What is our basic problem?

Is there a basic problem that all humans have? And if so, what is our basic problem?

There are two ways of answering the question. What is wrong with us is either mental or moral.

Atheists, those who believe that there is no God, say that our primary problem is mental. They say that our problem is that we think and act irrationally and that education is the solution. Or they say that superstition is our problem, and that education in the ways of science is the solution.

Most Buddhists and Hindus, who believe that everything is a part of a divine oneness, agree that our basic problem is mental. However, they say that this mental problem is ignorance.

We have forgotten who we are in our true selves. We have forgotten that we are not separate from but rather are fundamentally one with the impersonal divine oneness. Our problem is that we have become attached to our identities as individuals, and we need to merge back into the oneness.

In contrast, those who believe in a personal Creator God see our primary problem as moral.

Followers of Judaism and Islam say that we have broken God’s law or that we fail to follow God’s guidance. Most Christians say that in violating God’s laws we have broken our relationship with a personal and holy God.

While there are many good things that follow from God being personal, the one bad thing is that, if God is personal, it is then possible for us to break our relationship with God. And this is what is wrong with us at our core—a broken relationship.

The reasons that motivated us to break our original relationship with God play themselves out in our other relationships as well. By breaking our relationship with a personal and holy God, we, in effect, put ourselves in the place of God, which means that we also then declare ourselves to be the judges of what is right and wrong.

As a result, we become masters in the art of self-justification. We see ourselves as being in the right and other people as being the ones to blame. The Bible tells us that God created us to enjoy life, especially in friendship with Him. But true friendship is not something that can be manipulated or forced.

Instead, God gave us wills and freedom of choice. We are capable of saying “yes” to Him, but also “no.” This is what the Bible means when it says that God made us in His image. Sadly, the first man and woman chose to say “no” to Him—to distrust His motives and His promises and to disobey Him. We still make this choice today. This breaks our relationship with God.

To ignore God, or to substitute other gods for Him, the Bible calls sin. The heart of sin is the desire to live a life independent of the one true God, the God of the Bible.

The Bible says:

“All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” Isaiah 53:6.

In Romans 3:23, the Bible also says, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”

And, in Romans 1:21-23, the Bible explains that, “Yes, |people| knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.... Instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and reptiles.”

Because God loves everyone, He requires us to love other people and not do them harm. This comes from the Bible passage in Leviticus, chapter 19, verse 18, which commands us to, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

But, when we push God away, ignore Him, or give loyalty to someone or something else, including ourselves, God allows us to go our own way. When we sin against God like this, the sin clouds our judgment so that we live selfish and ignorant lives that hurt other people.

The result is costly. Not only do we injure others, we hurt ourselves because our relationship with God is broken.

Isaiah 59:2 explains it this way, “It's your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” Not only do you lose the benefits of your friendship with God in your present life, your future is grim. Without God in your life, you are lost to Him and He is lost to you. This condition is called spiritual death.

To find out more about how you can restore your relationship with God, be sure to browse through the other KGP articles. We would love to answer your questions. Please be sure to contact us today.