C-17°|F2°Basic foundations about the origin of sin & evil C-17°|F1°& the consequences of mankind’s fall It is during our hardest times when we really need to know that God is good. We need to know this so our faith won’t desert us - so that we can keep on trusting Him. We would say that God is good all the time. That God is light and in him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5). Yet we sometimes get confused - especially when we face trying circumstances or witness senseless tragedy. It is not unusual to ask - If God is really good and if He created everything, where then did evil, sin and suffering come from? For this entry, I had originally intended to consider the question of whether a Christian can be demon possessed but I kept thinking about Blessings2you’s comment. Our brother is right that it is part of the fundamental understanding of spiritual warfare to be sure that God does not author evil. I think it is worthwhile to take the time to delve into the biblical foundations regarding the origin of evil. As children of The Living God we have not been left ignorant of the enemy’s devices. Our enemy’s character is plainly shown to us in the Bible. We are told who our enemy is and where he comes from. The enemy is also portrayed in many ways and he is called by many names, each revealing something about the enemy’s character and devices. In this way, the Bible prepares to face the enemy. Since mankind’s first encounter with the serpent in the garden, satan’s favourite ploy against humanity has been to cause us to doubt God’s goodness and influence us to depart from His covering. When we doubt God’s goodness we become vulnerable to scepticism regarding God’s word and susceptible to stumbling. Unless we know the truth we invariably blame God erroneously for the things that go wrong in our lives. The writings of scholars offer us a basic biblical foundation about the origin and character of evil. This is an overview of what we would usually learn from commentators about the origin of sin, the fall of humanity and the effects of The Fall. How sin was possible in creation The very fact that we can sin tells us two things: that we can choose; and, we don’t always make perfect choices. Although we are made in God’s image and declared as “very good” (Genesis 1:31) we cannot be equal to God. Being created in God’s image and likeness; our ability to feel, think and make choices resembles His. Yet we neither have perfect character, nor perfect knowledge, nor perfect will and we won’t make perfect choices all of the time (see also Romans 3:23). To create us in His likeness means creating us with freedom of will and this necessarily means that God has to allow us to choose to be obedient or it wouldn’t really be obedience at all. We are all given a choice of life and good or death and evil (see Deuteronomy 30:15-20). Sin arose because created beings with a free will cannot be God and are therefore imperfect; and thus make imperfect choices. The origin of sin Lucifer was created perfect in all his ways and in his beauty. In Ezekiel 28:15, the first part of the verse reads, “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created…”, in other words, Lucifer was perfect when was created. In the order of creation, Lucifer was held in very high if not the highest regard. He was considered the model of perfection (Ezekiel 28:12), a day star or son of morning (Isaiah 14:12). Yet, Lucifer was still a created being and hence could not be equal to his Creator. He too had free will (Isaiah 14:13-14) and by his own volition, Lucifer aspired to elevate himself above God. He was no longer content to submit to His Maker but instead desired to act independently outside of God’s will as god himself. Bible commentators will underline that satan’s sin was pride and he received no prompting to rebel. Completing the reading of Ezekiel 28:15, we find it says, “...till inequity was found in you” . Lucifer was perfect in all his ways from the day that God created him - that was until inequity was found in him - and the inequity was something that God never put in him. Sin could not be tolerated in Heaven (Habakkuk 1:13) and satan had to be cast out (Revelation 12:7-9; Luke 10:18). Having fallen onto earth, satan sought to destroy what God had made (Revelation 12:12) and one of the first things he did was to instigate the fall of humanity. The tragedy of death, suffering and evil was consequently brought upon mankind as a result of The Fall. Sin came through satan’s own resources (John 8:44) and it can therefore be said that sin first originated with satan (1 John 3:8). Among his many names in scripture, satan is also called the “wicked” or “evil one” (Matthew 13:19; 13:38) and he is often referred to as the author of sin by writers. Humanity was led into the fall by a pre-existing evil While sin originated from within satan, we find that the lie that penetrated the innocence of Adam and Eve originated from outside themselves. Mankind was led into The Fall by a pre-existing evil. We established in the last entry that satan’s fall preceded Original Sin. The serpent Eve met in Genesis 3 is clearly identifiable in scripture as satan, the “serpent of old” who “deceives the whole