God had given Adam and Eve the command to eat of any tree “of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die”. (Genesis 2:16-17 CSB) If you know the narrative then you know what happens next: taking the form of a serpent, Satan approaches Eve and asks the simple question: “Did God really say?” casting doubt on the veracity of God’s spoken Word to His creation. Adam and Eve then fell — “The Fall of Man” or the teaching of “Original Sin.” That is what Satan does, he casts doubt on the Word of God and the truth that is contained in it. It is a worldview sadly that has been taught by false teachers (see 1st Timothy 4:1 and 2nd Timothy 3 and 4 for a more in-depth study on the issue) throughout the centuries and it is especially prevalent in the modern church today.
This word gets used quite a lot. When a child feels little self-worth, we might tell her she’s loved unconditionally. What is often meant by that is “you don’t need to earn my affection.” This is true of the love parents have for their children. Children don’t earn their parents’ love because that love is natural to us. In a conversation on love, Jesus comments love is natural even to the Gentiles, and is not something unique to believers (Matthew 5:43-47). If we are to approach this word – particularly in the phrase “unconditional love” – from a biblical perspective, we must properly define “unconditional.”
“Woke” is the word of the day. If you spend anytime watching, reading, or surfing the news, you will have come across this word. In decades past, one would speak of being “woken up” from slumber. Today, that word has shifted from a somnial meaning into an ideological one. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary (itself fallen into wokeness) defines that word as American slang suggesting an awareness of and attention to key facts or issues. In most contexts, “woke” is often used in reference to some social or political issue. The Bible speaks less about being “woke” and more about being “washed.”
Some churches — even in my own Presbytery — do not talk about sin. Sin is one of those subjects that society as a whole has come to reject. Even clearly bad things and people are being reframed. Take the film industry as an example. Disney has reimagined two of its villains, Maleficent (2014) and Cruella (2021), offering explanations for their villainy and sympathy for their humanity. This is not a new trend. One of my favorite films, The Godfather (1972) invites me to sympathize with ruthless criminals. Christians need not avoid these films and stories, but we must approach them with a biblical worldview.
Earlier this week, I saw a commercial for Invisalign’s alternative to braces. I will say, after struggling through braces myself, there was something appealing to their product. I remember when Invisalign first came out – sometime after my metal braces were already installed – though I can’t say I recall their then advertisements. I don’t know the cost difference between traditional braces and Invisalign’s, but I know they are appealing to the social cost difference.