For years I’ve heard the idea that God cannot be in the presence of sin. He is holy. He is pure. His Being and evil cannot coexist in the same “space,” as it were.
I have been wrestling with the idea that it is God that cannot be in the presence of sin. Something wasn’t clicking as I have been learning more about God and how he relates to us. Even still, I wonder how God can’t be around sin if God is omnipresent and therefore must be around sin.
Perhaps it is not God that cannot be in the presence of sin, but rather sin that cannot be in the presence of God. Yes, it seems only a shifting of the words, but the implications of this phrasing drastically changes the meaning of the sentence.
Perhaps it is that the sin itself is what cannot stand to be around the purity of God. I mean, God can not be made any less pure just because sin exists around him. He is God. He is holy. He is perfect. So maybe it is not God that must move when the two come in contact, but it is the sin.
Imagine light. God is often compared to light. And sin to darkness. When you walk into a dark room and ignite a light source, it is the darkness that retreats from the light. Light doesn’t shy away from darkness.
In fact, the darkness cannot exist without the concept of light. There is no color “dark.” The concept of “dark” itself is a fallacy. Darkness, by definition, is the absence of light. So it is not the darkness that defines how dark it is, but it is the lack of light defines how dark it is. In the same way, sin cannot define itself, for with sin alone there is no rule to judge how sinful it is. Sin is an opposition to the character of God. So sin can only be judged “sinful” based on how adverse it is to God’s character.
And so, when sin comes into the presence of God, it is revealed for how sinful it truly is. The true depth of its darkness is laid bare in the luminescent glow of the glory of God. The magnitude of its depravity is shown uncovered in the beauty of his divinity. And God will not move. It is the sin that must evacuate for fear it be exposed. For fear it will be found out. For fear it will be shown for what it really is and abandoned by those it seeks to corrupt.
So when God and sin come into close proximity, maybe it is not God who moves, but the sin that has to move. It makes sense. Many live their whole lives trying to run from God. Pushing him to the side so they can live life their way. They seek a life without God. Now, of course, that is impossible here and now. But one day, when the veil of this life passes, it is not God that will remove himself from them. It is they that will remove themselves from God. It’s as if, since they have been striving their whole life for a life devoid of God, upon death, God will give them exactly what they wanted. Life without him. Hell, if you will.
And not by his own decision. Not because God is mean and likes to punish people. He doesn’t. But he will, in fact, give you in death exactly what you wanted in life. If you wanted to be close to him in life and lived accordingly, in death you will be close to him. If you lived life wanting separation, then separation is what you will get.
Maybe it is true that it’s not God that can’t be around sin. Maybe it’s sin that can’t be around God.