Sin and its Remedy

Solitary Tree What is sin and who created it?

Sin is the result of thoughts and deeds that are out of harmony with God’s will and laws. Or, simply stated, sin is the violation of God’s laws (1 John 3:4).

Sin is a human creation – God did not create sin and evil as all of God’s creation is good. Having been given free will, man is both a creature and a creator – and can create both good and evil. Sin occurs at the soul level, when one exercises their will contrary to the Father’s will based on wrong desires (James 1:13-15). These desires, when acted on, bring about deeds corresponding to the sinful thoughts and cravings. As a result of sin, the soul is defiled.

 Humans were created with both animal appetites and spiritual aspirations, but in the beginning, these were in harmony with the laws that produce happiness. After the original disobedience (the Fall), however, people have often exercised their will in wrong ways and against the laws of God. They followed their animal desires, which unduly asserted themselves at the expense of their spiritual aspirations, which were partly lost due to the Fall. The perversion of the animal appetites and/or the loss of spiritual aspirations lead to disharmony and sin.

Sin and the defilements of the soul are creations of not only the mind, but also of emotions, affections, and the intellect. These defilements result in alienation from the good, being opposed to man’s original state of perfection. The initial purity of the soul is besmirched by the impurities that the person’s misguided animal appetites have created. These impurities then become a part of the individual’s being and soul. They keep one in discord with the laws controlling the human existence and result in unhappiness.

Instead of turning to God and His Love, the first parents sought mastery of their material surroundings alone, and, instead of developing their souls, they chose the development of their intellectual faculties. For it is through intellectual attainments that humans acquire the material possessions and wealth which marks them as successful by worldly standards. And thus came the story of the “forbidden fruit” and the “Tree of Knowledge.” It is through this material knowledge that sin came, for man sought to be independent of God, and with it came pride. They became puffed up, cruel, heartless and merciless, whereas they had been created with a soul full of human love, mercy, tenderness and sympathy for their fellow beings. (Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up, 1 Cor. 8:1).

How can sin be eradicated?

God has decreed a way that will free the soul and body from sin. It consists of eliminating the wrong appetites and desires that lead to sinful acts. Only then will the soul come into its natural condition of harmony with God’s will. Since man is the initiator of sin, man must also be the actor and initiating force to bring about these changes in his will. God is, however, very willing to help in this process and to forgive sin.

Since the root of sin is at the soul level, the soul needs to become awakened to its defilements and the fruitless pursuits of worldly values. Upon this realization, the person will then choose to ask for forgiveness and to embark on a path to purification of their soul and development of natural love.

Forgiveness involves two steps. Firstly, the person has to realize that sin is the result of thoughts and deeds out of harmony with God’s will and laws. Secondly, effort and struggle are necessary to align with the divine laws and to get rid of the recollections of sin which cause suffering.

Prayer for forgiveness involves asking the Father for help in turning away from wrong thoughts and in exercising their will in accord with God’s will. The answer to such prayer does not affect or remove the person’s sins, but has a powerful effect on their state and soul. The person will be influenced in a way that it will be much easier for them to change their wrong appetites and desires. The individual will also be better able to remove from their recollections acts and thoughts causing their souls to be in a state of sin and to suffer as a result. As the person’s soul and life come into harmony with God’s law, they will forget their sinful desires and acts and find true forgiveness.

Throughout their history, humans were exhorted to return to obedience of divine laws, taught by spiritual teachers and messengers who in various forms, times and places transmitted God’s will to mortals that were attuned to their suggestions. Here, perhaps, is the story of the great religious founders and reformers of all lands and ages up to the coming of the Messiah. They all sought to turn humans to moral life. The Buddha’s Eight-fold Path, the Hammurabi Code, and the Decalogue of Moses may be viewed as the success which the Father’s messengers attained in planting into human minds an awareness of the existence of God’s laws, which were to be observed by all His children for the purity of their souls.[1]

Old Testament prophets, like Moses, Elijah, and others, spent much effort in trying to turn their compatriots away from sin and error to standards of ethical living. They sought to give effect to their sermons through recourse to threats of punishment to be meted out by an “angry” and “wrathful” God. They, however, conceived of God as a “stern taskmaster” who was “vengeful” and “jealous of His Name”. Their highest concept of Judaism, which graces the pages of the Old Testament, was intense faith in God, righteousness, and obedience to His laws. There also runs through the Scriptures the theme of the new heart — the upcoming promise of the Father’s Love, to be bestowed in the fullness of time upon the Jews first, and thereafter upon all humanity.

A second and easier way to eradicate sin from the soul is through the Divine Love – which is the fulfilment of the Old Testament “new heart” prophecies. Prayer for the Father’s Love not only purifies the soul more quickly, but also transforms it from the divine image into divine substance. As the Divine Love begins to fill the soul, sin and soul encrustations are gradually, little by little, eliminated, and natural love is absorbed by Divine Love. Sin has to give way to the Divine Love as it cannot coexist with It in the same part of the soul at the same time just as it is impossible for two material objects to occupy the same space at the same time.

References:
Angelic Revelations of Divine Truth (PDF version)
Vol. 1, chapter 11 and 12; and Vol. 2, chapter 8

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[1] Four immeasurable emotions, described in Buddhist practice, may be developed by anyone through mindfulness and meditation. They are loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. They represent some of the most beautiful and hopeful aspects of the human nature. Also referred to as mind-liberating practices, they awaken powerful healing energies which brighten and lift the mind to increasing levels of clarity. As a result, these emotions or states manifest as forces of purification transforming the turbulent heart into a refuge of calm, focused awareness.

More specifically, loving-kindness is the capacity for love and the medicine for anger, agitation and hatred. Compassion is the capacity to remain present in the face of pain and suffering, and the antidote to cruelty. Empathetic joy is the capacity for boundless joy and gratitude, and the counteracting force for envy and jealousy. Equanimity is the capacity to be with things as they are, as well as spacious balance, which supports the release of clinging and attachment. (Source: http://www.brahmaviharas.org/)

Photo: Alex Peck

 

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