The Five Wounds
Sin Inflicts
The Human Psyche

     Many Christians are unaware that the Bible lays bare humanity’s basic psychology - from Adam and Eve, our primordial parents, up to and including you and me. It describes what makes all of us tick - the common dynamic that governs how we all think and behave - that over-rides our ethnic and cultural differences, including the many unique peculiarities arising from our often “poles apart” upbringings. Not surprisingly, it’s a dynamic that’s rooted in our response to sin. 

     Genesis Chapter Three briefly describes Adam’s sin - and how his sin dramatically changed his entire spiritual, intellectual, and emotional makeup - a change he passed along to his progeny, meaning all mankind.

Psychology of a Sinner

     Many Christians are unaware that the Bible lays bare humanity’s
basic psychology - from Adam and Eve, our primordial parents, up to and including you and me. It describes what makes all of us tick - the common dynamic that governs how we all think and behave - that over-rides our ethnic and cultural differences, including the many unique peculiarities arising from our often “poles apart” upbringings. Not surprisingly, it’s a dynamic that’s rooted in our response to sin.

     Genesis Chapter Three briefly describes Adam’s sin - and how his sin dramatically changed his entire spiritual, intellectual, and emotional makeup - a change he passed along to his progeny, meaning all mankind.

     Then (following their sin) the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made– themselves coverings.
     And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
     Then the Lord God called to Adam, “Where are you?”
     So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
                                                                                                                                                                                  Genesis 3:7-10

They Knew They Were Naked
Their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked.
                                                                             Genesis 3:10 

     Adam and Eve were well aware of their sin - and so are we. It’s an awareness that’s forever loitering in back of our consciousness - an awareness that, try as we might, we can never completely suppress. Not even sociopaths, who are supposedly devoid of empathy and moral sensitivity, can escape its hold. A revealing story is told of Josef Mengele, the hideous “Dr. Death” of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. He eluded capture by the Allies following Germany’s surrender in 1945 - and eventually escaped to Argentina and then to Paraguay. In 1960, Israeli agents working for the Mosad tracked him to a hotel in Asunción, but were several days too late to make an arrest. His neighbors at the hotel remembered him well - and told the agents of terrifying screams coming from his room night after night. Josef Mengele, a classic sociopath, knew indeed that he was naked before God - and the thought tormented him. 

They Sowed Fig Leaves 
and Made Themselves Covering
They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
                                                                               Genesis 3:7     

We concoct excuses to justify our sins - to hide them from our sight ...
  • It’s not my fault. I was provoked.
  • I’m only human. I resisted as long as I could.
  • How can it be sin when it feels so good?
  • I was born this way.

... but all to little or no avail. The fig leaves we sew together are pathetically inadequate ...

They Hid Themselves from God
Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God.
                                                                                                   Genesis 3:8 

     We hide ourselves from God - because we know that it’s not in the nature of a holy and altogether righteous God to overlook sin or to let it go unpunished. Fear and flight - that’s the visceral response God arouses among men and women everywhere, notwithstanding our sometimes fervent protests to the contrary.  

Fugitives and Vagabonds
     Genesis 4:12 provides another graphic illustration of mankind’s response to sin ...  

A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth. 
                                                                          Genesis 4:12 

Our response to sin, and the innate fear of God that follows in its wake, has turned us all into fugitives and a vagabonds. A fugitive is forever looking over his shoulder - ridden with anxiety and the fear of impending judgment. A vagabond is always on the move, forever restless - unable to settle down and wrap his mind and heart around a sense of enduring peace.
  • Angst - a sense of misgiving and apprehension - is a one-word description of how it feels to be a fugitive. It’s a word carried over from German and popularized by existentialists during the 1950s.
  • Anomie - a sense of social fragmentation and the loss of moral certainty. It’s a one-word description of how it feels to be a vagabond. It’s a word carried over from French and popularized by students of Emile Durkheim, a renowned French sociologist.
 
The Five Wounds Sin Inflicts
     A more detailed account of how sin has formed and shaped humanity’s intellectual and psychological makeup - of what it means to suffer from angst and anomie - is found in the Book of Leviticus.  The Book of Leviticus describes five basic sacrifices for sin ...
  • The Whole Burnt Sacrifice;
  • The Grain Sacrifice;
  • The Peace Sacrifice;
  • The Purification Sacrifice (sometimes called the Sin Offering); and, finally,
  • The Reparation Sacrifice (sometimes called the Trespass Offering).

     The Bible tells us that all five sacrifices are consummated in Christ’s one sacrifice on the Cross. Put somewhat differently: it tells us that Christ’s one sacrifice incorporates the meaning of all five sacrifices described in Leviticus. But what’s the meaning of those sacrifices? And why five? Simply put, each of the sacrifices described in Leviticus points to a wound that sin inflicts. Thus, what Leviticus provides us with is the basic, underlying psychology of a sinner - and, since all men are sinners, of mankind generally. 
The Whole Burnt Sacrifice
     The Whole Burnt Sacrifice displays God’s wrath poured out on sin in horrifying judgment. The wound it points to is guilt and the fear of impending judgment.
 
     What is guilt? Guilt doesn’t arise from mere failure. Most of us can fail at a task without being plagued by guilt or without succumbing to shame. Thomas Edison suffered through hundreds of failures before inventing the incandescent light bulb. His failures only stiffened his resolve to succeed.
     No, guilt doesn’t arise from failure alone; it arises from a sense of moral failure. It’s prompted whenever I’m convicted of unrighteousness - which, in turn, leaves me feeling condemned,  feeling that I deserve to be punished. That’s why guilt and self-condemnation are always linked. Guilt persuades me that I’m justly condemned and deserve to be punished. You can walk away from failure and begin afresh when a new day dawns - if that’s all it is: mere failure. Failure may prompt frustration - and that frustration may cling to you for a few days - perhaps longer. But eventually you’ll break its grip on your life and begin moving forward again.