MasterChef’s seven sins; God’s endless forgiveness

Pieter Bruegel the Elder's Gluttony (1558)

Australia’s MasterChef’s contestants were tonight [July 11, 2010] asked to cook dishes in keeping with the ‘seven deadly sins’ of  wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

Apart from the challenge of cooking with a theme, the designation of these sins has an interesting history.

There is a list of seven sins in the Bible, but it bears little resemblance to the well-known list. Proverbs 6:16-19 says:

16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (NIV)

The only common element is pride, linked to ‘haughty eyes’. In fact most of the list in Proverbs is to do with relational strife with particular emphasis on the dangers of dishonesty.

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The ‘seven deadly sins’ appearing in MasterChef were based on a list developed by 4th century monk Evagrius Ponticus, who had eight sins in his list of Greek terms, the extra one being sorrow or despair. Translated into Latin, they read:

  • Gula (gluttony)
  • Fornicatio (fornication, lust)
  • Avaritia (avarice/greed)
  • Tristitia (sorrow/despair)
  • Ira (wrath)
  • Acedia (acedia or discouragment)
  • Vanagloria (vainglory)
  • Superbia (hubris, pride)

These were refined over the years with Pope Gregory 1 combining some and adding others, with even further changes occurring over time.

Dante used the current version in his writings and artists from the 14th century ownwards featured them regularly, so ingraining them in European thought.

It is fascinating to consider that lying does not make an appearance at all while some of the sins to drop out along the way include discouragement, despair and  extravagance. Deadly things indeed…

While there is no Biblical list that coincides exactly with the popularised ‘seven deadly sins’, they are all the subject of Biblical sanction or at least warning.

On the plus side, the Catholic Church also developed seven  holy virtues – humility, charity, kindness, patience, chastity, temperance, and diligence.

There is much to learn about life and character in considering what the Bible says about sin but it is more than symbolic when Jesus, in discussing the sin of others against us, says we should forgive seventy times seven.

The message – however much we have been sinned against, forgiveness can be greater. Obviously, we can turn that around and say that however many times we have sinned, God’s grace is sufficient to bring forgiveness – if we sincerely receive it.
The problem is that if we do not acknowledge the existence of sin – a widespread modern phenomenon – we will not access God’s forgiveness. In this case, if sin does exist , despite our disbelief, we remain unforgiven.

If you are not sure where you stand, then read the words of Jesus in the Bible – he is wise enough to point us in the right direction. Of course he must have sincerely believed in the harm of sin – he died for ours. PH

Australians the worst ‘seven-sinners’?

6 thoughts on “MasterChef’s seven sins; God’s endless forgiveness

  1. This passes for an article these days? In gods eyes this would be pathetic, not to mention blasphemous – using a popular television show’s title to draw in readers to your sloppy, dodgy writing? God should kill you in a flood.

    • Well thanks Thomas. No doubt there is much I deserve to be judged for, sloppy and dodgy writing not the least. Funnily part of the purpose of the ‘article’ that offends you so much is that where there is much sin, there is much forgiveness. Not cheap forgiveness, it cost Christ his life. Not failed justice, God’s justice is satisfied by Hi s Son and I believe it, so, by the grace of God, I receive it. As for my poor writing, I’d be very happy for you to be more specific so that I can benefit from your insight. As for luring people, you have got to be kidding…

  2. this is a very interesting article, thank you for posting this, I am currently researching about seven deadly sins as well as the seven heavenly virtues which oppose them. Thank you. .

  3. i liked ur article i just have a question
    what did u mean by saying
    ( Of course he must have sincerely believed in the harm of sin – he died for ours )
    ((he died for ours )) ??

    • Part of Christian belief is that the wrongdoing or sin present in humanity and the world brings with it the weight of justice. But how could such a price be paid when we consider all the horrific things we do to each other and they way we turn our backs on God. Because God loves us, he doesn’t want us to be punished for this wrongdoing. But because he is just and true he can’ ignore it (the wayw e do sometimes). So, in the words of John’s Gospel, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son (Jesus) that whoever believes in him would not die, but have eternal life.” John 3:16. Jesus came to us to live a perfect life but to die a criminal’s death so that the price for all the wrong in the world could be paid. And our response. To belief this and accept it as being for us, too, personally. My comment you mention about means that Jesus obviously took the harm of sin very seriously or he would not have allowed himself to be whipped, scourged and nailed to a cross in our place, so that we might be forgiven. For me, when I really became aware of the fallenness of my life, it was devastating. I felt so hopeless and lost. When I learned that through Jesus there was a chance for forgiveness and a new beginning, I reached out for this in faith and have never been the same. I hope that makes sense. Let me know if I cna help further, there are a few simple stories that help explain it… And the most important thing, reach out to Jesus, believe that his death was for you, and receive forgiveness and new friendship with God.

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