Man was created good and upright; for God said, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.” However, man by voluntary transgression, fell and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God. (Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths)
I took a course in the theories of psychology class. The instructor the first day of class, the instructor asked every person to respond to this question, “Is man fundamentally good or fundamentally bad?” Obviously, there were a variety of answers. Those coming from a humanistic perspective saw man as fundamentally good. Behavorialists saw man as basically neutral being neither good nor bad, but becoming that way through conditioning. Ironically, the followers of Freud and the two other Christians in the class agreed that man was fundamentally bad.
I’m not sure that the Bible leaves us with such a simple answer. As C.S. Lewis once said, mankind has the feeling of being “a good thing spoiled.” In fact, the story of the Fall is a classic tragedy. We have a noble being who makes a fatal choice and causes everything to be poisoned to a certain extent.
We are not so much evil people in need of reformation as we are broken people in need of repair. We are also lost people wandering the earth searching for a way back home, but our compass headings have gone out of alignment and our earthly guides are as lost as ourselves.
However, even though we are lost, we can be found. Though we are broken, there is one who can repair us. His name is Jesus, and we who have fallen can be raised up once again.
In this fundamental truth we find three components.
Man was created in the image of God
Sometimes looking at the people we have become, it is hard to see humanity as having been created in the image of God. Cruelty, deciet, immorality, hatred, bigotry and all manner of evil which fill the pages of our newspapers belie this scripture. However, we also see glimpses at times of the image of God stamped on our features in the bravery of the hero, in the creativity of the artist and in the love of a parent.
God did at creation put his imprint on our nature, and He wants to restore that imprint in our lives. Whenever we act in love, in compassion, in honesty, in mercy, in righteousness the world is allowed to glimpse the image of God which He intended for us from the very beginning.
Man by voluntary transgression fell
This noble beginning of being formed in the image of God, however, did not prevent disaster. God gave man a wonderful gift -- Free Will. He did not want a people who would worship him out of compulsion. He wanted a people who would worship and serve him freely.
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, though, misused this great gift. They turned away from the truth of God and listened to the lies of Satan. They doubted the word of God which said that anyone who ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowlege of Good and Evil would die. Thus, unbelief entered the picture, and unbelief led to disobedience.
We have inherited this sin nature from Adam and Eve. This sin keeps us separated from God. This separation from God makes it impossible to keep away from our sinful lusts and desires. It was from this sin nature that Jesus had to die in order to redeem us. (Praise God He did!)
Man incurred physical and spiritual death
Sin separates us from God. God is the source of life. Sin separates us from the source of life itself. Once sin entered the world, death was the natural result. Man began to die and so did all creation. Physical death affected everything from the smallest one cell creatures to man himself. If the Lord tarries every one of us will die. Satan had a plan to destroy God’s creation by introducing sin and through sin death.
God had a plan, too. His plan was to use death itself as the antidote for sin. It started with the deaths of animals to atone for the sins of his people. Finally, when the time was right, He sent his own Son to be the sin sacrifice. Jesus died taking upon himself the sin penalty and when He did, death itself began to work backwards. Jesus rose from the grave and took with Him the keys of death, Hell and the grave. One of these days, we will hear a shout and a trumpet. We will see our loved ones rise from their graves and we will rise with them in the grandest reunion of all time around the table at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
A. How was man created originally?
B. What type of sovereinty did God give man before the fall?
A. What lies did the serpent tell Eve?
B. What did Adam and Eve do when God found out about their sin?
A. Who is affected by Adam’s sin?
B. We were intended to reflect the glory of God, what happened to that?
A. How did we come into this world?
B. Considering this scripture what do you think will come of our human efforts to live righteously?
A. Who are the sheep who have gone astray?
B. Who is the one that God laid on Him the “iniquity of us all”?
A. What does this have to say about how sin entered the world?
B. What does this say about the remedy for this sin problem?