Monday, September 30, 2013

The farthest fall ..................... Parables 025

Last week I heard a news announcer frequently use the phrases “before the fall” and “after the fall.” He was referring to the roller coaster accident in Edmonton. Those terms probably sound very ordinary to most people, however, to my ear, they have distinct significance.

The tragedy of which the news announcer spoke ended three lives, broke the hearts of family and friends, and changed the plans and hopes of many people. But there is another fall, a spiritual one, that has had far-reaching implications, touching all of our lives.

When the Creator placed the first people in a perfect environment, they enjoyed perfect fellowship with Him and with each other. (We may have trouble with that concept because it is almost impossible to imagine a perfect environment, or a perfect relationship with each other or with God, but rather than give the story up as a fable, observe it for its significance in relation to the condition of our world today.) The story is familiar . . .

God told Adam and Eve that they could eat from whatever tree they wanted to but they could not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, or they would die. Eve listened to a lie about God’s intent concerning that command, began to doubt His word and thought that He was just trying to prevent her from being like Himself.

So she ate the forbidden fruit, and gave some of it to Adam. When they ate it, they found that the knowledge it gave them was not what they expected. They became educated in evil, not by greater insight or powers of observation, but because they were now partakers of it -- experiencing evil by disobeying God. This is called “the fall.” God’s creation fell out of harmony with Him, with each other, and with their environment.

Every person from that time on has suffered the effects of the fall. Separated from God and with the inclination to disobey Him, people tend to choose the things that look good, give pleasure, and gratify the ego, the very things that Eve thought the forbidden fruit would do for her. Not only that, their disobedience brought a curse . . .  women would experience difficulty in the task of being wives and mothers, and men would find the earth resisting their efforts to make a living. Is it not so? And is not the separation from God obvious in the behavior of the human race? We label some of it for what it is, and some we seek to change or punish, but much we cling to as our “freedom of choice” or our “rights.”

Because of our fallen condition, we have ruined the world we live in. Then, too easily we look at the mess and self-righteously blame it on everyone else, pleading ignorance that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

But don’t forget; there were two trees in the garden with names. One brought death and destruction. No wonder God said not to eat it. But happily, the fruit of the other one, the Tree of Life, was not forbidden.

We can’t go back to Eden, at least not in this life, but restored relationships are available to those who will seek God with all their hearts. That search will bring the seeker to discover that the Tree of Life is somehow shaped like a cross, and the One who died there has the power to pick us up from where we have fallen. In Christ, our disobedience is replaced by His righteousness. In Him, we can again approach God. In Him, we can find what we need in broken relationships. Jesus Christ came to reverse the curse.

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