The Loss of the Doctrine of Sin and the Fall

Yesterday and today I attended a series of lectures that were being given at the largely Christian Reformed university that I attend. These lectures dealt with various ideas of being a creature in a creation. Questions such as: what does it mean to be a creature? what is a creation? what is humanities’ duty in this creation? were all dealt with. All these lectures were a real eye opener to how far the Christian Reformed Church and the church world in general has strayed from a correct interpretation of God’s word. This was seen in that no mention was made to God’s curse upon creation and God’s judgment of sin.

This has largely to do with the increasing tendency to treat Genesis 1 not as history but as myth. Genesis 1 (according to many contemporary theologians) is simply one of many creation stories found in the Bible and in the annals of human history. It is not necessarily true, it is not necessarily false. It simply presents how one group of people (i.e. the Jews) explained how the world came to be. Yet, this has dire consequences on theology and a correct interpretation of the Bible. When Genesis 1 is not considered to be historically accurate the next item to attack is Genesis 2 – 3. The story of the fall is simply an allegory about humanities’ violation and abuse of the creation. It has nothing to do with man disobeying God and God’s punishment (and also promise of salvation) for that sin.

Rather than the Biblical idea that God hates sin and the wicked (Psalm 5:4) God instead loves the world. He does not hate man or woman. He loves everybody and your greatest obligation in this world is to become loving and accepting. To become like Christ is to respect everyone and to respect the creation.

So that leaves us with a world without sin. When the question of why physical catastrophes such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, etc. occur, came up during the lecture, the answer that was given was simply that humans were in the wrong place at the wrong time; that God created man as a rational being to work around these catastrophes and create a better world. So God created a world (through evolution) that is good, but also dangerous. Yet this is in a direct contradiction of much of the Bible. Physical catastrophes are the result of man’s sin. They are the judgement of God upon sin. One needs simply to read Isaiah 45:7, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Amos 3:6, speaks of God’s direct judgment upon cities, “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?”

Further without sin there can be no explanation for death. We read in Genesis that the consequences of eating of the forbidden tree is death. This death embodies two important ideas: physical death and spiritual death. These were both the punishments that God inflicted upon man for disobeying him. Mankind would not only experience physical death and disease, but he would also experience spiritual death. He could no longer do any good apart from the grace of God. He became a totally depraved creature. If God created a world where death occurred as a natural process, how could He call it very good, which is repeated many times throughout Genesis 1? A good and perfect creation does not contain death. Death is the judgment of God upon sin.

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