to see the treasure in the field and go and sell everything to get it…… because we want to.  God Loves us so much he sent his Son to die for us to make a way back if…….. we want it.     That, my friends,  is the  GOOD NEWS!

Quotes from: The Good News Bible and the English Standard Version

One response to “Trying to explain Sin

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