I have begun reading Cornelius Plantinga’s book, “Not the Way it’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin” and I love it. I am not sure how I missed this when it was first published over 20 years ago. If you desire to have a concise but practical treatment of sin, this is the book. But be warned: it will penetrate your soul in a most practical but sharp manner. I am going to assign it for reading in our Theological Discussion Group on Monday mornings as well as assign it as required reading in the course I teach at the Grace Bible Institute: Man, Sin, and Salvation.
Plantinga hooked me in the introduction and I can’t wait to finish the book. He wrote,
The Bible presents sin by way of major concepts, principally lawlessness and faithlessness expressed in an array of images: sin is the missing of a target, a wandering from the path, a straying from the fold. Sin is a hard heart and a stiff neck. Sin is blindness and deafness. It is both the overstepping of a line and the failure to reach it – both transgression and shortcoming. Sin is a beast crouching at the door. In sin, people attack or evade or neglect their divine calling. These and other images suggest deviance: even when it is familiar, sin is never normal. Sin is disruption of created harmony and then resistance to divine restoration of that harmony. Above all, sin disrupts and resists the vital human relation to God, and it does all this disrupting and resisting in a number of intertwined ways. Sinful life, as Geoffrey Bromiley observes, is a partly depressing, partly ludicrous caricature of genuine human life (5).