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What the Bible says about God's Attitude toward Sin
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 3:16-19

The matter of leadership—whether nationally, locally, at home, on the job, or on the team—has always been a vexing problem for mankind. “Always” should be taken literally because Genesis 3:16-19 reveals it was a major part of several issues that triggered mankind's circumstances ever since, down to this very second. After Adam's and Eve's sins, God imposed curses, at the same time pointedly stating why this major flaw in man's character helped to trigger the human condition that persists today.

Notice that God mentions to Adam, whom He had appointed as leader of the family through which He intended to populate the entire earth, “You have heeded the voice [counsel] of your wife.” In other words, he had failed to lead the only person who was then under his authority. He took her counsel rather than do what God had commanded him to do, and thus he sinned. The context does not state why he did so, but what resulted was an act of idolatry. He put her counsel before God's, breaking the first commandment.

How long did Adam ponder the challenge of the serpent's arguments to break God's commandment by eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? A few seconds? A few minutes? Whatever it was, in comparison to the amount of time that has passed since, it remains as little more than a flash of lightning. Yet, consider how this seemingly minor sin motivated God to react.

This singular episode in Eden illustrates how seriously God treats sin as compared to how lightly we tend to take it. It was a brief moment in time, when Adam, along with Eve—only two people—failed to exercise leadership by obeying God's simple stricture. What they chose to do instead has brought far more difficult lives on billions of people—difficulty that otherwise may have never occurred. Life, righteousness, and sin do not operate in a vacuum. There is no such thing as sin that does not hurt others, as some so foolishly think or proclaim to justify themselves.

Ecclesiastes 7:29 makes a telling statement regarding our creation: “Truly this only have I found: That God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.” Solomon intends that we understand Adam and Eve to be representative of all mankind. However, Genesis 3 makes clear that they exercised their leadership by leading us into sin. In so doing, they led us all to fall from the pinnacle of human innocence in which they had been created.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part One)

Luke 4:33-34

The Greek term underlying “destroy” is appolumi (Strong's #622). Vine's defines it as, “signifies 'to destroy utterly'; in the middle voice, 'to perish.' The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of well-being.”

Behind “torment” is the Greek world basanizo (Strong's #928). It appears in relation to demons in Matthew 8:6, Mark 5:7, and Luke 8:28, all three recording the same event. In each case, the context indicates torture without the implication of death. Neither of these Greek terms, then, as used in Scripture, can be used dogmatically to prove death for angelic beings.

However, our search is far from over. If a man sins and does not repent, he dies ultimately in the Lake of Fire. Yet, if an angel sins, it appears—at this point—that his only penalty is the torment of being restrained with the knowledge of what he has lost. He lives on like a prisoner in jail with no hope of parole.

Scripturally, though, this does not balance the scales of justice because the Bible clearly states that the wages of sin not repented of is death (Romans 6:23). God says unambiguously, “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). An angel is a soul too, that is, a living being with the liberty to make choices about moral conduct. Biblically, “soul” is not restricted to humans but simply indicates a breathing creature, which includes animals. Animals, however, do not make moral choices.

God's Word reveals much more about the completion of the purpose He is working out, His attitude toward sin, sins' effects, and what He has prophesied regarding the purity of His Kingdom that will be established when He completes the purpose He is now working out.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do Angels Live Forever?


 




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