Sin: What do Christians believe about sin and the fall?
God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes. ECCLESIASTES 7:29
Something has gone terribly wrong. And everyone knows it.
The Bible reveals that God created this world in a good state and upon the creation of the man and woman, God declared his entire creation “very good.”1 This intended state of beauty and harmony in all things is described in the Old Testament as “shalom.”2 Even those who do not believe in the Bible persist in longing for a shalom on the earth, because deep down in God’s image bearers there is a faint echo of Eden and how things are supposed to be.
Yet, no matter how much money we spend, how many elections we hold, how many organizations we start, how many blogs we write, how many complaints we air, how many tears we cry, or how many wars we wage, boredom, annoyances, miseries, fears, tragedies, suffering, injustice, evil, sickness, pain, and death continue unabated.
Why? The fall.
Beginning today, we will spend the next month examining the human fall into sin in great detail.
Genesis 3 is one of the most important chapters in the entire Bible because it explains the source of and solution for sin and death. In painful brevity, with each word dripping horror, we read how the human rebellion against God that began with the first sin is altogether foolish, tragic, and mad. Commenting on the opening pages of Genesis, John Sailhamer says:
A more studied attempt to treat the problem of evil and temptation cannot be found in all the Scriptures. As a part of his deliberate strategy, the author . . . has left the reader virtually alone with the events of the story. He does not reflect or comment on the events that transpired. We, the readers, are left to ourselves and our sense of the story for an answer to the questions it raises. We must seek our own clues to the story’s meaning from the few signs of the author’s own shaping of the story.3
The scene is the beautifully good garden made by God for our first parents to live in together without sin and its many effects. There, God lovingly and graciously speaks as a father to Adam and Eve, giving them complete freedom to enjoy all of creation, except partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was forbidden. In this way we see that God is a God of tremendous grace who gives laws to protect his people from sin and harm. In this way, God is like a father who puts a fence up around his home so that his children can go outside and enjoy themselves without getting hurt by wandering off into danger.
Do you primarily see God as good and his laws as to protect us? Or, do you primarily see God has bad and making laws to restrict us?