Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Man: Fallen in Nature

Man: Fallen in Nature

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned … as through one man’s offence judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many were made righteous.” Romans 5:12 & 18-19.


            As the above verses attest the Bible teaches that the first man, Adam, federally represented mankind before God. After God had created Adam (and the rest of His creation) Scripture says, “Then God saw everything He had made, and indeed it was very good.” Genesis 1:31a. Therefore, Man and the creation in which he lived, was morally “very good” in the eyes of God its the Creator. However, Adam, as humanity’s covenant head, rebelled against God. As God was to say later on to His people, “Like Adam, they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt treacherously with Me.” Hosea 6:7 (margin, cf. Hosea 8:1b).

Good News

Scripture teaches that “Adam … is a type of Him who was to come.” Romans 5:14b. Thus Jesus Christ is the replacement “Adam” God sent into the world (see e.g., 1 Corinthians 15:45). Jesus is the new federal representative or covenant head. Through Adam’s disobedience all humanity were made sinners (i.e., covenant breakers which is another way of saying that we are transgressors of God’s Moral Law), but through Christ’s obedience (i.e., His perfect keeping of the covenant’s conditions and also paying the penalty owed for the breaking of it) those whom Christ represents are now righteous in God’s eyes. The Gospel is the Good News that God has reconciled fallen man to Himself through the perfect works of Jesus Christ. This reconciliation is attained by the individual by grace through faith in the completed works of Christ (see e.g., Ephesians 2:8-9). Thus the Gospel.

Fallen World

The context for the aforementioned Good News (i.e., the Gospel) is that Man no longer lives in a morally “good” universe but a fallen world. This is not to say that creation itself became evil when Satan and subsequently Adam rebelled against God. For only moral agents (i.e., angels and human beings) can become evil.[1] God’s Moral Law is spiritual (Romans 7:14). Thus morals are spiritual.

What happened when Adam sinned against God by consciously disobeying Him? Scripture says,

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Romans 8:20-22.

We see then that on account of Adam’s sin everyone thereafter and we today live in a fallen world. Therefore, we ought to expect that at times things will go wrong for us. However, as human beings (i.e., as “moral agents”), we shall know both good and evil in the fallen world around us (Genesis 3:22a). (The “good” serves to remind us that God has not abandoned us. The “evil” or “bad” reminds us of our need for God’s refuge and daily protection, as the Scripture reminds us, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8a.)

Life’s a Struggle

God had created Man as the pinnacle of His creation (see, e.g., Genesis 1:28), but when Adam sinned as Mankind’s representative before God we became distanced from our Maker. This (moral and therefore spiritual) separation caused it to become hard for Man to eke a living on and from the earth. It is worth quoting in full what the LORD God said to humanity’s federal head,

Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it”: ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”’ Genesis 3:17-19.

Thus life on earth is a struggle for all on earth; plants, animals and humans!

Fallen Man

Human nature has undergone a great transformation. We (collectively) have gone from being morally pure (pre-Fall) to morally corrupt (post-Fall). Another way of saying the same thing is that when Adam sinned we became spiritually dead. As the Scripture says, “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” Romans 8:7.

The character of God is expressed in His Ten Commandments. Like a coin with the sovereign’s head embossed on it so God minted us as His own image and likeness. However, we are like old worn-out and tarnished pennies. It is hard to see the Moral Law stamped on us. It is difficult for us to see it in ourselves. Thus we make morally wrong choices.

Adam and Eve made a morally wrong choice and all mankind thereafter suffered and still suffers Moral Injury unless and until God remedies it by grace through faith.

Moral Injury & Post Traumatic Stress

The Bible records the actions of Adam and Eve after they had, as moral agents, sinned against God. Their guilty consciences started accusing and excusing them as they tried to deal with their guilt and shift blame for what had happened away from themselves. Adam said to God, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12. Eve said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:13b.

With Adam and Eve and their demise in mind let us remind ourselves of our definition of Moral Injury,
Moral Injury is an inner conflict based on moral self assessment of having inflicted or failed to prevent significant harm. Its symptoms are excessive guilt, loss of meaning, anger and shame.
Some may wonder why God was so upset with Adam and Eve and why they were so upset with themselves simply for eating a piece of fruit. However, it was not that simple. God had given to Adam and Eve (including us in them), as His moral agents, the Great Commission or Cultural Mandate - a portion of which is recorded in the following Scripture,

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Genesis 1:27-28.

The command not to eat of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were merely an outward test to see if Adam as our representative would keep the Covenant, i.e., to see if Adam would remain obedient to God. Adam broke his probation and thereby forfeited the life that was promised him (and his descendants in him) for his obedience. Thus Adam by his action caused the deaths of every human being!

How did Adam and Eve set about dealing with their present demise? Did they immediately seek to draw near to God so that He would draw near to them? We need to remember that God had threatened Adam with death for disobeying Him (which conversely was the promise of life for obedience). As Scripture says,

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17.

What happened? Scripture says,

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6.

Upon eating the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve went from loving God and their neighbour as themselves to becoming totally self-conscious and self-absorbed with their own problems. Thus they began to suffer Moral Injury – i.e., “excessive guilt, loss of meaning, anger and shame.” Quite possibly they also began to suffer some form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD), which we have defined as, “A fear – victim reaction to a perceived life threat. It has clinical symptoms of flashbacks, nightmares, hyper-vigilance, dissociation.”   

Anyway Adam was afraid of God and what God was going to do to him! But what did God do to Adam and Eve? First, God came “looking” for them.

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Genesis 3:9-10.

Second, God spoke to the serpent, to Eve, and to Adam, in that order. When speaking to the serpent God said,

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel. Genesis 3:15.

Theologians refer to this as the protevangelium, i.e., the promise of the Gospel. Therefore, Adam and Eve heard the Good News (albeit in embryonic form). Third, God also showed Adam and Eve the Good News,

Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. Genesis 3:21.


On account of the Fall all of Mankind suffers Moral Injury. Moral Injury is spiritual. Those who have been diagnosed with Moral Injury, if they were not before, are now aware of their spiritual problem. God is able to heal Moral Injury – for good! Thus the Gospel.

[1] Stars, planets, rocks, trees, dinosaurs, snakes, sharks, crocodiles, lions, tigers etc., are not inherently evil because they, (unlike fallen humans and fallen angels), are never disobedient to God’s Covenant or Moral Law, i.e., the Ten Commandments. Only fallen humans and fallen angels are “moral agents.” However, animals dangerous to humans are to be controlled which may include putting the creature down should it maim or kill someone (Genesis 9:5; Exodus 21:28-32).  

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