The Big Story of God: The Fall

The Big Story of God: The Fall

Sermon Podcast Audio 

From Good to Fallen

Earlier, we began a
series called, “The Big Story of God.” We started at the beginning of
the story. Our story doesn’t begin with “Once upon a time.” It begins
with, “In the beginning God created…” As we started looking at the
story, we saw from this passage that the most important take-away from the
creation story wasn’t the “how” or the “when” of creation,
but the “who” and the “why.” We saw that the
“who” was God and the “why” was because of God’s desire for
a personal relationship with his creation.

As we read the
creation story, we see a repeated word after everything was made. God looked at
creation and saw that it was good. It was good. It was good. And in Genesis
1:31, we read,

God saw all that he had
made, and it was very good.

It doesn’t take long
as we look around us to quickly discover things are not very good any more. The
way things are today cannot be as God created them. As I sat down to put my
thoughts for this message on paper, I went to a couple of news sites and read
things like this: “Baby Doe’s mother arrested” (the baby doe was
a child about 4 years old who was found dead in a trash bag in Boston
Harbor), “29 Dead in Militant Attack on Pakistan Air Base,”
“Migrant crisis: Neighbors squabble after Croatia U-turn,” “Bail
set for the I-10 shooter in Phoenix.”  Is anyone else depressed?

The sad reality is
that we could go on and on with story after story highlighting the evil in this
world. What happened to turn this very good creation into the mess we have
today? What went so horribly wrong to mess everything up?

Let’s continue with the
story and see just what happened.

Background

In Genesis 2, we find
that God has created Adam. Adam has life and purpose and relationship with his
Creator.  He tends to the creation; we are told he names the animals.  However, God looks and notices something isn’t right.  Adam needs someone.
In all creation there was not a suitable helper, so God creates one: Eve.
Together, they exist in this beautiful place as husband and wife.

They have the run of the
place. Life is good. The only stipulation, the only condition, is that there is
one tree that God has told them not to eat from. Genesis calls it “the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

For a while they
listen, they obey, and chapter 2 ends with things looking pretty great. In fact,
it says,

Adam and his wife were
both naked and they felt no shame.
  – Genesis 2:25

Things were good. Adam
and Eve had an innocence, no guilt and no shame. Then comes Genesis 3. Let’s
pick up our story there.

Genesis 3:1-13

Now the serpent was more
crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.  He said to the
woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the
garden’?”

The woman said to the
serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did
say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden,
and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”

“You will not surely
die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when
you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good
and evil.”

When the woman saw that
the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also
desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave
some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.  Then the eyes of
both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig
leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife
heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of
the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 
But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I
heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

And he said, “Who
told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you
not to eat from?”

The man said “The
woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate
it.”

Then the Lord God said to
the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The
serpent deceived me and I ate.”

What the Fall Reveals About Sin

One act of disobedience
and paradise was lost. Sin entered the world and forever changed everything.
One question that people often ask about this passage is, “What was the
forbidden fruit?” We often see it portrayed as an apple. We are not told
the type of fruit, primarily because it isn’t important. There was nothing
wrong with the tree, nothing magical about it, no inherent evil in the fruit,
but for some reason, God told them not to eat from that one.

The problem wasn’t the
fruit. The problem was what led them to disobey. What was so compelling that
Adam and Eve were willing to trust this serpent and choose disobedience over
obedience? Let’s look and see what this story reveals to us about sin.
The first thing we notice
is that sin always changes our perspective of God. Verse 5 is very telling.
Look at that verse again.

They desired to be like
God.
 –Genesis 1:5

Remember the context of
the people who would have been reading this for the first time. The people of
ancient Israel were surrounded by nation after nation that worshipped
false gods and had their own narratives of creation.

I am sure they knew the
stories of the mythological gods who were self-indulgent and prideful. These
stories were of gods that only took care of themselves, who would have done
everything they could to keep humanity from being like a god. These jealous
gods would never have allowed a mortal to become like them.

And yet, in this story,
that is exactly how the serpent portrays God to be: as if God is holding
out the best from us because he wants to keep all the really good things to
himself. Sin will always misrepresent God and his intentions toward us, making
us believe that God doesn’t want us to have any fun, or God doesn’t want what’s best for us. Sin always causes us
to question God. We see that taking place here between Eve and the serpent.

