Fall

A lapsarian is one who believes that man fell from his first estate of innocence by sinning. This position adheres to the record which the Bible presents. If men do not receive that record it is because they fear not to reject the testimony of God. When the natural man, who has no confidence in the Word of God, would attempt to account for the origin of things in the universe, as his reason impels him to do, he turns to the best solution of the problem that his imagination can devise, namely, the evolutionary theory. He should well know that there is no worthy basis of fact upon which this theory may rest. He rejects the

Genesis account on which all subsequent Scripture will depend only because an unregenerate man cannot know God and his mind cannot recognize that God if such there be is able to do anything. Not only should evolutionary theory be called into question because of the utter lack of foundation on which it might rest, but the condition in which humanity is finding itself in the world demonstrates that the divine record is true. Writing on the theme of man's fall in the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Herman Bavinck states it thus:

Indirectly, however, a very powerful witness for the fall of man is furnished by the whole empirical condition of the world and humanity. For a world, such as we know it, full of unrighteousness and sorrow, cannot be explained without the acceptance of such a fact. He who holds fast to the witness of Scripture and conscience to sin as sin (as ávo^ía, anomía) cannot deduce it from creation, but must accept the conclusion that it began with a transgression of God's command and thus with a deed of the will. Pythagoras, Plato, Kant, Schelling, Baader have all understood and acknowledged this with more or less clearness. He who denies the Fall must explain sin as a necessity which has its origin in the Creation, in the nature of things, and therefore in God Himself; he justifies man but accuses God, misrepresents the character of sin and makes it everlasting and indefeasible. For if there has not been a fall into sin, there is no redemption of sin possible; sin then loses its merely ethical significance, becomes a trait of the nature of man, and is inexterminable. ... From the standpoint of evolution, there is not only no reason to hold to the "of one blood" of Acts 17:26, A.V., but there has never even been a first man; the transition from animal to man was so slow and successive, that the essential distinction fails to be seen. And with the effacing of this boundary, the unity of the moral ideal, of religion, of the laws of thought and of truth, fails also; the theory of evolution expels the absolute everywhere and leads necessarily to psychologisin, relativism, pragmatism and even to pluralism, which is literally polytheism in a religious sense. The unity of the human race, on the other hand, as it is taught in holy Scripture, is not an indifferent physical question, but an important intellectual, moral and religious one; it is a "postulate" of the whole history of civilization, and expressly or silently accepted by nearly all historians. And conscience bears witness to it, in so far as all men show the work of the moral law written in their hearts, and their thoughts accuse or excuse one another (Rom. 2:15); it shows back to the Fall as an "Urthatsache der Geschichte."—II, 1093

The message of the Bible is one of redemption from that estate in sin which, according to the Sacred Text, must be due to the fall. Thus the whole Biblical revelation comes to be without reason or reality when the fall of man is denied. The record of the fall which the Scriptures present is one of great simplicity. A man and woman are brought into being as innocent and as upright as the creation of a holy God could make them. They know God's mind since they commune with Him. An arbitrary command is given that they abstain from eating the fruit of one certain tree. To disobey God is to repudiate Him and to adopt a course of independent action which must be wholly foreign to the proper relation which should exist between a creature and Creator. The warning had been duly given that, as a result of disobedience or independent action, "dying they would die." The reference is to perishing, both physical and spiritual, with its consummation in the second death. By the immediate experience of spiritual death man's first parents were converted downward and became a kind of being wholly different from that which God created. As in all nature, they could propagate henceforth only after their kind. The offspring did not receive the unfallen nature with which their parents were created; they received the fallen nature that the parents had acquired. Proof of this is found in the record that the first-born was a murderer, and in the intimation that Abel recognized his own sin when he presented a slain lamb as his offering to Jehovah. From that fall of the first parents every member of the human race is blighted and they, each one for himself, must accept God's redeeming grace or go on to the consummation of spiritual ruin, which consummation is known as the second death (cf. Rev. 2:11; 20:14; 21:8). Thus the effect of the fall is universal. Men are not in need of the saving grace of God merely because of the sins they have committed as fruitage of the fallen nature; they are in need of a complete regeneration and eventual release from every effect of the fall. Such blessing, with vastly more, is the portion of all who are divinely saved.

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