According to the book of Genesis, man was created in the image of God. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 This means that man’s nature is godly. Because our almighty God is a holy God, man is also expected to be blameless before Him. But how come sin became inevitable to human nature? Isn’t it that man by nature is greedy and self centered? Other than that, the New Testament says that all have fallen short to God’s standard. Does it mean that the bible contradict itself?
Meanwhile, western philosophers believe in the concept to tabula rasa. It’s a thesis that says that human beings are born without an inborn personality. Human personality is just a product of pile of experiences and is influenced by his surroundings. If a man doesn’t grow up in a good environment, it follows that his nature is not that good too. In other words, man was born as innocent creature without any sense of morality. We can say that being innocent is close to being blameless. Does it mean that the idea of tabula rasa supports the famous idea taken from Genesis?
When we look at the Christian concept of salvation, we can conclude that the Gospel presents a clear explanation regarding this long time debate. Although the bible gives a seemingly contradicting explanation regarding the nature of human beings, still it supports each other when view it from Christian perspective.
When we were born, we can’t deny the fact that we are innocent. Just like Adam and Eve, we don’t have any knowledge of sin. And as we look back on the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve became aware that they were naked when sin entered their life. Therefore we can conclude that our sinful nature starts when we lose our innocence.
As we grow old, our values are being by our family, community, church and media. Other than that, our personalities were shaped by our experiences. For those people who experienced rejection, they are more likely to develop pride and insecurities. It is also inevitable for them to hold grudges and bitterness. As we look at the bible, we can see that pride and bitterness are sin. Like pride and bitterness, greed is also a product of life experiences as well as family background and community involvement.
It means that sin is an inevitable part of life. As we grow old, they more we can acquire sin which is too far from having a godly nature. But the good news is that God made a way so that human can return to their blameless nature. He sent Jesus for us to be like his image again. Because of Jesus’ blood that was shed on the cross, we are forgiven of our sin and purified to become new creations. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 This idea of Christ’s way of salvation supports the concept of sanctification.
But sanctification is not a one time experience for Christians. They are experiencing a lifetime of sanctification as they grow in their relationship with Christ. If experiences can cause us to sin, our experiences can also be used by God to mold our characters. Our life is a preparation of our character, a way of sanctification until we meet Christ. It is the reason why the bible always compares Christ and church relationship with that of a groom and a bride.
The Bible League. The Devotional Study Bible. USA: Zondervan Corporation, 1987.