I. DEALING WITH THE FALL OF MAN
In the past term of our full-time training, we studied the Christian life quite much. In this term we have begun to continue the study of the Christian life according to the Scripture from another angle. We have seen that the Holy Scripture is not only a record of stories of man but also a record of the history of God in His union with man. In the last message, we saw that God in His history in time restored the judged universe and created man. Right after God’s creation of man, man became fallen, so God had to come in to save man from his fall. In this message we want to see God’s history in time in His dealing with man’s fall.
In God’s carrying out of His eternal economy, God’s adversary Satan caused two great frustrations: one was Satan’s rebellion, which polluted and devastated the creation of God, and the other was his seducing of man to transgress against God. Thus, God had to deal with these two frustrations caused by His adversary.
We have seen in message two that God dealt with Satan by judging him and declaring God’s verdict on him. Now in this message we want to see how God dealt with the problem of man’s fall. According to the record of the Scriptures, before God dealt with the fall of man, He was fully aware of it.
A. Its Initiation
The fall of man was initiated by Satan through the deceiving of the serpent (Gen. 3:1-6). The subtle serpent was the embodiment of Satan the devil (Rev. 12:9a). As the enemy of God (Matt. 13:39a) and the tempter of man (Matt. 4:3), Satan deceived man not directly but through man’s wife (1 Tim. 2:14) by causing her to doubt the sure word of God. In this way he lured the woman into his snare, and through her he caused man to fall in man’s transgression against God’s clear word (Job 31:33).
B. Its Nature
Because the fall of man was consummated by man’s eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:6), the nature of man’s fall was not a matter of a transgression that only affected man’s outward condition before God. It was both a matter of an offense that caused man to be condemned by God to remain under the condemnation of God (Rom. 5:18a) and a matter of disobedience that caused man to be constituted a sinner in the eyes of God (Rom. 5:19a). Man’s eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil indicates that man had forsaken God as the tree of life in His economy. This resulted in a case of offending God outwardly and of damaging man inwardly. By eating the evil fruit of the tree of knowledge, Adam built a case of transgression, of disobedience, which caused him to be condemned by God. By this eating, Adam also accomplished a wrong action which poisoned him in his nature, causing him to be constituted a sinner. Hence, through this one fall, Satan caused Adam to be condemned according to the commandment of God and constituted a sinner in the nature of man.
(The History of God in His Union With Man, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)