world” (2 Corinthians 11:3, 14; Revelation 12:9). Before meeting the serpent, Adam and Eve possessed neither any inner inclination to evil nor independence from God. Prior to eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they felt no shame towards nakedness and they lived in purity under God’s goodness (Genesis 2:25; 3:7-11). Mankind was innocent till The Fall. When the serpent began conversing with Eve we find him leading her towards making a choice to rebel in very much the same way as he did. Satan led Eve into his same rebellion to act independently outside of God’s will and to aspire to be god-like or god. The rebellion that began with satan in heaven thus entered mankind on earth. We were made in God’s image but satan plots to pervert this image by getting us to conform to his instead. The Father desires us to be transformed from glory to glory and be like His son Jesus in character and obedience (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 8:29) while satan seeks to lead us into his rebellion and be conformed to the world of which he is god for a period (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Since our first encounter in the Garden, the ploy of the enemy is still to lead us into making choices outside of God’s will, to tempt us into carnality rather than trusting in and obeying God. We are still being offered forbidden fruit by the enemy, probably every day - and we’re still eating them. Doubting God’s Goodness (Genesis 3:1-3) In The Garden, Satan’s initial approach was to plant doubt about God’s goodness while at the same time attacking the character of God. In his query to Eve, the serpent deliberately distorts the command of God: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree in the Garden?’” (Genesis 3:1; compare with Genesis 2:16-17). The serpent’s question exaggerates the scope of the prohibition under a veil of feigned ignorance that begs to be corrected. Few of us can resist the temptation to immediately tell someone they are wrong and Eve was no exception. Eve was under no obligation to respond, least of all to a creature she had dominion over (Genesis 1:28); and if she did she could have chosen to rebuke the creature, instead she walked right into the temptation to correct. She responds, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” (Genesis 3:2-3). Commentators will point out that the serpent never mentioned the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; and therein lay the craftiness of the question. The query brought the one thing that was forbidden into the focus of Eve’s thinking while causing her to take her eyes off God’s generous provision of being able to freely eat from every tree but just one (Genesis 2:16). We can see this as a distinct possibility in her thought process as she omits two words that emphasise God’s generosity - “every” and “freely” . God’s actual words were: And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you mayfreely 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) (emphasis mine). Perhaps by focusing on the prohibition, Eve began to wonder for the first time why she couldn’t eat from just this one tree if she could eat from all the others? That wasn’t fair! The serpent’s crafty insinuation was also an attack against God’s character. It suggests to Eve that if God was really so good, He wouldn’t be denying her the delicacy of the Garden - how could a good God treat her that way? With confidence in God’s goodness undermined, perhaps she began to doubt God’s purpose and wonder if God could be trusted. This same erosion of confidence in God’s character and goodness still occurs in very much the same way to us today. We have all entertained doubts and may have had the following thoughts: if God is good, how could He allow such suffering? How could God allow this to happen to me? How could God let my loved one die that way? Entertaining such thoughts erodes our perception of God’s character and goodness or in other words - our faith - and it may set us up for rebellion. When we are uncertain who God is, we are less likely to bother with what He has commanded. Denial, desire and sin (Genesis 3:4-6) Commentators also observe that Eve’s misquoting of God’s commandment was not restricted to just omitting the words “every” and “freely” . In emphasising the prohibition she distorted the severity of God’s commandment with her own added exaggeration that even touching the tree would lead to death - something that God did not say. She could have simply been mistaken about what God had said. Perhaps she was trying hard to justify the prohibition to herself, yet at the same time we find that with an eroded perception of trust in God’s word, she also downplayed God’s judgement by neglecting to include that death would “surely” come “in the day” of the offence. Perhaps Eve belies vulnerability thorough her distortion of God’s word. With doubt about God’s purpose came doubt about God’s prohibition. Perhaps the serpent sensed her uncertainty and launched boldly into the next step of his deception - denial of God’s word. The serpent tells an outright lie: “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). Notice that the serpent uses the word “surely” that Eve had