The Fall and Redemption of Man

The worst event in all of human history is the original fall of man. The most wonderful event in all of human history is the redemption of man. The fall introduces the exceeding sinfulness of sin while the redemption of man shows the mind boggling love and grace of Almighty God. In light of these basic introductory facts we find that the thesis of this article is to show how mankind is condemned as a result of the fall of one man and how redemption is freely given to mankind through the sacrifice of one man.
Before the actual fall of man is studied it is behooved upon us to examine the life of the first man before the fall. The pre-fall condition of man is most admirable. It would be the fulfillment of all dreams to be able to live in such a perfect condition as the first man enjoyed. The garden in which the first man lived was literally heaven on earth. It was the most perfect environment that anyone could imagine. Lewis Chafer writes: “It may be assumed that when Jehovah planted a garden in which was ‘every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food’, the prospect was as pleasing as could be secured by means of material things. The attractiveness of the garden was in harmony with all that God had created and concerning which He had said it was ‘very good’. The first man had everything he could ever dream of or desired. He lived in perfect harmony with God. In the poem, The Garden of Eden, Sulekha Esther Rathnam writes:
“How lovely must that garden have been?
Where God did place Adam and Eve in?
HE called it, The Garden of Eden,
The only place, that was once free of sin.
That garden, far blessed than any today,
For God and man fellowshipped everyday!
T’was in that garden that life was born,
Where daylight shorn, the very first morn.
It was indeed, very beautiful and bright,
Filled with radiance, of our Father’s pure light.
Both Man and God dwelt as one,
Under the glory, of the first sun.”
It is obvious that words cannot describe the place in which the first man lived. The condition of man before the fall was perfectly holy, pure, beautiful, and right. However, as we shall see, this perfect condition of man does not last as the most terrible event in all of human history sets the stage for the world in which we live today.
As we now turn our attention to the process of the fall, we must first go to scripture and examine the account given in Genesis Chapter three:
1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”
There are several characters in play in this passage. We have the first woman and the first man, and we also have the serpent who is described as the tempter. The question that must be considered is who exactly is this serpent? The obvious assumption is that the serpent is Satan, but how do we know this for sure? The one book of the Bible that speaks of Satan more than any other book is the book of Revelation. In Revelation 12:9 we read: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, call the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out in the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” The creature described in Genesis was not a slithering snake like we would think have today. This creature was strong and beautiful and had tremendous ability. Second Corinthians 11:14 tells us that “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” Based on the facts given to us throughout scripture it can be accurately interpreted as this serpent, the tempter, as none other than Satan himself.
As we examine the actual temptation we find that Satan does several things. One, he casts doubt on the word of God and second, he denies the word of God. This is where all temptation begins. When we begin to doubt and deny God’s word then we open ourselves up to all manner of temptations. Satan also approaches the woman instead of the man. This is because he knows that the women received her information from the man and if could get to the woman then he could get to the man through her. J. Vernon McGee writes: “Satan knew what he was doing. Notice what he did. He had a very subtle method as he came. He asked her this question, which cast doubt on the word of God, ‘Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden?’ He raises doubt in her mind and excites her curiosity.” The first step toward any sin is doubting the word of God. When we get to the point where we do not believe God really meant what He said, then we are opening ourselves up to all manner of temptations and we risk falling into the trap of sin. The next thing that Satan does in his temptation of Eve is to deny God’s word. In Genesis 3:4-5 it reads: “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” We find that Satan questions the righteousness of God and the holiness of God. He twists what God actually said and tries to imply that God was unjust or wrong. When Satan said that ‘ye shall not surly die’ he was actually saying that ‘ye certainly shall not die.’ In other words, Satan was telling Eve that God lied and that eating the fruit will not cause you to die. This is exactly what Satan still does today. He twists the Word of God and tries to make God a liar. This is deception to the greatest degree.
Now that we have looked at the tempter and the temptation, our attention must now be turned to the sin. Genesis 3:6 says, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her and he did eat.” Here we find the nature of sin: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. “The lust of the eyes” – the tree was good to look at. “The lust of the flesh” – the tree was good to eat. “The pride of life” – the tree was desired to make one wise. All sin begins with this basic nature. Notice also the difference between the failure of Adam and Eve. Eve was tempted and then sinned, Adam just sinned. The indication given is that Adam had already thought of it before and already desired to disobey God. Adam knew exactly what he was doing. There was no persuasion, he just sinned. As a result of the fall, sin has now entered into the world.
