DoctrineThe Fall by Scott Bushey
It’s all downhill from here?
I had a patient the other day come into a local hospital with a fractured hip, secondary to a fall at the home. My mother, as I have mentioned is in a nursing home, rehabilitating from her recent bladder surgery-she told me Friday that when she was getting up to the chair in her room, that she, ‘almost fell’. Meteors fall. Anyone here watching the new show, ‘Under the Dome’ by Stephen King? ‘Pink stars are falling in lines’. How about, ‘The fall’ season in New England?
Webster’s defines ‘fall’ as:
verb (used without object)
1.to drop or descend under the force of gravity, as to a lower place through loss or lack of support.
2.to come or drop down suddenly to a lower position, especially to leave a standing or erect position suddenly, whether voluntarily or not: to fall on one’s knees.
3.to become less or lower; become of a lower level, degree, amount, quality, value, number, etc.; decline: The temperature fell ten degrees. Stock prices fell to a new low for the year.
4.to subside or abate.
5.extend downward; hang down: Her hair falls to her shoulders
How can we explain what Adam did in relation to this definition supplied by Webster?
Talk to me like I am a 5 year old and explain it. Not as easy as you would think. There is a lot couched in the idea. It is deeply theological. Much must be said in regards to preparation to explain the fall. One must understand the nature of God and the nature of man.
We will attempt to unpack some of those elements today and next week.
In the previous teaching, we discussed the creation of man; I tried to evade going into the specifics of God making man in His image and what that technically means. However, in this portion of study, I will need to address that subject as to give some credence to the fall of man.
Gen 1:27 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The Hebrew word for image is:
6754. tselem, tseh´-lem; from an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, i.e. (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence, a representative figure, especially an idol:—image, vain shew.
That reflection is a reflection of God’s holiness. It is not Gods perfection. It is a representation.
“This image was imparted only to humans (2:7). “Image” is used figuratively here, for God does not have a human form. Being in God’s image means that humans share, though imperfectly and finitely, in God’s nature, that is, in His communicable attributes (life, personality, truth, wisdom, love, holiness, justice), and so have the capacity for spiritual fellowship with Him.”
Matthew Henry writes:
“That man was made in God’s image and after his likeness, two words to express the same thing and making each other the more expressive; image and likeness denote the likest image, the nearest resemblance of any of the visible creatures. Man was not made in the likeness of any creature that went before him, but in the likeness of his Creator; yet still between God and man there is an infinite distance. Christ only is the express image of God’s person, as the Son of his Father, having the same nature. It is only some of God’s honour that is put upon man, who is God’s image only as the shadow in the glass, or the king’s impress upon the coin. God’s image upon man consists in these three things:— 1. In his nature and constitution, not those of his body (for God has not a body), but those of his soul. This honour indeed God has put upon the body of man, that the Word was made flesh, the Son of God was clothed with a body like ours and will shortly clothe ours with a glory like that of his. And this we may safely say, That he by whom God made the worlds, not only the great world, but man the little world, formed the human body, at the first, according to the platform he designed for himself in the fulness of time. But it is the soul, the great soul, of man, that does especially bear God’s image. The soul is a spirit, an intelligent immortal spirit, an influencing active spirit, herein resembling God, the Father of Spirits, and the soul of the world. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.”
Gen. 2:25 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.
* Gen 2:25: No shame in nakedness. It was the natural state for Adam and his wife-there was no need for clothing; apparently, the temperature of the garden was perfect. This says much about presuppositions. Eating of the tree of life gave a level of insight into things that the pair never had prior to their decision. What was God’s warning?
Gen. 2:15 The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. 16 But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden 17 —except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
The image God placed in mankind was perfect. It was holiness at it’s highest level.
Back to the subject at hand:
Gen. 3:1 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
Gen. 3:2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”
Gen. 3:4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
Gen. 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked
The new Living Translation shines a different light on this passage:
Gen. 3:6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her.
If you think about it, the sin was here. As soon as the decision was made, prior to eating the fruit, the pair had already fallen. It reminds me of the fall of Lucifer and his lusting after God’s job. Lucifer’s fall was as soon as he decided to defy God’s law. Both of these falls are a result of the sin of the mind. The road travelled and the destination is not one in the same thing. In this case of Eve, the road is the thought and coveting, the destination is the actual eating.
Example: If I decide to commit adultery and I see myself doing it, lusting after a woman, have I sinned already? Just because I have not physically touched anyone, the sin has been committed-in my mind. This is why, we are told to resist the devil and he will flee, pray that you enter not into temptation, put on the mind of Christ! I call these the 3 big ones. I have these tattooed on my mind.
Jesus said it best:
Matt. 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Matt. 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
I know this is a sidetrack to degree, but I believe it needs to be said in light of Eve’s sin. If you look at porn on the web, you are in essence committing adultery-you are being beguiled by the serpent in believing it is not a sin. If you are practicing it, that may say much of your position in Christ.
Even if you are not married, you are committing adultery as per what Jesus has said. You might say, “Scott, how can that be? Did Jesus mean that?”
Lets look at the scripture.
Matt. 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Jesus does not say here, ‘whosoever is married and looks on a woman lustfully has committed adultery’. There is no mention of whether or not that person is married. He says, ‘whoever’.
You looking lustfully, coveting another person’s body, a body that will one day belong to another, someone’s husband or wife, this is where the adultery happens. How is this different from what Lucifer did, or Eve?