omitted. This probably indicates that he did know exactly what God had commanded and he turns God’s words into a lie. The serpent didn’t stop there, he adds the final blow - an enticement, “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5). Subtly, these words also undermine the position of Adam and Eve as children of God. It implies that they were inadequate and insufficient and hence needed to eat the fruit. This is another of satan’s favourite ploys - to undermine our position as children of God and steal our inheritance of God’s promises. To win in our war against the enemy, it is essential we know who we are in Christ as well as to know scripture intimately so that we can be sure to succeed (Joshua 1:8). In the next verse, Genesis 3:6, we read an illustration of Eve’s own thoughts, having already become a victim of deception. She perceived the tree as good for food. The fruit looked good to her and she desired the fruit that would make her wise and like God. Sin looked attractive. With the desire conceived, she made a choice and acted upon it (see also James 1:14-15). She took the fruit. Any qualms that Eve may have had probably vanished the moment she touched the fruit and realised she was not dead as she had thought she would be. She ate and she gave it to Adam who was with her - probably throughout the entire conversation (see Genesis 3:6 - “with her” ) - and Adam also ate. Scripture does not record a single word from Adam to indicate any reservation whatsoever about partaking in the act of disobedience. They sinned by disobeying God’s direct command (1 John 3:4) and they suffered consequences that they were aware of. They had already been told that they would surely die. God hates sin, He already had satan cast out of Heaven for it; and as there was a promise of judgement in God’s commandment to Adam and Eve, so it was that humanity had to fall for the act of disobedience. God did not want mankind to fall, but we fell anyway because of a bad choice. We cannot blame God for our fallen nature because we made that choice. We are held accountable for our sins despite external instigation It needs to be added here that although God was well aware of satan’s role in instigating their sin, Adam and Eve were not absolved from the consequences. God held them accountable for their choice. In this same way we are also always held accountable for our choices. Blaming the devil has never been option - Eve tried and Adam not only attempted to blame Eve but tried to apportion at least part of the blame to the Creator for giving him that woman. Whatever the reasons, none sufficed as an excuse - they had neither devil nor person to blame but themselves. Having free will necessarily means accountability for our choices. The nature of being fallen and living in a fallen world Death is the greatest consequence of The Fall. It entered through the sin of one man and propagated through the entire human race (Romans 5:12; 6:23). In one sense, the human race was “murdered” through deception. Jesus labels satan as the “father of lies” and a “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44-45). As another result of The Fall, mankind was separated from God and possess guilt consciousness leading to shame in facing Our Father (Genesis 3:7, 8, 10, 19). We were banished from paradise (Genesis 3:24) and condemned to labour and suffering (Genesis 3:16,19; Job 5:6-7). Concomitant to death and suffering, the experience of sickness and infirmity became part of our fallen nature. Mankind also fell into bondage to satan, coming under his domain of darkness (Acts 26:18; 2 Timothy 2:6; 1 John 5:19). Humanity became subject to being blinded to the truth (2 Corinthians 4:4) and enslaved by sin. Evil entered the hearts of men (Genesis 6:5; 8:21) and mankind became perverse and corrupt (Genesis 6:12). It would not be unfair to say that all the evil and suffering we experience in the world today are a direct result of Adam’s choice. All are the consequence of living in a fallen world affected by sin. Even the evil of others affect us directly and indirectly and we invariably suffer as a result. The effect of Adam’s sin is evident in our lives and in our world today. The evil that entered our world was not authored by God but is a result of Man’s fall instigated by a pre-existing evil we know as satan. God is pure, He is righteous, He is not evil, He is light and in Him there is no darkness (Habakkuk 1:13; James 1:13; 1 John 1:5). God is good all the time God was not the author sin but yet he willingly bore its consequences for us. Commentators also highlight that God’s promise of redemption was instituted immediately (Genesis 3:15). In His plan and sacrificial act of redemption we find an undeniable testimony of God’s goodness towards us. Even the laws that God made were but a way to lead us to Christ and provide the “legal” conditions for a saviour to fulfil (Galatians 3:24; Matthew 5:17). Is that not merciful? He became a man to suffer terribly and die for us, taking the punishment for our sins (Romans 6:23; John 3:16) so that we may be reconciled with Him and redeemed from the evil one (Psalm 107:2; Colossians 1:13-14). Is that not love? He gave us His only Son so that we may have