It saddens the heart to see the plight of man. Man enjoyed perfect harmony with God. He lived in the most beautiful places that one could ever imagine. Now, that he sinned, his whole world has been changed. As we see the post-fall conditions we find the condition that you and I are in apart from Jesus Christ. There are basically three important facts to note: 1. Spiritual Death and Depravity. 2. Physical Death. 3. The Second Death. All three of these conditions are the exact opposite of what the first man enjoyed in the Garden of Eden.
The first of these post-fall conditions is spiritual death and depravity. In Lewis Chafer’s Systematic Theology Volume 2 we read: “When Adam sinned his first sin he experienced a conversion downwards. He became degenerate and depraved. He developed within himself a fallen nature which is contrary to God and is ever prone to evil.” Chafer goes on to say, “No other human being than Adam has ever become a sinner by sinning. All others were born sinners. Distinction is made at this point between sin as an evil act and sin as an evil nature. By a sinful act Adam required a sinful nature, whereas all members of his family are born with that nature. “ Since the sin of Adam we can now say that we sin because we are sinners, we are not sinners because we sin. At this point, everyone who is conceived inherits a sin nature. Essentially we are conceived as spiritually dead people. As result of this inherited sin nature we find that man is also depraved. Wikipedia states: “Total depravity is the fallen state of man as a result of original sin. The doctrine of total depravity asserts that people are by nature not inclined or even able to love God wholly with heart, mind, and strength, but rather all are inclined by nature to serve their own will and desires and to reject the rule of God.” This statement is of absolute truth. Because of the fallen state of man, none of us are capable of good. The Bible teaches us that even the good things we do are as filthy rags in the site of God. In other words, by nature, we are incapable of pleasing God. It is impossible for any human to live up to the standards of God’s law. We are sick with sin. Sin is who we are, it consumes us. We are sinners. This utter spiritual death is a most depressing thought, however, as we shall see, we can be rescued from this state of sin, there is hope.
The second post-fall condition is that of physical death. The moment of the first sin, mankind began to die. Before the fall, there were no physical restraints. Man lived in a state of eternal freedom and peace. There was no pain or suffering, it was literally heaven on earth. However, after the fall, man began the slow process of death. Pain and suffering now exists and our bodies grow old and weary. As each second passes we are that much closer to physical death. In a sense, while we are still in this human body, we are constantly in the process of death. This physical death is totally different from that of spiritual death. As Lewis Chafer writes: “The separation of soul and spirit from the body, which experience is termed physical death, is in no way comparable to spiritual death, though both originate in the first sin of the first man.” Even though we may be spiritually dead, we are alive physically. At the time of physical death, we die physically but are alive spiritually. In other words, we will always live forever. However, for those who do not experience the redeeming grace of God, spiritual death will be a constant state and death with ultimately be a constant experience yet without an end.
This brings us to the third post-fall condition of man and that is the possibility of the second death. It is mentioned that this is a possibility rather than a certainty, thankfully, for those who are redeemed will not experience such a second death. However, the second death is a certainty for those who are not redeemed. This ‘second death’ is mentioned in Revelation 20:14 where is states: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” There are several theological discussions that can be made concerning the second death. However, those discussions are not behooved upon us by the thesis of this article. A good summary is given to us by Henry Morris in his book The Revelation Record, “Whatever the exact meaning of all these sobering warnings may be, it is obvious that those who die as lost sinners face a terrifying future. If these should all be mere symbols, the reality must be still worse. No wonder Jude urges that many should be saved with fear, pulling them out of the fire.” Morris is referring to the various warnings given in scripture concerning hell and the lake of fire. If man is left in his fallen state, his ultimate demise is eternal torment in hell. This experience of being cast into the lake of fire and there forever suffer the associated torments is what is referred to as the second death. This is the ultimate result of man’s fallen state.
To sum up the post-fall condition of man we see that man’s state is that of spiritual death. This spiritual death is a separation from God brought on by the fact that God cannot have anything to do with sin. The fall of man also leaves man with the existence of physical death. Unless the Lord returns before our time, we will all experience physical death. It is an inevitable fact. However, this terrible plight of man does not end with physical death, it continues with the second death. Eternal torment is the ultimate result of man’s sin. This is our destiny. There is nothing we can do about it. Our only hope is found in the redeeming work of Christ.
