Is Imperfection the same as Sin?

by jgnat 52 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Narkissos


    I think teleios and teleiotès carry very different meanings according to the texts and the specific kinds of "Christianity" they come from. For instance, your definition

    Most of these scriptures do not refer to perfect people or perfect behavour, but coming in to a more complete understanding of what Christ has done for us. If we look at this as full grown and complete rather than perfection, I think these scriptures make more sense.

    suits very well Pauline Christianity.

    But when you come to Judeo-Christian theology, such as is echoed (diversely) in Matthew or James, the emphasis is quite different -- since in this perspective the only thing Jesus has done is revealing the right interpretation of the Law.

    For this very reason, I doubt that in the Matthean context the answer given to the rich man is sarcastic (cf. 5:48 where "perfection" of love is what is seriously asked from Jesus' followers).

    The more Gnostic accent of Johannine Christianity and the Alexandrine allegorical interpretation of the Jewish priesthood in Hebrews give still other shades of meanings to the word.

    Once again, neither of these NT ideas is correctly reflected by the WT doctrine of "original" or "final" perfection of Adam and Eve, Christ or mankind.

  • bebu
    Sin caused imperfection.

    God made it possible for humans to sin.

    Everything God does is perfect.

    Therefore, the imperfection resulting from sin is not imperfection, but a manifestation of the perfection of God.

    Ergo: Imperfection=perfection.

    I think that the argument is actually alright, except for the last line--what is implied in the word "perfect" in this argument seems to change a little... We assume that perfection by nature must never allow for imperfection (or sin)... I think that the nature of God's perfection is larger than that, and means that His perfection has already overcome our imperfections/sins. The 'perfection of God' allows for imperfection in others, but not because God is inadequate. Rather, God surpasses the our own defects such that there can still be a reflection (manifestation) of God's perfection. Nothing is ever out of sync with God's sovereign will, only His moral will. Even as sin or imperfections exist, God is yet in control and has already COMPLETELY taken care of our issues. He's not simply keeping one step ahead of us, He knows completely the road to permanently take us out of imperfection/sinfulness. That road includes allowing us to remain for a while where we can notice defects and sin, and is, IMO, part of the plan for helping us seek a resolution. So, I do think that imperfections indirectly relate to the sovereignty and perfection of God. Guess I'll take an aspirin now! bebu Edited to remove the overabundance of italics!

  • Narkissos

    Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes) combines a clear-sighted (if not pessimistic) view of reality with the concept (if not word) of God's perfection:

    I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.

    Reminds me of Nietzsche's remark: wanting to change one thing is wanting to change everything.

  • teejay


    Well, this thread got waay too deep before I saw it, but IMO Adam and Eve were perfect as long as they did what god told them to do. In that state, they were uninhibited to the free flow of the life force or holy spirit. IOW, "perfect."
    Once they stepped outside the boundaries of their design ? "sinned" ? there developed an immediate impediment to the flow of the life force. IOW, they became "imperfect."
    As for the animals, they weren't meant to live forever. Dying, for them, was part of the plan, lest the earth become filled with lions, tigers and bears (oh my!). So, I guess in a sense, animals ? even today's ? are perfect. Except the diseased ones, of course.

    My 2¢

  • under74

    It was too deep from the get go-and Narkissos hadn't even entered the thread!...I'm still a little dizzy when I stand. P.S. Schizm snores and is a bed hog.

  • Schizm


    As for the animals, they weren't meant to live forever. Dying, for them, was part of the plan, lest the earth become filled with lions, tigers and bears (oh my!).

    I'm not so sure about that. Were animals in the habit of dying before Adam was forced to leave Eden? Were there any ferocious animals that lived inside the Garden of Eden? I would think not, on both counts. Just as we can understand how that, if Adam had not sinned, the earth would have became comfortably populated with mankind and then the having of children would necessarily have to come to a halt, so too with regards to the animal population. I see no reason for assuming that the animals were created to die. Who is it that has ever loved a pet that would be satisfied with never seeing it again?

