I don’t pretend to be a theologian or philosopher (well, not often), but I’ve been thinking about the nature of sin lately and would like to speculate.

Sin is willful action that displeases God. But why does it displease God? Probably, there are two reasons.

First, some sins dishonor God. For example, using his name in vain or worshipping false gods.

But there is another category of sins. Why should it displease God for ancient Hebrews to eat pork? Why should he care if we gamble? Why should he care about sex before marriage (one that occupies my thoughts often)? None of these dishonor God except that he commanded against them, which is circular reasoning: “God commanded against them because they dishonor God because he commanded against them because they dishonor God…”

The reason he hates this other category of sins is that they hurt us (the sinner, and those effected by the actions of the sinner). He loves us very much, and he hates to see us hurt ourselves, hurt others, and fall short of our awesome potential through him.

He told the ancient Hebrews not to eat pork, perhaps, because pork is especially dangerous if not cooked well. Safer to eat fish. Or manna.

He told us not to gamble because he loves us and doesn’t want to see us become a slave to financial debt.

He told us to abstain from sex until marriage because he designed us and knows what will truly enthrall our hearts, and sex outside of a committed relationship will not do that; whatever psychologists and sexologists and any human experts say, God knows us better than them and we must trust that his advice is best. He hates premarital sex not because he was bored and created a list of “thou shalt nots”, but because he knows that it will not fulfill us and that it will distract us from the divine romance our hearts were made for.

This theory of sin is more inspiring and beautiful to me than the “he saved me, so I owe him” theory. It is born of a love for Jesus, and not of religious duty. Fire and brimstone, go to (stay in) hell.