After examining what man had, how he fell, and the results of that fall, we may find ourselves rather depressed and saddened over the state in which we are in. However, there is good news. There is hope. There is a remedy for the fall. The remedy of the fall is found in one place and that is in the cross of Jesus Christ. It is in the cross where our hope lies. One of the simplest ways for an individual to learn is to look at an acrostic to explain a word or idea. When we look at the cross, there is an acrostic in the word that will help bring to light what the cross is all about. The ‘C’ in cross stands for Christ, the ‘R’ in cross stands for Reason, the ‘O’ in cross stands for Outcome, the ‘S’ in cross stands for Substitute, and the ‘S’ in cross stands for Salvation.
First of all, notice that the ‘C’ in cross is for Christ. Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This verse explains to us why Jesus came. He left the wonders of heaven in order to die on the cross and pay the ultimate price for sin. There are a couple of things to note about Jesus. First of all, we must understand that Jesus is God. If you do not believe this simple fact you cannot obtain salvation. It is essential to our faith to know that Jesus is God. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Before the foundation of the world, we see Jesus as the second person in the Godhead. The fact of the matter is, He is God. Apart from this truth, there is no remedy for the fall of man. Another thing we see about Jesus is that He was sinless. In order for sin to be forgiven and paid for, there had to be a perfect and sinless sacrifice. Second Corinthians 5:21 states, “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Essentially, Jesus took our sin and gave us His righteousness. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for sin, for He had never sinned, nor did he have a sin nature due to the fact of the virgin birth. A final thing we see about Jesus is that He was the one who died on the cross. Matthew 27:27-54 gives us the account of the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. The purpose of this article is not to examine the details of the sacrifice of Christ. Suffice it to say, however, that the cross was the worst death anyone could suffer. In all of the pain and agony that Jesus went through it must be understood that He did it all for the His own glory and out of love for His creation.
Secondly, the ‘R’ in Cross stands for Reason. We know that all that God does is doxological in nature. It is all ultimately for His glory. With that thought in mind, we could then say that the purpose of the cross is the glory of God. This statement is most certainly true; however, there is another purpose of the cross that must be noted. First Peter 3:18 states: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” The purpose of the cross, though doxological, is reconciliation. The reason He made such a sacrifice was to bring man into right standing with God.
Next we see that the ‘O’ in Cross stands for Outcome. Here we find the result of the cross. The most promising text to examine is found in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Without the cross, there would be no hope. There would be no salvation apart from the cross. All of us our deservingly condemned to hell because of our sin nature, however, Jesus paid the price. He gave us a free gift, a gift that is only received by grace through faith.
The ‘S’ in Cross stands for Substitute. Jesus was our substitute on the cross. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Essentially, Jesus took our place on the cross. He paid the price of sin for us so that we do not have to pay it ourselves. This is the ultimate display of grace and mercy.
The final ‘S’ in cross stands for Salvation. As a result of the cross we have the ultimate remedy for the fall, we have salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” In other words, it is all about Jesus. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves; there is nothing we can do to provide a remedy for our sin nature. Jesus is the only way. He has given to us the free gift of salvation; all we must do is give our lives to Him.
In looking at the remedy of the cross we find that it can call be summed up in one word: redemption. Man in his fallen state is hopelessly condemned. Our only hope is to be redeemed. The word redeemed basically means to be ‘bought out’. Imagine a slave on the auction block and someone buys the slave. The new owner tells that slave that he is no longer a slave but a son. As a son, he will inherit everything that the first born son of the family would inherit. Man is cursed with sin. We are enslaved to sin, it is our nature. However, through the cross of Jesus, we are redeemed. We are bought out of the slave market of sin and we become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.
In looking at the remedy for the fall, one cannot help but praise the Lord. As terrible as the fall of man is, the redemption of man is greater than anything we can imagine. In light of all we know concerning pre-fall conditions, the fall, post-fall conditions, and the remedy, we find that it all brings us to our knees in praise. Truly, it is doxological. The entire history of man is all for the glory of God. As strange as it may seem, the fall had a purpose, and that purpose is for the glory of God. May God be praised!

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