So… Here is a theological question… It’s an honest question, but it’s a question near the foundation of what might be called a “Christian belief system”.
Could it be that sin has never kept God from humanity, but instead it’s kept humanity from God?
I mean I’ve always heard that sin separates us from God because God can’t stand sin. The logic is that we must therefore be purified before we can be with God. I’m not sure that’s right. (And, yes, that statement makes me squirm a little too.)
I mean, look at the scriptures. God is constantly revealing Himself to sinful people. If God couldn’t be near sin or sinful people, how did He go to Adam and Eve after their sin? How (or why) did he appear to Cain after his murdering his brother? How would He have appeared to that other murderer Moses? Ok, so you could argue Moses may have made a sacrifice for His sin (though that institution isn’t officially established through Moses until later). However, it’d be really hard to argue this for Cain. Cain’s whole trouble started when God rejected his sacrifice. Now for the big example. If sin kept God from man, then how and/or why did that have no affect Jesus. He not only was with sinful people, He pursued them. Zacchaeus, Matthew, the “adulterous woman”, Peter, Saul (who became Paul), and “the woman at the well” are just a handful of people that Jesus (God) approached, accepted, and was with them before any sort of purification happened. I don’t recall any of them even seeking purification before Jesus showed up, and for a couple, at least, I’m not sure there is any record of them ever seeking out repentance or purification.
Don’t get me wrong. I totally believe that God has a problem with sin, but I’m starting to think it’s simply because it keeps us from Him (not the other way around). It’s like this: When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of knowing good and evil they ran from God. When Cain sinned (though the Hebrew is vague, the Septuagint suggests) it was Cain who claims his sin is too great for forgiveness. (Apostolic Bible Polyglot translation) God was still there, still interacted with Cain, and still in some way touched Cain by marking him. Is there any time that Jesus rejected anyone? He would tell them the truth in love. Then people had a tendency to follow or walk away. But, correct me if I’m wrong, Jesus never told anyone there was a prerequisite for being with Him.
Could it be that God doesn’t have to reconcile us to Himself because of His judgement but because of ours? Is it simply our feelings and understanding of unrighteousness that He is trying to overcome? Does He always see us as worthy simply by being His created? Could it be merely our fear that keeps us from Him?
It’s true nothing can separate us from the love of God. And yes, I believe something beautiful and profound happened on the cross and in the resurrection. God entered into our reality and our understanding of it, and He defeated (and is defeating) all that stood between us and God. This isn’t just defeating some big misunderstanding. Something physical, metaphysical, spiritual, or however else you want to describe it happened. Something changed the very fabric of the universe. But at the same time, God is the same before and after. He is the same no matter where you were born, what religion or culture you belong to, or what understanding of the universe you hold. He’s the same whether you try to purify yourself or not, repent or not, ask Jesus into your heart or not.
I’m not so sure I’m explaining myself all that well… And what does this all mean? I’m not sure. That’s why it’s a question. I’d love to hear your feedback.