    Well, I guess I did venture a bit off topic, but it's only because under74 made me do it.

    Schizm snores and is a bed hog.

    Man, I can't help what I do while I'm asleep. *LOL*


  • M.J.

    Perfection is a purely theoretical ideal that is created and defined by the mind. As humans, we always accuse ourselves of not being "perfect", but we never stop to think too deeply about what "perfection" really implicates. We never accuse ants or monkeys of being imperfect. How would you define the perfect ant? Do we say an ant is "imperfect" because it does not live up to some theoretical standard of perfection created in our minds? I would say an ant is "adequate" to carry out its function. Same goes for us.

    Man, by nature, is a limited being and must function in the variable, material universe. And man is adequate to the task. But a necessary feature of the human mind is to establish ideals and strive toward them, even with the understanding that "perfection" with regard to those ideals will never be realized. Engineers design toward an "ideal" target but understand that they must allow for a certain amount of variation from that target. I think the Bible defines the "ideal" target with regard to sin in Matt 5:48 (NASB): "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." But it also reminds us that it is never truly attainable (Rom 3:10-12, Rom 3:23). But as we come to accept that we will inevitably "miss the mark", we can also come to realize that God offers a "lifeline" for an eternal reward: Christ's sacrifice. This, I think is the main point. You can theorize all day about how an unlimited being can do this or that, but I think that will just continue to make your head hurt.

  • jgnat

    Wow, more thoughts than I can shake a stick at here. Just to go back to some earlier points - Narkissos, my conclusion was based on my NT study only. My notes are a little confused as I am making this up as I go along. I appreciate again, that perfection can mean different things to different cultures. I wonder if a herd-managing culture might have paid more attention to genetic perfection, as attention to these details had a direct impact on their future well-being.

    Again, my question is about IMPERFECTION and SIN and their relation. I took a quick browse through the 1999 WT CD, and no biblical references support their connection. At least so far.

    Well, there goes one theory: Imperfect 1556 references in WT Sin 6725 references in WT Adam 4860

    *** w99 5/1 5 Everyone Will Be Free *** ?Subjected to Futility?

    Here the word ?creation,? says Benjamin Wilson in The Emphatic Diaglott, does not mean ?the brute and inanimate creation? as some suggest but, rather, ?all mankind.? (Compare Colossians 1:23.) It refers to the whole human family?all of us who long for freedom. We were ?subjected to futility? because of the actions of our original parents. It was ?not by [our] own will? or as a result of personal individual choice that this happened. We inherited our situation. From the Scriptural point of view, Rousseau was wrong when he said that ?man was born free.? Each of us was born in bondage to sin and imperfection, enslaved, as it were, to a system filled with frustration and futility.?Romans 3:23.

    Why was this the case? Because our original parents, Adam and Eve, wanted to be ?like God,? to have complete self-determination, deciding for themselves what is good and what is bad. (Genesis 3:5) They ignored one vital factor about freedom. Only the Creator can have absolute freedom. He is the Universal Sovereign. (Isaiah 33:22; Revelation 4:11) Human freedom must mean freedom within limits. That is why the disciple James encouraged Christians in his day to be governed by ?the perfect law that belongs to freedom.??James 1:25.

    Jehovah rightly expelled Adam and Eve from his universal family, and they died as a result. (Genesis 3:19) But what about their descendants? Mercifully, although they could now pass on only imperfection, sin, and death, Jehovah still allowed them to produce children. So ?death spread to all men.? (Romans 5:12) In that sense God ?subjected [the creation] to futility.?

  • LittleToe

    The word "perfect" is used liberally, but I would take a definition as "fit for purpose".

  • jgnat

    M.J., I like this:

    Engineers design toward an "ideal" target but understand that they must allow for a certain amount of variation from that target.

    Sorry for making your head hurt.

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