Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The language of sin

Here are some honest, blunt, and strangely refreshing words from the sports journalist Matthew Syed about the "bloodgate" scandal that has stained the sport of rugby union:
There comes a time when an institution is so deep in the mire, so steeped in scandal and immorality, so corrupted by greed and cynicism, that those on the inside are no longer able to perceive, still less comprehend, the extent of their own depravity.
You can read more about the extent of the on field cheating, the off field scheming, and the ongoing public deception here. But this post isn't about sport, it is about the survival of the language of sin in a world where God is routinely deleted from the script of human nature, aspirations, and standards.

Ever since the Fall, when our first parents sought to re-write the constitution of the universe, human beings have both been on the run from God and incapable of escaping the reality of being God's creatures living in God's universe.

This tension is felt everywhere, and no more so than in the realm of moral corruption. It is here that we are confronted by our creatureliness, that ineradicable sense of righteousness and justice, and by our hopeless self-contradictory suppression of the very categories of truth and goodness, of honesty and transparency. Banish God, as we will, to the very margins of life, try as we might to squeeze him into areas that we can control and access on our terms, yet we cannot silence his speech about sin. God's vocabularly survives all our attempts to drop it from our language.

Of course we are repulsed by cheating, by organised deceit. Of course we reach for God's grammar to describe it. What ought to be admitted is that it is God's truth about human corruption, his descriptions about how we lie, steal, and cover over our deceptions, that rings true. After all, Romans 1-3 describes us and our condition, internally and externally, individually and collectively, pervasively, and perfectly.

The big problem of sin comes to the surface in sport, in politics, in education, in commerce, in the home. Every time that it does so it is a signal reminder of the reality of God and the truth of his word.

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