What is the evidence for sin?
There are several primary pieces of evidence left in the trail of everyone bent by sin. Since God requires man recognize sin in self and the world He decrees the evidence remain obvious. His declaration of sin as rebellion against Him is all the verification for sin He needs. He always tells the truth and demands His creation live in truth declared. Man is created in the image of God. It is this image which gives us the tools to know truth, the difference between right and wrong and the reality of physical death pointing toward spiritual death.
Even if we don’t know the word “sin” we do know the feeling “guilt.” In the New Testament the word “guilty” means to owe or to be in debt. In the Hebrew Scripture the word “guilty” means to commit an offense and be held responsible, either by self or an authority. Whether in the Hebrew Scripture or New Testament the guilty person is held and judged against a specific standard. This recognition of “guilt” points to sin and the intellectual acknowledgment of its reality, not the emotional realization of the consequences which follows. Emotions are subjective, influenced by many uncontrollable and unpredictable external and internal circumstances. Both our minds and the emotions, parts of the image of God, are corrupted by sin and so we cannot see, or will not see, and understand sin’s reality.
No one can live with a guilty conscience for long. They must do something with the guilt. For sinful humanity one of the prevalent means for easing the shame brought on by sinful actions and attitudes is to change the standard which judges those actions and attitudes. We say what we have done is not rebellion and has violated no law and then we convince ourselves the lie is true. Doing this gives us permission to continue living out the lie. Or, we do something to absolve ourselves of the guilt. We offer restitution and pay for our sin using our own means and then feel better. Doing this never changes the truth of history and the reality of what has been done. Nor, because of the doctrine of depravity, will we adequately pay for our own sin, either actively or passively. We either ignore the rules and our rebellion against them or we explain away our rebellion and alleviate our feeling of guilt.
But wait. Our heads, the intelligence, tells us “guilt” is real. Our heads, our minds, tell us we have done something to produce guilt. If we are honest we will recognize there is an objective standard existing outside of self which is absolute and which we have violated, producing guilt. We know, intellectually, the difference between right and wrong. This is the second piece of evidence for sin. Admitting one is guilty is as vitally important as recognizing the truth of sin. Ignoring the guilt will compel the person to begin viewing the created world, governed by the absolute laws of God, to believe a lie, which is insane.
It is not a great leap to realize a standard, a measurement of the distance between right and wrong, must have a Standard Giver. Since God, the Standard Giver, has created people in His image all are able to recognize both the standard of right and wrong and the One upon whom the standard is based. We know, intellectually as well as intimately, the boundaries of that standard. We may ignore them, rationalize them away, say they do not nor have never existed, call them something else, but we know, even corrupted by sin, the difference between right and wrong.
We also know we always want to choose that which is wrong. In order to abrogate our responsibility to do what is right by choosing to do the wrong we must redefine truth, saying it is something it is not. When we do this we say God is something other than what He is truly.
Truth, and right and wrong, are as absolute as mathematics. Evidence for the reality of sin is the recognition of what is right and what is wrong based upon the intimate knowledge of the intrinsic, objective standard of God, the truth, known because of the tools given within the image of God carried by all.