One of the Most Overlooked Aspects of Sin: Autonomous Human Reasoning (Part 1)

7 Oct

I don’t know about anybody else, but in the context I grew up, I was taught implicitly (because silence communicates loudly, as well) that sin was limited to deeds (i.e., breaking God’s Law). But over, the years, I have been learning that though sin is definitely not less than that, it is so much more.

So, for example, from the ministry of John Piper and Tim Keller, I began to see that sin is essentially an orientation toward the self. That is, because we substituted ourselves for God at the center of the universe (Gen. 3), we do everything in such a way that the world has to now revolve around us and our desires and our purposes and our plans.

In other words, it’s this radical self-centeredness that pervades all areas of our lives. In fact, the writing and preaching of Piper and Keller helped me to see that our sinful deeds are a direct result of this radical self-centeredness.

And so, because I am not satisfied with God and His plans and purposes for me, therefore, I chase after other things (i.e., human approval, status, money, pleasure for the sake of pleasure, etc.) with a blatant disregard for God and others around me. Those around me (including God) simply become tools to use to get what I want or obstacles to remove to get what I want.

And thus, arises the sinful deeds of anger against God or people around us (because they tell us to not do what we want to do), sexual assault (because the person is seen as an object to use for pleasure, rather than a person made in the image of God), gossip (because elevating ourselves over and against another will give us a sense of vindication) – and the list goes on and on and on, literally.

But, more recently, God has been slowly but surely expanding my paradigm with regards to what sin is through the writings of John Frame. One of the biggest contributions that I have gleaned from his book The Doctrine of the Word of God (DWG) is the fact that included in that radical self-centeredness (along with our sinful deeds and desires) is our minds and our intellects. Thus, on page 17 of DWG, Frame writes:

Why should anyone imagine that the intellect could be left out of our account of sin? The mind is part of our being. It contributes to sin as much as our wills and feelings, as much as our arms and legs. So the spirit of autonomy appears in the history of human thought.

God-willing, in Part 2, I will expand on this definition of the sinful intellect (or, to use Frame’s terminology “autonomous human reasoning”) and then, in Part 3, give an example that the Holy Spirit has graciously been convicting me of most recently regarding my sinful, autonomous reasoning.

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2 Responses to “One of the Most Overlooked Aspects of Sin: Autonomous Human Reasoning (Part 1)”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. One of the Most Overlooked Aspects of Sin: Autonomous Human Reasoning (Part 2) | One Pilgrim's Progress - October 11, 2011

    […] Part 1, I described the monumental paradigm shifts that God has graciously been taking me through with […]

  2. How to Lovingly Guide Those Who are Struggling with Condemnation as a Result of Doubts | One Pilgrim's Progress - October 18, 2011

    […] this, John Frame was an extremely helpful resource. As I mentioned here and here, for some reason, it never crossed my mind that sin affected my ability to reason, as well […]

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