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Builders of Faith Explorer I:  Exploring Bible Truth

Lesson 5—The Origin and Nature of Sin

 

 

1.  Where did sin originate, and what being in heaven was cast to the earth for the sin of pride?

 

“You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and beauty….  Every precious stone was your covering….  The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created.  You were the anointed cherub who covers…You were on the holy mountain of God….  You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.  By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within.  And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God….  Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings….”  Ezekiel 28:12-17.

 

Answer:  Although spoken to the king of Tyre, God obviously spoke beyond a mere human king who was a type of a perfect being in heaven because of the language used in the passage above.  A cherub was a specific type of angel almost always associated with the presence of God Himself (see II Kings 19:15; Psalm 18:10; and Psalm 99:1).  This angel was very special in that he is noted for his great beauty that must have been gloriously reflected by his many jewels.  Apparently, he could sing several parts at once, for the passage speaks of his pipes as part of his anatomy.  But he was cast out of heaven for the sin of pride and was “laid…before kings…”, indicating that he was cast to the earth.

 

 

2.  What being in heaven was cast to the earth for the sin of pride in Isaiah 14?

 

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!  How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!  For you have said in your heart:  ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’  Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.  Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying:  ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms…?’”  Isaiah 14:12-16.

 

Answer:  This passage clearly teaches that Lucifer was a being in heaven who was cast to the earth for the sin of pride.  The name “Lucifer” has been variously translated as “son of the morning”, “morning star”, “shining one”, “light bearer”, and “day star”.  In II Peter 1:19, Jesus is called “the morning star”, and in Revelation 22:16 Jesus calls Himself “the Bright and Morning Star”.  This close association of Lucifer’s meaning to one of Jesus’ titles indicates that Lucifer was a very close angel to Jesus in heaven until his pride erupted.  Clearly, then, Lucifer is the same cherub described in Ezekiel 28.

 

 

3.  According to Revelation 12, what names does Lucifer now have, and how many other angels did he influence to fight on his side?

 

“…a great, fiery red dragon[‘s]…tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth….  And war broke out in heaven:  Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.  So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”  Revelation 12:3-4, 7-9.  “….  For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”  II Corinthians 11:14.

 

Answer:  The text in II Corinthians 11:14 above calls Satan an angel.  The context of the verses around it shows that the emphasis is not on transforming himself into an angel, but into “an angel of light.”  Lucifer is now known as the Devil or Satan.  Satan means “adversary”, for he certainly became the great adversary of God and mankind.  Satan’s “violence within” (Ezekiel 28:16) obviously spilled out so that the first known war in the entire universe began in heaven itself!  The parallel of “the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth” with “his angels were cast out with him” means that Satan convinced one-third of heaven’s angels to take his side in this rebellion against God.

 

 

4.  Did God create the Devil?

 

“…God is love.”  I John 4:8.

 

Answer:  No.  Since God is love, all of his intelligent creatures must have been given free will.  Without free will, beings who serve God would simply do so because they were programmed to do so.  But that kind of service is not love, for love is not love unless it is given freely by those who can choose.  Therefore, God created a beautiful angel who exercised his free will to turn himself into the Devil.

 

 

5.  When Lucifer first sinned, why didn’t God simply destroy him on the spot?  For that matter, since God knows the end from the beginning, why did God create Lucifer in the first place?

 

“…God is love.”  I John 4:8.

 

Answer:  If God had destroyed Lucifer when he sinned in heaven, undoubtedly most of the other angels would have had some doubts about God.  They would have thought that perhaps Lucifer was right about God.  These doubts would lead to them to serve God out of fear.  But fear is not love, and God wants His intelligent creatures to love Him.  Moreover, even though no one else would have known that God refused to create Lucifer just because He knew what choice Lucifer would make, God would know.  And that is contrary to His character.  Since God lives as much in the future as He does in the present and the past, His refusal to create Lucifer because He knew he’d turn himself into the Devil means that God would, in effect, be denying Lucifer’s free will.  Therefore, God could not act contrary to His own character.

 

 

6.  When Satan was cast out of heaven to the earth, where on the earth did he go, and what happened there?

 

“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”  Revelation 12:9.  “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.  And he said to the woman [Eve], ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”  And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’  Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.  For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’  So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.  She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”  Genesis 3:1-6.

 

Answer:  Revelation 12:9’s reference to Satan as “that serpent of old” takes us back to Genesis 3, where a serpent deceived Eve, the first woman, to eat the fruit of the one tree in the Garden of Eden that was forbidden to Adam and Eve.  After she sinned by disobeying God, she enticed Adam to do the same thing.  This strongly suggests that God limited Satan to that one tree in the Garden to give Adam and Eve the simplest test of loyalty that He could.  Apparently, Satan’s angels were barred from entering the Garden of Eden at all.  Unfortunately, our first parents failed the loyalty test and brought sin and its results onto the earth.

