I am sure many of us have heard a statement similar to this, "To err is human, to forgive, divine." What comes to mind when you first read this statement? Do you agree with this statement? It sounds like a good powerful quote.
This is one of those 'tricky' phrases that you really have to examine to test its soundness. It seems like such a plausible statement and one you would want to teach to your children. On that note I totally disagree with this statement. To err is not human, to err is fallen! We are not being quintessentially human when we sin, we are being quintessentially fallen.
If sin is the essence of humanness, it raises real problems for God's original creation. After God created everything including humans he declared it all to be good (Gen. 1:31). Sin does not make us MORE human. It makes us LESS human. God did not originally create us as sinners.
Why does this matter? Well, if a person believes that sinning is just part of being human they have misdiagnosed the problem. To put it theologically they are saying, "Man's basic problem resides in the fact that he is finite and God is infinite and this chasm cannot be crossed, we cannot conceive Him because he is so majestic, so infinite and we are so finite" (J. Ligon Duncan).
Our finiteness is not the basic problem. For Adam was created finite and God did not mock him for that. Sin is the problem! Rebellion is the problem! Not finiteness. If Adam did not sin there would not be a chasm between God and man.
I think the quote in question would be more properly stated if it read like this, "to err is to sin, for God to forgive us, divine."
Contributor / Eric Stewart
Eric Stewart is the Lead Pastor of ONElife Church in Flint, MI.