Rotten in Denmark: A Fallen Theology (Part 3/3)

The Five Effects of the Fall (Genesis 1-3)

The utopian culture of the Garden of Eden spans a mere two chapters in the biblical record.  Paradise appears to be rather short-lived.  In contrast to the rest of Scripture, it is barely a speed bump on the road to redemption.  Man’s rebellion, however, and the consequences thereof are magnified throughout the Bible.

There are five clear effects of man’s decision to rebel against God illustrated in the first three chapters of Genesis.

Effect #1: Physical Death

(See Genesis 2:16,17)

God was not ambiguous about what would happen if Adam and Eve chose to disobey.  He told them plainly that if they ate the forbidden fruit they would die.  Granted, it seems that God did not go into great detail about what this death would entail.  However, they should have understood that it wouldn’t be good.  In fact, it was the opposite of good as God’s absolute standard.

Their rebellion was by definition bad or evil.   While they didn’t die on the spot, their decision set off a process of dying.  Slowly but surely their bodies would fail until they would one day breathe their last breath.  They would be dying as long as they lived.  This was, not to be over simplistic, a very sad day.

Effect #2: Spiritual Disharmony

(See Genesis 3:7-10)

After eating the fruit they realized they were naked (that must have been some news flash).  Now they both knew shame and guilt.  They had once walked in the garden with their Creator God.  They would now live out the rest of their days as spiritual fugitives in a foreign land.

The story of humanity is that of a morally marred people in exile.  We long for a better life and a better land.  The entire Bible weaves together the story of God’s plan to reverse the curse brought on by this revolt.  Yet, the prophetic promises contained in Genesis would be a long time coming.  To make matters worse, the serpent would continue to accuse and deceive the human race.

Effect #3: Satanic Opposition

(See Genesis 3:14-15)

There is a weighty principle embedded within this passage.  God placed enmity between the serpent and the woman.  The subtle deception of the malevolent reptile was not confined to this singular event.  The picture painted by Genesis 3 is both prophetic and profound.  There would be a life long battle between Satan and humanity.

The promise to Eve that her seed would crush the serpent is interesting to say the least.  Because women carry the egg and men carry the seed, this could create a problem for biblical interpreters. However, the notion of a miraculous conception is confirmed throughout the pages of Scripture.

This simple verse points to the virgin birth of a chosen child who would defeat the accusing snake.  Until then, Adam and Eve were not only living in a fallen world, they were residing in enemy occupied territory.

Effect #4: Relational Strife

(See Genesis 3:16)

While Adam and Eve were on the outside of the garden looking in, they could at least find comfort in each another.  However, they would quickly encounter the corruption of the curse creeping into their marriage.

The relational result would be a power struggle centered on a desire to obtain an improper role and rule over one another.   Their God-given responsibilities would be difficult to fulfill in a fallen world.

Effect #5: Environmental Turmoil

(See Genesis 3:17-19)

God told Adam that he would work by the sweat of his brow to provide for his family.  The earth would no longer be compliant.  Thorns would encumber his mission.  He would literally be fighting against nature.  The subsequent years would prove that the cursed land would be prone to disasters and devastation.  Years later scientists like Albert Einstein would affirm that the earth has a shelf life.  The Bible tells us why.

We are living in a world that is under a curse.  It is enemy occupied.  We are spiritually separated from the Creator.  Our relationships with each other are tainted by jealousy and power struggles.  The earth is unstable and unpredictable.

In all of this, God is not to blame for suffering.  He alone is good.  Without him we have no standard for deeming any moral or natural event as evil.  The corruption of the cosmos is due to the representative head of humanity rebelling against his Maker.  And we are not off the hook.  We too are a sinful people in need of a Savior.

(…to be continued in a forthcoming “blog book”)