The Fall: Our tragic beginning, but not our end.
As discussed in the previous lesson, the Creation account found in the first chapters of Genesis provides us with not only the answer to how everything that exists came into being, but also why. It was all created to serve as the striking motif of and motivation for what would prove to be every human being’s primary modus operandi—the pursuit of abundant life. What however, those initial chapters also reveal, is when things went desperately wrong. Genesis 3:1-19, records what scholars and theologians have historically dubbed, “The Fall.” It describes the tragic decision of mankind’s first parents, Adam and Eve, to disobey God and in so doing forfeit not only the blessing of abundant life for themselves, but also their progeny: the entire human race. Their sin and its ill effects would become our curse. According to Romans 5:12-19, it would also become our guilt before God. In other words, God saw that first act of rebellion as representative of all humanity and therefore has added it to our list of crimes as well. And though all of this may seem completely negative and even a bit unfair, such thinking is immediately remedied when one considers the incredible grace and mercy of God embedded in each of these sections of Scripture:
1. The promise of One who will “bruise” the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15).
As further study in the Scripture demonstrates, the “serpent” in Genesis 3 was actually the devil or Satan (Revelation 12:9, 20:2). He is the one most responsible for enticing Adam and Eve into rebellion against God; a trade at which he has since, become an expert (1 Chronicles 21:1). This particular skill has unfortunately also given him great control over humanity. So much so, that the apostle John claims the whole world lies under his power (1John 5:18). He is also considered by the writer of Hebrews to posses the “power of death” which again refers to his ability to entice people to the rebellion, since this is its end—death. However, according to verse 15, God promised a day when One among the captive human race, would destroy him and his power. This is the idea behind “bruise your head.” It refers to a mortal wound; the crushing of the head unto death. This means that though humanity’s beginning is tragically negative, it doesn’t end that way. Because of God’s grace and mercy, there is the promise of something extremely positive. It is the promise of a Man who will triumph over Satan and the world of sin he is responsible for dragging humanity into. It is also an allusion to Romans 5 and the other man found in those verses the Man, Jesus Christ.
2. The coming of Jesus Christ, the second Adam (Romans 5:14-19).
Though Romans 5 doesn’t explicitly call Jesus the “second Adam,” it does mention that the first was a “type of the One Who was to come” (Romans 5:14) inferring that this is indeed how Jesus is to be viewed. He is the second Adam. Unlike the first however, His legacy would not be tragedy, but success. He would bring to humanity not only the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, but also the gracious blessing of justification—or a righteous standing with God (Romans 5:15-19). In other words, humanity through Him as their new representative can receive what was lost in the first; a right relationship with God: the giver of abundant life! Therefore what may have been seen before as unfair is eclipsed by the reality that God’s principle of one man representing all men goes both ways: as it is in judgment, so it can be in grace.