God cannot be around sin?


According to contemporary evangelical ideas that some people seem to hold, God cannot be where sin or evil is. I have encountered this idea several times in my life preached as a ‘biblical truth’, but I’m afraid that, like more ideas in  ‘radio orthodoxy’ (Oh man I’m glad we don’t have commercial Christian radio over here!) it’s neither truth nor biblical .

I would personally assume it quite obvious that the said idea is in itself a bit weird, and unbiblical, even without posing the question of how to rhyme this idea with Gods omnipresence, and God being ‘the Almighty’ (quite a powerless Supreme Being that would be, scared away from a little bit of sin, especially in a world that is filled with it…).

I do think that Scott Morizot offers a very good commentary with the following paragraph:

I’ve always been incredulous about the often repeated modern assertion that God is holy and can’t be around sin or evil. Nowhere do we see that in the story of Jewish and Christian God, but it’s absurd whenever we look at Jesus. He sought out the “sinners” and those considered ritually unclean and acted as though he could make them clean through association rather than the opposite. Jesus certainly had no problem “being around” sin. In fact, that was one of the major criticisms levelled at him. At one point, he almost shrugs and says he didn’t come to the healthy, but to the sick. And in the fullness of that revelation, in case we missed the point of a God who goes looking for man from the moment in the story of the garden when he asks Adam where he is, Jesus shows us a God seeking out “sinners” and always facing man wherever we might flee.

Scott Morizot (click his name for the source)

Another remark would be that we can inverse the idea: sin cannot be around God. God, who is all-pure and an all-consuming fire, will not at all be affected by sin, but sin and evil itself might kinda suffer the same problem as darkness when exposed to light… (But here we can discuss the role of Satan in the book of Job, which might be quite a discussion!)

I do think that this issue will deeply influence the way we view atonement, but I let my readers think about that… So what do you think?

shalom

Bram

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8 responses to “God cannot be around sin?

  1. Absolutely agree with you. God is not intolerant of imperfection; He’s intolerably perfect. There’s a huge difference. Here’s a post where I talk about holiness along the lines that you’ve described:
    http://www.ministrymatters.com/teach/article/entry/1575/learning-to-love-gods-judgment

    • did I speak of holiness? I actually didn’t realise, and didn’t use the word, but I completely did… I can’t avoid being quite Wesleyan I think…

      Good post, I’ll have to re-read that more in depth when I have more time. and this is a very important point::
      “Now here’s the problem: if I see God’s judgment as something that is supposed to canceled by Jesus’ sacrifice, then I might end up on the wrong side of the battle. Instead of desiring God’s sanctifying judgment, I might end up thinking that God won’t judge me if I can prove that I believe the right things about Jesus. In this mode of thinking, having the right doctrine is what saves us from God’s wrath and we proof-text the Bible to build up doctrinal systems for proving our faithfulness by arguing incessantly with our Christians, which is the sad story of Protestant modernity..”

  2. I couldn’t agree more. I addressed something fairly similar last year: http://nailtothedoor.com/did-god-really-abandon-jesus-on-the-cross/

    • “First of all, the Bible doesn’t teach that God can’t look at sin. Preachers do, but the Bible doesn’t. God clearly looks on sinful people all the time, or he couldn’t see Earth at all.”
      Yes, that’s what I’m saying. I’m left wondering why preachers do say it stil…
      (and good blogpost, I agree with you on the cross, psalm 22 and the importance of the resurrection)

  3. “Now here’s the problem: if I see God’s judgment as something that is supposed to canceled by Jesus’ sacrifice, then I might end up on the wrong side of the battle.”

    Don’t the Scriptures also say that Jesus is the one who will be judging us anyway?

    • you like to make simple biblical remarks that are more than logical and totally destruct Penal Substitition, don’t you…

  4. A bit late to the party, but I can’t see this idea working at all with the Orthodox idea where Jesus is the healer of our disease rather than the payment for our crime (or at least the main focus is shifted). It’s hard to imagine that the doctor can’t be around disease. Given that my own tendency is to suspect that both Eastern and Western views have their merits I can’t get on board with a view that would render the Eastern view nonsensical. Also, “radio orthodoxy” is a fantastic term.

    • The term radio orthodoxy comes from one of the ‘New kind of Christian’ books by Brian McLaren I think; I stopped reading newer books some years ago because they interested me less, but I still like those 3 and ‘a generous orthodoxy.
      “Given that my own tendency is to suspect that both Eastern and Western views have their merits I can’t get on board with a view that would render the Eastern view nonsensical. Also, “radio orthodoxy” is a fantastic term.” A very interesting tendency, and one that contains much wisdom I dare to say. I don’t see the idea working at all either for various reasons, but I can remember it being preached here too…

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