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The True Nature Of The Fall

If we have even a little revelation of the plan of God we shall always think much of the word ‘man’. We shall say with the Psalmist, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” The Bible makes it clear that what God desires above all things is a man—a man who will be after His own heart.

So God created a man. In Genesis 2:7 we learn that Adam was created a living soul, with a spirit inside to commune with God and with a body outside to have contact with the material world. (Such New Testament verses as 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12 confirm this threefold character of man’s being.) With his spirit Adam was in touch with the spiritual world of God; with his body he was in touch with the physical world of material things. He gathered up these two sides of God’s creative act into himself to become a personality, an entity living in the world, moving by itself and having powers of free choice. Viewed thus as a whole, he was found to be a self-conscious and self-expressing being, “a living soul”.

We saw earlier that Adam was created perfect—by which we mean that he was without imperfections because created by God—but that he was not yet perfected. He needed a finishing touch somewhere. God had not yet done all that He intended to do in Adam. There was more in view, but it was as yet in abeyance. God was moving towards the fulfillment of His purpose in creating man, a purpose which went beyond man himself, for it had in view the securing to God of all His rights in the universe through man’s instrumentality. But how could man be instrumental in this? Only by a co-operation that sprang from living union with God. God was seeking to have not merely a race of men of one blood upon the earth, but a race which had, in addition, His life resident within its members. Such a race will eventually compass the downfall of Satan and bring to fulfillment all that God has set His heart upon. It is that that was in view with the creation of man.

Then again, we saw that Adam was created neutral. He had a spirit which enabled him to hold communion with God; but as man he was not yet, so to speak, finally orientated; he had powers of choice and he could, if he liked, turn the opposite way. God’s goal in man was ‘sonship’, or, in other words, the expression of His life in human beings. That Divine life was represented in the garden by the tree of life, bearing a fruit that could be accepted, received, taken in. If Adam, created neutral, were voluntarily to turn that way and, choosing dependence upon God, were to receive of the tree of life (representing God’s own life), God would then have that life in union with men; He would have realized ‘sonship’. But if instead Adam should turn to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would as a result be ‘free’ to develop himself on his own lines apart from God. Because, however, this latter choice involved complicity with Satan, Adam would thereby put beyond his reach the attaining of his God-appointed goal.

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