IN THE BEGINNING GOD (7) THE DOCTRINE OF THE FALL OF MAN AND OF ORIGINAL SIN
During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Genesis chapter 3. She said that Genesis chapter 3 is absolutely essential in understanding the Bible and the history of man. Here we see how sin entered humanity. For the first time, we are presented with the Gospel of Christ. If you study the history of man, there is no better explanation of why things happen the way they do, except you believe the doctrine of the fall of man and the doctrine of the original sin.
The fall of man, also called the fall of Adam, or simply the Fall, is a term used in Christianity to describe the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience. The doctrine of the Fall comes from a biblical interpretation of Genesis, chapters 1-3. God created Adam and Eve perfect. They were innocent concerning sin. But God allowed their free will to manifest. Obedience meant life. Disobedience to God’s command meant death. God gave Adam a covenant of works. He broke the covenant. God then sent His Son Jesus Christ with a covenant of Grace. We believe Jesus Christ, that He died for us. Grace means unmerited favor. If Adam, as perfect as he was could not keep the covenant of works, God knew that we cannot keep it. That is why Grace is introduced thru Christ. That is why salvation in Christ cannot fail. We are saved by Grace, thru faith in Jesus Christ, in His death on the Cross. Salvation in Christ is eternal!
THE ORIGINAL SIN: The fall of man affected all humanity and even the creation. Adam broke God’s law. He sinned! He was our representative on earth. This sin has affected all humanity. All Adam’s descendants are born sinners. The nature of the first sin: man refused to submit himself to the will of God, to have God decide the course of his life. He wanted to be independent from God. Devil’s pride entered man. Pride means to remove God from the center of man’s heart and replace Him with self. This first sin affected the whole man, body, mind, emotions and will. It corrupted man. Thru sin, sickness and death entered humanity. Sin reveals itself in the mind as unbelief; in the emotions as fear and restlessness; and in his will as pride! “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:10, 23). The temptation to sin came from the devil, a fallen angel. The devil possessed and used the serpent, an animal God has created. The devil tempted Eve first, possibly because she was the weaker one between the two. She was not the one who received the command directly. Adam was to teach her God’s command. She was not the leader of the home therefore she did not have the same sense of responsibility as Adam. The devil knew that if he can deceive Eve into sin, being the closest to Adam, and she may convince her husband to share in her sin. The devil’s evil plan worked. The man, God’s creation, God’s masterpiece was damaged beyond repair. The whole creation suffered from the fall of man. Because we are born sinners, we are unable to love God, know God or believe the Gospel. This explains why sin is universal. There is no other explanation why all men are born corrupt. Adam’s sin is transmitted to his natural descendants. “Like father like son”! The doctrine of original sin vindicates God when men blame Him for all the calamites in the world. The original sin creates a hunger for a Savior. The Holy Spirit uses it to direct our hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ! St Augustine (354-430 AD) was the first theologian who defined the original sin. Almost all the denominations (Roman Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal…) believe in this doctrine. Judaism, Islam and all other religions, reject this doctrine. They insist that man is born perfect and the environment changes man to make him sinful. This is an error. The truth is that man is born in a state of sin, as an enemy to God! A baby may look innocent but soon, he will manifest his hatred against God!
THE CURE FOR SIN! There is no cure for sin except the death of the Son of God, who became Man! Only Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, especially in His work on the Cross saves a man. There is no other Savior! There is no other salvation! This redemption planed and provided by God, even before the foundation of the world is called salvation. It is announced thru the Gospel of Christ crucified and resurrected. Adam was created under the covenant of works. He needed to obey God’s command to stay alive. But Adam failed to obey! He, a perfect man, in a perfect environment, failed to keep God’s command. Thru Christ, man is offered the covenant of Grace. Grace means unmerited favor. Jesus Christ is the called the second Man or the last Adam (1Cor 15:45-48). Unlike Adam, He obeyed God’s commands unto death. He obeyed God’s Law for us. He was not born into sin. He did not commit any sin. Jesus became sin for us, that is why He died. He was buried. On the third day, our Lord resurrected from the death. We are one with Christ, in a mystical union. We died with Him, we were buried with Him, we rose from the death with Him. Now, in Christ, we seat with Him in the heavenly places! This is the Gospel, the power of salvation to all who believe! Glory!
THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTER OF SIN: Sin is a specific type of evil. Sin is a moral evil for which man is directly responsible and which brings him under the sentence of condemnation and death. Sin has an absolute character. Holiness is absolute and sin is absolute. There is no mixing between the two. The Bible does not know of a spiritually neutral ground. Sin is death and righteousness is life! Sin is not only related to offences against other people. Basically, sin is an offence against God and His law. Sin is breaking God’s law and God’s heart. Sin includes guilt and pollution. Man is born a sinner, guilty and morally corrupted. The headquarter of sin is the heart, which is the central organ of the soul. From there, sin influences the whole man. Sin manifests as sinful acts and habits. But sin is more than these. Sin is the total corruption resident in man. Sin is always evil. What are the results of the first sin? Man lost the image of God. He lost the true knowledge of God, the righteousness and holiness given to him by God. Man became totally depraved. Sin’s pollution affected every part of man, body, soul and spirit. Man, now, is not capable to know and please God. He becomes afraid of God and His punishment, which includes death. Man feels ashamed of being deceived by the devil. It affected Adam and his marriage with Eve. His conscience accuses him. Man is driven away from the Garden of Eden. Man feels rejected by God. Man has been trying to re-gain the paradise lost. But he is trying to do that by his power and wisdom. He can never go back to the tree of life. The only way to go back is thru the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! Christ went to the Cross!
