One of the Most Overlooked Aspects of Sin: Autonomous Human Reasoning (Part 2)

11 Oct

In Part 1, I described the monumental paradigm shifts that God has graciously been taking me through with regards to what Scripture calls sin. More than simply a breaking of an impersonal set of rules, it is, at its core, a radical self-centeredness that manifests itself in sinful deeds and desires.

But, yet again, God has been pleased to expand my understanding of sin to also take into account how the mind or intellect is involved in this radical self-centeredness. John Frame, in his book The Doctrine of the Word of God defines intellectual sin (or, “autonomous human reasoning”) as the following:

Intellectual autonomy is the view that human beings have the right to seek knowledge of God’s world without being subject to God’s revelation (Frame, DWG, p. 15-16).

In other words, the way I take this definition is to mean that in our sinful self-centeredness, all of us try to understand God’s world (e.g., psychology, sociology, ecology, ethics, theology, etc.) without ultimately subjecting ourselves to God’s Word.

Frame spends much time expanding and explaining that definition throughout his book, giving biblical grounds and support for it. For example, commenting on Genesis 3, he writes that “Adam and Eve make their decision to disobey God’s personal word to them [and] in their decision, they affirm their right to think autonomously, even to the point of contradicting God himself” (DWG, p. 16).

But suffice it to say that, according to Frame, because God “is there” and He “is not silent” (using Francis Schaeffer‘s terminology), we, God’s creation are obligated to trust and obey the words of our Creator.

The only problem is, apart from the Holy Spirit mercifully awakening us to our radical sinful self-centeredness to repent and believe in the Gospel, we will continue to try an understand God’s world without subjecting ourselves to God’s Word. And thus, we will continue to be blinded (2 Cor. 4:4) and enslaved in the snare of the devil (2 Tim. 2:25-26).

So, then, do you recognize any areas in your life where you are trying to understand this world – God’s world – with your own understanding? With your own wisdom? With your own reasoning – without humbly looking at it through the lens of Scripture?

In Part 3, I’ll share my most recent example (of what I am sure will be many more) where I was deeply convicted by the Spirit of an area where I tried to understand God’s world without subjecting myself to God’s Word.

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

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How to Lovingly Guide Those Who are Struggling with Condemnation as a Result of Doubts | One Pilgrim's Progress - October 13, 2011

    […] One of the Most Overlooked Aspects of Sin: Autonomous Human Reasoning (Part 2) […]

  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 (I know, […]

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