life (John 3:16) and with His abundant grace, we are reconciled to Him despite all our imperfections. The even greater wonder of it all is that on our part, we are only required to believe in who Jesus is. Jesus is The Truth, He is The Way (John 14:16) and He came so we may have life (John 10:10); reversing satan’s work that brought death through lies. Is that not good? It is not God’s will that any of us should perish (although some of us clearly will) (2 Peter 3:9). His plans for us are good and offer us hope (Jeremiah 29:11) and even when evil (which He didn’t author) befalls us, He intentionally causes it to work for our good (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28). Is that not kindness? God is good. We are restored from The Fall by our Messiah Jesus’ sacrifice recovers for the human race all that was lost through The Fall. Death came through the sin of Adam and sinfulness became modelled into our humanity. Jesus came to be a new model, He lived a sinless life and overcame the greatest consequence of The Fall by conquering death - For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). Jesus restored our right as children of God (John 1:12; Galatians 4:3-5; Colossians 1:21) and reconciled us to Father God (John 14:6). He came to destroy the works of the evil one (1 John 3:8) and He freed us from every curse of the law and its consequences by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). By His Stripes we are healed of every sickness and infirmity that entered the fallen world (Isaiah 53:5). The prophecy of Isaiah that Jesus read as a proclamation about Himself in Luke 4:18-19 also speaks of His mission of restoring man from The Fall. “ The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Jesus came to heal mankind’s esteem that was downtrodden by the serpent (Genesis 3:5); to set us free from captivity under satan’s dominion of darkness (Psalm 107:2; Colossians 1:13-14); to restore the sight of those who have been blinded by the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4); and set us free from bondage to sin (John 8:34-36) and satan (1 John 5:19; Acts 26:18). Jesus came to take us out of darkness and cradle us into His Kingdom. We could go on but suffice to say, when we receive Jesus and believe, we come back into God’s original plan for us, to own the earth and walk into eternity with Him. Every promise of God to us becomes restored and available to us. The “Promise Land” is ours to claim again. Claiming our promises is the spoil of our personal warfare and we will study its Biblical perspectives in a later entry. There is nothing in scripture indicating redemption for fallen angels. They are destined to be cast into the everlasting lake of fire (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6). Bibliography “Adam Clarke Commentary” (on StudyLight.org) [url] “The Fall of Man” (From Torrey's Topical Textbook) [url] Diffinbaugh, Bob. “Genesis: From Paradise to Patriarchs” [url] Strauss, Richard L. “God is So Good” (on Bible.org) [url] Horrobin, Peter. Healing through Deliverance: The Foundation of Deliverance Ministry. Sovereign World, 1991. Murphy, Ed. The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare. Thomas Nelson, 1992. Reese, Andy. Freedom Tools for Overcoming Life’s Tough Problems. Chosen Books, 2008.
[quote]when we receive Jesus and believe, we come back into Godâ€™s original plan for us, to own the earth and walk into eternity with Him. Every promise of God to us becomes restored and available to us.[/quote]
C.S. Lewis used the term "bent" when referring to fallen humanity. God refused to leave us "bent"! Rather, He provided restoration for us if we so desire. Yes, God is good!
After getting diagnosed with cancer and beginning treatment, some of my Christian colleagues at school told me the other teachers were talking about me. They wanted to know how I could possibly have joy and peace which they perceived to be genuine rather than just a front. My colleagues had a chance to share that God is bigger!
There are unpleasant things which we will face in this fallen world. That is a given. However we have a choice as to who/what is going to reign over us...our situations or Christ?
Doulos, thank you for another blog which will be included in my reference for young Christians - simply explained with a treasure trove for thought and understanding our belief.
As an ex-auditor, the following words jump out at me "Few of us can resist the temptation to immediately tell someone they are wrong and Eve was no exception. Eve was under no obligation to respond, least of all to a creature she had dominion over (Genesis 1:28); and if she did she could have chosen to rebuke the creature, instead she walked right into the temptation to correct." It was my job to tell when something was not right in organizations I audited .. but now I have "retired" I no longer need to do so all the time. Even though it has become second nature, I pray daily for spiritual discernment for myself and to help those who need to rebuke the tempter and to help them not to walk into the trap of our enemy. Only the Spirit who knows the hearts of man, can see through the mess and help us discern. Praise the Lord His Holy Spirit is with us.
