THE EFFECT OF SIN ON MAN’S VIEW OF REALITY

“… just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so sin spread through all men …” (Rom. 5:12).

When Adam chose to rebel against his Creator, his mind was darkened by sin, as are the minds of his successors. The Apostle Paul said of pagan minds, “… since they do not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind…” (Rom. 1:28). He told the Corinthians that “…the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God …” (2 Cor. 4:4). Jesus said, “… I have come into the world as a light so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness…” (John 12:46). Paul reminded the Ephesians, “…you were once in darkness but now you are in the light of the Lord …” (Eph 5:8). The purpose of salvation is “…to open the eyes [of unbelievers] and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God …” (Acts 26:18). The effects of The Fall are numerous and far reaching. Sin has affected every aspect our being; in particular original sin has a negative outcome upon the human mind. Unredeemed man’s perceptions are now distorted and thus unreliable.

Man has an unwillingness to face reality; in fact, we flee from it. We would rather think positively than to confront life as it is. The harsh dimensions of life are not faced genuinely. One example that is often overlooked is our everyday assessment of our mortality. Our society avoids thinking about the stark fact that sooner or later everyone must die (Heb. 9:27). One of the ways of avoiding this fact is through the use of optimistic language. No one dies anymore; instead one simply “passes away.” Death is made to sound like a pleasant trip. There are no graveyards in our modern society; what we have instead are “memorial parks.” The manifold ways in which death is disguised or ignored by modern culture sometimes constitutes a virtual denial of death, which in actuality is an indication of fear of it. A suppressed realization that death is the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23) may underlie many of our attempts to avoid thinking about our transgressions and its consequences.

An immediate consequence of the Fall is seen in Genesis 3:8-10 where Adam and Eve attempted to hide from the presence of the Lord, fearing Him as He approached for their tribunal.  In our own day it is fashionable to hide from the eschatological Christ by depicting Jesus in noneschatological terms. He is not widely studied as the coming King who is about to judge the living and the dead; instead He is known merely as Jesus, the friendly carpenter. In other circles he is a cynical preacher or a political revolutionary. Jesus and Judgment is a topic that is intentionally neglected. In preaching within many liberal churches the general consensus is that Jesus’ message was only good news for all, not grim news for the sinner. A Jesus that threatened a city with “…you will be brought down to hell …” (Luke 10:15; Matt. 11:23) does not fit the popular picture of Jesus.  

Another effect of The Fall is its enslaving power by which men attempt to alter the facts. One sin leads to another sin. After murdering Abel, Cain felt compelled to lie when God asked him where his brother was (Gen 4:9). Sometimes a larger sin is required to cover up a smaller one. Having committed adultery, David found it necessary to commit murder to conceal what he had done (2 Sam. 11:1-12:9). Sometimes the pattern of sin is so fixed, that it becomes repeated in virtually the same way until a false reality is cast in the sinner’s mind. Abraham lied about Sarah saying that she was his sister rather than his wife in order to save his skin and gain entrance into Egypt (Gen 12:10-20). Later, Abraham repeated the same lie to Abimelech (Gen. 20) as if tampering with the truth was something that came to him naturally. It should be noted that Abraham’s son, Isaac, went on to duplicate the identical story regarding his wife, Rebekah (Gen. 26:6-11).

The Fall produced a state of insensitivity and further depravity. We become less and less responsive to the prompting of the conscience as a result of sin. Initially there may be a considerable distress when one does wrong, but the eventual effect of sin is that we are no longer stirred by guilt, the Word of God, and the provoking of the Holy Spirit. In time even gross sins can be committed without second thought. A shell of insensitivity, a spiritual callousness, grows upon the soul. Paul spoke of those “whose consciences are seared” (1 Tim. 4:2) and those whose minds are spiritually darkened as a result of rejecting the truth (Rom. 1:21). At the very point the admission of sin is neglected, man’s imagination necessitates a world where reality and fantasy continuously overlap. Falsehood is refined until it resembles the truth.

Man’s chief and highest purpose in life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (Rom. 11:36; 1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Cor. 10:31; Ps. 86:9). Hence, love to God is the core of all morality and goodness. The opposite is the choice of self as the supreme end. Selfishness is the essence of The Fall, and what follows are all other crimes against God. In all ways sin is a turning in upon oneself which is confirmed in how we live out our lives. We call attention upon ourselves, and to our good qualities and accomplishments. We minimize our shortcomings. We seek special favors and opportunities in life, wanting an extra edge that no one else has. We display vigilance to our own wants and needs, while we ignore those of others. In summary, The Fall has resulted in man limiting reality and recognizing it to be fitting his own interest and not God’s.

 

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