At first, Plantinga describes how sin has penetrated into our world. "Evil is the main human problem," he states. This is very true. We are always struggling with something. Evil is defined by Plantinga as "any spoiling of shalom."
However, there is also the concept of sin. Some things can be evil without being sinful, but all sin is evil. An evil that can be blamed on an individual or a group can be considered sin. How widespread is this form of evil, this sin? Every human has been a part of it. Every human has participated in a sin. We have a tendency to sin- even when we have the best intentions possible. We are a corrupted race.
How has sin corrupted us? What are the effects of this corruption? First, we "pervert" the gifts that God has blessed us with so to use them for our own agendas. Second, we "pollute" relationships with other people, godly things, and worldly things. We add to things that are already perfect.
The problem is that sin has not occurred in an isolated setting somewhere far away. It happened, happens, and will happen here- in our world, in our society, in our church, and in our hearts. It is not a personal problem, one that a self-help book or a little diet can solve. This is something bigger than that. My sinful life has infected others, leading them to sinful lives as well. In the same way, others have led me to sin.
God has been gracious to our race, however. He has given us "common grace," which describes "the goodness of God shown to all, regardless of faith, consisting in natural blessings, restraint of corruption, seeds of religion and political order, and a host of civilizing and humanizing impulses, patterns, and traditions."
Who do we blame for this corruption? To say simply Adam and Eve seems to be a childish answer. I don't think that Plantinga ever gets to the answer of this question. But he assures us that neither God nor the devil are to blame. There is some mention of a "spirit of darkness" which seems to encompass the world in a blanket of sinful thought and deed. I would like to suggest that perhaps we are to blame instead. Sin should not hold any power over us, as Romans explains. But why do we fall continually? We chose to. We have a sinful nature that is difficult to keep quiet. Though we may try our best, we will fall.
But, friends, we have hope. God is our refuge and our strength. Just wait for the next chapter!