Saturday, September 19, 2009

Prove It #3 The Fall of Man

I wanted to offer a few passages that support the Biblical view of man. In Genesis chapter 3 we read of the fall of man into sin after being warned of the consequences in chapter 2.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 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.”
Man in his original state was to represent the image of God fully and maturely. He was to fill the earth and the glory of the Lord was to be seen in man's relationship with God. However, we see both Adam and Eve rejecting God's provision for them and instead decide to attain eternal life on their own terms. Therefore chapter 3 ends with this revelation about the relationship between God and man:
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
I have no doubt that man does not want to be eternally punished for his sin in Adam. I have no doubt that most of us think this is unfair. I have no doubt that if granted the opportunity, mankind would attempt to take from the tree of life, but he would only do so to live unto himself and for selfish gain.

If you notice carefully, the text tells us that it was God who removed man from His garden. It was God who placed a guard to prevent access to the tree of life. It was God who put man to death by removing man from the source of life.

We must be thankful that God has not ended man's existence at that moment. God is patient and long suffering with man. Yet at the same time, we see in this text man's rejection of God and his unwillingness to come to God on God's terms. As Adam responded to God, so today we respond in the same way.
But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
We know God exists. We also know He is our judge and that we have sinned before Him. Instead of humbling ourselves and facing the truth, we hide our nakedness and seek to clothe ourselves with our own righteousness. We instead attempt to bring God's justice under our own. We do as the Apostle Paul writes so clearly in Romans 1,
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
How may the Christian prove the existence of God to a creature that will pervert the revelation of God at every turn? How shall we prove the true God when man establishes and makes all kinds of other gods...gods of his own imaginations? The Christian can't. The Christian is to take the revelation of God as the basis of calling men to repentance. We must recognize that in the garden man died. It is the Gospel proclaimed in the power of the Spirit that is able to take dead sinners and raise them from the dead.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
This does not mean we preach the Good News in a mechanical or impersonal way. This does not mean the Christian should not try to reason with man. As Paul says elsewhere,
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
In conclusion, man is made in the image of God. He is able to reason and think. But the Christian is to remember that he is not dealing with a morally neutral man. The Christian is to rely not in his methodologies nor his powers to persuade. He is to rely on the Good News of Jesus Christ.

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