Desires, Sin, and Salvation

Sin sucks.

Sin forms one of the core beliefs within the Abrahamic religions. It is that nasty little thing hidden in the deepest darkest corner of our heart that we are all born with. It is also that very thing that all Abrahamic believers want to get rid of so that we may get our right footing with God. We blame sin for all the bad things ever done on earth. From the eating of the forbidden fruit, to modern day terror attacks. From tapping into our innate desire to be like God, to arousing our innate desire to realise our deepest darkest desires. We know it’s there. We know it’s bad. We say it hinders our relationship with God. But have we asked the question, “why”?

Like it or not, sin was a Divine design that allowed us to draw closer to He who created us in the first place. Sin was part of God’s design for humanity. Sin was part of “God’s image” and “likeness”. Sin, in every way, was designed by the Divine for humanity to be a choice — a choice to pick between good and evil; right and wrong.

Sure, as believers of Abrahamic faiths, we can say that the tree of the knowledge of the knowledge of good and evil was planted by God as a test. Also, we can say that it was planted by design. We can say that the act of Adam and Eve eating the fruit of that tree brought sin into the world. Also, we can say that sin has been here this whole time.

Truth is, though. Sin is not about all the bads of the world. Rather, sin is about the need for control; the need to enjoy. Sin isn’t about evil. Sin is about our desire to be reunified with the One who created us in the first place. Sin is not the deepest darkest secrets that we hide in the corner of our hearts. Sin is the manifestation of that innate desire within our soul to love God — a desire we long for but saw no physical way of realisation. When the longing to be loved or treated in a certain way was hindered by the limitations of our physical realities, we seek alternatives.

Take the murder of Abel for example. Cain murdered Abel because God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s. People can argue that it was Cain’s fault for not giving his best in contrast to Abel. But, who is to know? Even Moses who wrote this account was not there to justify this story. But for the sake of this argument, let’s go with what the Bible tells us and assume that Cain was jealous of Abel. This jealousy within Cain turned into murderous rage towards his brother. Now, based on the Biblical narrative of Moses, we see that Cain grew jealous of Abel because he longed for God’s Divine acceptance. All he wanted was to be accepted, affirmed, and loved. He wanted to find meaning in the work that he did, in the sacrifices he made, and in the life that he led. And he wanted that from God. But God did not give it to him. In a fit of anger, Cain did the unthinkable, thinking it would garner him some attention from God… And attention he did get. God justifiably asked, “Where is your brother Abel?” (emphasis added; Genesis 4:8-9). With no consideration whatsoever towards the emotional and psychological conditions of Cain, God placed all attention on Abel. This angered Abel all the more. But when faced with the Supreme Almighty, what can a mere mortal do?

My point here is this: we can trace all sins back to our innate desire for the Lord; desires of things we long to have but did not get. Take adultery for example. When your wife wilfully rejects your innate desire for sex even though she ought to satisfy you the way you satisfy her, she breaks the social contract of the wedding. She did not hold up her side of the bargain. Sure, you can argue that relationships and marriages are about communication and understanding, but the unwritten social contract still stands between the couple. In social-exchange theory, we look at how two parties utilises cost-benefit to analyse relationships. When one gives more than one receives, they will feel less loved. Likewise, when a husband is giving the wife something and the wife isn’t reciprocating, then to hell is the social-exchange. The husband will tolerate this until he can no longer and find reciprocation elsewhere. Likewise for the phenomenon of LGBT. People do not choose to be the way they are. They are forced into it. In the brokenness of a family, when children see no way of getting the love they so desired in the opposite gender, they find for the next logical alternative. While the next logical answer seem to give people the answers they so desire, the brokenness from the very beginning does not seem to heal.

Sexual sins are as appealing as they are because we were designed for it. Men long for affirmation from women when they didn’t get the answers they desire from God. Women desire attention from men because of the curse God placed on them back in our old town Eden. Even though Christian pastors and therapists argue that we ought to look to the Lord for satisfaction, but the truth of the matter is this: we are needy. As much as we wanted to love in the way we are designed to, the limitations of the world is tormenting the soul till the extent where it begin to look for alternatives. Ask anyone who commits adultery if they wanted to. They would say no. Ask anyone who wanted to go for a sex change. They would say they are struggling in their own skin. Why? Because they ain’t getting the love from God nor the church in the way they so desired. It was the internal desires, coupled with external factors, that led to the choice they’ve decided to make. Just as how the thought of eating the forbidden fruit coupled with a bit of encouragement from the serpent led Adam and Eve to commit that fateful action in old town Eden, people who are struggling with the psychological urge to love in the form of being within another person (coupled with the supportive nature of the LGBT and fetish interest groups) propels them to commit sexual sins such as having sex change operations or indulge in bondage-fetish fantasies.

