What we name sin is, from the religious point of view, the tragedy of God’s universe. What it is, how it came, why it is permitted to develop itself into the havoc and ruin it surely entails, what is to be the end of it, above all, how its presence and working are to be reconciled with goodness, holiness, love, in the God who has permitted it—these are the crushing questions that press upon the spirit of everyone who thinks deeply on the subject. In its very conception sin is that which ought not to be; which ought never to have been. How, then, or why, is it here, this awful, glaring, deadly, omnipresent reality in human history and experience?
James Orr (1844–1913) was minister of the East Bank United Presbyterian Church in Hawick, Scotland, from 1874–1891, and professor of church history in the Theological College of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland from 1874–1901. From 1901, he was professor of apologetics and theology at Glasgow College of the United Free Church. He was among the chief promoters for the union between the Free and United Presbyterian Churches in Scotland. He lectured at seminaries all over the world and was a prolific writer and editor.
Orr served as the editor for the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1915 Edition, contributed four volumes to the The Pulpit Commentary, and is featured in The Fundamentals (4 vols.).