Sunday, November 1, 2015

Understanding the creation of man, his fall and need for salvation

Genesis 1:26-28 - Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Today's post aims to summarize what the Bible teaches about God's creation of human beings, their fall into sin and the hope of salvation. 

God made human beings
God made man out of the dust of the ground and endowed him with the capacity for a relationship with him. The former expresses man as a living soul in a physical body that expresses himself volitionally, emotionally and mentally (Genesis 2:7). The latter part of this statement is described in Genesis 1:26-28 as man being made in God’s image and likeness and endowed with the capacity for relationship, exercise of dominion and thus God’s co-regent here on earth (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8). 

This creation of man did not derive from the mechanism of biological macro-evolution, natural selection or genetic mutation of interrelated species of monkeys and apes. Rather, the original Man and woman were unique creations of God that were spiritually unique from the rest of the animal kingdom. All subsequent generations are descended from Adam and Eve and still bear the image of God with respect to their still being accountable to Holy God despite the fall of our original parents.

Man rebelled against God, resulting in spiritual separation from God and the need for salvation
The fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden stands as ground zero for the entry of sin into the human race (Romans 5:12-21). All of Adam’s posterity has inherited his original disposition to think and act contrary to God’s will in favor of their own. When we speak of “nature”, we are referring to the manner in which a living being expresses its existence. 

When sin was introduced into the human race, the chief mode of expression would go from being “able not to sin” to that of “unable not to sin”. Another writer has noted that prior to the fall, man was morally and spiritually curved outward towards God, with Adam’s sin resulting in us becoming curved inward to ourselves. David describes this situation as having been conceived in iniquity or “a long-standing sin-pattern” in his mother’s womb (Psalm 51). Numerous times we read in the books of Kings and Chronicles of certain kings or peoples doing the sins of their fathers. The New Testament echoes this emphasis of inherited sin by classifying a non-redeemed state as having a “worthless way of conduct handed down to us by our fathers” (1 Peter 1:17-18). 

The whole race of humanity is morally, spiritual and intellectually compromised and dead to the desire for God (Romans 3:10-13; Ephesians 2:1-2, 12). Mankind is incapable of redeeming itself and chooses to exchange God for anything else in the created realm and pursue their own desires (Romans 1:18-31). Though each man is responsible for his own sin (Ezekiel 18:20-24; Acts 13:46-47), it is clear that the pattern and propensity to sin derives from our original parents as a result of God’s curse (Genesis 3:17-19).

When man sinned – three problems or crises resulted – namely  moral, legal and spiritual ramifications that define what it means to be separated from the life of God. With respect to the moral crisis brought about by our inherited and preferential dispositions for sin over God – we cannot do anything to morally make ourselves appealing to God. The most common words for sin in both the Old and New Testament both refer to “falling short” or “missing the mark” (Romans 3:23). God is too holy to condone and look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13). Lest God intervened, there would be zero chance for man to cross the vast chasm between himself and God. In addition to our moral predicament, there is clearly a spiritual crisis that compounds our separation from the life of God prior to salvation. Human beings in their natural unredeemed state balk at God’s Word (1 Corinthians 2:14); have no hope in this world or the next (Ephesians 2:12); are darkened in their understanding and are sons of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-2) and choose to run from God (Romans 3:10-13).

The spiritual separation from the life of God is a direct result of mankind’s preference for darkness rather than light (John 3:17-19). Henceforth in addition to man’s moral and spiritual predicament we come to the third crisis of human beings that defines their separation from the life of God – namely their legal crisis. The Bible affirms that human beings are not right with God – i.e unrighteous (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:23; 6:23). 

The only solution to reconciling a fallen human being to God - redemption by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone
The law of God is God’s written revelation of His absolute righteousness – which alone makes anyone acceptable in his sight. No one can measure up to such an unreachable standard – which is why God chose to send His Son into the world to die for sinners (John 3:16). As unreconciled people, sinful man needs reconciled to Holy God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ by saving faith. To reject God’s provision and not to receive such by faith renders the individual condemned already (John 3:36). 

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