Viewed as chatha', "coming short of our true end," the glory of God (Romans 3:23), literally, "missing the mark"; Greek hamartanoo. 'awen, "vanity," "nothingness"; after all the scheming and labour bestowed on sin nothing comes of it. "Clouds without water" (Judges 1:12; Proverbs 22:8; Jeremiah 2:5; Romans 8:20). Pesha' "rebellion", namely, against God as our rightful king. Rasha' "wickedness," related to rash "restlessness"; out of God all must be unrest (Isaiah 57:20-21); "wandering stars" (Judges 1:13). Maal, "shuffling violation of duty," "prevarication" (1 Chronicles 10:13). 'aashaam, "guilt," incurring punishment and needing atonement, Ra, "ill," "ruin," the same word for "badness" and "calamity" literally, breaking in pieces. Awal, "evil," "perversity."
Amal, "travail"; sin is weary work (Habakkuk 2:13). Avah, "crookedness," "wrong," a distortion of our nature, disturbing our moral balance. Shagah, "error." abar, "transgression through anger"; "sin is the transgression of the law," i.e. God's will (1 John 3:4). Sin is a degeneracy from original good, not an original existence, creation, or generation; not by the Creator's action, but by the creature's defection (Ecclesiastes 7:29). As God is love, holiness is resemblance to Him, love to Him and His creatures, and conformity to His will. Selfishness is the root of sin, it sets up self and self will instead of God and God's will. The origination of man's sin was not of himself, but from Satan's deceit; otherwise man's sin would be devilish and ineradicable. But as it is we may be delivered. This is the foundation of our redemption by Christ. (See REDEMPTION; SAVIOUR; ATONEMENT.)
Original sin is as an hereditary disease, descending from the first transgressor downward (Psalm 51:5). National sins are punished in this world, as nations have no life beyond the grave (Proverbs 14:34). The punishment of the individual's sins are remedial, disciplinary, and deterrent in this world; and judicially retributive in the world to come. (On eternal punishment, see HELL.) The Greek aionios represents the Hebrew olam and ad; olam, "hidden", "unlimited duration"; ad, applied to God's "eternity" and "the future duration" of the good and destruction of the wicked (Psalm 9:5; Psalm 83:17; Psalm 92:7). The objections are:
1. That, the length of punishment is out of all proportion with the time of sin. But the duration of sin is no criterion of the duration of punishment: a fire burns in a few minutes records thereby lost for ever; a murder committed in a minute entails cutting off from life for ever; one act of rebellion entails perpetual banishment from the king.
2. That the sinner's eternal punishment would be Satan's eternal triumph. But Satan has had his triumph in bringing sin and death into the world; his sharing the sinner's eternal punishment will be the reverse of a triumph; the abiding punishment of the lost will be a standing witness of God's holy hatred of sin, and a preservative against any future rebellion.
3. That the eternity of punishment involves the eternity of sin. But this, if true, would be no more inconsistent with God's character than His permission of it for a time; but probably, as the saved will be delivered from the possibility of sinning by being raised above the sphere of evil, so the lost will be incapable of sinning any more in the sense of a moral or immoral choice by sinking below the sphere of good.
4. That eternal vengeance is inconsistent with God's gospel revelation of Himself as love. But the New Testament abounds in statements of judicial vengeance being exercised by God (Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30; 1 Thessalonians 4:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:8).
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