COULD a sick man prove that he has no fever by breaking the thermometer? Of course not! Similarly, just because many reject God’s view of sin, it does not mean that sin does not exist. His Word, the Bible, has
much to say on the subject. Exactly what does it teach about sin?
All Fall Short
Some two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul expressed frustration over the fact that ‘the good that he wished he did not do, but the bad that he did not wish was what he practiced.’ (Romans 7:19) If we are honest, we have to admit that our personal situation is similar. Perhaps we desire to live by the Ten Commandments or by some other standard of conduct, but like it or not, we all fall short. It is not that we deliberately choose to violate a norm, but we are simply weak. What is the explanation? Paul himself gives the answer: “If, now, what I do not wish is what I do, the one working it out is no longer I, but the sin dwelling in me.”—Romans 7:20.
Like Paul, all humanity is afflicted by innate weaknesses—evidence of inherent sin and imperfection. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” said the apostle. What is the cause of this condition? Paul continues: “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”—Romans 3:23; 5:12.
Although many reject the idea that transgression on the part of our first parents alienated us from God and caused us to lose original perfection, this is, indeed, what the Bible teaches. Jesus, by quoting from the first chapters of Genesis as authority, showed that he believed in the account of Adam and Eve.—Genesis 1:27; 2:24; 5:2; Matthew 19:1-5.
One of the pillars of the Bible’s message is that Jesus came to earth to redeem from their sinful condition those exercising faith in him. (John 3:16) Our future life prospects depend on our accepting Jehovah’s means of rescuing appreciative mankind from a predicament over which they have no control. But if we do not have a clear grasp of what sin is from God’s viewpoint, we cannot appreciate the means that he has established to save us from it.