In a problem of Evil discussion (the problem of Evil is: where did Evil come from?) someone asked an interesting question. I wanted to talk through this question.
He asked: If Man was created perfectly (as God does all things so) and if Man was created as perfect (or innocent – that is, without sin) how could Evil be tempting?
The point is simple: Man was new; God created him. Man was presented with sin’s temptation; if sin was tempting then Man must have desired it – or desired Evil.
My initial thought was that temptation is spontaneous.
I may not want an ice cream sundae. However, after entering and smelling the ice cream parlor, something inside of me can begin to desire something that previously it did not.
I may not lust after a woman I have never met. However, after meeting the woman, something inside me can begin to desire or lust after something that previously it did not.
My point would be that we can be tempted to something we have never been tempted to before. And, ultimately, I would suggest even Evil in a pre-Fall state.
I suppose, it begs the question: why did God make us capable of the sin in the first place. That’s a significantly different question. I’m going to move past it for now.
Then I got a little “pushback”.
What if our nature is axiomatic (which means self-evidently true). I started to think – is it possible man’s sinful nature existed before the Fall (the first sin)? Is it our original design or because of the Fall?
I will not flesh this out sufficiently, I know that. But I will hint at a theology suggesting our sinful nature was introduced from the Fall – it was not a “preexisting condition”.
Before I do, I want to say that if God originally designed a sinful nature desiring us to resist it, he would not be logically responsible for sin – as long as he gave us the tools and freedom to resist it.
So, we go to man’s disqualification. We have fallen and we can’t get up. Since the first sin we have been disqualified to enter God’s perfect presence. One infraction has poisoned all our perfection.
This is a fantastic perspective, very different of most.
It is not our sin that disqualifies us. Yes we all have sinned. But even still, our sin is the result of our sinful nature. An alcoholic is not an alcoholic because he drinks. He is an alcoholic because he is an alcoholic. We are not sinners because we sin. We are sinners because we are sinners.
Our disqualification is fundamental to us. Our actions do not disqualify us – our very nature has disqualified us from the moment of conception (or whenever you believe life begins).
As a result, our actions cannot redeem us. Our nature must be unwound. We are capable of changing our behavior (behavior modification). But we cannot change who we are, or what we are.
If our sinful nature disqualifies us from the perfect presence of God, then it could not have existed before the Fall, because our pre-Fall status was “qualified” – the Fall was tragic.
We haven’t concluded much here. But, I know God was not taken by surprise by Man’s Fall. At least, I don’t think he was. If he wasn’t, then perhaps that alone is one of the hardest things to make sense of – at least, for me.