Episode 20: Sin and Shalom

Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., describes sin as “culpable shalom-breaking.”  What does that mean?  In this episode of “Spiritual Life and Leadership,” Markus Watson discusses what sin is and what we should do about it.





  • To understand sin, we have to start at the beginning in Genesis.
  • Shalom is a good word to describe the world as God created.
  • Shalom refers to a comprehensive sense of well-being that touches every aspect of life.
  • There is a four-fold nature to shalom (see Episode 3: The Fourfold Nature of Shalom)—shalom with God, with one another, within ourselves, and with the created order.
  • Something happened that disrupted world’s shalom—namely, sin.
  • We read about the disruption of shalom in Genesis 3.
  • The fact that men tend to dominate over women is not a prescription of how God wants things to be. It is a description of how things are because sin has entered our story.
  • Cornelius Plantinga, in Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin defines sin as “disruption of created harmony.” It is “culpable shalom-breaking.”
  • Plantinga says, “God is for shalom and, therefore, against sin.”
  • Sin is “culpable shalom-breaking” because we are responsible.
  • We can participate with God in the restoration of shalom.
  • I don’t believe human beings are inherently sinful, though we may have a tendency toward sin. We are originally creatures of shalom.
  • The result of sin is that we have a broken world.
  • How do we respond to sin? We surrender to the God who wants to restore shalom.
  • We surrender in two ways: 1) confession and 2) living fully into our vocations.
  • Confession restores the shalom between us and God. It also restores shalom within ourselves because it heals our shame.
  • Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.”
  • We need to confess to one another. Confessing to a person makes God’s forgiveness tangible.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in Life Together, talks about the need to confess to one another.
  • Living fully into our vocations is about more than just our jobs. It has to do with all of our callings—as a parent, student, citizen, etc.
  • When you live out your vocations you are participating with God to restore shalom in the world.
  • God is moving us toward a world of beauty, goodness, healing, and relational health.



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