THE FALL OF SATAN (The devil fell before Adam)
We continue to study the fall of man in the Garden. The devil possessed the serpent and used it to tempt Eve. To understand the power of sin we should look at who the devil is even before the fall of Adam in the Garden. This is what our Lord says about the devil: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn 8:44). The devil was a murderer ‘from the beginning’. The devil was created by God long before Adam was created. He was once created perfect. He oversaw the praise the worship in heaven. Our Lord calls him ‘a murderer from the beginning’. It means that all his good deeds before what is called ‘the beginning’ were cancelled by God. The devil has no good testimony. He was a murderer and a liar, from the beginning. When he rebelled in heaven, he could not kill anyone. God created the earth and man on it. To prove that the devil is a murderer, God allowed him to ‘kill’ Adam and Eve, the crown of God’s creation. The universe could not have known how wicked the devil is before Adam was led to death by the devil’s temptation. Thru Adam, all mankind died. This murderer and liar, the devil, was the same who deceived Eve saying: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Gen 3:1). Eve did not know that ‘an armed robber’, the enemy of the God who created her, was talking to her. He pretended to be an innocent friend, passing by in the garden. You can see how the devil deceived Eve. She did not see the truth about his wickedness behind the pleasant question.
The devil was created perfect. Later, he became proud and wanted to take God’s place. One third of the angels created by God followed him in his rebellion. God threw them out of heaven to the earth. We are not given many details but just a glimpse of the tragedy that happened in heaven, long before Adam was created. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit” (Is 14:12-15). As you can see, the devil was once perfect, with wisdom and beauty. He was called ‘Lucifer’, the Son of the Morning. But once he became proud, he sinned. God sent him away from heaven. Our Lord said that before He became a Man on earth, He saw the fall of Satan. The word Devil means Slanderer and the word Satan means Accuser. The devil was a fallen angel even before God created Adam. In a way, God created Adam and Eve as a ‘bait’ for the Devil. Our Lord knew that the devil sinned and was thrown down from heaven. “Jesus said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Lk 10:18-20).
The devil is also called Dragon, The serpent of Old, Satan and the Accuser of the Brethren. Our Lord came to earth, He died in our place that we may be free from the judgment of sin and death. In Christ we have received much more that Adam lost thru his fall. In Christ, we have authority to fight and conquer the devil. Our weapons are faith in the Blood of Jesus shed on the Cross and the Word of our Testimony. To share a testimony is more than telling people that ‘God help me to buy a new car’. Thank God for your car. But, you need to share how the Word of God has worked in you, how it has transformed you. For a testimony to truly become a weapon, the Word of God must change your heart and give you an eternal value. A true testimony is telling people what God has done for you to take you to heaven. That testimony is a weapon. The devil fears it! We must speak more about the victory we have in Jesus! Halleluiah!
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God, day and night, has been cast down. they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (Rev 12:7-12). Lesson: God has a plan and a purpose for His creation. He is the Creator and the Redeemer of man! God created the universe! After man fell, God redeemed man, thru the Cross! God will punish sin and the devil! Halleluiah!
The Bible is the most practical book. It tells the story of God and of humanity. Genesis 1-3, this is the history of humanity. It is not an allegory. It is not fiction! Man has disobeyed God and God is searching for man, to save him. As sinners, we all know the sense of failure. We all search for happiness outside God, but we cannot find it! The Gospel brings us out from behind the trees. God’s voice is still calling you by name: “Where are you?” Why are men so unhappy, so helpless? Because the devil is their master, and he controls this world! That is the only explanation! The tragedy of man is that he only sees the visible. Only in Christ we can be set free, from the bondage, the pollution and power of sin! That is why Jesus died! There are two types of history running parallel: The visible and the invisible. The natural man sees only the visible history. The spiritual man sees both. That is his advantage and wisdom. The child of God sees God as the creator and the sustainer of the universe. He sees God thru the eyes of faith. The Gospel tells us the truth: we all fell with Adam. We are born sinners. We cannot help ourselves. We are destined to die and go to hell. God sent His only begotten Son to die in our place. The world hates the truth. The natural man hates to be told that he is a sinner. He loves the offer of free salvation, but he hates to humble himself as a man who offended God.
“Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). God made clothes for them. Not from leaves, but from animal skins, possibly from lambs. Behind these simple words of ‘fashion design’ blood is shed. For the first time, Adam and Eve see God killing an animal. They have never seen death. Now they see it. They committed sin but another one died in their place. This is the Gospel of Christ Crucified!
Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden. Just imagine the feeling… out of the beautiful, happy and safe, garden, made by God for them!!! They are now in the world, lonely, afraid, guilty, confused. In the Garden, they exercised dominion over all the creation, in the name of God. Now, they are now under the dominion of satan. They are rejected by God! There is a hope that one day, God will help them. But until then, they are alone.
The devil spoke to Eve and addressed God as only Elohim, the Creator. He ignored the name Jehovah, which is the Covenant Relationship God. God spoke to Adam and Eve as Jehovah Elohim, the Husband Creator. But the devil was seducing Eve, implying that he is a better candidate to be her ‘husband’. She did not know that this new ‘romantic’ person called the devil, was a fallen angel. She did not know that she was speaking to an armed robber, a kidnapper. She was deceived to agree with the devil and to ‘marry’ him. In Christ, God is our Creator, Maker and Husband forever. Nothing can ever separate or divorce us. The Love of God in Christ is forever! Blood was shed for us to boast of His Love! Glory!
This is God’s promise to all who are in Christ: “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. For the Lord has called you Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, Like a youthful wife when you were refused,” Says your God. “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, But with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” Says the Lord, your Redeemer” (Is 54:4-8). Oh, may the mercy of God locate you! May the Grace of God surround you! Worship the Lord!