We sin, not because we wanted to, but because we longed for something but aren’t getting it. The first sin was initiated by the desire to be “like God, knowing good and evil”. Well, the serpent wasn’t all wrong about it. In fact, what the serpent left out was that Adam and Eve are already like God; made in His image, in His likeness (Genesis 1:26-27), and are called gods (ref: Psalms 82; John 10:34). The only problem? Adam and Eve don’t feel like it. The human reality of their physical bodies is nothing like the all-encompassing, glowing-spirit that fills the entire garden (ref: Jeremiah 23:24; John 4:24). Now, consider why Israel was fed up in the wilderness under Moses’ leadership. Heck, if only God can magically bring them into the promise land without all these walking and fear of attacks. All they wanted was security and peace. They wanted things that God promised, their way. They wanted to worship and love God, their way.

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD.” — Exodus 32:5, NIV.

In some translation, “the LORD” was translated to “Jehovah”.

Let’s be honest. Sin is not just a choice we struggle with nor an addiction to get over. Sin, at its very root, is our innate desire to be loved by God the way we longed for. But when God shows His love in a way we did not expect Him to, we question Him. Look, after 400 years in slavery, do you think that the Israelites will want to bow down to the golden calf that they so coincidentally named “Yhwh”? Do they really want to kowtow to an Egyptian pagan symbol that ruled them throughout their toughest times? Or do you think it was an attempt to garner Divine attention; get them something they wanted, packaged in a way they wanted it to be?

While it is true that we humans will never be satisfied with whatever we have. But didn’t the Divine designed us to not be satisfied with present realities? Didn’t He place eternity in the human heart while keeping the mystery of eternal existence from human understanding (ref: Ecclesiastes 3:11)? So, if we are not content with what we can current see, touch, and experience, are we to be blamed if we wanted more? Are we to be blamed if we kowtow to idols while our hearts are crying out to the Lord? Are we to be blamed if we sought solace in places God forbid with the hopes that one day, like a defiant child, we may finally get the attention of our absent and unresponsive Father?

As much as how the struggle with sin pains us, so it pains He who made us in the first place. We desire to find peace and comfort within Him. But given the present realities of our mortal lives, we cannot. Not in the body, at least. So we throw ourselves to the next best option out there: any boyfriend or girlfriend who can provide a little bit of solace and warmth, we jump right in and begin a relationship. We desire to submit to His guidance, but we also know that we are answerable for our actions. So we give ourselves away to BDSM fetishes with the hopes that, for a brief moment, we can put aside the traumas of present realities and indulge in fifty shades of foreplay. Men desire to acquire the submissive nature of women, but given our masculinity, we cannot. So we signed our bodies away into degrading surgeries to transform our image into one that appear to allow for that kind of experience. Likewise, women, whose curse in old-town Eden robbed her off control, wants it back. And in this way, she wilfully sell herself away into acts with other women or into a dominatrix lifestyle.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. — Romans 1:21-25, NIV.

When we think about sin, we think about Eden. We think about God. We think about the curse. We think about all of these because deep down, we all knew the promises of God. We knew what will be given to us. But we didn’t want it the way God promised it to be. We want it our way. We want it now. God called us to fix our eyes upon the unseen. But confined in the physical realities of life, all we can think of are things that we can see. God called us to seek His kingdom and His righteousness, but given that His kingdom and His righteousness are things we cannot see and observe with our human eyes, how are we to know if these will satisfy us? Can waiting upon the Lord satisfy our immediate need for food? Can waiting upon the Lord satisfy our soul’s desire for love? With no immediate response from the Divine, we exchanged the unseen biblical truth for temporal, immediate, relief.

At this juncture, it appears that human beings are designed to sin. Though we knew God and desire to enjoy every single bit of His promises, present realities and a cumulation of multiple factors may propel us to make certain decisions contrary to the cries of the Holy Spirit. The deepest desires of the human heart cries for love, affirmation, and acceptance. On the one hand, we long to submit to the Godship of the Divine Himself. On the other, present realities may push us towards the other direction. It appears that the power of human desire can either make or break the human soul. What we do with this desire can either drives us upwards into eternal (unseen) bliss, or downwards into (visible) emotional turmoil and heartbreaks. Ultimately, the choice of how we want to handle the power of desire will determine what kind of person we will be. But thanks be to God for the saving grace of Christ, as long as we fix our eyes upon Him, we know that He will meet us at the lowest point of our pit.

So, regardless of outcome, let us train our dragon while we have our eyes fixed upon Christ alone. Christ will fly our dragon so that we will end up where we ought to be — right there in His everlasting arms.

Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay
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