Wednesday, December 7

Sin is heightened when before God

A common fallacy within the conception of sin is the thought that all sins are considered the same before God, that it does not make a difference who performs the sin or what it is they are doing, it is just as evil and inexcusable as any other. This thought is strongly tied to the idea that sin is related to our moral action and not the spiritual relationship within ourselves that is before God. Also, it presupposes that immoral acts, what would be called a “particular sin”, are instances of new sin arising within the self; instead of the expression of the continual despair that a self is in. If sin is a spiritual sickness within the self it implies that despair (and sin) intensifies with heightened consciousness. In that, the more consciousness, the more despair.

A man who thinks of himself as spiritless and does not grasp the eternal aspect within him would accordingly not be conscious of his despair. His imbalance in the self’s synthesis is a natural one since an aspect (the eternal aspect) of the self has been denied of existing. His despair is not constituted by defiance or weakness, which appear in the more severe forms of despair, but constituted by ignorance. The despair is less intense since he is ignorant of it, and yet the despair is further from salvation compared to despair that is aware of its eternal/temporal synthesis and conscious of its responsibility towards God. As an example, consider the Pharisees in this passage:

Matthew 9
10And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
11And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
12But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
13But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus spent a lot of time rebuking the Pharisees, but in this passage it seems to imply that he thought of them as "whole". This is not the case; however, as I am sure Jesus was speaking with a sense of irony. The Pharisees, who did not realize they were in despair, was less needy for salvation than the publicans but also infinitely further away from getting their despair healed. They could not admit to having a problem. Indeed, they thought of themselves as righteous, so Jesus could go no further with them. Of course, the Pharisees were not righteous, they were still in despair despite being completely oblivious to it, but by being ignorant of the sickness they necessarily had to be ignorant of the cure (which was one of the reasons Jesus got crucified in the end).

Just as despair intensifies when a self is conscious of its own imbalance, sin is heightened when it is before God. The despairing self that is not aware of being before God is in much less sin since his ignorance restricts him from directly sinning against God in defiance. The non-religious sin is that of ignorance, but when the self becomes aware of a God its despair becomes inherently sinful. Consider Kierkegaard's definition of sin which I elaborated on two posts ago:

"Before God, or with the conception of God, in despair not wanting to be oneself, or wanting in despair to be oneself"

Once the self is aware of it being before God, it has to make a choice between faith or sinful despair. If it is unable to strive existentially towards faith it is thrusted into an even more intense form of despair than from whence it came. This despair is founded on either the sin of defiance (actively opposing faith) or the sin of weakness (not being able to choose faith through the will’s weakness). In this sense, despair that is before God becomes sin and multiplies in severity compared with the despair that is not conscious of itself before God.

This is why Jesus incessantly rebuked the Pharisees. By being the “godly” men in Jewish society, their despair was before God in the most direct way possible, and they not only sinned in despair but taught others to do also. They turned what was known as “religious piety” into despair, thus destroying the religion, and this was the greatest blasphemy to Jesus. Hypocrisy is deplorable, but religious hypocrisy is blasphemy before God.

Furthermore, those who are unconscious of being before God have a cloak for their sin (John 15:22-25), but those who are conscious are without excuse. As people who are conscious of being before God as Christians, this is both an encouraging and frightening fact. Our despair is before God and is sin, a sin that would be considered blasphemy if it was basked in while labeling oneself as a “little Christ”. Considering Christians imagine themselves redeemed of this spiritual sickness they shouldn't have to worry about all this talk of blasphemous sin, religious hypocrisy, and intense despair... right? That is not necessarily the case, since the Pharisees were righteous and considered themselves justified. Christianity must accurately grasp the recourse to this spiritual sickness of sin before it escapes out of despair. When you consider the existential status of the majority of Christians today this “accurate grasp” of Christ’s cure is doubtful, more on this next post.


Blogger Hoosier King said...

If sin is only connected to our spiritual relationship with God and our sense of despair, and not with moral action, does it follow from your thinking that moral actions have no connection to our spiritual relationship with God? I agree with your connection of despair and sin, but I can't help but think that moral and immoral actions have a great deal to do with our relationship to our innermost beings and God. Surely it is not possible to rise above despair and approach the altar of God before repenting of immoral actions.


7:01 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Hello, I believe i adressed this adequately in my last post, i'll give an excerpt:

"Kierkegaard's definition of sin is entirely consistent with the idea that Christianity is an existential communication, since the self expresses itself existentially. For example, sexual lust will often lead to sexual immorality, blood lust will often lead to violence, greed will often lead to theft or exploitation, and even if it dosen't such things are a vice to the self. A self that is in despair will most likely produce these vices, and a self that is affirmed will imitate Christ through existential selflessness. The expression of the self is existential by nature, and in this sense morality is closely married to sin but neither are dependent on the other."

7:43 PM  
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11:39 AM  

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