 

 

7.  Whose sin was worse, and why?

 

“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”  I Timothy 2:14.

 

Answer:  While Eve was deceived, Adam sinned with his eyes wide open.  Therefore, Adam’s sin was worse.

 

 

8.  What was the significance of Adam’s willful sin?

 

“….  For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation….  Romans 5:16.  “Therefore, as through one man’s [Adam’s] offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation….  Romans 5:18.  “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners….  Romans 5:19.  “Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.”  Hebrews 7:9-10.

 

Answer:  The word “judgment” in Romans 5:16 and the word “condemnation” in Romans 5:16, 18 are courtroom terms.  What Romans 5 is saying is that Adam’s willful sin brought a judgment and condemnation upon all mankind who came after him.  Or as Romans 5:19 plainly says, “by one man’s [Adam’s] disobedience many were made sinners….”  But how can that be?  We weren’t even born yet.  It is true in the same way that Hebrews 7:9-10 above tells us that Levi paid tithes through Abraham even though Levi, as Abraham’s great-grandson had not even been born yet.  Sometimes this is called corporate personality.  Levi was credited as having paid tithes to Melchizedek because he was in the lineage of Abraham.

 

 

9.  The following texts offer us an illustration of this principle of being credited for something which we did not literally, physically do ourselves.

 

“…[Gentiles] at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”  Ephesians 2:12.  “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…”  Ephesians 2:19.

 

Answer:  Until you are a member of God’s church, you are strangers and aliens from God’s kingdom.  In other words, we are all born aliens from God’s kingdom and thus members of Satan’s kingdom because there is no middle ground.  Let’s suppose there is a Russian couple who emigrate to the United States, eventually become U.S. citizens, and then have a child born to them.  Their child is automatically a U.S. citizen even though he’s a full-blooded Russian because of the earlier decision of his parents.  That child is credited with having changed his citizenship through his parents even though he had not yet been born.  Likewise, therefore, we are all born into Satan’s kingdom because we are credited with having changed our citizenship from God’s kingdom to Satan’s kingdom through our first parents, even though we had not yet been born.

 

 

10.  What is sinful mankind condemned to have as a result of Adam’s sin?

 

“All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way….  Isaiah 53:6.  “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”  Jeremiah 17:9.  “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  I Corinthians 2:14.  “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh….”  Galatians 5:17.

 

Answer:  We are condemned to what Christians call the sinful nature or the natural man, which means that we have specific tendencies or inclinations to sin and go away from God.  And even though our conversion brings us the Holy Spirit and we also become a “spiritual” person (I Corinthians 2:15), both natures remain inside us in this life so that Christians are like a walking civil war.

 

 

11.  When will the sinful nature be removed from us?

 

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body….”  Philippians 3:20-21.

 

Answer:  In the context of Paul’s admission in Philippians 3:12 (same chapter as quoted above) that “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfect; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”, the apostle is clearly talking about his spiritual progress rather than his physical body only.  Therefore, the answer to the above question is that our sinful nature will only be removed at the Second Coming of Jesus.

 

 

12.  But are sinful tendencies or inclinations themselves sin even if you do not act upon them?

 

“You shall not covet [desire] your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.  Exodus 20:17 (10th Commandment).  “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  Matthew 5:28.

 

Answer:  Yes.  A willful, conscious desire to commit any sin does, in fact, make you guilty of having already committed the sin outwardly and literally.  Thus, sinful desires are sins, and the sinful nature makes a person a sinner.

 

 

13.  Is the Bible teaching that people are born sinners?  What about innocent babies?

 

“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.”  Psalm 51:5.  

 

Answer:  This is one of King David’s many psalms.  We know about David’s birth, and he was not an illegitimate child.  Therefore, Scripture confirms our earlier texts and discussion that all people are born—even conceived—as sinners.  As to innocent babies, God does not hold them accountable for their sinful condition, but they are indeed sinners.  Actually, every mother can tell when their baby’s cry is simply a cry to have a physical need met and when their cry is a temper tantrum.  In other words, sin is more than what we do or not do; it is also what we are!

 

 

14.  In what other way is sinful mankind condemned?

 

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin….”  Romans 5:12.  “For the wages of sin is death….”  Romans 6:23.

 

Answer:  We are also condemned to die.  One can correctly state that since sin separates us from God, the Life-Giver, we will eventually automatically die.  While that is true, sinful mankind has been condemned to die as a result of God’s judgment for sin.  His supreme justice requires the death penalty for having departed from God and His kingdom.  Remember that we cannot reduce God’s justice in order to emphasize His love any more than we can do the reverse.  This death penalty means that we must die with no hope or assurance of a resurrection that will result in a blessed, eternal life.

