Is the sin of human condition primarily egoism -- false self-assertion? Or is it rather more the refusal to become a real person, a true ‘self’ [as Kierkegaard puts it]?
In The Sickness Unto Death, Kierkegaard believes that most people never become selves. Here Kierkegaard highlights sin primarily in terms of self-abdication -- the refusal, denial of the task of becoming a real human, a self in the eyes of God.
In ‘Theology and Women,’ Carol Lakey Hess comments:
For Kierkegaard, human sin was not so much a result of inflated and self-possessing egocentrism, but rather the consequence of a person’s refusal to become a self, i.e., self-abdication. He viewed despair over becoming a self as the common human condition, and he emphasized the importance of the self choosing and becoming a self, contending that the ‘self has the task of becoming itself in freedom,’ and choosing itself before God.
This is a fascinating concept: does false grasping and false ‘will to power’ stem from a first refusal to become real self before God?
Is egoism first a denial of the task of becoming fully human? Is fallen human grasping a cover for not being real?
Hess notes that Kierkegaard recognizes the deep sin of pride, but roots it in self-despair.
For Kierkegaard there were three manifestations of human despair over becoming a self: 1. “spiritlessness,” the failure to realize one’s possibility; 2. “weakness,” the move to escape from one’s self; and 3. “defiance,” the attempt to affirm and master oneself by denying dependence upon God.
A riveting analysis of human condition! Is the sin of pride [self-aggrandizement and egoism and all its children] rooted in despair over becoming a real self before God...?
What would it mean to become the true self I was destined to be before the world began?
Prayer: O God, help me to become real before You, and to embrace all that this means for my world! Amen.