FALL - Making Sense of Our Brokenness and Pain (Worldview Revisited)

__"God saw all that he had made and, behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31).
But things are not looking so hot these days. What happened? Why is everything so bent and broken? Why, God? Why am I so bent, so broken? And others, too?"

With those words, David Naugle opens an excellent article in COMMENT in a series on Creation-Fall-Redemption. Naugle, of course, is dealing with “The Fall.”

The Fall, understood biblically, explains why things are not the way that (we feel instinctively) things should be. When bad things happen, we wonder, “Why?” And the Bible’s answer is “The Fall.”
“This is the second ‘act’ in the overall narrative of the Scriptures, the next major theme in a biblical view of life and the world. First, there is the good news of creation, but now we have the bad news of the fall. It introduces fundamental conflict into the biblical drama, which must be resolved before God's story ends. It shows, contrary to other worldviews, that evil is not rooted in creation itself, but in the moral rebellion of the human race against the divine authority of the holy God. I sometimes call this episode the ‘uncreation’ because of the damage it did to God's very good world: how it twisted his intentions for humanity, for our knowing and loving and culture-making, and for all the earth.”

The Fall “makes so much else understandable—in particular, our persistent brokenness and the world's deep pain.”

The cause of the Fall, according to Genesis 3, are
  • The human temptation to believe the serpent/Satan’s aspersions on God's character, suggesting subtly that God is stingy with his provisions.
  • The human temptation to rebel against God’s sovereignty in order to be “gods” ourselves, that is, autonomous beings, doing our own thing, living in freedom as we please.

Naugle points out that the consequences of the Fall came in the form of four separations and three curses.
“First, human beings are separated from God (3:8-9)…”
“Second, human beings are separated from or within themselves (3:10)… Fear, shame and guilt have shattered the previous sense of wholeness and well-being. The line dividing good and evil will cut through the heart of every human being, as Solzhenitsyn has noted.”
“Third, human beings are separated from each other (3:11-13)…”
“At this point in the narrative, God announces a series of curses upon the serpent, whose humiliating "dust-eating" defeat is prophesied; upon the woman, who will struggle mightily as mother and wife; and upon the man, who must sweat profusely in order to have dominion over the earth. Then we die.”

“Once these three judgments are administered, a final separation is described at the end of Genesis 3. God drives the first human pair from the Garden, and stations an angelic battalion at its east entrance to prevent them from reentering it again (3:20- 24). We traded the bounty and blessing of Eden for the chaos and confusion of a broken world. Ever since, we have sought to get our happiness back by our own "utopian" efforts, whether individualistically or collectively.”

That is “the Fall.” The next chapter is “Redemption,” which will be my next post, reflecting on Jamie Smith’s thoughts on it.

Naugle gives a hint of what is to come:
“Only God and his kingdom can fill the longings of the heart. Life without God is vain and futile.”

Posts in this series on WORLDVIEW REVISITED:
Wonder, Heartbreak, Hope
For more on this Reformational Worldview, see my web resource,
Friend of Kuyper

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