 

 

15.  In what other ways does the Bible define sin?

 

Answers:

 

A.  I John 3:4:  “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”  The King James Version of this text declares that “sin is the transgression of the law.”—So anything that’s contrary to God’s law is sin; sin is living without His law.

 

B.  Romans 3:23:  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”—The verb tense in the second part of this text would literally be translated “continue to fall short of the glory of God.”  This means that anything that falls short of God’s perfect standard is sin.  Our sinful nature contaminates even the otherwise good things we think, say, or do so that they do not meet God’s standard of perfection since they come from a corrupt nature.  Therefore, without divine intervention, all that we do would be considered sin.  This is the reason that Isaiah 64:6 declares that, “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags….”  In other words all of the alleged “good” things we do are like a menstrual cloth; it soaks up a woman’s blood that would otherwise have resulted in her pregnancy.  That blood has no value.  Likewise, our alleged righteous acts have no value, but are like that bloody cloth in that they have no merit with God because they are polluted.

 

C.  Romans 14:12-13:  “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.  Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”—This text tells us that even if a particular action is not in itself sinful, if it’s likely to cause another person to stumble back into an old sinful habit, then we should not do it.  We are responsible for the effects our actions might have on other people.

 

D.  Romans 14:23:  “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.”—So if you are in doubt about the correctness of a particular action, then don’t take that action.

 

E.  James 4:17:  “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”—In other words, there are sins of omission as well as sins of commission, i.e., if we fail to do something good, then we have sinned.

 

F.  I John 2:16:  “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”—Probably all specific sins will fit under at least one of these three categories.

 

 

16.  This Lesson seems to teach that mankind is in a hopeless situation.  Is there any hope?

 

Answer:  Yes, there is much hope.  As we shall see in the next Lesson, there is “Good News:  Jesus Saves!”

 

 

Quiz for Lesson #5—The Origin and Nature of Sin

 

1.  Where in the universe did sin begin? (1)

  It began on earth.

  It began in heaven.

  It began on an unknown planet in another galaxy.

Answer

It began in heaven.

2.  Which of the following are names of the being who first sinned? (3)

  Lucifer

  Serpent

  Satan

  Devil

Answer

Lucifer
Satan
Devil

3.  Identify the chapters in the Bible that discuss the origin of sin. (3)

  Ezekiel 28

  Isaiah 14

  Jeremiah 23

  Revelation 12

Answer

Ezekiel 28
Isaiah 14
Revelation 12

4.  Why did a perfect God who created all things perfect allow sin to start? (1)

  God gave free will to His intelligent creatures because love requires free will.

  Anyone God created would have to be less perfect than He is, so it was the best He could do.

  God wanted to show the whole universe what sin would do.

Answer

God gave free will to His intelligent creatures because love requires free will.

5.  Of what significance was Adam’s willful sin to all of mankind? (3)

  Every human being was condemned as a result.

  Every human being becomes a sinner even before he is born.

  Every human being is born into Satan’s kingdom because of what Adam did.

  Every human being is free to choose sinfulness or sinlessness.

Answer

Every human being was condemned as a result.
Every human being becomes a sinner even before he is born.
Every human being is born into Satan’s kingdom because of what Adam did.

6.  Which of the following statements about a sinful nature is true? (2)

  We are all born with a sinful nature.

  Our sinful nature gives us a natural tendency to want to commit acts of sin.

  Our sinful nature is not in itself sin.

  Our sinful nature is replaced by the Holy Spirit at the conversion of a person.

Answer

We are all born with a sinful nature.
Our sinful nature gives us a natural tendency to want to commit acts of sin.

7.  Babies are born innocent until they choose to commit an act of sin. (1)

  True

  False

Answer

False

8.  Because of sin, we are all condemned to: (3)

  have a sinful nature.

  want to be independent from God.

  die.

  no hope for the future.

Answer

Have a sinful nature.
Want to be independent from God.
die.

9.  Which of the following statements about sin are true? (4)

  Sin is lawlessness, which means living without God’s law.

  Our sinful nature contaminates even our otherwise good thoughts, words, and deeds.

  Whatever is not from faith is sin.

  Sin can be things we do as well as things we do not do.

  Sin is universal in that exists throughout the universe.

  Sin will end at the Second Coming of Jesus.

Answer

Sin is lawlessness, which means living without God’s law.
Our sinful nature contaminates even our otherwise good thoughts, words, and deeds.
Whatever is not from faith is sin.
Sin can be things we do as well as things we do not do.

10.  Which Bible text gives the 3 categories that probably all sin falls into? (1)

  Romans 3:23

  I John 3:4

  I John 2:16

  James 4:17

Answer

I John 2:16