Is Imperfection the same as Sin?
Lately I have made some pretty bold statements about the value of dialogue. So I thought I would put it in to practice. I've picked this topic, one I have not studied out thoroughly. One of the first things I noticed when I started rubbing shoulders with a Jehovah's Witness was all this talk about imperfection. Sin is barely mentioned.
I've decided to document my mental ramblings and questions, and I invite others to join in. If I don't get comments right away, that is okay. I will add my own thoughts as I go along.
According to Genesis and Paul, it all started with Adam. Did sin make him imperfect, or did his imperfection cause him to sin? Do all imperfections cause sin?
The Bible teaches that we are all sinners in need of redemption which we have in Jesus Christ. Presumably this was inherited from the first pair with their "original sin"??
jgnat, I can recall asking that same question to a couple of pioneers and elders. I was told by them (with only slight differences in thier versions) that Adam was created perfect. The reason he sinned (hence losing his immortality and perfection) was because he was also given "free will" by Jehovah. When I pressed with how someone created perfect could make a mistake by breaking Jehovah's rule thus sinning they would just repeat because he had free will. In thier minds it made sense, in mine it didn't.
I believe that I was taught (in a round about way) that Adam was imperfect because he sinned and because of that the human race is imperfect. I was taught that imperfection wasn't necessarily sin but was a factor in it...or just because you're imperfect doesn't mean you commit a sin but are prone to sin. I've always had a hard time with this because it's kind of a chicken or egg question. My head's spinning a little and I think I need to lay down....
Wow. I leave the thread for a few minutes, and I garner three responses! I am laughing about the "head spinning" part. Here's the first part of my investigation; let's start with definitions!
Etymology: alteration of Middle English imperfit, from Middle French imparfait, from Latin imperfectus, from in- + perfectus perfect
1 : not perfect: as a : DEFECTIVE b of a flower : having stamens or pistils but not both c : lacking or not involving sexual reproduction <the imperfect stage of a fungus>
2 : of, relating to, or constituting a verb tense used to designate a continuing state or an incomplete action especially in the past
3 : not enforceable at law
1 a : imperfect in form or function : FAULTY <a defective pane of glass> b : falling below the norm in structure or in mental or physical function <defective eyesight>
2 : lacking one or more of the usual forms of grammatical inflection <must is a defective verb>
- de·fec·tive·ly adverb
- de·fec·tive·ness noun
sin Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English sinne, from Old English synn; akin to Old High German sunta sin and probably to Latin sont-, sons guilty, est is -- more at IS
1 a : an offense against religious or moral law b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible <it's a sin to waste food> c : an often serious shortcoming : FAULT
2 a : transgression of the law of God b : a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God
synonym see OFFENSE
Etymology: Middle English faute, from Middle French, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin fallita, from feminine of fallitus, past participle of Latin fallere to deceive, disappoint
1 obsolete : LACK
2 a : WEAKNESS, FAILING; especially : a moral weakness less serious than a vice b : a physical or intellectual imperfection or impairment : DEFECT c : an error especially in service in a net or racket game
3 a : MISDEMEANOR b : MISTAKE
4 : responsibility for wrongdoing or failure <the accident was the driver's fault>
5 : a fracture in the crust of a planet (as the earth) or moon accompanied by a displacement of one side of the fracture with respect to the other usually in a direction parallel to the fracture
- at fault 1 : unable to find the scent and continue chase 2 : open to blame : RESPONSIBLE <couldn't determine who was really at fault>
- to a fault : to an excessive degree <precise to a fault>
synonyms FAULT, FAILING, FRAILTY, FOIBLE, VICE mean an imperfection or weakness of character. FAULT implies a failure, not necessarily culpable, to reach some standard of perfection in disposition, action, or habit <a writer of many virtues and few faults>. FAILING suggests a minor shortcoming in character <being late is a failing of mine>. FRAILTY implies a general or chronic proneness to yield to temptation <human frailties>. FOIBLE applies to a harmless or endearing weakness or idiosyncrasy <an eccentric's charming foibles>. VICE can be a general term for any imperfection or weakness, but it often suggests violation of a moral code or the giving of offense to the moral sensibilities of others <compulsive gambling was his vice>.
I AM SURE I have read in the watchtower materials that Adam's imperfection was connected to his sin. But of course this morning I can't find the key verse used to support this.
Romans 5:12-21 NIV
Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-- 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Happy Guy, can an inanimate, but imperfect object, sin? Is a defective toaster sinful?
Interesting point you raise jgnat. While it would seem obvious to me that the answer would be "No" - after all it's inanimate - I often find myself cursing at inanimate objects.
The ot writing is very much an us and them, good and bad, clean and unclean, perfect and imperfect, sinful and holy demonstration. In my christian phase, i used to wonder about what were the standards for moses declaring animals clean or unclean. Different reference texts had differing theories, but were not conclusive. Finally, one day the old pastor in the church i went to at the time said something that made the most sense. He said unclean was anything that was oddball.
This shows that the biblical sin/imperfection is really a type of chauvenism. The wt has a hard time defining it because it wants to continue its use by justifying it. The jesus figure did a heroic job of attempting to remove this blighted piece of jewish theology. However, the doctrine of his sacrificial death to appease god gave the old concept a new and strengthened life.
Thanks for the invitation to participate in this thread that you've started.
According to Genesis and Paul, it all started with Adam. Did sin make him imperfect, or did his imperfection cause him to sin?
I think of Adam as having been created thouroughly unblemished. I would suppose that "unblemished" carries the same thought as "perfect". Did his sin result in him being blemished?
blemish 1. To mar or impair by a flaw. --blem·ish n. An imperfection that mars or impairs; a flaw or defect.blemish, imperfection, fault, defect, flaw. All of these nouns denote loss or absence of perfection. Blemish applies to something, such as a blotch, that is held to mar the appearance or impair the character of a thing
So in answer to your question, I would think that his sin DID result in him becoming blemished (imperfect). It marred his appearance before his Creator because it corrupted his character.
Do all imperfections cause sin?
I'll have to give more thought to this question.
It's probably irrelevant to the questions that you've asked, but insofar as the reason WHY Adam died I don't think it was a direct result of his having become "imperfect". He died as a result of being deprived of the fruit off the tree of life, a fruit which contained what his body needed in order to stay alive indefinitely.