After the Creation of the universe and Adam and Eve, the Fall occurred. I will return next time to what it means to be made in God’s image. You know the story—which I insist occurred in space and time because the Bible does,—not some mythological fairy tale. Adam and Eve disobeyed the direct command of God. We have no idea of how long they remained in garden before being tempted and sinning I want to focus on the consequences of the Fall more than of the event itself.
1, This event occurred in real space/ time history as Adam and Eve were real people. Jesus affirmed Adam as historical as did prophets and apostles. Jesus is second man and last Adam, and just as his sin was imputed to us, so our sins are imputed to Jesus.
2. We do not speak nearly as often as we should of the reality and comprehensive extent of the effects of the Fall. We basically pay it lip service and let it go. It altered everything about the world—not just spiritually. The curse of the Fall has extended its tendrils into every nook and cranny of the universe, on macro and micro level. Indeed the very cosmos itself groans as a result of the their sin—Romans 8. But I maintain that your experience of the exterior world and your experience of your interior world (your own self, psyche) will remain largely mysterious and obtuse if you lose sight of the full ramifications of the Fall. Literally it bent everything. We live in a Fallen world friends. What does that mean? For one, it means that absolutely nothing is perfect; everything is imperfect. It has enormous explanatory power.
Frankly what we sometimes blame Satan for is simply due to living in a Fallen world. If we ever consciously or unconsciously set up and either/or between perfection or nothing, we always get nothing. Whether a perfect church, potential marriage partner, work environment, ect EVERYTHNG has been bent to some degree..and thorns and thistles of some kind are present.
Specifically, what are the consequences of the Fall?
1. Man was separated from God—origin of spiritual death. What was threatened in 2:17 became reality in 3:8. 9 in where we see them hiding from the very God who they used to walk with intimately. This was/is worst consequence bc in Romans 5 and elsewhere we see that Adams sin, as the federal head of human race, was imputed to all of his posterity. Since the Fall, all people enter this world united with Adam and are spiritually dead. Spiritual zombies—biologically alive and spiritually dead. Eph 2:1 Find salvation as it speaks of in protoevngelion. 3:15. We need to speak more of the nature of this sin—how it was imputed to us, and the radical corruption that ensued. and its affect on us spiritually and well do that soon.
2. Physical death—2:17, 3”19 Instead of killing them immediately as God said and they desrved, he graciously extended their lives. Yet this explains the origin of human death…as well as suffering, disease…
We must remember that death is abnormal. Not as most people think today—death is an unfortunate but inevitable fact of life. There is a discontinuity between the world as God created it and the world we live in now. This is tremendously important bc of how it explains the origin of death and how God and can be good in the case of death and suffering. Let me use a story from Albert Camus, the French Existentialist, to illustrate this issue—The Plague. There was a priest who lived in a village. One day a terrible plague broke out. There was enormous suffering and death. The priest felt and agonizing dilemma bc since God made the world as it is, then if he helped those who were suffering, then He would be fighting against God. But if obeyed God by letting God’s nature run its course, then he would be obeying God but betraying his beloved villagers who needed him, who were suffering. He ended up helping them…
Do you feel the dilemma? If this world in all its death and suffering is normal, if it is as God made it, then we have no basis for fighting against it…and we have no way of explaining how God can be good in light of this awful suffering we experience. But the Fall gives us a titanic answer! It explains that the world we live in is abnormal; death is abnormal. Jesus could weep and express anger, as Greek shows, when he confronted the death of his friend Lazarus. Death is the violent disruption of the vibrant flow of life—the ripping asunder what God had joined together—the soul and body. So, the Fall gives us an explanation for the problem of evil. The original creation was deathless and perfect but we messed it up.
What about God’s knowledge of the Fall prior to it? Well, I have to stop there, all I can do is deal with the reality we all live in and not jump into abstractions.
3. Man was separated from himself-origin of psychological problems. Do you really think that perfect humans had deep psychological issues? 3:7,10 Prior to Fall they were naked and unashamed but after they were naked and ashamed. Nakedness in the bible is a profound motif which expresses how the entry of sin introduced shame and guilt feelings. Since the Fall, everyone born (not Jesus) was born with cracks in their psyches. We all have psychological issues—some worse than others. We can be unintentionally cruel to people, like Jobs counselors, if we try to attribute all emotional/psychological issues with demonic. Some deliverance ministers need a refresher course on the comprehensive effects of the Fall so that they will not be trying to toss out a demon which is simply caused by imbalance in brain chemistry. I do not know about you, but not a day goes by that I am not acutely aware of my psychological brokenness—some inherited and some caused by life’s battering ram. All of us, without exception, have broken places but we have become so accustomed to them that we think they are normal. Or, the circles we hang out in may look down on us for not being 'victorious'.
I don’t have time to develop this but the gospel can bring substantial healing to some psychological issues—especially guilt feelings. Justification deals directly with forgiving our guilt before God…and the guilty feelings that ensue. There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:1
4. Man separated from other men—origin of sociological problems or mans inhumanity to man, See Adam accusing Eve…3:12…and Cain killing Abel.4:8 God’s very good creation in 1:31 has degenerated terribly due to Fall. The lovely fields of Edenic Paradise have turned into killing fields.
5. Man separated from nature—origin of environmental problems, and fear. 3:17ff. The original cultural mandate has been abused and we’ve raped creation. And instead of the animals coming to Adam to be named they now have instinct to flee from us…sad.
6. Nature separated from nature-origin of violence and decay in creation.1:29, 30—Romans 8. Nature is red in tooth and claw. Carniverous activity…survival of the strongest.
7. Man separated from evil angels and conflict between folowers of Christ and Satan—spiruatal warfare 3:15.
Note how comprehsnsive these effects are. Do you see that now? And how life and this world is inexplicable apart from accurate understanding of the Fall.
We usually focus on Adams sin and how it effects us spiritually and that is primary. It is what plunged us into radical ruin…spiritual death.
It has enormous explanatory power.
Man separated from God-origin of spiritual problems, spiritul death
Origin of physical death, disease
Man separated from others--origin of relational confict and violence
Man separated from himself—origin psychological problems
Man separated from nature—origin of pollution, and fear between us and animals
Separation of nature from nature—origin of violence in nature.
Do you see how the Fall sheds so much light on us as well the world we live in? Let us recapture a deeper understanding of the reality and effects of the Fall—and how that accents the beauty of the cosmic scope of Christ’s redemption.
The goal of the drama of redemption is to not just restore pristine glory of Eden, but much further…Paradise will be here on earth. A renewed heaven and earth. Rev. 21, 22
Still, very very lovely. Not just as proof of existence of God but it is beautiful.
Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.