Thursday, September 21, 2023

To Err Is Human? (1 John 1)

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves …" (1 John 1:8).

A common saying in our day is “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” While such a saying may appear harmless on the surface, it is loaded with notions contrary to Christianity. This piece of worldly wisdom hardens our conscience against the holiness of God and removes any accountability we have before Him for our actions. It reduces our sins to mere mistakes and attributes those mistakes, not to our sinful condition, but to our nature as human beings.

Sin is not an essential element of our nature. We were not created to “make mistakes,” or more accurately, to sin. God created us pure, innocent, holy, and righteous. That is the true state of human nature, not the sinful condition that now pervades our race.

Yet, people in all ages have tried to excuse their sin by placing the blame for their “mistakes” at the feet of their nature. They make sin an essential aspect of being finite. The finitude theory claims that we are inherently limited creatures and that evil is a necessary component of finitude.

Leibnitz, the rational philosopher, said that there are three types of evil: moral evil, which is commonly called sin. Physical evil, those “acts of nature” such as disease, storms, earthquakes, etc. And metaphysical evil, the condition of being finite. This last evil is the underlying philosophy of statements such as “to err is human.” People who hold to this view believe that whatever is wrong with the world, in the final analysis, is simply that the world is finite. Leibnitz claimed that the only world God, who is infinite, can create is finite; therefore, He has done the best that He could do. Hence, a world of evil is the best of all possible worlds.

The biggest flaw of the finitude theory is that it places the blame for sin on God. It is also a moral cop-out. The problem of evil, the root cause of our sin, is not our finitude, but that as God’s image bearers, we have transgressed His law. When we stand before an infinite and holy God on that great day, we will not be judged for being finite, but for being disobedient to His will. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19)—not because they were simply finite human beings.

What excuses do you come up with to rationalize your sin? Read Psalm 51. What did David say was the cause of his adultery with Bathsheba? Did he say he was just human? Did he say he had psychological problems? Did he claim to be a victim? Seriously consider your sins today. Call them what they are and confess them to God.