10.03.2012

The Fall of Man and the Personal Consequences of Sin


As I discussed in the introduction to this series, Genesis 3 relates the story of the Fall of Man, where Adam and Eve commit sin in the Garden of Eden by eating fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil after God had specifically commanded them not to.

A whole host of negative effects befall Adam and Eve (and consequently, the rest of us) as a result of their disobedience, and the point of this series is to examine some of those effects in more detail. Basically, sin messes everything up.

In the last post, we focused on the theological consequences that came about as the result of Adam and Eve’s sin: our relationship with God is destroyed and we become slaves to sin instead.

Next, we want to turn our attention to the personal consequences of sin (which, as well shall see, are closely related to the theological consequences). Returning to our text in Genesis 3, this aspect of sin’s destructiveness is hinted at in Genesis 3.7, 10-11 where Adam and Eve realize they are naked, sew together fig leaves to make loincloths and then, because of their nakedness, hide from God when He enters the garden.

What was so bad about Adam and Eve being naked? After all, it was the way God had created them, so clearly He had no problem with it! The problem came from Adam and Eve themselves: after they sin by eating the forbidden fruit, they become self-conscious and immediately feel that there is something wrong with them, and they are ashamed of themselves.* Ever since then, men and women have felt the same way: we exist in a state of inner conflict, lacking the self-confidence and self-acceptance that we should have as God’s creatures.

Basically, the process looks something like this:
  1. Humans were created for the purpose of living in relationship with God.
  2. Sins distorts and destroys that relationship.
  3. Without a relationship with God, we are inherently unfulfilled, because we are not living out the purpose for which we were created.
  4. We feel bad about ourselves and follow all sorts of false avenues looking for fulfillment.
Just consider our world today. People desperately want to feel happy or significant or fulfilled, so they are willing to try anything: fame, fortune, career accomplishment, relationships, children, sex, drugs, sports, whatever. Why do you think the self-help industry generates billions of dollars each year? It’s because deep down, we all feel like there’s something wrong with us. We struggle with self-confidence and self-image, and we are convinced that we are deeply flawed.

And, biblically speaking, people are messed up; we are deeply flawed. But flatter abs, a more secure retirement, or a better relationship with your boyfriend won’t provide the answer. Oh sure, you might feel a little better about yourself for a while, but it won’t last. We were created to live in relationship with God, and only in the context of that relationship can we find the solution to our deep flaws.

*It is important to note that, according to the biblical account, Adam and Eve are ashamed of their nakedness, not of their sin (it should have been the other way around). Sin had fundamentally changed the way they viewed themselves.

2 comments:

Justin and Heather Bland 10/4/12, 2:40 PM  

"Adam and Eve are ashamed of their nakedness, not of their sin (it should have been the other way around). Sin had fundamentally changed the way they viewed themselves."

Wow, great statement. Simple Excellent. I have not thought of sin and its distortion perspective like that. Thank you for sharing.

Luke Dockery 10/4/12, 4:14 PM  

Justin,

Glad you read the footnote! I thought it was an important point.

I hope you'll continue reading the series (as I find time to complete it!). I think the Bible portrays sin as being pervasively destructive, and that we have missed out on part of that message, or at least downplayed it somewhat.

Being taught/learning this really changed my perspective on some things.

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