Fundamentals of the Fall

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For those of you who may not have noticed it yet, we have begun to fall into something of a pattern during our time here at Stage #1 of God’s One Big Story.  First, we have watched and enjoyed each new segment of the Story as it has been presented to us; then, we have paused to analyze each new segment to see what we could take The Critic's Hataway from it.  In effect, what we have been doing is donning two different hats for each of our theatrical outings—the first hat made expressly for the devoted, theatre-going patron who is just out for an evening’s entertainment, while the other is perfectly suited for the questioning, somewhat jaded theatre critic who is searching for the pathos inherent in any new presentation.  Well, now that we have finished viewing the third Vignette in our current series—that being Man’s Sin and Fall From Grace—it is time for us to once again remove our Patron’s Cap and change into our Critic’s Cap so that we can search for the deeper meaning hidden within the characters’ actions in this portion of our Story.

I suppose that for us, as critics, there can be no more pathos-producing element within a Story than the introduction of Evil into it—especially when that Evil seems to be so unwarranted and out of place.  When you consider that in our Story so far, everything and everyone in it is Good, for…

  • God is holy, so there’s no way that Evil has any place in Him;
  • The world God has created is perfect so, as yet, there is place for Evil in it; and,
  • Our human characters, those beings made in the very image of God, are still both innocent and undefiled.

So, what purpose could possibly be served by the Author of this Story, who is none other than God Himself, in allowing the introduction of Evil into this, His most magnificent opusespecially when He knows better than anyone else the dire consequences which will result from just such an introduction?

Before we can answer this all-important question, however, there are two other questions that will need to be answered first:  why was Man created, and how was Man created?  And, for the answers to these questions, we only need to refer back to Another Learning Interlude, where we only recently learned that…

  • Man was created by God for Sonship; and,
  • Man was created in the image of God, so that he could become a Son of God.
    However…

Being created for Sonship…

…would require that the Son be holy, like his Father.  Before he could be found to be Holy, though, he would first have to prove to be righteous; and, in order for that to happen, he would have to maintain his innocence in the face of testing.

…would also require that the Son be obedient to His Father, even if he didn’t fully understand the reasons for that obedience.

Being created in the Image of God…

…would mean that the Son would have a will like His Father; a will giving him the power to choose to either obey or disobey—or, to choose to between doing Good or doing Evil.  Before he could do any choosing, though, there would first have to be both Good and Evil options from which he could choose.

These requirements, then, bring us to God’s purpose for allowing the introduction of Evil into His Storya purpose which can be summed up by one nasty, four-letter word (and ordeal) which most of us try to avoid at all costs—and that is a…TEST

Test now1You see, Vignette #3 is all about a TEST

  • A Test to see if Man would maintain his innocence in the face of temptation, so that he could be found righteous and holy, like His Father; and,
  • A Test to see if Man would exercise his will to obey His Father, or use it to satisfy his own fleshly desires.

So, here, then—for all of you critical thinkers, are the Fundamentals of the Fall, and of …

Man's Really Big Test


The Life Lessons to be learned from the Fall…

Using what we have just learned from the Fundamentals of the Fall, we can now identify some of the important Life Lessons about testing to be found in Vignette #3.  Based upon Adam and Eve’s experiences, we say with certainty that…

  • Fail or pass1Everyone will be tested—even Christ was tested (Matt. 4:1-9) but, unlike the first Adam, He put His trust in the Word of God when he was confronted by temptation.
  • God allows/requires the testing. While Satan tempts us in order to separate us from God, God allows our testing so that we can be drawn closer to Him.
  • Just like Adam and Eve, we will be tested on the revelation of God’s Word that we have received.
  • And just as Eve was, we will be tested in three areas: the lust of the flesh (body), the lust of the eyes (soul), and the pride of life (spirit).

There are also some other Life Lessons, relating to the choices that we make and their consequences, to be learned from Adam and Eve’s experiences.  They are the hard lessons that…

  • Everyone will be judged…

    …inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes the judgment (Heb. 10:27).

  • We will reap according to what we have sown…

    Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (Gal. 6:7-8), and…everything will reproduce “after its kind” (Gen. 1).

  • We will be judged according to our works…
    The righteous will be judged to determine their rewards, however, these rewards will not be immediate; they will be determined by our good works, all of which will be tested by fire, for…

    …each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work (1 Cor. 3:13-14).

    But the wicked will be judged to determine their degrees of punishment…

    …And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds (Rev. 20:12).

  • A broken relationship with God can only be restored by an atoning sacrifice for sin; and this sacrifice must be the work of God alone, involve the death of an innocent substitute, and involve the shedding of blood.  (Heb. 9:11-14)

    …Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ…for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God… (1 Peter 2:18-19, 23).

The Contributions that the Fall makes to the Heavenly Story…

With the introduction of Evil into our Story, a new and altogether unsavory Character joins its Cast.  Although this Character has not yet been named and he will, for the present time, remain invisible to us, his presence will surely be felt as He and his nefarious activities continue to wreak havoc among the people of God’s creation.  And, it is through his evil actions in this, his first appearance in our Story, that the conflict which propels our Story forward is also introduced. 

The Revelations of God to be found in the Story of the Fall…

In as much as it is becoming our practice at this juncture to look for new revelations of God that can be found in the preceding Vignette, let’s once again do that by using the same criteria that we have used during our previous critical pauses: 

The names God uses to identify Himself… 

In Vignette #3, God is still identified by the name, the Lord God, Jehovah or Yahweh. Although His name remains unchanged, a whole new dimension is added to it in this portion of the Story.  Whereas, in Vignette #2, Yahweh was revealed as the immanent personal God, directly involved with Man as his Creator, life-giver, provider, and sustainer; in Vignette #3, Yahweh is revealed as Man’s seeker, his judge, his redeemer, and his restorer.

The Things that God does…

God’s actions in this segment of our Story can best be described as measured and proportional.  Having already instructed the Man on what would and would not be acceptable conduct, He then allows him and his partner to have the time and opportunity to choose how they will conduct themselves.  When they fail to do what it right, God doesn’t wait for them to come to Him; instead, He seeks them out, giving them a chance to repent, yet still holding them responsible for their actions.  As He must, He judges and imposes punishment on them for their sins; but, after doing so, He immediately provides a covering for those sins so that their fellowship with Him can be restored.  In addition, He offers them the hope for a brighter future through the promise of a Redeemer who will eventually deliver them from sin’s bondage.

The Way that God relates to His Creation…

When we look closely at God’s actions, just described, it is easy for us to see that He is relating to His Created Beings as any Father would to His Children.  For, after providing His Children with love and a wonderful home, He teaches or instructs them in the right way to live, and then lets them choose whether or not they will obey.  When they choose wrongly, He must discipline them–but it is always done with love.

What God says about Himself…

Once again, in this portion of our Story, God has nothing to say about Himself; He lets His actions do all the talking–and, as usual, they say quite a bit about the God and Father that we are coming to know and love.

With this, our critical analysis of Vignette #3 comes to a close, making it time for us to move on to Vignette #4, where we will meet Cain and Abel—the two sons of Adam and Eve who will bring a whole new level of drama to our Story.  In anticipation of that, we need to take off our Theatre Critic’s Hat and replace it with our Theatre Patron’s Cap, as we prepare to observe how the fruit of the Two Trees will be reproduced in the children of Adam and Eve.

Smiley Face with Earphones2

Until then, join the Sidewalk Prophets in their prayer to “Change This Heart”…

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