I am a huge fan of CS Lewis. He defines sin as anything that separates us from God. I have decided that there is an intentional sin and unintentional sin. the unintentional sin is when you simply dont know better. Like as a child. There are children that are born without pain receptors. This sounds like a great thing, doesn’t it? The problem, as I understand it, is that they will cause dramtic harm to themselves, absent-mindedly. They will chew their fingernails into the skin, stopping only for bleeding. They will put their hands on a stove and remove it only for the smell of burning flesh. The point being, they don’t have the clues to when they are harming themselves. The lack of knowledge isn’t their fault, they weren’t given the same resources as others. There are some people that just don’t learn some of the nuances of right and wrong. This is like unintentional sin. It is the result of twisted thinking, blindness, or niavete.
If all humans were simply an image of Christ, then the distinction would have occured even in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve must have sinned unknowingly prior to the “apple incident.” I think Adam probably ate a grape in the supermarket while shopping for vegetables. I am sure Eve did a ‘California slow and go’ while riding a horse in the rush hour traffic. They had premarital sex, which some describe as a egregious sin, but since there was no one around to marry them and they had never heard of the concept, it seems this might have been an unknowing sin.
The intentional sin isn’t necessarily a slight against God, but rather a knowing separation. It is knowing the apple is forbidden, but eating it anyway. Picking the apple was deliberate, biting it was passive rationalization. They are equivalent in the eyes of God as both are removed from the garden. One results in pain and fear, the other in hard work and frustration.
My long winded explanation is that most anything can become an obsession. We can bite the apple of anything–most humans have something like this–cleaning, money, possessions, intimacy, whatever. When it gets to the point that it controls us, that the obsession becomes twisted and deliberately destructive–we are addicted. Eve had no chance of escape from the serpent. The serpent didn’t really convince her head, he twisted her heart. The only hope for her is to address the fear and pain honestly and completely. Thats the same with any addict–willing, honest, and open mindedness.