|sin ((chaTTa'th) a missing, 'awon, perversity, pesha', transgression, ra', evil)
RELATED: Adam, Adultery, Eve, Fornication, Jesus, Law, Sacrifice, Ten Commandments
Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1) is "any want of conformity unto or transgression
of the law of God" ( 1 John 3:4 ; Romans 4:15 ), in the inward state and habit
of the soul, as well as in the outward conduct of the life, whether by omission
or commission ( Romans 6:12 - 17 ; 7:5 - 24 ). It is "not a mere violation of
the law of our constitution, nor of the system of things, but an offence against
a personal lawgiver and moral governor who vindicates his law with penalties.
The soul that sins is always conscious that his sin is (1) intrinsically vile
and polluting, and (2) that it justly deserves punishment, and calls down the
righteous wrath of God. Hence sin carries with it two inalienable characters,
(1) ill-desert, guilt (reatus); and (2) pollution (macula).", Hodge's Outlines.
The moral character of a man's actions is determined by the moral state of his
heart. The disposition to sin, or the habit of the soul that leads to the sinful
act, is itself also sin ( Romans 6:12-17 ; Galatians 5:17 ; James 1:14 , 1:15
The origin of sin is a mystery, and must for ever remain such to us. It is plain
that for some reason God has permitted sin to enter this world, and that is all
we know. His permitting it, however, in no way makes God the author of sin.
Adam's sin ( Genesis 3:1 - 6 ) consisted in his yielding to the assaults of temptation
and eating the forbidden fruit. It involved in it, (1) the sin of unbelief, virtually
making God a liar; and (2) the guilt of disobedience to a positive command. By
this sin he became an apostate from God, a rebel in arms against his Creator.
He lost the favour of God and communion with him; his whole nature became depraved,
and he incurred the penalty involved in the covenant of works.
Original sin. "Our first parents being the root of all mankind, the guilt of their
sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature were conveyed
to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation." Adam was
constituted by God the federal head and representative of all his posterity, as
he was also their natural head, and therefore when he fell they fell with him
( Romans 5:12 - 21 ; 1 Corinthians 15:22 - 45 ). His probation was their probation,
and his fall their fall. Because of Adam's first sin all his posterity came into
the world in a state of sin and condemnation, i.e., (1) a state of moral corruption,
and (2) of guilt, as having judicially imputed to them the guilt of Adam's first
"Original sin" is frequently and properly used to denote only the moral corruption
of their whole nature inherited by all men from Adam. This inherited moral corruption
consists in, (1) the loss of original righteousness; and (2) the presence of a
constant proneness to evil, which is the root and origin of all actual sin. It
is called "sin" ( Romans 6:12 , 6:14 , 6:17 ; 7:5 - 17 ), the "flesh" ( Galatians
5:17 , 5:24 ), "lust" ( James 1:14 , 1:15 ), the "body of sin" ( Romans 6:6 ),
"ignorance," "blindness of heart," "alienation from the life of God" ( Ephesians
4:18 , 4:19 ). It influences and depraves the whole man, and its tendency is still
downward to deeper and deeper corruption, there remaining no recuperative element
in the soul. It is a total depravity, and it is also universally inherited by
all the natural descendants of Adam ( Romans 3:10 - 23 ; 5:12 - 21 ; 8:7 ). Pelagians
deny original sin, and regard man as by nature morally and spiritually well; semi-Pelagians
regard him as morally sick; Augustinians, or, as they are also called, Calvinists,
regard man as described above, spiritually dead ( Ephesians 2:1 ; 1 John 3:14
The doctrine of original sin is proved,
| 1. From the fact of the universal sinfulness of men. "There is no man that
sinneth not" ( 1 Kings 8:46 ; Isaiah 53:6 ; Psalms 130:3 ; Romans 3:19 , 3:22
, 3:23 ; Galatians 3:22 ).
2. From the total depravity of man. All men are declared to be destitute of any
principle of spiritual life; man's apostasy from God is total and complete ( Job
15:14 - 16 ; Genesis 6:5 , 6:6 ).
