In western theology this means we're "fallen" in the sense of loss (like "Humpty-Dumpty" who had the great fall, and could not be put back together again). The Eastern Orthodox theologian, Auxentios says, that it "was not a departure from an originally static and perfect nature; it was the interruption--the cessation of a priceless process." As Scot adds to that: "They were on their way and they got lost."
Scot recounts a story in his childhood, depicting his own crackedness in the throwing of snowballs at unsuspecting cars. We can all relate with stories from our own lives. That while there is much good, there is also something wrong at the core of who we are. Particularly in our relations to God, and to each other.
Of course this all started in the garden. This is when the "tohu va-bohu" (see Genesis 1:2: Hebrew; this means a mess) entered into the human race, and through that, into the world. The garden was gone. In its place would be a struggle, at the heart of which is disrupted relationships.
Sin, to be understood correctly is about violating relationships. Toward God, and toward other human beings. Jesus' teaching emphasizes this, as reflected in "the Jesus Creed". And in his instruction to the rich man. After naming the second part of the Ten Commandments- violations against other humans (the first being violations against God), Jesus adds the command from Leviticus: "and love your neighbor as yourself." Sin is not, at its heart law breaking. Certainly God is King. And humankind ought to obey their king. But more so, sin is relational. Our union with God is diminished, and obliterated. Our communion with each other is under strain, and involves struggle. As Scot puts it:
Union with God was weakened, communion with others was twisted, life became mortal, and the glory faded."Post-moderns" recognize this. They have a healthy scepticism about the goodness of humanity. There is more to it. Humanity is flawed. And their approach to life is measured in their view of politicians, religious leaders, and really everyone (themselves included).
Scot gives the interesting, and in some ways, inspiring story of Alexander Cruden, called "Alexander, the Corrector". He was a person who was devout towards God, but cracked in his relations to humans. He got in trouble, but in the midst of that worked for years in compiling the first complete concordance of the Bible. As well as working for prison reform and against the practice of putting those considered ill according to society, into "madhouses".
Sin disrupts relationships across the board, but it also disrupts God's good creation. The garden is indeed, gone. The problem is not only relational with personal responsibility. But it is also systemic; the system is wrong. In the words of Cornelius Plantinga:
Sin is the disruption of created harmony and then resistance to divine restoration of that harmony.And,
God is for shalom and therefore against sin....Sin is culpable shalom-breaking.
In sum, shalom is God's design for creation and redemption; sin is blamable human vandalism of these great realities and therefore an affront to their architect and builder.Scot adds:
If Shalom is another term for the kingdom of God Jesus came to establish, then sin is anything that impedes the kingdom of God.How do we view our sin and sinning? Do we see it as violating relationships? Or just as breaking a law (and getting caught and convicted)? How should this view of "cracked Eikons" help us? We conclude with Scot's words in his fine study guide of this book (there is also a helpful study guide to The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others):
Commit yourself to confessing your crackedness and to the plan of God to restore cracked Eikons.Amen.
(In this posting is a little more of my own interaction than usual, so hopefully there is not any misrepresentation of what Scot is saying in this chapter.)