Why is sin wrong?

This morning in church we looked at Genesis chapter 3.

God had given Adam and Eve one instruction in chapter 2 verses 16 and 17:

And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’

And yet in chapter 3, after the snake had tempted them, they disobeyed this command. Chapter 3 verse 6 says:

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

I was struck by how basic this is. God gives them an order, and they disobey. This is what sin is: disobeying God’s commands.

It led me to thinking about why sin is bad. There are many things that are (for want of a better phrase) obviously bad; I’m sure everyone reading this will be able to rattle off a list of them. In part that’s thanks to our God-given consciences. But if this is God’s world (and I believe it is), then the reason these things are bad are because God says so. God is in charge of the world he has created, and so we should listen to what he tells us to do. Breaking his laws is serious because of who he is.

I think this is helpful when it comes to evaluating the morality of any given action. It’s easy to agree with people of other world views that murder is wrong, for example. But murder would be wrong even if no-one thought it was, because God says so. And so I need to apply the same approach to the less obvious ones: what does God say about it?