The Doctrine of the Fall of Humanity

Do you ever get together with friends and start remembering all the crazy things you did “way back when”? Is there a point in your life that you would love to go back to and experience it again? In the Bible, that point for most Christians is in the Garden of Eden.  It was the place where humanity was created.  The place where we drew our first breath, felt newly created dirt between our toes, took in the aroma of thousands of budding flowers, trees, and plants (Genesis 2:8-9).  “The Garden” is the place where humanity first walked and talked with God…and it hasn’t ever happened like that since.

God had thought of everything.  It was free game…eat what you wanted, go where you wanted, and explore the wonders of creation for the first time.  There were no tears, not disappointments, no discouragements, and no heartaches.  Everything was just as it should be to experience life fully.  God forbid one thing, though, that we know about…don’t eat from two specific trees He had planted in the garden, The trees of life and of the knowledge of good and evil.  That was it.  It was paradise.  Life was good.  (Genesis 2:15-17)

In that whole scenario, I’ve always asked an intriguing question, why did God put the tree in the garden?  Couldn’t we have avoided a lot of mess if he had just left those 2 trees out? I mean, really… If you already know the story or if you read ahead, then you know that those trees would change everything for Adam and Eve and ultimately for you and I, too.  Eve would be tempted by a snake (Genesis 3:1-6) to do exactly what God said not to do and Adam would follow suit.  To be fair, it wasn’t any ordinary snake, it was the physical representation of Satan (Revelation 12:9).  This all happened sometime after Satan and his followers went to war with God and the rest of the angels.  Satan lost, he was thrown to the world, he spread his misery to everyone else.

I wonder what that fruit from the forbidden tree taste like.  I imagine it was incredible, after all, forbidden things just taste better. They are more exciting and seem to be altogether exhilarating…at least in the moment.  For Adam and Eve, though, that moment passed quickly.  This tree of the knowledge of good and evil was different.  It actually gave them knowledge of the difference between what is good and what is evil.  It gave them knowledge that they had done what God told them not to do.  They were acting in sin, an evil deed against the will of their creator and they were ashamed of what they had done…no forbidden fruit is worth that!

At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees.Genesis 3:7-8(NLT)

If this is the entrance of sin, then it still begs the question, what is sin?  The Bible describes in a lot of different ways…

  •  Disobedience to God
  •  Missing the mark
  • Breaking the law of God
  • Madness
  • Selfishness
  • Idolatry
  • Among others

There are generally two broad categories that all other sins fall into.

1.     Sins of Commission – in other words, those are the things that God said not to do and we did them anyway.  We committed sin.

2.     Sins of Omission – those things that we should have done but chose not to.

Shame was their first consequence of sin.  They knew they had done wrong and it felt terrible.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only result.  Ultimately their choice to disobey God would cause them to be thrown out of paradise and ultimately have a much more difficult life.  The greatest consequence, though, was that they could now longer walk with their creator.  They could no longer be in His presence, a consequence that continues today. (Genesis 3:9-15)

All of this raises another interesting question, can we avoid sin?  Adam and Eve didn’t, but what about me? I can be good enough.  Unfortunately, the Bible says that we aren’t immune from the temptation to choose ourselves over God. 

For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5 (NLT)

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Romans 5:12 (NLT)

Sin would not only brought shame and broke the relationship we had with God, it actually brought death.  The first recorded death in the Bible is spiritual, the death of Adam and Eve’s life of sinlessness with God.  The first killing in the Bible was at God’s hands when he killed animals to make skins for Adam and Eve to wear.  We’ll learn later, that sin would tear apart families, ruin lives, and cause us to seek after every pleasure under the sun with no success in regaining true peace.  It would also lead to an eternity in Hell.

Not only is the cost of sin great, the cost of bring restoration to this fallen reality of life and creation would be immense.  We’ll talk about this Sunday at Journey but if you want to read ahead, look at what God would go through to bring us back.  To restore us to a relationship with Him in sinlessness.  Warning, if you read it truthfully, it’s intense.

2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.

3 He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.

4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!

5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.

7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.

8 Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people.

9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.

10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. Isaiah 53:2-11 (NLT)

 

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