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It is hard for us to imagine what the earth would have been like now if there had been no Fall. Not only would death never have been experienced by men but things like earthquakes and hurricanes would be unknown. In some way beyond our understanding the world would have been raised to a level beyond the possibility of corruptibility and the human race would have been supremely happy and blessed in perfect fellowship with God. As we catch a glimpse of what would have been and compare with it what is we are left saying, 'How are the mighty fallen!' We must, therefore, seek to understand something about that most dreadful event which has so changed the world and has affected everyone who has ever lived.
Professor Louis Berkhof has this to say about the Origin of Sin: 'The Bible teaches us that sin entered the world as the result of the transgression of Adam and Eve in paradise. The first sin was occasioned by the temptation of Satan in the form of a serpent, who sowed in man's heart the seeds of distrust and unbelief. Scripture clearly indicates that the serpent, who appears as the tempter in the story of the fall, was but an instrument of Satan, John 8.44; Rom 16.20; 2 Cor 11.3; Rev 12.9. The first sin consisted in man's eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This eating was sinful simply because God had forbidden it. It clearly showed that man was not willing to subject his will unconditionally to the will of God, and comprised several elements. In the intellect it revealed itself as unbelief and pride, in the will as the desire to be like God, and in the affections an unholy satisfaction in eating of the forbidden fruit. As a result of it man lost the image of God in the restricted sense, became guilty and utterly corrupt, and fell under the sway of death, Gen 3.19, Rom 5.12, 6.23'.('A Summary of Christian Doctrine', page 68)
This event that we read about in Genesis chapter three has affected us all because Adam was made by God to be our covenant head and representative. The position is summarised as follows in the Westminster Shorter Catechism:
Q16. Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression?
A. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity, all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.
Q17. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.
Q18. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam's first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin: together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.
Q19. What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. All mankind, by their fall, lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever.
Things were not the same after the Fall as they had been before it and as we now study ourselves and the world about us we must remember that we are considering a fallen world. It is for this reason that we find so many evidences of disorder, imperfection and corruptibility. In the world we find dangers and disasters. In ourselves we find wicked thoughts, we experience pain and illness and eventually we die.
If God had left us without a Redeemer we would have been forever miserably ruined and have gone away into everlasting darkness, 'but not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one (that is, Adam) many (that is, all those he represented) be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many' (that is all those he represented as Covenant Head from eternity, died to save in time and who are known because they come to believe on him). [See Romans 5.15] Those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ need have no fear. Though fallen and condemned in Adam they are forever safe in Christ. Of them he said, 'My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand'. (John 10.27,28)
'For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive'.(1 Cor 15.21,22) NB. 'It is the all who are in Adam that die; and the all who are in Christ who are made alive'. Dr. C. Hodge.
Imagine, corruptibility, forbid, intellect, representative, posterity, communion, disorder, offence, abounded.
1. What things would be unknown in the world if Adam had not sinned?
2. Who was it that came to Eve in the form of a serpent?
3. What did Adam and Eve do that was sinful? (Genesis 3.6)
4. Why was this action sinful? (Genesis 1.16,17; 2.2,3)
5. Why did Adam and his wife hide themselves? (Genesis 2.8)
6. Why did this sin affect all mankind?
7. List the consequences for us of Adam's sin.
8. What sort of things do we find in the world because of the Fall?
9. What did Jesus Christ do as the covenant head of his people?
10. What was the serpent's punishment? (Genesis 2.14,15)
11. What was the woman's punishment? (Genesis 2.16)
12. What was Adam's punishment? (Genesis 2.17-19)
1. Give the names of dangerous phenomena in the world.
2. Make a collection of pictures of the various things which often cause disasters, danger and even death.
3. Make a list of the ways in which men try to lessen the effects of those things which make life more difficult.
1. Read Genesis 4.1- 6.8 and find the answers to the following questions:
(a) How did Cain sin? (Genesis 4.5-9)
(b) How did Lamech sin? (Genesis 4.19,23)
(c) What does Genesis 5 show about the consequences of sin?
(d) What did God observe in the men of Noah's day? (Gen 6.5)
2. Find junior science books to tell you more about meteors, hurricanes, gales, tornadoes, tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanoes, ageing and illness.
Psalm 51.1-5,9,10 (Common Metre)
After thy loving-kindness, Lord,
have mercy upon me:
For thy compassions great, blot out
all mine iniquity.
Me cleanse from sin, and throughly wash
from mine iniquity:
For my transgressions I confess;
my sin I ever see.
'Gainst thee, thee only, have I sinn'd,
in thy sight done this ill;
That when thou speak'st thou may'st be just,
and clear in judging still.
Behold, I in iniquity
was form'd the womb within;
My mother also me conceiv'd
in guiltiness and sin.
All mine iniquities blot out,
thy face hide from my sin.
Create a clean heart, Lord, renew
a right sp'rit me within.