Me having a ‘sin nature’ might be responsible for all that is wrong in the world.
Increasingly, I find the idea that the ‘core of who I am is evil’ to be deeply problematic.
I know I need the intervention of divine love, but when I see myself as only born with a sin nature, my default understanding of original self is that I am marred, deficient, and incapable of giving or receiving love.
This concept that I am inherently outside of God’s love carries an unfathomable amount of baggage.
And it shapes my expectation of others — I remember joking with fellow students at Bible College at the birth of a number of sons in the mid 90s — that we were populating the planet with ‘little sinners’.
We all reflect on dumb things we’ve said or done in our 20s, but as I pause on that for moment, what an horrific expectation to set for my child— even in jest.
And I wonder how much of my parenting has been shaped by this assumption — that without other-worldly assistance, they are unable to exhibit anything good. Because they have a sin nature.
How different it might be if I recognize their human nature - capable of so much more than my expectations because they are already imprinted with the Divine.
I’m grateful that my eldest theologises for his own kids differently — don’t get me wrong they can be a pain for their parents (sometimes intentionally), but they are ‘human’ before they are ‘sinner’.
Human — reflections of the Divine — laughing contagiously, watching Bluey incessantly, and wreaking havoc in the recently tidied lounge room.
Born into humanity, with a capacity for immense good — and yes, also for immense evil.
‘Sinful nature’ corrals us toward judgment.
‘Human nature’ creates space for curiosity.
I wonder if God was not curious in the heartbreak of when humans first rejected his loving rule.
Asking after them.
Moving towards them (Gen 3:9).
Moving towards us even if we have distanced ourselves from him — because we are human in nature.
Worthy of pursuit, and in desperate need of rescue.
Sparking curiosity, even in the Divine.
“The stories we tell about ourselves matter, and if the primary story we tell is about ourselves is that, ever since the garden, our sin nature makes us incapable of doing good and unworthy of love and belonging, then we will live like people who are incapable of doing good and unworthy of love and belonging. If, on the other hand, the primary story we tell about ourselves is that we are God's good and beloved creation, made in the image of the divine and worthy of love no matter our sins and failures, then we will live into that reality and seek it out in one another.” (RHE - wholehearted faith - p85)