Then, when we get a
little confused about God, we see something else about sin. Sin is appealing.
When Eve saw the fruit, it was “pleasing to the eye.” It was desirable. Sin
always is. If it was repulsive, sin really wouldn’t be much of a problem. But
it isn’t repulsive. It is alluring.

When we look we are drawn
in. Then we move toward it a little bit thinking, “this won’t hurt if I take a
closer look,” and before we know it, we are “all in” and the sin is
done. Sin seldom looks like it really is. Sin is separation and death. But man,
on the outside it certainly looks like a lot of fun.

We see from what happens
after they eat it, that their eyes are open and we see that sin has
consequences. One thing the serpent got right was that their eyes would be
opened. They were. What he didn’t tell them about was the guilt and the shame
they would experience when it happened.

Nothing was ever going to
be the same for Adam and Eve. They would no longer look at each other the same
way. They would never be able to look at creation the same way. They would
never be able to look at God the same way. Sin has consequences and they were
right in the middle of experiencing them.

I hope we see the most
import thing about sin: sin is serious. All too often, we try to downplay the
seriousness of it. In fact, we don’t even like the word. We prefer to call it
anything else, everything else, other than sin. We might call it a
“mistake.” We might call it a “lapse in judgment.” We might
call it an “oopsie.”

However, mistakes are
turning left when you should have turned right, misspelling a word in your
presentation at work, or not studying for that test. Mistakes we can usually
correct.

Sin is not just a
mistake. Sin is more serious. When we look at the consequences of what occurs
here with Adam and Eve, we understand this goes way beyond mistake. In fact, it
goes beyond something they can simply apologize for. This wasn’t a mistake. It
was sin.

The fall also reveals
another thing about sin.  It reveals the root of the problem.
You see, sin is not an education problem. They knew what they should and
shouldn’t do. Sin was not a money problem. They had everything they could have
needed. They were living in perfection. They had access to any other
tree in the garden, but that wasn’t good enough.
We can try to say sin is
a “this or a that” problem, but sin is a heart problem. No amount of
education or money or prescriptions or therapy can fix it. The problem of sin
lies in the heart.

There is a great question of “Is it nature or is
it nurture that makes us how we are?” In relation to sin, it is nature. We
might be able to adjust our behavior for a time, but sin is an issue of the
heart and that is where it must be dealt with.

So, from this passage we
begin to see some of the reality about sin, but we also see here what it
reveals about us.

What the Fall Reveals About Us

As Eve talks with the
serpent, he presents her with an idea. He misrepresents God and tells her that
if she would just disobey God, she would be like God. What we see is that we
have a desire to be god of our own lives. That appealed to Eve. She thought
about it and said, “that sounds nice.”

We don’t want to
surrender to anyone else, not even the one who made us, the one who gives us
meaning and purpose in life, the one who really has the best for us.

We are like a toddler,
screaming “No! I want to do it my way.” We put ourselves in the ultimate
position in our lives: on the throne and in the place of God.  We are only
concerned about number one, thinking “my happiness, my glory, my
agenda.”

We might want to be quick
to throw Eve under the bus for all of this, but did you notice where Adam was?
He wasn’t out running with the antelopes, or playing hide and seek with the
raccoons. Verse 6 tells us Eve took the fruit and then gave it
to Adam, who was right there beside her through all this.

We also learn something
else about ourselves here. When we sin, we want to cover it up.  When
their eyes were opened, they realized they were naked; they immediately went
and hid, taking fig leaves to cover themselves.

Now think about the
silliness of this situation. God, who knew everything, who made them, wasn’t
going to notice this change? Of course, he was. But when we are in the midst of sin, we
don’t think correctly. That’s another one for the previous list. Sin affects
our judgment. We believe that we can cover it up and keep it hidden. We
might for a season, but usually, it comes out.

Just recently, how many
well-known figures had to step down from positions of leadership because their
names were on the list of users of the website that facilitated adulterous
affairs? We see here our first reaction to sin is to try and cover it up.

We see something else
about ourselves here as well when we can’t cover it up. If we can’t keep it
hidden when we get caught, then we try to blame someone else. Adam blames Eve
and also blames God. Eve blames the serpent. Neither one is willing to take
responsibility for their actions.

We make excuse after
excuse after excuse for why it wasn’t our fault or that we couldn’t help
ourselves. We justify it. We say things like, “well, I was young,” or
“I was drunk when that happened.” We say anything we can except
acknowledging that we sinned.