3. From its early manifestation ( Psalms 58:3 ; Proverbs 22:15 ). It is proved
also from the necessity, absolutely and universally, of regeneration ( John 3:3
; 2 Corinthians 5:17 ).
4. From the universality of death ( Romans 5:12 - 20 ).
Various kinds of sin are mentioned,
| 1. "Presumptuous sins," or as literally rendered, "sins with an uplifted
hand", i.e., defiant acts of sin, in contrast with "errors" or "inadvertencies"
( Psalms 19:13 ).
2. "Secret", i.e., hidden sins ( Psalms 19:12 ); sins which escape the notice
of the soul.
3. "Sin against the Holy Ghost" (q.v.), or a "sin unto death" ( Matthew 12:31
, 12:32 ; 1 John 5:16 ), which amounts to a wilful rejection of grace.
(2) Sin, a city in Egypt, called by the Greeks Pelusium, which means, as does
also the Hebrew name, "clayey" or "muddy," so called from the abundance of clay
found there. It is called by Ezekel ( Ezekiel 30:15 ) "the strength of Egypt,
"thus denoting its importance as a fortified city. It has been identified with
the modern Tineh, "a miry place," where its ruins are to be found. Of its boasted
magnificence only four red granite columns remain, and some few fragments of others.
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
A city of Egypt, mentioned only by Ezekiel. ( Ezekiel
30:15 , 30:16 ) The name is Hebrew, or at least Semitic, perhaps signifying clay
. It is identified in the Vulgate with Pelusium, "the clayey or muddy" town. Its
antiquity may perhaps be inferred from the mention of "the wilderness of Sin"
in the journeys of the Israelites. ( Exodus 16:1 ; Numbers 33:11 ) Ezekiel speaks
of Sin as "Sin the strongholds of Egypt." ( Ezekiel 30:15 ) This place was held
by Egypt from that time until the period of the Romans. Herodotus relates that
Sennacherib advanced against Pelusium, and that near Pelusium Cambyses defeated
Psammenitus. In like manner the decisive battle in which Ochus defeated the last
native king, Nectanebes, was fought near this city.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) (chaTTa'th, "a missing," 'awon, "perversity" pesha', "transgression," ra', "evil," etc.;
hamartano, "miss the mark," parabasis, "transgression" with a suggestion of violence,
adikia, "injustice," "unrighteousness"):
1. Sin as Disobedience:
A fairly exact definition of sin based on Biblical data would be that sin is the
transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4). Ordinarily, sin is defined simply
as "the transgression of the law," but the idea of God is so completely the essential
conception of the entire Biblical revelation that we can best define sin as disobedience
to the law of God. It will be seen that primarily sin is an act, but from the
very beginning it has been known that acts have effects, not only in the outward
world of things and persons, but also upon him who commits the act.
2. Affects the Inner Life:
Hence, we find throughout the Scriptures a growing emphasis on the idea of the
sinful act as not only a fact in itself, but also as a revelation of an evil disposition
on the part of him who commits the act (Genesis 6:5).
3. Involves All Men:
Then also there is the further idea that deeds which so profoundly affect the
inner life of an individual in some way have an effect in transmitting evil tendencies
to the descendants of a sinful individual (Psalms 51:5 , 6 ; Ephesians 2:3). See
HEREDITY; TRADITION. Hence, we reach shortly the conception, not only that sin
is profoundly inner in its consequences, but that its effects reach outward also
to an extent which practically involves the race. Around these various items of
doctrine differing systems of theology have sprung up.
4. The Story of the Fall:
Students of all schools are agreed that we have in the Old Testament story of
the fall of Adam an eternally true account of the way sin comes into the world
(Genesis 3:1 - 6). The question is not so much as to the literal historic matter-of-factness
of the narrative, as to its essentially psychological truthfulness. The essential
thought of the narrative is that both Adam and Eve disobeyed an express command
of God. The seductiveness of temptation is nowhere more forcefully stated than
in this narrative. The fruit of the tree is pleasant to look upon; it is good
to eat; it is to be desired to make one wise; moreover, the tempter moves upon
the woman by the method of the half truth (see ADAM IN THE OLD TESTAMENT). God
had said that disobedience to the command would bring death; the tempter urged
that disobedience would not bring death, implying that the command of God had
meant that death would immediately follow the eating of the forbidden fruit. In
the story the various avenues of approach of sin to the human heart are graphically
suggested, but after the seductiveness of evil has thus been set forth, the fact
remains that both transgressors knew they were transgressing (Genesis 3:2). Of
course, the story is told in simple, naive fashion, but its perennial spiritual
truth is at once apparent. There has been much progress in religious thinking
concerning sin during the Christian ages, but the progress has not been away from
this central conception of willful disobedience to the law of God.
