The Fall of Man

Brokenness is all around us. It doesn’t matter your political views or your religious beliefs, everyone can see that something is wrong. Murder, hate, envy, jealousy, and oppression continue to be prevalent. Everyone seems to be chasing happiness and fulfillment yet even the most ‘successful’ can’t seem to find it. Hopelessness abounds and suicide rates are on the increase. What happened to God’s good creation?

We continue our study of Great Doctrines of the Bible by Martyn Lloyd-Jones (MLJ) by examining chapter 16 entitled, “The Fall.”

MLJ briefly begins by providing a few false explanations that have been given to explain the state of the world. First is the idea of dualism. Dualism states that “there is a god who controls the evil as well as a god who controls the good” (179). These two forces, which go by different names depending on one’s belief system, battle each other. Things go wrong when the “evil god” makes progress and when the good side prevails things go well in the world. However, this is not a view supported by Scripture.

Other theories place much emphasis on the ability of man to progress. They argue “if men and women had more knowledge and were better educated and more cultured and better trained they would get rid of all this” (180). This also goes against the teaching of Scripture, and the experience of history (we continue to learn and make advancements in technology, science, medicine, etc. without ‘fixing’ our sin problem).

Instead, the problem goes all the way back to Genesis 3. Adam and Eve disobeyed God which introduced sin and death into the world. Satan whispered questions of doubt, “Did God really say?” He led them to believe that God was withholding good, but if they just ate the fruit they could “become like God.” When we begin to question God’s Word and doubt his goodness, it leads down a dark path. Ever since then, the curse of man has shown itself over and over. We continue to question God’s Word and doubt his goodness.

MLJ lists at least seven results of the fall:

  1. Consciousness of flesh– previously, Adam and Even were unselfconscious about their bodies and their nakedness caused no shame. They immediately tried to cover themselves with fig leaves.
  2. Guilt– as soon as they ate, they felt for the first time, guilt. “They were immediately condemned within themselves and became guilty” (186).
  3. Lost fellowship with God– until the fall, Adam and Even enjoyed relationship with God and the “highest bliss possible” (186). After that, when they heard the Lord coming they ran from him instead of running to him.
  4. Spiritual Death– they were kicked out of the Garden in which they enjoyed fellowship with God.
  5. New relationship to nature– Adam was told that by the sweat of his brow he would grow food, for the ground was cursed with thorns and thistles.
  6. Perversion in moral nature– we see the results of this especially in their son, Cain, who killed his brother. By the time one gets to Genesis 6, we see that “every intention of the thoughts of his [mankind] heart was only evil continually” (v.5).
  7. Physical death– Because of sin, it would be impossible for man not to die. All will “return to the dust” (Gen. 3:19). Romans 5:12 confirms: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin…”

MLJ concludes:

“So then, let me sum up the results in this way: certain legal results happened at once. Man immediately came under condemnation and was punished by God, whereas formerly he had only been blessed. Spiritually, he immediately fell from his original righteousness…he was separated from God at once. (187).

The Fall not only affected Adam and Eve, but all of humanity until now. We live in a cursed world and we still see the effects of sin. The only cure for this curse is that which was brought about through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

The continued effects of sin will continue to be addressed in the next chapter (17) entitled, “Adam’s Posterity and Original Sin.”

Other posts in the “Great Doctrines of the Bible” series:

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