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What Is Sin?

What is sin?

This question seems obvious. Sin is disobeying God. A more informed answer would say it is transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4). But this is only marginally helpful, because defining it doesn't automatically explain why something is a sin. It might help to take it back to Genesis to know what standard we are measuring against.

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.
—Genesis 1:31
In English, the word “good” is a bit nebulous. It means something like “correct”, but even that seems arbitrary. Correct—according to whom? According to God, of course, but by what basis does he declare something good or evil? Is goodness arbitrary? Not really. The word here rendered “good” is the Hebrew word טוב (tov). This word isn't describing some esoteric quality of morality. Hebrew is a concrete language. Tov means “functional”. To be good is to operate as designed.

And from that, we can determine that “evil” means “dysfunctional”. In Hebrew, the word …