5. The Freedom of Man:
In this early Biblical account there is implicit the thought of the freedom of
man. The idea of transgression has sometimes been interpreted in such wise as
to do away with this freedom. An unbiased reading of the Scriptures would, with
the possible exception of some passages which designedly lay stress on the power
of God (Romans 8:29 , 30), produce on the mind the impression that freedom is
essential to sin. Certainly there is nothing in the account of the Old Testament
or New Testament narratives to warrant the conception that men are born into sin
by forces over which they have no control. The argument of the tempter with the
woman is an argument aimed at her will. By easy steps, indeed, she moves toward
the transgression, but the transgression is a transgression and nothing else.
Of course, the evil deed is at once followed by attempts on the part of the transgressors
to explain themselves, but the futility of the explanations is part of the point
of the narrative. In all discussion of the problem of freedom as relating to sin,
we must remember that the Biblical revelation is from first to last busy with
the thought of the righteousness and justice and love of God (Genesis 6:9 tells
us that because of justice or righteousness, Noah walked with God). Unless we
accept the doctrine that God is Himself not free, a doctrine which is nowhere
implied in the Scripture, we must insist that the condemnation of men as sinful,
when they have not had freedom to be otherwise than sinful, is out of harmony
with the Biblical revelation of the character of God. Of course this does not
mean that a man is free in all things. Freedom is limited in various ways, but
we must retain enough of freedom in our thought of the constitution of men to
make possible our holding fast to the Biblical idea of sin as transgression. Some
who take the Biblical narrative as literal historical fact maintain that all men
sinned in Adam (see IMPUTATION, III, 1). Adam may have been free to sin or not
to sin, but, "in his fall we sinned all." We shall mention the hereditary influences
of sin in a later paragraph; here it is sufficient to say that even if the first
man had not sinned, there is nothing in our thought of the nature of man to make
it impossible to believe that the sinful course of human history could have been
initiated by some descendant of the first man far down the line.
6. A Transgression against Light:
The progress of the Biblical teaching concerning sin also would seem to imply
that the transgression of the law must be a transgression committed against the
light (Acts 17:30 ; 1 Timothy 1:13). To be sinful in any full sense of the word,
a man must know that the course which he is adopting is an evil course. This does
not necessarily mean a full realization of the evil of the course. It is a fact,
both of Biblical revelation and of revelation of all times, that men who commit
sin do not realize the full evil of their deeds until after the sin has been committed
(2 Samuel 12:1 - 13). This is partly because the consequences of sin do not declare
themselves until after the deed has been committed; partly also because of the
remorse of the conscience; and partly from the humiliation at being discovered;
but in some sense there must be a realization of the evil of a course to make
the adoption of the course sinful. E.g. in estimating the moral worth of Biblical
characters, especially those of earlier times, we must keep in mind the standards
of the times in which they lived. These standards were partly set by the customs
of the social group, but the customs were, in many cases, made sacred by the claim
of divine sanction. Hence, we find Biblical characters giving themselves readily
to polygamy and warfare. The Scriptures themselves, however, throw light upon
this problem. They refer to early times as times of ignorance, an ignorance which
God Himself was willing to overlook (Acts 17:30). Even so ripe a moral consciousness
as that of Paul felt that there was ground for forgiveness toward a course which
he himself later considered evil, because in that earlier course he had acted
ignorantly (Acts 26:9 ; 1 Timothy 1:13).
7. Inwardness of the Moral Law:
The Biblical narratives, too, show us the passage over from sin conceived of as
the violation of external commands to sin conceived of as an unwillingness to
keep the commandments in the depths of the inner life. The course of Biblical
history is one long protest against conceiving of sin in an external fashion.
