Here is my perspective on this back-drop to sin. Not saying that it is correct but it makes more sense to me, when I think honestly.
God, eternal being, always existed and always will. Where he resides, no one knows. It could be in another dimension. It also could be in another dimension-less realm, beyond our imaginations. Maybe it is super-reality. Nonetheless, because creativity is part of His nature, He decided to create a universe, of substances that we call space, time and matter. Within that universe, He creates beings (persons) . . . once again because creativity is part of His nature. There is, additionally, a mystery of motives, things that we can not comprehend or even speculate about.
Love is not an attribute that God decides to have, but it is simply the very essence of His nature. The concept of love would be meaningless without God, as the concept of clocks would have no meaning if there was no such thing as time.
Because God wanted his created beings to enjoy life in the material world, out of which they were made and for which they were made, He gave them some instructions. The instructions are not arbitrary, but reflect the reality that is there, in the same way a Boeing 747 looks symmetrical not arbitrarily but because it reflects the nature of reality . . . speaking of the laws of aerodynamics.
For example, God instructs us that sexual relations works best within the framework of mutual commitment. Children conceived in sexual relations are best raised within that same framework.
Society functions most fully when there is no stealing. As a matter of fact, if all forms of stealing would absolutely end today, the entire world would experience an economic boom that would blow our minds. Even in the developing world, poverty would end within months if not weeks. It would take too long to explain that here, but the need for security, keys, codes, bars, watchmen, police and the list goes on and on and one would be superfluous.
If all lying would cease, the psychological welfare of the human world would be a hundred times healthier. Mental hospitals would be mothballed in places. The mental games would end. The deceptions would end and we would all be thrust into reality . . . mostly the good of it.
So, Satan, the great accuser steps in. I will not even attempt to explain HIS existence. Any attempts would quickly put me back into the Hansel and Gretel camp . . . which I would like to avoid. It is a mystery why Satan exists, but certainly not simply to test us to find out who deserves Heaven or . . . who does not.
So, a person fails to fulfill the rules for healthy living. He or she lies. Yes, it does have consequences in reality. We each, who live in the sphere of that lie, suffer psychological damage from it. We know reality a little less. However, that lie is not catastrophic. God doesn’t beginning sobbing uncontrollably, and differently from what is often preached at us, we alone did not cause the crucifixion of Christ because of that single lie.
Like the bite of the Komodo Dragon, that lie breaks through surface of utopia and scars it. But it is the poison of that bite, which, when goes to seed, does the most damage. It is the accuser who uses that inconsistency or failure (what we would call sin) to try and destroy the individual. Sometimes the pastor joins forces with that effort, “you nailed the nails in our loving savior’s outstretched hand (any psychologist would tell you that is master guild manipulation).
“You did what? You are disgusting! No other decent human being lies.” That’s the message of Satan . . . as the bacteria starts to cause septicemia of the soul.
Death comes like through the proverbial thousand cuts. After lying, comes lusting. “You really had a sexual thought when you looked at that bikini-clad beauty walking by? You are truly repulsive! No decent Christian man would never have thought that way. What’s wrong with you, you pervert!”
“You were angry? How could you be at this point in your life? You’ve been a Christian (or just a person as this applies to non-Christians just as easily) for how long? And things still piss you off? Man, something is wrong with you! You make me sick.” And the accuser continues his taunting and he rubs his hands together in his conniving strategy to destroy you.
The thousand cuts eventually come to the point of feeling, really down deep in your soul, that you are inferior. After all the façades, which is all you see when you look at other people, is perfection. They don’t lie, lust or feel angry, or do they?
Then your feelings of self worth start to crumble, from the inside out. It is almost subliminal. You wake up one morning and the world is different. You are in the minor league, everyone else is in the major league. To compensate, you stop loving other people. You’ve failed God, your creator, so you have no value anymore. You want to push others down to your perceived level, so you hurt them . . . secretly. You start jumping through hoop after hoop looking to win back the God who, according to the accuser, is disgusted in you. This feeling of worthlessness is the root of all anxiety disorders, of all depression and those are only the tips of the iceberg.
The thousand cuts fester and you collapse and fall. Worthless, worthless, worthless . . . the bite of simple sin, under the influence of the great deceiver, has taken its prey! You are now dead.
Meanwhile God says, “Wait a minute! I made the rules FOR you, not to test you. You know, the sabbath is for YOUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL REST! Not for proving that you love me by doing, or not doing, X,Y and Z on that day. Sure, failing the rules diminishes your quality of life . . . a bit. But it is recoverable. It is not the end of your world. You have the same value as before! I’m not looking for the top 10% of rule followers.
Okay, so you still hate yourself? I’ll fix that. Regarding the legalities of the rules, when I look at you, I see the perfection of Christ, if you are covered IN HIM. What I’m really looking for is for those who have not been swept up in this downward spiral of self-hate, which always leads to the hatred of others (as you push down on them to give yourself lift just as a drowning victim often drowns the one who is trying to save them).
I think I’ve made myself clear. I will add one more post. There are certainly those for whom the guilt does not take root, anymore than a stone sticks to Teflon. These are the sociopaths and the psychopaths and the more normal people but with those tendencies. However, I bet you find more of these guiltless (in feeling not reality) with religions than without.