“There is never a reasonable basis or ground for sin.”

Magnalia Dei (1909) by Herman Bavinck
Magnalia Dei (1909) by Herman Bavinck

. . . sin, by virtue of its nature, always has a quality of unreasonableness and arbitrariness about it. When someone has sinned, he always tries to excuse or justify himself, but in this he never succeeds. There is never a reasonable basis or ground for sin. Its existence is and remains always lawlessness. True, some in our time try to maintain that the misdoer is brought to his sinful act by circumstances or by his disposition, but such internal or external inevitability is in one’s own conscience always subjected to overwhelming contradiction. Neither rationally nor psychologically is sin to be traced back to a disposition or action which has any reason or right to exist.

—Herman Bavinck, Magnalia Dei, 2nd ed. (Kampen: Kok, 1931 [PDF: Delpher, NeoCalvinism.org]), 207; English trans.: Our Reasonable Faith, trans. Henry Zylstra (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), 224.