When it comes out, then
we try to hide from it.  We stop hanging out with friends that
we think would judge us. We stop coming around church. We avoid the pastor like
the plague. And just like Adam and Eve, we hide from God. We assume that if we
can hide from it, we won’t ever have to face it.

I see one more
thing from this story about humanity: our willingness to sacrifice
the eternal for the temporary. We are willing to sacrifice life for the
fleeting pleasure of this world. Our relationship with God comes second to the
shiny object right in front of us.

We’ve seen this story
show us some things about sin and even ourselves, but there is something very
important that happens next that we can’t miss.  It is God’s
response to The Fall.

God’s Response to the Fall

After they sinned, after
they had tried to cover their bodies with fig leaves and hide from him, God
showed up and asked the question, “Where are you?” Again, God, who knew
everything, knew this had already happened.  He knew where they were, came
to them, sought them out and asked, “Where are you?”

In these words we see
grace. He could have come down in anger over what they had done. He could have
not said a word to them and just destroyed them, but he came and sought them out
and asked, “Where are you?” He already knew and he came anyway. We see the
amazing grace of God here reaching out to his creation.

We also see
that God takes sin seriously. As we look at the big picture, we
understand that God is a Holy God and sin has to be dealt with. God had warned
them of the consequences of disobedience. God had to follow through with it.

He doesn’t leave it
to us on our own to take care of it. Even with Adam and Eve, Genesis 3:21 shows
God “made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” And so we
also see a glimpse of the plan of God to restore everything. God has a plan.

A Glimpse of the Gospel

Paradise was lost. Our
relationship with God was lost. Our relationship with one another would now be
strained. Our relationship with nature would be difficult as we now had to work
the ground and experience pain in childbirth. Physical death was now a reality
as was spiritual death. We were cut off from God, expelled from the garden.
Even in the midst of it all, God reveals the gospel, the good news, his plan of
atonement and redemption.
Listen to what God says:

Genesis 3:14-15

So the Lord God said to
the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the
days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between
your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his
heel.”

At face value, you read
that and you think, “that means we are going to hate snakes. This is why
we should try to kill them and why they will try to bite us.” I personally
agree with this statement, but if that is all we get out of this passage, we are
missing something extraordinary.

Here, in the third chapter
of the very first book, we see God begin laying out his plan, how he was going
to deal with the huge problem of sin. Among Bible scholars, this is called
“protoevangelium.” That’s this week’s word to use to impress your
friends. Protoevangelium: a foreshadowing of the one, the offspring of
the woman, who is none other than Jesus.

Jesus would be the one,
who by his death and resurrection would deal once and for all with the problem
of sin. He would offer himself as a sacrifice, not for his own sin (He had
none!) but as a sacrifice for my sin, and your sin.

Even though humanity
messed it all up, God stepped in and said, “Don’t worry. I will take care
of even this. I will make it good again.”

Conclusion

I know the message
today hasn’t been a feel-good message where we all walk away going, “Whew, I
feel so uplifted!” Today was kind of a downer, but it is critical for us to
understand the Fall in “The Big Story of God.” It is extremely
significant.

It is significant because
sin means separation from God. It means death, both physical and spiritual, and
it means hell. We do not like that. We don’t want to talk about it, but we have
to know and understand it, because the remedy for sin is not an apology, but
atonement. God’s goal in this story wasn’t condemnation, but restoration.

What about you? How are
you trying to deal with the sin in your life: Hide it? Run from it? Blame
someone else? Our relationship with God cannot be restored unless we are
willing to acknowledge our sin. Would you be willing today to start with
confessing it to God?

Let me encourage you
not to stop there. Would you be willing to confess your sin to someone else? I
know that is a huge step and opens us up all kinds of trust issues, but in the
book of James, we read:

Therefore confess your
sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The
prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective
. –James 5:16

There is healing that can
occur when we confess our sin to God and to one another.

So, creation was good,
but our rebellion and sin marred it. Our relationship with God was
wrecked. Our union with God was destroyed. Even then, God gave us a glimpse of
what was to come. No one could even begin to fathom what God had in mind to
bring healing and restoration.

Make sure you read the
next installment of the series, as we see God take the next step to restoring
humanity’s relationship with him in, “The Big Story of God.” 
 

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