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COLUMN: Original sin was a simple act of disobedience
Ruffin on Religion

COLUMN: Original sin was a simple act of disobedience

Mike Ruffin

Mike Ruffin

“Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” (Genesis 3:4-5)

I once thought that Satan was not the source of all evil in this world. Just because people could be bad, ugly, mean-spirited, or whatever label you might want to attach to it, didn’t have to mean that the devil made them do it.

A lot of unbelievers do not associate evil with Satan, but a lot of Christians also fail to connect the evil we see in others with the devil. Isn’t it interesting that the confusion we experience about the real source of evil also comes from Satan himself? I think that’s what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, “For God is not the author of confusion.” (1 Corinthians 14:33)

Satan took the form of a serpent in early Genesis and convinced Eve that God really didn’t mean what he said about eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve believed him, Adam followed, and the rest is history. Sin was born.

There are many who believe the original sin was an act of sex. They will tell you that Eve seduced Adam to get her way, and they would have us believe that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was a symbol of sexual relations. In other words, Adam and Eve sinned by committing a sexual act.

The Bible does not support such a conclusion. In fact, Genesis tells us that God blessed Adam and Eve and instructed them to “be fruitful and multiply.” (Genesis 1:28) The forbidden fruit had nothing to with a sexual act.

There are many who claim that the original sin was knowledge. In one sense, Satan’s promises were true. Their eyes were opened, and they did know good and evil. But the original sin had nothing to do with knowledge. God wanted Adam and Eve to know what good was, and what the evil would be. But when Adam and Eve upset God’s apple cart, they discovered what evil was, and what good could have been.

The real key to the original sin is found in Romans. Paul tells us, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners.” (Romans 5:19) Adam and Eve’s decision to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil was a simple act of disobedience, the very same sin that we commit today. It’s our connection to the past and points out that sin is a trait, not a symptom.

Simple acts of disobedience have profound implications. The New Jerusalem Bible teaches that disobedience is an attack on God’s sovereignty. The knowledge of what is right and what is wrong is the power of man “deciding for himself what is good and what is evil and of acting accordingly, a claim to complete moral independence.”

We will continue to sin. That’s a promise from God. But God also promises, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)

The truth is that Jesus’ death on the cross allows us to trade our sins for his righteousness. It’s a trade that doesn’t cost us anything, which is why the Apostle Paul said, “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” (Romans 5:20)

Indeed, his grace is sufficient.

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