In the sources of light which are to help men discern good from evil, increasing
stress is laid upon inner moral insight (compare Isaiah 58:5 ; Hosea 6:1 - 7).
The power of the prophets was in their direct moral insight and the fervor with
which they made these insights real to the mass of the people. Of course it was
necessary that the spirit of the prophets be given body and form in carefully
articulated law. The progress of the Hebrews from the insight of the seer to the
statute of the lawmaker was not different from such progress in any other nations.
It is easy to see, however, how the hardening of moral precepts into formal codes,
absolutely necessary as that task was, led to an externalizing of the thought
of sin. The man who did not keep the formal law was a sinner. On such basis there
grew up the artificial systems which came to their culmination in the New Testament
times in Pharisaism. On the other hand, a fresh insight by a new prophet might
be in violation of the Law, considered in its literal aspects. It might be necessary
for a prophet to attack outright some additions to the Law. We regard as a high-water
mark of Old Testament moral utterances the word of Micah that the Lord requires
men to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8). At
the time this word was uttered, the people were giving themselves up to multitudes
of sacrifices. Many of these sacrifices called for the heaviest sufferings on
the part of the worshippers. It would seem that an obligation to sacrifice the
firstborn was beginning to be taught in order that the Hebrews might not be behind
the neighboring heathen nations in observances of religious codes. The simple
direct word of Micah must have seemed heresy to many of its first hearers. The
outcome, however, of this conflict between the inner and the outer in the thought
of transgression was finally to deepen the springs of the inner life. The extremes
of externalism led to a break with moral realities which tended to become apparent
to the most ordinary observer. The invective of Jesus against New Testament Pharisaism
took its force largely from the fact that Jesus gave clear utterance to what everyone
knew. Those who thought of religion as external gave themselves to formal keeping
of the commandments and allowed the inner life to run riot as it would (Matthew
23:23, et al.).
With the more serious-minded the keeping of the Law became more and more a matter
of the inner spirit. There were some who, like Paul, found it impossible to keep
the Law and find peace of conscience (Romans 7). It was this very impossibility
which forced some, like Paul, to understand that after all, sin or righteousness
must be judged by the inner disposition. It was this which led to the search for
a conception of a God who looks chiefly at the heart and judges men by the inner
In the teaching of Jesus the emphasis upon the inner spirit as the essential factor
in the moral life came to its climax. Jesus honored the Law, but He pushed the
keeping of the Law back from the mere performance of externals to the inner stirrings
of motives. It is not merely the actual commission of adultery, for example, that
is sin: it is the lustful desire which leads to the evil glance; it is not merely
the actual killing of the man that is murder; it is the spirit of hatred which
makes the thought of murder welcome (Matthew 5:21 , 27). Paul caught the spirit
of Jesus and carried the thought of Jesus out into more elaborate and formal statements.
There is a law of the inner life with which man should bind himself, and this
law is the law of Christ's life itself (Romans 8:1 - 4). While both Jesus and
Paul recognized the place of the formal codes in the moral life of individuals
and societies, they wrought a great service for righteousness in setting on high
the obligations upon the inner spirit. The follower of Christ is to guard the
inmost thoughts of his heart. The commandments are not always precepts which can
be given articulated statement; they are rather instincts and intuitions and glimpses
which must be followed, even when we cannot give them full statement.
8. Sin a Positive Force:
From this standpoint we are able to discern something of the force of the Biblical
teaching as to whether sin is to be looked upon as negative or positive. Very
often sin is defined as the mere absence of goodness. The man who sins is one
who does not keep the Law. This, however, is hardly the full Biblical conception.
Of course, the man who does not keep the Law is regarded as a sinner, but the
idea transgression is very often that of a positive refusal to keep the commandment
and a breaking of the commandment. Two courses are set before men, one good, the
other evil. The evil course is, in a sense, something positive in itself. The
evil man does not stand still; he moves as truly as the good man moves; he becomes
a positive force for evil. In all our discussions we must keep clearly in mind
the truth that evil is not something existing in and by itself. The Scriptures
deal with evil men, and the evil men are as positive as their natures permit them
to be. In this sense of the word sin does run a course of positive destruction.
