This might sound like a strange question, but I have been doing some reading on Judaism from the perspective of modern-day Jewish scholars covering the 2nd temple period to modern day Rabbinic Judaism. I am currently reading about sin in Judaism and to my surprise some Rabbinic authorities did not view all sin in an entirely negative light. This might be a good place to define sin as I understand it from what I have read thus far for context. I would not want anyone to think that sin was ok with the Rabbis and that is was ok to continue in sin because it was good for the economy. One more point to keep in mind from a Jewish POV people are not born sinners i.e. inherited from Adam but are inclined to sin by nature.
The rabbis describe sinfulness as a condition that people who begin to disregard the law increasingly accept for themselves. One consequence of sin thus is its growing power over the sinner, leading one who at first commits a minor infraction to greater and greater offenses, culminating with idolatry.
Neusner, J., Avery-Peck, A. J., & Green, W. S. (Eds.). (2000). In The encyclopedia of Judaism (Vol. 3, p. 1325). Leiden; Boston; Köln: Brill.
So now to the statement that would suggest that sin is one of life motivators.
In their view (some Rabbis), the inclination to sin stands behind people’s desire to improve their own circumstance, to fulfill sexual needs and so to raise families, and to acquire in appropriate ways that which is currently beyond their means. Were it not for such desires, these authorities argued, most productive human activity would cease. The rabbis accordingly saw the inclination to sin—however dangerous and evil—as an important component of the human psyche.
Neusner, J., Avery-Peck, A. J., & Green, W. S. (Eds.). (2000). In The encyclopedia of Judaism (Vol. 3, p. 1326). Leiden; Boston; Köln: Brill.
Along this same line of thought Hugh Ross in his book Improbable Planet makes the point that the law of decay (2nd law of thermodynamics) is a constant reminder that this world needs rescue.
And yet the awareness of decay, not just of our own life but also of all life and even of the physical universe as a whole, confronts us daily… The quest for a means of rescue from decay and dissolution pervades every culture and every generation, as seen in literature, music, arts, architecture, and more.
For those of you that have taken the Science Module from RZIM you might remember Hugh explaining this about the law of decay:
It is not so high that it discourages us from work (example: yard work, writing a book)>
It is not so low as to let sin go unrestrained
Adam and Eve: more pain, more work, more wasted time because of sin
So, I find it interesting that decay reminds us of a need to do something, about our plight as humans ‘work’, but the work that we do can lead us to idolatry which is as far from God as we can get in this life.
Thinking on this brought these verses to my mind.
And to Adam he said, “Because you listened to the voice of your wife and you ate from the tree from which I forbade you to eat, the ground shall be cursed on your account. In pain you shall eat from it all the days of your life. And thorns and thistles shall sprout for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, until your return to the ground. For from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Gen 3:17-19
Or this verse from Paul:
Now the law came in as a side issue, in order that the trespass could increase, but where sin increased, grace was present in greater abundance, Romans 5:20
I am not suggesting that decay is a sin I am suggesting that sin caused decay and decay can lead us to deeper sin or to the only rescue available, Jesus.
Would be interested in comments.