THE FEAR AND FALL OF MAN
Viewpoint of Mark Cadwallader, Creation Moments Board Chairman
At the beginning of Creation the Bible says that the first man and woman walked and talked with God in the idyllic Garden of Eden. Then Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and things changed.
They hid themselves from God and were “afraid” because they were “naked” (Genesis 3:7-10), exposed in their disobedience and unshielded by what many theologians argue was a previous glow of radiance about them, providing a type of covering to their nakedness. Instead, in their realization of shame, the Bible says they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
Breaking a trust leads to estrangement of relationship. And being exposed for rebellion, weakness, guilt, sin and frailty leads to fear. Indeed, fear is an overwhelming response and evil taskmaster in human society. There are over 500 different psychologically diagnosed phobias describing irrational, persistent, disabling fear as a mental disorder. And anxiety disorders, in spite of all kinds of technological progress, are hugely oppressive in our day.
But the wonderful thing is that our great Creator has granted us freedom from the taskmaster of fear in reconciling us to Himself through Jesus and by adopting us as His beloved little sons and daughters! Romans 8:15 says it explicitly: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again unto fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba (Papa), Father.”
Instead of the fig leaf coverings, they made for themselves, God made His certified clothing from animal skins so that Adam and Eve would not feel ashamed and be adequately covered (Genesis 3:21). Here, in a foreshadowing of the consummation of our final status with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, there was the shedding of blood for the atonement of sin – and the removal of shame!
This sets the stage for the final consummation of God’s Creation. Romans 8 continues: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. … Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:18-21). There is coming a day when the Creation will be fully free of fear and corruption. And that day will coincide with a “manifestation” of “glory” (beauty, splendor) of the children of God.
Human life is the crown of God’s creation. The Bible says we have been fashioned in His image and have been given the great honor of eternal life. As C.S. Lewis writes in his wonderful essay The Weight of Glory, “Nations, cultures, arts, civilization – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” The full redemption of creation will come with a full redemption of the beauty of God’s adopted children.
Beauty is linked to absolute truth and perfection. Beauty is linked to God and His works. In fact, Divine beauty is characteristic of God and is vastly superior to even the very best of created splendors! Indeed, our great calling is to dwell in His temple “to inquire of Him and to gaze upon His beauty” as the Psalmist expresses in Psalm 27. In so doing, the Bible says we are transformed into the likeness of our Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Lord is the purest loveliness and the very essence of joy and wisdom, perfect in all His ways without end. So it is no wonder that saints throughout the centuries have experienced His inexpressible delight in worship and in prayer, even though veiled in this fallen world. This is the biblical Creator Almighty!
We are rebels at heart, and the sin thereof has infected and polluted this once-perfect creation. We are all broken images of our Creator, and the whole of creation itself now “groans” and “travails” because it is now flawed, oppressed and in league through our fallen nature with our spiritual adversary Satan and his host of evil spirits. But the promise of God’s Word is that He will complete the full redemption of His Creation, and it will come with a full manifestation of the glory of the redeemed nature of His children!
We rightly appreciate the created beauty that God gave us. It is ultimately an appreciation of His beauty – a beauty which reflects its Maker. Perfection is beautiful to behold, and truth – insofar as it is the perfection of correct analysis – is itself beautiful.
Moral truth is also beautiful. And God is not only beautiful as Creator, He is even more beautiful in His moral perfection. Not even the worst perpetrators of the worst crimes would honestly describe immoral acts as “beautiful”. No, because, in fact, they are ugly and disgusting. The morally deformed is not beautiful. And here is where the truth of biblical Christianity again shines through uniquely. God is the Most High and Holy Creator Almighty, who established His original perfect order. As Christians, we recognize human nature as inherently flawed and in desperate need of redemption to our Maker. Understanding the truth about man’s depravity is deeply satisfying because it is true. And it makes our redemption all the more beautiful, all the more glorious!
In Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, he held that all species of life are the result of natural processes of evolution from common ancestors of more simple biology rather than creative acts of God. God no longer had a function and could be ignored or eliminated. Man was declared to be just another animal with no real uniqueness, and he was basically absorbed into nature – naturalism.
Yet, C.S. Lewis is the one who is right. “You have never talked to a mere mortal.” People are special in the sight of their Creator. The divine spark can be fanned into a hot fire spreading warmth and light and freedom and beauty all around … or it can be smothered into a cold, dark ember.
Evolution works to smother the spark, promoting the cold and darkness and shame, and fear-driven-ness of this world. At Creation Moments, we want to spread the good news that the biblical Creator is real and involved personally with people and with His Creation, bringing truth, purpose, redemption, freedom and beauty to a lost and dying world!
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