In the thought, e.g., of the writer who describes the conditions which, in his
belief, made necessary the Flood, we have a positive state of evil contaminating
almost the whole world (Genesis 6:11). It would be absurd to characterize the
world in the midst of which Noah lived as merely a negative world. The world was
positively set toward evil. And so, in later writings, Paul's thought of Roman
society is of a world of sinful men moving with increasing velocity toward the
destruction of themselves and of all around them through doing evil. It is impossible
to believe that Romans 1 conceives of sin merely in negative terms. We repeat,
we do not do full justice to the Biblical conception when we speak of sin merely
in negative terms. If we may be permitted to use a present-day illustration, we
may say that in the Biblical thought sinful men are like the destructive forces
in the world of Nature which must be removed before there can be peace and health
for human life. For example, science today has much to say concerning germs of
diseases which prove destructive to human life. A large part of modern scientific
effort has been to rid the world of these germs, or at least to cleanse human
surroundings from their contaminating touch. The man who sterilizes the human
environment so that these forces cannot touch men does in one sense a merely negative
work; in another sense, however, his work makes possible the positive development
of the forces which make for health.
It is from this thought of the positiveness of sin that we are to approach the
problem of the hereditary transmission of evil. The Biblical teaching has often
been misinterpreted at this point. Apart from certain passages, especially those
of Paul, which set forth the practically universal contamination of sin (e.g.
Romans 5:18, etc.), there is nothing in the Scriptures to suggest the idea that
men are born into the world under a weight of guilt. We hold fast to the idea
of God as a God of justice and love. There is no way of reconciling these attributes
with the condemnation of human souls before these souls have themselves transgressed.
Of course much theological teaching moves on the assumption that the tendencies
to evil are so great that the souls will necessarily trangress, but we must keep
clearly in mind the difference between a tendency to evil and the actual commission
of evil. Modern scientific research reinforces the conception that the children
of sinful parents, whose sins have been such as to impress their lives throughout,
will very soon manifest symptoms of evil tendency. Even in this case, however,
we must distinguish between the psychological and moral. The child may be given
a wrong tendency from birth, not only by hereditary transmission, but by the imitation
of sinful parents; yet the question of the child's own personal responsibility
is altogether another matter. Modern society has come to recognize something of
the force of this distinction. In dealing with extreme cases of this kind, the
question of the personal guilt of the child is not raised. The attempt is to throw
round about the child an environment that will correct the abnormal tendency.
But there can be little gainsaying the fact that the presence of sin in the life
of the parent may go as far as to mark the life of the child with the sinful tendency.
The positive force of sinful life also appears in the effect of sin upon the environment
of men. It is not necessary for us to believe that all the physical universe was
cursed by the Almighty because of man's sin, in order to hold that there is a
curse upon the world because of the presence of sinful men. Men have sinfully
despoiled the world for their own selfish purposes. They have wasted its resources.
They have turned forces which ought to have made for good into the channels of
evil. In their contacts with one another also, evil men furnish an evil environment.
If the employer of 100 men be himself evil, he is to a great extent the evil environment
of those 100 men. The curse of his evil is upon them. So with the relations of
men in larger social groups: the forces of state-life which are intended to work
for good can be made to work for evil. So far has this gone that some earnest
minds have thought of the material and social realms as necessarily and inherently
evil. In other days this led to retreats from the world in monasteries and in
solitary cells. In our present time the same thought is back of much of the pessimist
idea that the world itself is like a sinking ship, absolutely doomed. The most
we can hope for is to save individuals here and there from imminent destruction.
Yet a more Biblical conception keeps clear of all this. The material forces of
the world--apart from certain massive physical necessities (e.g. earthquakes,
storms, floods, whirlwinds, fires, etc.), whose presence does more to furnish
the conditions of moral growth than to discourage that growth--are what men cause
them to be. Social forces are nothing apart from the men who are themselves the
forces. No one can deny that evil men can use physical forces for evil purposes,
and that evil men can make bad social forces, but both these forces can be used
for good as well as for evil. "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain"
waiting for the redemption at the hands of the sons of God (Romans 8:19 - 23).
