In which there is theological heartache

by Craig on April 17, 2012

Clicking on the brackets makes them bigger - and easier to read ツ

The Bible tournament to determine my number one bible verse EVER continues…

If you are new to the tourney…

I set up the seedings here.
I determined the tournament locations here.
The South Regional results are here, and here.
The West Regional recaps are here, here and here
The East Regional game summaries are here, herehere and here.

The next match-up…

#7 (1 Peter 5:7) Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.


#10 (2 Corinthians 5:21) God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Both of these verses, that look so simple and plain at first reading…caused me an immense amount of theological heartache this morning! For different reasons, each one had me debating with myself and Bible translators, and theologians, and God.

It turns out that big Master’s degree holding, Seminary trained me, didn’t really understand either verse.

These are both really lovely verses…but just because something’s pretty doesn’t mean we should gobble it right up without thinking it through first.


You know?

#10 (2 Corinthians 5:21)…a glimpse into one of the Bible’s most enigmatic mysteries. How could all the sins of all who believe, and only their’s, be blotted out by God – and yet still. be. fair?

I’m reminded of something I read once about God.
He is always fair, but sometimes more than fair.

Mathematically I wonder if the odds against living an entire life with no sin are about 1 in 107,602,707,791 (that’s 107 billion…108 billion if you round up ツ).

I think the odds are just about right.

Because 107 billion and change is about how many people have ever lived. (I googled it)

So, the odds of one person living without sin…
they’re apparently 107 billion to 1…
Our Lord and God – Jesus – being the 1.

But I can’t see God as ever having “become” sin.

Because if God is God…
He is always and everywhere perfect…
and sin is imperfection.

It’s impossible for God to “become sin”…to “become” imperfect.

Yet, in the Greek, that’s exactly what’s written.
Jesus, whom we believe to be God, became sin…

The Greek word is…


(Pronounced epoyaysen – emphasis on “poy”, and with a Greek accent ツ)

The Father “made” the Son…sin.

I found only a couple of old Bible translations…

…translations that nobody uses anymore…

only these two stayed with the literal translation (Douay-Rheims and Darby translations – both Catholic). Bible translators have most often softened the literal text, probably because of the same discomfort I felt…

…made him to be sin… (NIV) (ESV) (NASB) (KJV) (ISV) (NAB)

It makes the text read that the Father made the Son to be “as” sin – without making him to actually become sin. They go for the substitutionary, symbolic meaning.

My guess is that the translators did this, taking into consideration the context of all of Scripture. Sometimes a literal translation can be taken out of context and used to support all sorts of heresies, big and small. I get why they did it.

Making Bible translations is a sometimes terrifying responsibility.

There is more to this…

How can the perfect God be made imperfect…

without becoming imperfect…

and thereby ceasing to be…

The. Perfect. God?

I can’t declare a “winner” in this Bible verse match-up until I can wind my way through this…

So I need more time to work it out.

Please come back.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Cora April 17, 2012 at 10:12 am

I am soooo looking forward to this, Craig! This is timed perfectly, as I was asked this very question. Thank you for taking the time for digging this out and explaining it. I’ll be holding my breath waiting. . . . . . . .!!!


Craig April 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I had to hold my breath for a while to Cora! This was just supposed to be a whimsical little tournament!! And I’m really glad for the good timing, that makes me smile. I can’t believe I’ve never asked this question before – but I’ve never EVER had a question of faith for which an answer hasn’t been provided. Theology is completely simple – and completely complicated – just like God. Blessings my friend!


Lisa notes April 18, 2012 at 9:35 am

#10 makes #7 possible for me (although I still don’t “cast my anxiety” very well. sigh). But because he makes me the righteousness of God (whoa!!!), it’s proof he cares; I shouldn’t be anxious. Thanks, Craig. Love this tourney!


Craig April 18, 2012 at 9:51 am

Lisa, this REALLY was just supposed to be a simple little tournament – a little flight of whimsy – but it’s made me confront some incredibly deep verses head-on. This last matchup has my head spinning still – really amazing stuff in these verses – and I really never DID truly understand either one. Thank you very much Lisa, thank you for reading me from way back when I didn’t even know how to write a blog post – I’m still learning…and the learning is all from just from reading blogs I heart, that’s all – I read – I get inspired – I learn. I’m really glad that I bloggy know you! God bless you and keep you Lisa!


Katie April 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Lisa I said the same thing…….


Craig April 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm


Martha Orlando April 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Oh, I DO so want to see how you work this out, Craig! That large, looming question of sin . . . that is a huge question to ponder when it comes to our sinless Lord. And, casting my anxieties? I am SO much better with that than I used to be and it is such a blessed relief.
God played “hide-and-seek” with me as I read scripture in preparation for my daily devotion which will be published a week from today. What a revelation He gave me in the midst of my angst and frustration! What reassurance that He is, indeed, there, but I need to do the looking. Hope you will read this when it’s posted and let me know what you think.
Blessings always, my friend!


Craig April 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Ahhhhh, in the middle of angst and frustration…that’s where some of the best inspiration comes! When you post it make sure to let me know – because I DON”T want to miss it. OK? Pleeeeeeeeeez ツ And I’m still not good at “casting cares” onto God…practice…practice…practice. God bless you Martha!!


Martha Orlando April 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I will remind you, Craig. And, yes, I still hold on to some things more than I should, but am learning to pray better, learning to trust better, unlearning so many wrong ways to be in this world. Ah! To see from whence the best inspiration comes! That’s the ticket!
He has blessed me. He blesses you, always and everywhere!


Katie April 18, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I only can caste my cares and anxiety upon him because of what he did when he became sin for me and took my spot upon that cross.

But oh the way this tourney is going…. it is a good thing. I went through it a lot faster than you did but I am hanging on every word of why you pick each one. When I did the tourney, it was a way to get myself into scripture days after being fired and accused falsely. It was a way to get me into God’s Word, so I went through it quickly. I love all the reasoning and thinking this tourney is causing me to do as you go through each verse and why. Thank you Craig.


Craig April 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Susan, first of all I’m sorry I’m late in replying to your comment – first I was preparing, then at, and then recuperating from Bloggy Boot Camp. I’m back now. and Katie – the first I didn’t ever consider the ramifications of God becoming sin – then when I did I shuddered at the thought of it – and hated when people said it – because God cannot BE sin – and there are all those different theological ways around it – tomorrow I’ll be writing my little tiny theological guess as to how it could happen – a little theology – a little time and eternity – and I don’t think I’ll even touch upon the miracle that it was. And this tournament is such a surprise – I expected it to go so much faster too – but some of these verses are undoing me ツ and I know the timing this tourney had for you – and I’m glad it worked out that way. Anyway, thank you Katie, and God bless and keep you!


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