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Original sin

Ho Chi Minh city (formerly Saigon) Viet Nam. Credit: Colin Key/Flickr/Creative Commons

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) Viet Nam. Credit: Colin Key/Flickr/Creative Commons

Studies show that the average person lies about 100 times a day. As one writer tactfully noted, this was not talking about you specifically, but the average person.

In the study, published in the Journal of Basic and Applied Psychology, University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert Feldman recruited 121 pairs of men and women attending classes at the university to take part in the study.

They had no idea what it involved at this point. They were then brought together and asked to have conversations with the other participants. Most of them did not know each other.

They were unaware that the conversations were being recorded and researchers received the required permission after, before moving to the next stage. The students were then asked to view the video and to pick out the lies — from the most innocent to the most blatant.

They found that over 60% of the participants lied within the first ten minutes of their conversation and told an average of 2.92 lies.

They found men and women lied the same amount, but about different things. Women lied to make the person they were talking to feel better about themselves.

“That is a beautiful dress.”

“I love what you did with your hair.”

Men on the other hand lied to make themselves appear better. There was even one instance of a man claiming to be a member of a rock band, which he wasn’t.

One thing that came through about the study is that people across the board were stunned by how much they lied.

Feldman said, “people found themselves lying much more than they thought they had.”

This study hinted at the age-old problem that has plagued man for centuries — sin.

According to the Bible, in their act of of disobedience in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve changed the course of human existence.

In Romans 5:12, the apostle Paul says at that point sin and death entered the world and further explains in verse 13, that all who followed were born with this same evil condition and curse.

Theologians call this “original” sin.

This theme of man’s sin nature is repeated throughout the Old and New Testament:

  • “… for there is no man who does not sin.” (1 Kings 8:46 NASV)
  • “For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 NASV)
  • “For the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” (Genesis 8:21 NASV)

When we take a closer look at the circumstances that led up to Adam and Eve’s original sin, we gain some insight into the character of man’s sin nature. We also see that satanic lies were at the very core of the deception:

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?”

The woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’

“The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die!

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God knowing good and evil.”

First: it involved unbelief

When the serpent tempted Eve to eat of the tree, he sowed a seed of unbelief in God.

The serpent questioned God’s motives suggesting that the Lord was actually withholding something beneficial from her. In the process, Satan deposited a seed of doubt that God did not have man’s best interests at heart when He issued the commandment.

That lie still plagues humanity.

Second: it involved pride

Satan told Eve the day she ate of that tree, “you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Inherent in the lie was the idea that Eve could evolve into something higher — she could be equal to God. This God obsession in many ways is the final expression of our sin nature.

In Russia, a man known as the “chess board serial killer” was found guilty in October 2007 of murdering 48 people.

Alexander Pichushkin, an avid chess player, was trying to kill 64 people, one for each square on a chess board. He claimed to have killed 60 people before he was caught, but police only had evidence to charge him with 48 deaths.

His ploy often involved having people join him for a drink in honour of the recent passing of his dog.

But the day after his sentence came down, Pichushkin declared, “I was almost god” because he was deciding who lived and who died.

When the judge challenged him saying what he did was illegal, Pichushkin replied “I did not break any laws. I was above them.”

This potion of unbelief mixed with pride is the root of the powerful inclination towards disobedience and sin in the hearts of all men. From this point on man would be controlled by an innate desire to sin.

Where is man’s sin nature?

In an earlier article, I wrote about another study that showed within months of being born, babies were instinctively lying.

So where is our sin nature located?

At first glance, this may seem like a funny question. But, through the study of genetics, we are gaining insight into complexities of God’s creation.

Each person has two sets of chromosome — one set from their mother and another from their father. The chromosomes function as a container for our genetic material — DNA.

Each DNA strand which in humans is about 12 centimeters long contains our genes. The genes are the  basic instruction material or code which makes you, uniquely you. Our genes decide whether you will have red hair, blue eyes and how tall you will be, etc.

I believe we ultimately inherited contaminated DNA from Adam and Eve with sin embedded in the genetic code.

When we look at the New Testament, Paul talks about how our sin nature is embedded in our “flesh” — our physical body.

“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (Galatians 5:17 see also Galatians 5:24). He also describes our human form as the “body of sin” Romans 6:6.

Man’s sin nature is wrapped up in our DNA and this is why at the resurrection, God will give believers a new glorified body free from sin and death (Philippians 3:21, 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52).

But this sin infection of our genetic code not only caused spiritual contamination but physical as well. We know it brought death, but I believe our bodies are now susceptible to sickness and even disabilities, both physical and mental, because of it.


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