For one thing, I grew up in a tradition in which (like most others, I think) there was a long list of things not to do - sins. Yeah, I know the theology of "sin" vs. "sins," and I know the views of Old Testament vs. New Testament and even the ultimate Law of Love (and liberalism). Honestly, for the last year or so, I have leaned heavily toward the latter option, pretty much to the exclusion of all else.
But the last few days I've been thinking something different.
In the Genesis account of the fall of humanity, Adam and Eve had been warned that the day they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would surely die. ...But they didn't die that day. So...did God lie? Even if you believe Genesis is pretty much a collection of Hebrew myths, why would they portray God as having lied?
Sin is kind-of like Lay's potato chips:
The kids in the commercial speak the truth: "No one can eat just one." Yet they parade around and demonstrate the golden fried crisp goodness of the chips as if daring you to prove them wrong.
Just like the serpent in the garden. "You shall not surely die...."
But no one can eat just one apple.
It's not about the apple. It's about the cumulative effect of doing things my way instead of God's way.
Maybe the old folks weren't entirely wrong with their (many) lists of "don't"s. A can of beer never killed anyone [now everyone will be typing that into a search engine to see if I'm wrong lol! Don't worry, I probably will myself when I finish typing this!]. But the cumulative effects of alcoholism are inarguably destructive.
I've heard that most believable lies (including those of liberalism and legalism) usually stem from a nugget of truth.
But what about this for theodicy...
There is evil in the world.
Where does it come from?
The Bible says it comes from sin.
The cumulative effect.
The tricky part is figuring out how to walk the fine line between liberty and self-control, avoiding both recklessness and asceticism.
Lord, continue to teach me.