What we mean when we say sin messes up everything

Christians have always contended that sin messed up everything. But, what does that mean? What are we saying when we make such a sweeping statement?

Bonhoeffer turns his attention to the results of the fall of humanity. In short, Bonhoeffer has one word for what sin’s destructive power: Division. Sin has divided everything and instead of life being the unified existence it was supposed to be, sin has divided everything.

Sin divides man and woman. There is a claim of possession instead of a unified love. Man and woman no longer can stand in unified love because they now want to possess the other. Man and woman now keep secrets. They once lived in the innocence of nakedness but now they conceal. There once was innocence and open revelation toward each other but that disappears when sin enters the relationship. Sexuality, which is supposed to be the ultimate expression of unity, no longer serves that same function because it now contains elements of possession and lacks real revelation.

Sin divides man and God. Man runs from God because he can no longer stand before God. Adam doesn’t even know what to call what has happened to him. He only knows he needs to hide. He tells God, “I was naked and I hid myself.” What he was really saying was, “I am sinful and I cannot stand before you.” Even Adam’s confession of his rebellion is smothered in running away. He says, ‘It was the woman’s fault. The woman YOU gave me.’

Sin divides man and nature. Bonhoeffer says, “The work of man upon the cursed ground becomes the expression of the disunion of fallen man with nature; it is under the curse.”

Now, man must live a world of division. He can’t live with woman, God, and nature. But he cannot live without them either. Bonhoeffer sums it up this way, “At odds with God, with the other person and with nature, man cannot live, yet in this division…he cannot live without God, without the other person, or without nature.”

This is what we mean when we when we say sin messed up everything. It reached down and divided everything so that we do not live in unity with God, others, or nature. And these are the things we are constantly trying to get back to and yet can’t.

At least not yet.

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One Response to “What we mean when we say sin messes up everything”

  1. Meg K says:

    Not yet. That’s the key. 🙂

    Wes, my name is Megan King, but you knew me as Megan Bess from 1st Baptist in CC. Kim Swartwood found your blog (and your book) and pointed me to you.

    I just wanted to say hey and ask how you are. Feel free to email if you would like. Tell Jennifer and the girls Hello!

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