Brother doulos; thank you for investing the massive amount of time needed to put this study together. I understand that for many people it is too long, too complicated and too controversial to read, but that is only indicative of the state of mind in our cultures today. People have the attention span of a gnat and that is perhaps one of the reasons Eve so easily was tricked.
Current theology is trying to twist and turn the entire Genesis 3 record into something it is not. Current theology is trying to do away with the concept of "original sin" and replace it with terms and concepts that I could not pretend to understand. To me, the record in Genesis 3 is simple and easy to understand the way it is written.
Current theology is also diligently trying to do away with the idea that Ezekiel is speaking of what became the serpent in Genesis 3. It is indeed tragic that current trends in theology are striving to diminish the significance of Satan and sin. The unfortunate outcome of this is the diminishing of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
God is good and God is light. In God is NO, NONE, ZERO darkness at all. If the door is opened to imply that God is in anyway responsible for anything bad, evil, dark or hurtful then His name is blemished and the lies of Genesis 3 continue unabated. I am daily astounded at the incredible misconceptions floating around concerning God, who He is, what He does and how He does it. It behooves all of us to master the simple, yet lengthy, explanation given in this brilliant blog so that we can enlighten the eyes of the spiritually blind and help people understand how simple this all is.
It totally blows me away how people fight the idea of there being a devil, serpent, Satan, evil one etc. It makes no sense to me why people want to deny the presence and influence of the evil one. It would seem obvious that if there were a simple scriptural explanation for why bad things happen to good people that folks would flock to that explanation, but it doesn't work that way.
Thank you again for submitting this massive expose on the goodness of God and the evil of the devil and how we ended up needing a Savior. Looking forward to the next installment in your series.
Blessings 2 You,
Great presentation on this topic on the Origin of Sin /Fall of Man... it's time for us to 'take' responsibilities and acknowledge the fact that [i]we are fallen and the whole creation suffers the consequence [/i]rather than pointing our finger and blaming God each time something bad happened... as the saying goes... every action has a reaction which leads to a consequence... will definitely recommend this blog to those who needs to go back to the Word to see our 'current fallen state of helplessness as the result of sin' which is why[b] we DO need Jesus today[/b]!!
My brother Doulos,
Thank you so much for this blog. Many of us are going to be able to help so many others through what you've researched and highlighted from the Holy Bible.
I wrote a blog sometime ago entitled, "The Original Lie Begot The Original Sin" or something along those lines. I focused on Satan's lie that we wouldn't die, instead of focusing on the internal force that you have here, which I believe is much better to do. Thank you for showing me the power of our own choice to not even respond to the temptation by "correcting it" so to speak.
Great blog my friend. I find it interesting to note that "Original Sin" did not begin in The Garden but took place in Heaven before man's creation with the rebellion of Lucifer.
I sometimes find myself feeling sorry for the angels. They will never really experience God's Mercy and Forgiveness. Hmmm, Doulos, what do you think? Does God's redemptive work in us through Christ cover all creation and therfore touch the angels, if even indirectly? I've never thought about it.
Anyway, thank you for your excellent words.
I am humbled that you guys read this and took the time to comment. It is really too long. I wrote this while being quarantined in a hospital room (with my daughter who had the H1N1 bug) and I got carried away as I didn't have much else to do!
I agree with B2Y and I think that we need to read for ourselves. Unless we have the passion for His Word we may be susceptible to deviant teachings as we will simply not have a baseline of familiarity with the Bible to know otherwise. The enemy would like nothing more than for us to ignore his existence and leave him to work stealthily.
Benjamin Foulks (@galahad), regarding redemption for angels, I really don't know the answer to that and I do wonder about it myself. From what I've gathered through reading, the Bible doesn't give any indication of that happening and we just know that the fallen angels are destined to be cast into the everlasting Lake of Fire. You've got a great series going on there on the Names of God. I'm enjoying it.
Thank you also ptl & K for contributing your thoughts. We're certainly not left 'bent' and we can discern with the help of the Holy Spirit. Thank God for the gift of His Spirit without whom we'd be lost.
And by the way everyone, I just want to introduce [member=jnissi/]jnissi[/member] who is a dear sister friend from church and my leader in intercession. We've been in the same healing and deliverance ministry for the past five years. She's really impressed by CB!
...and it is really good to see you blogging and commenting again Happy!
God bless you all...