Nothing as Something: Lenten Reflection #4

Sin is nothing masquerading as something.  Sin merely preys on something, on anything, but itself it is nothing.  Sin produces desire for what doesn’t exist.  It takes what is good, adds NOTHING to it, nothing but disordered desire, and, BAM, now there is something new, something disfigured and ugly.  Wanton desires warp creation (what is good) and makes something less of it (which is evil).

This is the gist of the sermon on Sunday, at Life on the Vine, on Romans 7: 7-13.  Sin took the good Law and produced disordered desires, covetousness.  But of itself it could do nothing, because it is nothing.  God only created what is good.  And sin is turning away from what actually exists, for what we want to exist. It is Nothing that wants to be Something.

Sin says what actually exists is not good enough.  That God is being stingy in His gifts.  That He is unfairly withholding from us the knowledge of good and evil.  The original lie of the Serpent is not “You will surely not die,” but rather, “What exists is not enough for you.  Desire more!”  In this way the Devil is the originator of the infomercial.  But the truth of the gospel is that God is enough for us, that what exist is good, and that if we could only see what is right before us that we could indeed live with God.

But the problem is that we can’t see what exists, and so the author of existence entered existence, and endured the Nothing of Death, so that we could re-enter the Something of Life.  And this is the great mystery of Lent, and the life of Christ, that now, after the Fall, the only way back to the fullness of life, the only way back to the abundance of all Something, is through the passage of Nothingness, the daily dying to the disordered desires and our false selves, the picking up of our crosses which make nothing out of our mis-created somethings.

5 Replies to “Nothing as Something: Lenten Reflection #4”

  1. I like the general gist of your post, but would like to push back a bit on the statement you made: "sin is turning away from what actually exists, for what we want to exist." The creative process, which I believe comes from God, harnesses our desires to makes new things to exist. The ideas formed in nothingness transform something into something else that didn't exist before. This is a beautiful thing. Sin comes in when instead of allowing our own creative processes to make something, we want the product of someone else's creative processes; when we try and possess or lay claim to what isn't ours.

  2. maria,

    yes, you are are absolutely right. i believe part of the image of God in us is the ability to co-create with God in the realm of creation. so I guess I would have to think about the difference between "creation out of nothing" as either a sinful or faithful activity.

    perhaps the distinction is "creating to possess" as you said or "creating to give".

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