In the thought of Jesus, righteousness is life. Jesus came that men might have
life (John 10:10). It must follow therefore that in His thought sin is death,
or rather it is the positive course of transgression which makes toward death
(John 5:24). But man is to cease to do evil and to learn to do well. He is to
face about and walk in a different direction; he is to be born from above (John
3:3), and surrender himself to the forces which beat upon him from above rather
than to those which surge upon him from below (Romans 12:2). From the realization
of the positiveness both of sin and of righteousness, we see the need of a positive
force which is to bring men from sin to righteousness (John 3:3 - 8).
Of course, in what we have said of the positive nature of sin we would not deny
that there are multitudes of men whose evil consists in their passive acquiescence
in a low moral state. Multitudes of men may not be lost, in the sense that they
are breaking the more obvious of the commandments. They are lost, in the sense
that they are drifting about, or that they are existing in a condition of inertness
with no great interest in high spiritual ideals. But the problem even here is
to find a force strong enough and positive enough to bring such persons to themselves
and to God. In any case the Scriptures lay stress upon the seriousness of the
problem constituted by sin. The Bible is centered on redemption. Redemption from
sin is thought of as carrying with it redemption from all other calamities. If
the kingdom of God and of His righteousness can be seized, all other things will
follow with the seizure (Matthew 6:33). The work of Christ is set before us as
chiefly a work of redemption from sin. A keen student once observed that almost
all failures to take an adequate view of the person of Christ can be traced to
a failure to realize adequately the seriousness of sin. The problem of changing
the course of something so positive as a life set toward sin is a problem which
may well tax the resources of the Almighty. Lives cannot be transformed merely
by precept. The only effective force is the force of a divine life which will
reach and save human lives.
12. Life in Christ:
We are thus in a position to see something of the positiveness of the life that
must be in Christ if He is to be a Saviour from sin. That positiveness must be
powerful enough to make men feel that in some real sense God Himself has come
to their rescue (Romans 8:32 - 39). For the problem of salvation from sin is manifold.
Sin long persisted in begets evil habits, and the habits must be broken. Sin lays
the conscience under a load of distress, for which the only relief is a sense
of forgiveness. Sin blights and paralyzes the faculties to such a degree that
only the mightiest of tonic forces can bring back health and strength. And the
problem is often more serious than this. The presence of evil in the world is
so serious in the sight of a Holy God that He Himself, because of His very holiness,
must be under stupendous obligation to aid us to the utmost for the redemption
of men. Out of the thought of the disturbance which sin makes even in the heart
of God, we see something of the reason for the doctrine that in the cross of Christ
God was discharging a debt to Himself and to the whole world; for the insistence
also that in the cross there is opened up a fountain of life, which, if accepted
by sinful men, will heal and restore them.
It is with this seriousness of sin before us that we must think of forgiveness
from sin. We can understand very readily that sin can be forgiven only on condition
that men seek forgiveness in the name of the highest manifestation of holiness
which they have known. For those who have heard the preaching of the cross and
have seen something of the real meaning of that preaching, the way to forgiveness
is in the name of the cross. In the name of a holiness which men would make their
own, if they could; in the name of an ideal of holy love which men of themselves
cannot reach, but which they forever strive after, they seek forgiveness. But
the forgiveness is to be taken seriously. In both the Old Testament and New Testament
repentance is not merely a changed attitude of mind. It is an attitude which shows
its sincerity by willingness to do everything possible to undo the evil which
the sinner has wrought (Luke 19:8). If there is any consequence of the sinner's
own sin which the sinner can himself make right, the sinner must in himself genuinely
repent and make that consequence right. In one sense repentance is not altogether
something done once for all. The seductiveness of sin is so great that there is
need of humble and continuous watching. While anything like a morbid introspection
is unscriptural, constant alertness to keep to the straight and narrow path is
everywhere enjoined as an obligation (Galatians 6:1).
There is nothing in the Scriptures which will warrant the idea that forgiveness
is to be conceived of in such fashion as would teach that the consequences of
sin can be easily and quickly eliminated. Change in the attitude of a sinner necessarily
means change in the attitude of God. The sinner and God, however, are persons,
and the Scriptures always speak of the problem of sin after a completely personal
fashion. The changed attitude affects the personal standing of the sinner in the
sight of God. But God is the person who creates and carries on a moral universe.
