Have you ever heard how dangerous criminals have often suffered at the hands of serious physical or sexual abuse themselves? Or that war veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder really struggle to integrate back into ‘normal’ life?

How about you? Have you ever been negatively affected by what you’ve experienced?

We are all born into a fallen world, where sin is rife. Not only does sin attack us from the moment we enter this world, but even as we were developing in the womb we became exposed to our fallen environment. A mother’s drinking, exercise, or even chocolate consumption, can affect the person you ultimately become.

Science is beginning to understand how what we experience – both physically and emotionally – can substantially change who we are at the most basic level, our DNA. The instructions (or genes) written in the strands of our DNA are vital to create a fully-functioning human being, and are present in every cell in your body. Yet, have you ever wondered why a heart looks very different from a brain? The cells in these tissues aren’t expressing all the same genes, despite each one having them. This is because some genes are ‘locked up’ while others are ‘open’, a phenomenon that scientists call epigenetics.

Now, while a brain can’t change into a heart, these epigenetic changes can cause parts of our body to stop working properly. These changes are present in cancer, cardiovascular disease and even mental disorders, occurring in response to our environment. This includes things like our air quality, diet, physical activity or even emotional events.

Substance abuse provides a ‘good’ example in which genes are locked when they shouldn’t be. Long-term Methamphetamine use, a drug normally associated with elation, results in epigenetic changes that stop us from experiencing pleasure. This ‘escape drug’ actually locks genes for happiness in the brain. This ultimately means we become more dependent on the drug and end up missing out on the full experience of life. Many other ‘sins’ work in much the same way, trapping us into a mode of behaviour that isn’t productive, healthy or holy.

Sin is the devil’s way of putting a spanner in the works. While it affects our relationship to God, sin also has consequences which resound in other people’s lives as well. It would be easier to see sin as a force or ‘the power of evil’, so to speak, which wants to overthrow God by any means possible. As a force, every situation is an opportunity for sin to change who we are.

Sin isn’t limited to pornos and warzones, sin will use whatever it can get, and often distorts things we think are good for us. Even if you’re not the one sinning, you can be affected; particularly as the victims of sinful acts. The difference is that while the devil wants to destroy you, God wants nothing but the best for you. But God needs to be allowed into situations to physically unlock who we are supposed to be, and importantly, to protect who we already are in Him.

When the devil locks you into stress, a phobia, hatred, or anxiety – God can unlock you. This is how God works! Sometimes we just have to wake up and realise that sin is real, and does actually affect us, both individually and as a culture. We have to let God mould and shape us into who we were meant to be, from our most basic molecular level upwards.


Written by Jack Teasdale

Jack is a second year PhD Student, reading Cardiology at Bristol University. He loves biology, art and sport. Jack prefesr getting out and doing things rather than having in-depth discussions.

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