So much more could be said on this topic. Here’s a thought, the polity that Presbyterians follow is the most biblically sound. It reflects the character of God; It reflects the trinity. Independency is sin. Men are made in Gods image; He is held accountable to that image-forever; whether reprobate or elect is irrelevant. In that accountability is the opposite of independency. Men are never devoid of God. All of the great sins of scripture are based in pride, lust and independency. Think about that!
Recall that Christ says that marriage makes two, one flesh. It is not the actual marriage covenant that does that, but the knowing of the two fleshes.
But I digress…..I only bring this issue to light to exhort us. To call us to holiness. The road and the destination are not one in the same thing.
You need to give that to God, repent of that sin and be free of that chain. Remember, the devil is a created being, owned by God; he is a dog on a leash. Resist the devil and he will flee.
Gen. 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.
Satan is a creation of God; he is not omnipresent; nor omniscient, omnipotent etc. he is not a god per se, but a spiritual demon used by the Lord to refine the saint.
So, whose sin was it? Adam or Eve? Both. In fact, the greater portion could be said to be Adam’s as he was the federal head of the weaker vessel, his wife. This says so much to us men; it is our responsibility when it comes to our families. If our wives fall into sin, many times it is from a weakness in our leadership. Are we praying enough for our wives; are we praying with them the way we should? Are we helping them in their walks-they are our accountability partners, you know? Adam should have been watching out for his wife, watcjing out for the enemy when he came prowling- as should we. We should expect that to happen and be prepared when it does.
Sin is only perceived in relation to law. Lets see what the Westminster Confession states:
Chapter 6 states:
“I. Our first parents, begin seduced by the subtlety and temptations of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.
II. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.
III. They being the root of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by original generation.
IV. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.
V. This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.
VI. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.”
The Larger catechism writes:
“Q. 21. Did man continue in that estate wherein God at first created him?
A. Our first parents being left to the freedom of their own will, through the temptation of Satan, transgressed the commandment of God in eating the forbidden fruit; and thereby fell from the estate of innocency wherein they were created.
Q. 22. Did all mankind fall in that first transgression?
A. The covenant being made with Adam as a public person, not for himself only, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in that first transgression.
Q. 23. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.
Q. 24. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.
Q. 25. Wherein consisteth the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consisteth in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of that righteousness wherein he was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually; which is commonly called original sin, and from which do proceed all actual transgressions.”
R.C. Sproul writes:
“In order to grasp the meaning of sin, we cannot define it apart from its relationship to law. It is God’s law that determines what sin is. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul, particularly in Romans, labors the point that there is an inseparable relationship between sin and death and between sin and law. The simple formula is this: No sin equals no death. No law equals no sin. The apostle argues that where there is no law, there is no sin, and where there is no sin, there is no death. This rests upon the premise that death invades the human experience as an act of divine judgment for sin. It is the soul who sins that dies.
However, without law there can be no sin. Death cannot enter into the human experience until first God’s law is revealed.”
Since God is eternal and His law is based on His nature, the law is also eternal.
Psa. 90:1 Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
Adam and Eve both knew God’s law; better than any of us as they ‘walked with God’. Yes, we walk with God, but not in the same manner the pair did. Their walk was more personal, after all, there was just the two at that time. Prior to the fall, God functioned differently with His creatures. Remember, sin has created an enmity between God and man.
David Clarkson writes: “The soul, ever since the fall, is halt, maimed ; all its parts broken or unjoined. Cecidit e manu figuli. Man’s soul, framed by God according to his likeness, fell out of the hands of the potter, and so is all broken and shattered. Man’s soul, wherein the Lord had exquisitely engraven his own image, and writ his own will and law with his own hand in divine characters, did cast itself out of God s hands, and fell, as the tables of stone, God s own workmanship, fell out of the hands of Moses, and so is broken into shivers; nothing is left but some broken, scattered relics, some obscure sculptures covered with the mud of natural corruption, so as it is scarce visible. That which appears is woeful ruins, such as shew what glorious creature man was, though he be now, to his spiritual constitution, a monster”.
Francis Turretin writes: ” From this it appears that the sin of Adam was not peculiar to himself, but common to the whole nature, since on account of it punishment has passed upon all:”
Herman Witsius writes: ” By these words, he gives the reason why he had asserted that by the sin of one man death passed upon all. This, says he, ought not to astonish you, for all have sinned:’ Can any serious man possibly suppose that this and the numberless similar declarations by Calvinistic divines in explicating the doctrine of original sin were designed to convey the idea that we ought not to be astonished that God inflicts the most fearful punishments upon the race, inasmuch as He first inflicts guilt them so as to furnish a pretext for their punishment This is the gratuitous imputation scheme. But would it be calculated to allay our astonishment at the conduct of an individual who had set his dogs upon a neighbor and torn him in pieces to have him say, “There is no ground for astonishment in the matter, for I first clothed my neighbor in the skin of a wild beast, and then set my dogs on him, and of course they tore him to pieces.”
John Owen writes: ” In respect to our wills, we were not thus innocent neither, for we all sinned in Adam, as the apostle affirmeth Now, be this punishment what it will, never so small, yet, i f we have no demerit of our own, nor interest in Adam’s sin, it is such an act of injustice as we must reject from the most holy with a God forbid!”