Is Sin Binary?

Posted on: 2010-10-03 22:06:36

Tonight while we were walking, I was telling Sarah about some of the things we went over today in our Sunday school class. We went over commandments 5-10. Teach the commandments is easy, but explaining to a bunch of 4th graders why the law was given to Moses and what it means is kind of a stretch. God has blessed me with the ability to be pretty good at describing or analogizing things. It is very useful in my profession and has helped a lot while teaching these guys.

But today it felt like I had a hard time going over the material. Perhaps my understanding of it was underestimated! These are some of the questions/observations that were brought up:

  1. Are the 10 commandments in any particular order? This question seems to lead into the next question, but the only thing that really seems to make sense (to me, at least) is that the 10 commandments are in the order from the "most visible" sins to the least visible sins. There is probably some relatively simple argument that would disagree with that statement, but like I said it leads into the next question...

  2. Murder, stealing, and coveting are all on the same list. If the list is in no particular order, then would it not be safe to assume that all of the sins on this list are of equal weight? Growing up Catholic, we were taught about "mortal and venial sins": But the differentiation between those sins is not biblical. That is, no where else in the bible does it talk about 2 different types or weight of sin. There is just sin: that painful "estrangement from God." It either is or is not sin.

There is something about God's infinite perfectness our and limited flesh that makes no sense for there to be different levels of sin. The only distinction of sin that the bible makes is repented vs. unrepented sin. Romans 2:5 says that because of "stubbornness and an unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself on the day of judgement." Not because you committed a "mortal" sin, but because of not repenting! Plus, doesn't saying that the existence of sins that are unforgivable mean that in certain circumstances God's mercy is not limitless for those who might seek his face?

At any rate. All of this to put forth that sin is binary. It either is or is not. Murder, stealing, coveting, are all sin. The punishment for all of those is the same.

What are your thoughts?