The Human Dilemma

April 11, 2009 Genesis 3:1

 

Review

  • The first and most fundamental element of any worldview is the way it answers the questions of origins.

Where the universe came from and how human life began.

  • The second element is the way it explains the human dilemma.

No question poses a more formidable stumbling block to the Christian faith than this, and no question is more difficult for Christians to answer.

Yet the bible worldview does have an answer, and it accounts for universal human experience better than any other belief system!

The Biblical Account

The Genesis 3 account  . . . .

Notes on the fall taken form MacArthur’s Study Bible

Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

  • the serpent. The word means “snake.”
  • The apostle John identified this creature as Satan

Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Revelation 20:2And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

  • Paul did the same in

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

  • The serpent, a manifestation of Satan, appears for the first time before the Fall of man.
  • The rebellion of Satan, therefore, had occurred sometime after

Genesis 1:31God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

  • But before 3:1.

Genesis 3:1Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

  • For a possible description of Satan’s dazzling beauty

Ezekiel 28:11-15Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. “You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. “You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. “You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you.

  • For Satan’s motivation to challenge God’s authority

Isaiah 14:13“But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.

Isaiah 14:14‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’

  •  Satan, as in the body of a snake was cunning and deceitful;

Matthew 10:16“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

  • To the woman.
  • She was the object of his attack, being the weaker one and needing the protection of her husband.
  • He found her alone and unfortified by Adam’s experience and counsel.

2 Timothy 3:6For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses,

  • Though sinless, she was temptable and seducible.
  • Has God… said …?
  • In effect Satan said, “Is it true that He has restricted you from the delights of this place?
  • This is not like one who is truly good and kind.
  • There must be some mistake.”
  • He insinuated doubt as to her understanding of God’s will, appearing as an angel of light

2 Corinthians 11:14No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

  • Satan lead her to the “supposed true” interpretation.
  • Eve received him without fear or surprise, but as some credible messenger from heaven with the true understanding, because of his cunning.

Genesis 3:2

The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;

Genesis 3:3

but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ ”

  • In her answer, Eve extolled the great liberty that they had; with only one exception, they could eat all the fruit.
  • Nor shall you touch it.
  • An addition to the original prohibition as recorded in Genesis 2:17

Genesis 2:17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

  • Adam may have so instructed her for her protection.

Genesis 3:4

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!

Genesis 3:5

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

  • You surely will not die.
  • Satan, emboldened by her openness to him, spoke this direct lie.
  • This lie actually led her and Adam to spiritual death (separation from God).
  • So, Satan is called a liar and murderer from the beginning

John 8:44“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

  •  His lies always promise great benefits (as in v. 5).
  • Eve experienced this result—she and Adam did know good and evil; but by personal corruption, they did not know as God knows in perfect holiness.

Genesis 3:6

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

  • Eve decided that Satan was telling the truth and she had misunderstood God, but she didn’t know what she was doing.
  •  It was not overt rebellion against God, but seduction and deception to make her believe her act was the right thing to do

Genesis 3:13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

  • The NT confirms that Eve was deceived.

2 Corinthians 11:3But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

1 Timothy 2:14And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

  • Adam ate. A direct transgression without deception
  • Adam then violated his leadership role, followed Eve in her sin, and plunged the human race into sinfulness—all connected with violating God’s planned roles for the sexes. Ultimately, the responsibility for the Fall still rests with Adam, since he chose to disobey God apart from being deceived

1 Timothy 2:13For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.

1 Timothy 2:14And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

Genesis 3:7

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

  • The eyes of both of them were opened … knew … sewed. The innocence noted in 2:25 had been replaced by guilt and shame (vv. 8–10), and from then on they had to rely on their conscience to distinguish between good and their newly acquired capacity to see and know evil.

 

   

What has been the effect on humanity of Adam and Eve’s first sin

  • The theological term for the catastrophe is the Fall.
  • The Bible places responsibility for sin squarely humanity, starting with Adam and Eve but continuing on in our own moral choices.
  • This is the foundation of the doctrine that theologians call original sin, And it haunts humanity to this day.
  • And since humans were granted dominion over nature, the Fall also had cosmic consequence as nature  began to bring forth “thorns and thistles.”
  • Becoming a source of toil, hardship, and suffering.

A theologian once said it well, we are “born in to a world where rebellion against God has already taken place and the drift of it sweeps us along.”

  • The problem with this answer is not that people find it unclear but that they find it unpalatable.
  • It implicates each one of us in the twisted and broken sate of creation.
  • Yet just as sin entered the world through one man, eventually implicating all humanity, so redemption has come to all through one man (Romans 5:12-21).
  • Righteousness is available to all who believe in Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
  • Enlightenment Thinking
  • The Christian view of sin may seem harsh, even degrading, to the human dignity.
  • That’s why in modern times, many influential thinkers have dismissed the idea of sin a repressive and unenlightened.
  • They have proposed instead a utopian view that asserts that humans are intrinsically good and under the right social conditions, their good nature will emerge.
  • This utopian view has roots in the Enlightenment, when Western intellectuals rejected the biblical teaching of creation and replaced it with the theory that nature is our creator.
  • The biblical doctrine of sin was cast aside.
  • No longer would people live under the shadow of guilt and moral judgment
  • No longer would they be oppressed and hemmed in by moral rules and imposed by an arbitrary and tyrannical deity.
  • But if the source of disorder and suffering is not sin, then where do these problems come from?
  • Enlightenment thinkers concluded that they must be the product of the environment: of ignorance, poverty, or other undesirable social conditions; and that all it takes to create an ideal society is to create a better environment; improve education, enhance economic conditions, and reengineer social structures.
  • Given the right conditions, human perfectibility has no limits.
  • Yet which of these worldviews, the biblical one or the modern utopia one, meets the test of reality?
  • Which fits the world and human nature as we actually experience it?

What do Enlightenment thinkers propose as the cause of the human dilemma? What are some example of this?

Our Hope

  • Media coverage of heinous crimes offer all kinds of conventional answers as to why crime occurs.
  • The problem is poverty.
  • But much crimes is committed by middle class people
  • The problems is race
  • But there is no evidence that shows that race alone is a cause
  • The problem is a dysfunctional childhood
  • But millions of kids come from harsh circumstances and never commit a crime
  • The only explanation not offered is one modern commentators cannot bring themselves to utter
  • The dreaded “s word” – SIN
  • It is sin that unleashed the capacity of raw evil.
  • It is sin that blinds us to anything beyond our own selfish desires.
  • In any society, only two forces hold the sinful nature in check
  • The restraining of conscience
  • The restraint of the sword
  • The less that a citizens have of the former, the more that state must employ the latter.
  • A society that fails to keep order by an appeal to civic duty and moral responsibility must resort to coercion
  • Either open coercion, as practices by totalitarian states or
  • Covert coercion, where citizens are wooed into voluntarily giving up their freedom
  • The only alternative to increase state control is a return to biblical realism about the human potential for evil
  • A bracing willingness to look evil in the eye and not flinch.
  • Sociologists are constantly searching for the root causes of crime and others dysfunctions in society.
  • But the root cause has not changed since the temptation in the Garden.
  • It is sin
  • Human being have revolted against god and His created order, throwing the entire creation out of joint.
  • Everything is distorted by sin.
  • Nothing is free from its effects.
  • This is not merely a “religious” message, limited to some “private” realm of faith. It is a truth about ultimate reality.
  • And as we examine that truth more closely, we will see clearly why the biblical worldview provide the only rational basis for living in the real world.