The Concept of The Fall


What is the Fall of Man?

It refers to the time when Adam and Eve violated the spoken will of God. The event is recorded in Genesis 3: 1-24. God had communicated His standard for living in His presence within His Garden. Adam and Eve knew the standard.  They also knew the consequences for disobeying the standard.

After disobeying and being confronted by God they experienced the consequences of their disobedience – they were removed from the presence of God by being expelled from the Garden (spiritual death), and they would later also experience physical death. Adam and Eve fell from innocence and complete fellowship with God. About 6,000 years later, all mankind continues to be spiritually dead and to experience physical death…. Unless, one accepts God’s plan of redemption as foretold in Genesis 3:15!

But when you read Genesis 3:1-24, you cannot miss the point that Adam and Eve had a relationship with God before the Fall and lost that relationship with God after the Fall. And you cannot miss the point that the relationship was lost because of disobedience.  This is the interpretation and understanding upon which Western Christianity bases its worldview. Adam and Eve were perfect before the Fall but they became imperfect by their disobedience to God’s revealed will. And we all suffer under that consequence. Christ’s work on the cross gives to those who believe the promise of reconciliation with God. Our restoration is based upon our confidence that Christ absorbed the wrath of God we deserve as sinners like Adam and Eve, and in return received the righteousness we could not earn (read Romans 3 – 5).

The worldview of the Eastern Christian is different. From their viewpoint, Adam and Eve never had complete communion with God before the Fall, nor were they created perfect. Instead, from the East’s perspective, Adam was created with the desire and ability to obtain perfection (the image of God within man) if he would only try hard enough (the likeness of God within man)! Does this remind you of yesterday’s discussion on theosis or deification?

Here is what the Eastern writers say about the Fall:

‘As man approaches Christ he comes as a somewhat crippled creature not as one thoroughly destroyed. His fall was not from the heights of heaven, but from a previous road, so man is not to be judged too harshly for his error.’ Auxentios

‘Adam did not fulfill his vocation. He was unable to attain to union with God, and the deification of the created order.’ Vladimir Lossky

‘Adam fell from undeveloped simplicity’. Timothy Ware

From the Eastern Christian’s worldview, the cross does not bring one back into a relationship with God, it only puts one back on the road that can result in deification. The cross (from the Orthodox perspective) only allows you to begin again doing what Adam and Eve lost the opportunity to do as a result of the Fall.

This is good theology for those who want to focus on obtaining God’s favor through their own efforts rather than to trust solely upon the finished work of Christ on the cross. Some Protestants have the same concept of ‘being on a journey of good’ that will result in God’s acceptance. The counsel of Scripture (especially Isa 64:6) demonstrates that nothing could be further from the truth.

Which worldview do you identify with concerning the Fall of man? The concept you choose will have a profound effect on your relationship with God.

NAU Isaiah 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

NIV Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

KJV Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

NAU Romans 5:18
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.

NIV Romans 5:18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.

KJV Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.


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