Sin and Shalom

So I have checked out several books from the public library, One of which is Engaging God’s World, A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning and Living by Cornelius Plantinga.

This book is written to First Year College Students, and it’s designed to give them a perspective and understanding on how the World works and how we can live in and engage the world, and ultimately live to make it a better place.

In the chapter on the Fall I came across this quote that I found really insightful

Evil is what’s wrong with the world, and it includes trouble in nature as well as in human nature.  It includes disease as well as theft, birth defects as well as character defects.  We might define evil as any spoiling of shalom, any deviation from the way God wants things to be.  Thinking along these lines, we can see that sin is a subset of evil: it’s an evil for which somebody is to blame, whether as an individual or as a member of a group.  All sin is evil, but not all evil is sin.  A killing by a two-year-old boy is a terrible evil, but not an actual sin, at least not by the two year old.  But a premeditated killing by a drug dealer of a drug enforcement officer is bothe evil and sinful.  So is willful ignorance and silence about evils perpetrated by one’s onw nation.  In shore, sin is culpable evil.

God hates sin not just because it violates law, but also because it violates trust.  Sin grieves God, offends God, betrays God, and not because God is touchy.  God hates sain against himself, against neighbors, against a good creation, because sin breaks the peace — in the first place between the sinner and God.  Sin interferes with the way God wants things to be.  That is why God has laws against it.  God is for shalom and therefore against sin.

I’ve never quite read it that way before, that God isn’t just against sin He is for peace.  So when it comes to our personal sins, perhaps were are to worried about feeling guilty for doing a wrong act, when really we should be concerned about maintaining, establishing, building peace with God.  If we look at our relationship with God as an actual relationship then we should treat it like one.  We wouldn’t punch someone in the face and expect to stay friends.  But when we sin, we are in effect breaking the peace with God.  Interesting stuff.