In carrying on that universe He must keep moral considerations in their proper
place as the constitutional principles of the universe. While the father welcomes
back the prodigal to the restored personal relations with himself, he cannot,
in the full sense, blot out the fact that the prodigal has been a prodigal. The
personal forgiveness may be complete, but the elimination of the consequences
of the evil life is possible only through the long lines of healing set at work.
The man who has sinned against his body can find restoration from the consequences
of the sin only in the forces which make for bodily healing. So also with the
mind and will. The mind which has thought evil must be cured of its tendency to
think evil. To be sure the curative processes may come almost instantly through
the upheaval of a great experience, but on the other hand, the curative processes
may have to work through long years (see SANCTIFICATION). The will which has been
given to sin may feel the stirrings of sin after the life of forgiveness has begun.
All this is a manifestation, not only of the power of sin, but of the constitutional
morality of the universe. Forgiveness must not be interpreted in such terms as
to make the transgression of the Law of God in any sense a light or trivial offense.
But, on the other hand, we must not set limits to the curative powers of the cross
of God. With the removal of the power which makes for evil the possibility of
development in real human experience is before the life (see FORGIVENESS). The
word of the Master is that He "came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly"
(John 10:10). Sin is serious, because it thwarts life. Sin is given so large a
place in the thought of the Biblical writers simply because it blocks the channel
of that movement toward the fullest life which the Scriptures teach is the aim
of God in placing men in the world. God is conceived of as the Father in Heaven.
Sin has a deeply disturbing effect in restraining the relations between the Father
and the sons and of preventing the proper development of the life of the sons.
See further ETHICS, I, 3, (2); ETHICS OF JESUS, I, 2; GUILT; JOHANNINE THEOLOGY,
V, 1; PAUL, THE APOSTLE; PAULINE THEOLOGY; REDEMPTION, etc.
Tennant, Origin and Propagation of Sin; Hyde, Sin and Its Forgiveness; chapter
on "Incarnation and Atonement" in Bowne's Studies in Christianity; Stevens, Christian
Doctrine of Salvation; Clarke, Christian Doctrine of God; various treatises on
Francis J. McConnell
(2) sin (cin, "clay or mud"; Suene, Codex Alexandrinus Tanis):
A city of Egypt mentioned only in Ezekiel 30:15 , 16. This seems to be a pure
Semitic name. The ancient Egyptian name, if the place ever had one such, is unknown.
Pelusium (Greek Pelousion) also meant "the clayey or muddy town." The Pelusiac
mouth of the Nile was "the muddy mouth," and the modern Arabic name of this mouth
has the same significance. These facts make it practically certain that the Vulgate
(Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) is correct in identifying Sin with Pelusium.
But although Pelusium appears very frequently in ancient history, its exact location
is still not entirely certain. The list of cities mentioned in Eze in connection
with Sin furnishes no clue to its location. From other historical notices it seems
to have been a frontier city. Rameses II built a wall from Sin to Heliopolis,
probably by the aid of Hebrew slaves (Diodorus Siculus; compare Budge, History
of Egypt, V, 90), to protect the eastern frontier. Sin was a meeting-place of
Egypt with her enemies who came to attack her, many great battles being fought
at or near this place. Sennacherib and Cambyses both fought Egypt near Pelusium
(Herodotus ii.141; iii.10-13).
Antiochus IV defeated the Egyptians here (Budge, VIII, 25), and the Romans under
Gabinius defeated the Egyptians in the same neighborhood. Pelusium was also accessible
from the sea, or was very near a seaport, for Pompey after the disaster at Pharsalia
fled into Egypt, sailing for Pelusium. These historical notices of Pelusium make
its usual identification with the ruins near el-Kantara, a station on the Suez
Canal 29 miles South of Port Said, most probable. "Sin, the stronghold of Egypt,"
in the words of Ezekiel (30:15), would thus refer to its inaccessibility because
of swamps which served as impassable moats. The wall on the South and the sea
on the North also protected it on either flank.
M. G. Kyle
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