Sin, Alienation, and the Being of God


(Theological) Sin, as a form of alienation, can be extrapolated from Heideggerian notion of “being-in-the-world.”[1] By way of this approach, sin can, in turn, be defined as “being tempted and being tranquilized”[2] to the point that being human becomes being alienated, where “this [overriding] alienation drives [the sinner] into a kind of Being which borders on the most exaggerated ‘self-dissection’…[an] alienation [that] closes off from Dasein its authenticity and possibility, even if only the possibility of foundering.”[3] Dasein, or what it means to exist as a human being when a human, as a subject, can come to address an object as such, can be adopted to explain the relationship between humanity and sin. If the human is the subject and sin is the object, how human existence encounters sin comes to bear not just in the psychological, mental, spiritual, and physical awareness of sin but becomes protracted in the extenuating effects sinfulness has on the underlying dimensions of human authenticity and possibility. To that end, consequently, if sin is a form of alienation that predisposes a sinner to another state of being, then sin encompasses a “course of life [that] betrays the divine intent for created being… it alienates from the Being of God, divides the sinner from the Being of God’s community, disorders the life of the sinner, and in that measure disorders creation itself.”[4] Here, at the hub of this argument, is the impression that any alienation from the Being of God, through the act of sinning against the Being of God,[5] denotes both a discomfort in life and in death.


[1] This refers to Heidegger’s idea of human existence, as it relates to being, is always in reference to the meaningful relations that occur between beings that encounter each other. Haim Gordon, ed., Dictionary of Existentialism (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999), 37.

[2] Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (New York, NY: Harper and Row Publishers, 1962), 222-223.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Donald W. Musser and Joseph L. Price, eds., A Handbook of Christian Theology (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1992), 442-444.

[5] Sinclair B. Ferguson and David F. Wright, eds., New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 641.

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