NEW Course by John Frame and Steve Childers on Perspectives in Theology: Read the Perspectives 6 Transcript

Steve —  September 25, 2020 — 2 Comments

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The Revelation of God’s
Triune Gospel Part 2: The Fall

The Fall of Humanity: The Way God’s Kingdom is Not Supposed to Be

In the beginning, God created a paradise with a creative order for how things are supposed to be. However, this paradise didn’t last. In Genesis 3 we learn that sin entered the world through Satan, who enticed Adam and Eve to sin.

As a result, humanity became alienated from God and under his just curse. This alienation and curse then flowed, like a polluted river, into all human relationships, including our relationships with God, ourselves, others, and creation.

Because of sin, our original righteous standing before God, which allowed us the blessing of access into God’s holy presence to be loved and cherished by him, is now lost. In its place, we stand condemned, guilty, and forsaken by God.

But sin changes more than our status with God. It also changes our heart, our human nature. We’re not only under sin’s condemning penalty, but also under its domineering power and the control of Satan. Sin causes our hearts to be captured by idols that steal our affections away from God.

Our affections and desires are still good, but because of sin we now set our God-given desires on idols that cannot fully satisfy us. Heart idolatry is looking for our true source of greatest happiness in something or someone other than God. It’s trying to make good things and people ultimate, when only God is ultimate. For some it is approval, reputation, or success. For others it includes things like comfort, control, pleasure, power, or possessions.

Sin’s corruption also spread both in individual hearts and in systemic ways throughout society, corrupting institutions God’s ordained such as the family, church, government, business, education, recreation, and the arts. The curse of sin even spread to our physical bodies, resulting in disease, sickness, and death. (Gen. 3:16-19) All creation and nature itself is now subject to decay. (Rom. 8:18-25)

This is why there is so much brokenness in the world, not just spiritually, but socially, culturally, economically, and politically. And this is why there is so much suffering, violence, poverty, disease, and injustice.

This is not the way God’s kingdom on earth is supposed to be. As a result of the Fall, Satan is now ruling over the earth. Jesus calls him “the ruler of the world” (John 14:30), and the Apostle John writes that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19)

This does not mean that Satan is the supreme ruler over the earth. There’s only one supreme Lord over all things, and that’s God who has given Jesus “all authority in heaven and on earth.” (Matt 28:18b) Through Jesus, God will eventually defeat Satan and remove all the effects of his rule on fallen humanity and the world.

But since the Fall, there has been a struggle in history and within every person between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. This struggle will continue until Jesus returns as King to bring all things into complete submission to his rule and reign on earth.

The good news of the gospel is that, by his grace, God’s good creation of the world and humanity did not lose its original God-ordained order, structure, and laws. The bad news is that sin has deeply corrupted and distorted all of God’s good creation with evil. Sin and evil have radically twisted every part of our individual and communal lives.

All things God created are still good, but since the Fall they can now be used to serve and honor false gods, instead of the true God. For example, God created sexual union to be good and pleasurable, but only within God’s ordained creation structure of marriage between a man and a woman. But after the Fall, sexual union is often used illegitimately, resulting in fornication and adultery.

Similarly, government, industry, education, recreation, and the arts are all inherently good gifts from God, but after the Fall they’re often used in corrupt and idolatrous ways that God never intended.

Our fallen culture and society is not inherently sinful and evil. It’s the distortion and twisting of our culture away from God’s original design that is wrong. So we’re not to separate ourselves from fallen culture, but instead learn how to engage and redirect it according to God’s original design for ultimate flourishing.

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