“The structure of sin in the human personality is something far more complicated than the isolated acts and thoughts of deliberate disobedience commonly designated by the word. In its biblical definition, sin cannot be limited to isolated instances or [even] patterns of wrongdoing; it is something much more akin to the psychological term complex: an organic network of compulsive attitudes, beliefs and behavior deeply rooted in our alienation from God. Sin originated in the darkening of the human mind and heart as man turned from the truth about God to embrace a lie about him and consequently a whole universe of lies about his creation. Sinful thoughts, words and deeds flow forth from this darkened heart automatically and compulsively, as water from a polluted fountain. … The human heart is now a reservoir of unconscious disordered motivation and response, of which unrenewed persons are unaware if left to themselves, for “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). … The mechanism by which this unconscious reservoir of darkness is formed is identified in Rom. 1:18-23 as repression of traumatic material, chiefly the truth about God and our condition, which the unregenerate constantly and dynamically “hold down.” Their darkness is always a voluntary darkness, though they are unaware that they are repressing the truth.”
From Dynamics of Spiritual Life, by Richard Lovelace
One thought on “The Best Definition of Sin I’ve Seen”
Indeed, that’s quite the definition. It’s not only close to a psychological complex (while being much more than that), it’s quite simply, in the normal sense of the word, complex!
“…an organic network of compulsive attitudes, beliefs and behavior deeply rooted in our alienation from God.” Ours is a desperate plight, isn’t it?
“[Sin is] repression of traumatic material, chiefly the truth about God and our condition, which the unregenerate constantly and dynamically “hold down”.”
I’m still looking for a good French word for “repressing” or “surpressing”…
I’m trying to read a bit of this book as time permits. I’m still near the beginning of his historical overview of the awakenings – it’s fascinating reading since he puts down some of the causes of these large movements of people and ideas! I’m looking forward to reading it some more.