Part 3 - The Fall and the Restoration
The Fall of Man
The sanctifying work of Christ has made a way for mankind to be restored into fellowship with God. But restored from what, and to what? Sanctification involves separation, so a look at the fallen place of man and how he got there will help to better understand not only what one is being separated from, but also what one is being restored back unto.
The word "gospel" means good news. Romans 10:15 states, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!" The good news is that through Jesus Christ mankind can live forever in union with God. What makes this especially good news however is the bad news that precedes it. It is the dark condition of the human race, a condition of bondage to sin and death in which there is no hope, that makes the good news exceedingly good. We were "without Christ, . . . having no hope and without God in the world" (Eph. 2:12). The state of the world is called "this present evil age" (Gal. 4:4). The fall of Adam and Eve created this condition. The gospel cannot be fully appreciated apart from this.
Two trees, two choices
When God created Adam and Eve, He placed them in a garden. Their only restriction was not to eat of one of the fruit trees in the garden. Only two of the trees were named, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yahweh commanded Adam saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Gen. 2:16).
Man was created with a free will. God did not create man as an automaton, with no ability to freely decide his future. As newly created beings, placed in the garden in fellowship with God, there were two inherent choices that would have to be made by Adam and Eve. These are reflected in the names given to the trees and the results of eating of either one. Rather than being an arbitrary test by God, the choice of eating of either of the trees reflected the reality of the situation: they were beings of free will, newly created and placed in the presence of God, with a choice of where to go from there.
Adam and Eve would have to make a decision. Should they accept their position under the Creator and choose to live with him forever? Or should they refuse a relationship of submission and dependence on Him and seek to order and run their own lives? The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil reflected these choices.
Genesis records, "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, 'has God indeed said, "You shall not eat of every tree of the Garden?" ' And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, "You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die." ' And the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' "
In this account, a mixture of truth and lies by the serpent can be observed. After drawing the attention of Eve to the forbidden tree, the serpent flatly contradicts God by stating "You will not surely die." This of course turns out to be a lie. Mixed with this is the assertion that Eve will be like God, knowing good and evil. Now this is very subtle, for in one sense this was entirely true. Immediately after Adam and Eve ate the fruit, the Bible states, "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew ..." (Gen. 3:7). The Lord also says, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil" (Gen. 3:22). In one sense, they did become like God, in that just like God they became aware of good and evil.
But the subtlety of the serpent was in the beguilement to be like God in the sense of possessing the powers and abilities of God. The serpent implied that the nature of man would be improved, that his innate being would be changed to be like that of a god. Man was deceived into thinking that he could evolve upward from a lower state, that of being of God's creation, to a higher state, that of being in the same class as the Creator. This is the error that brought about the fall of Lucifer.
I will ...
Lucifer's fall is recorded in Isaiah 14:12-15, "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation, On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit."
Lucifer, also known as Satan or the serpent in the Garden of Eden, fell because of pride. He elevated himself to the point of thinking that he could "be like the Most High." Even though he was only a created being, he thought that he could rise to the place of the Creator. Note the words he used: "I will ascend," "I will exalt my throne," "I will sit on the mount," "I will ascend" (again), and "I will be like." These are statements of moving up from a lower position to a higher one.
Rebellion against the Creator
Instead of recognizing a dividing line between the Creator and His creation, Satan thought that he could cross that line and be an equal with God. An un-crossable line, in which God is in one class and His creation in another class below Him, would imply that all of creation must be in submission to the Creator. Submission would mean being lower than God. By declaring five times "I will," Lucifer rebelled against God, refused to accept his place under God, and attempted in his pride to evolve upward into Godhood. Of course the reality was that he was not at all like God and was immediately cast down from Heaven. He deceived himself about who he was and what he could do, and so lost forever that glorious place that his Creator had given him.
Jesus summed up the right relationship that mankind is to have with God with these words: "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30). Jesus divided the makeup of man into four parts: his heart, his soul, his mind, and his strength. It is in each of these areas that mankind rebelled against God in the fall of the human race. As Lucifer elevated himself to be an equal with God, so has mankind done in these four parts of his being.
The following is an examination of mankind's rebellion in these areas.