Illustration: Marriot “golden rule” commercial — “what if everyone in the world was kind?”
It is impossible to discuss what it means to be human without asking the question “What is wrong with us?” Every philosophy, religion, and world view has to grapple with this question.
Its is answered in a myriad of ways.
Nothing wrong—just evolutionary biology in action?
Dehumanizing ideologies like racism, fascism?
Illustration: Paul Bloom, psychology professor at Yale
(NYT article) Why are human beings so cruel to each other?
And how do we justify acts of sheer inhumanity?
The conventional explanation is that people are able to do terrible things to other people only after having dehumanized them.
Paul Bloom Quote
Beatrice Webb, who was one of the architects of the modern British welfare system wrote [Read Quote}
She says science hasn’t dealt with it.
Education hasn’t dealt with it.
Social machinery hasn’t dealt with it.
Who will explain it?
Bertrand Russell Quote (Secular Philosopher, Why I Am Not a Christian)
I believe all of these thinkers were on to something
The problem of man rests not solely in ideas or situations but in “evil desires”.
And this is what the Bible offers as the core problem of humans.
We are broken, flawed, and bent with evil desires.
Think about that commercial again.
Can you really imagine what our world would look like if people were just nice to each other?
So we come up with sayings like “to err is human”.
But we should say, “To lie, cheat, steal, abuse, neglect, murder is human.”
Let’s fact it.
There is something terribly wrong with us!
So when discussing what it means to be human, we must answer the question “What is wrong with us?” and with it, “What can we do about it?”
Main Idea: Here in Genesis 3, we see three important experiences that answer what is wrong with humans and what can be done about it.
Humans Experienced a Great Fall
As modern people, it’s easy to look at this story and become incredulous thinking that this is a silly little story about a snake, an apple, and two naked people in some bushes.
But really what we see here is a simple, but powerful story that depicts profound truths about something terrible that happened to the first humans.
What’s really happening here (this becomes clearer later in the Bible) is an angelic being (represented by a servant—sneaky, crafty, deceptive) challenging the first humans with whether they trust God’s word and with being in charge of their own destinies.
Genesis 3:1 — “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Gen.
Look at what the serpent says.
It’s first a sneer or scoff— “How could you possibly believe that?”
But notice what he says really isn’t true.
Its a twist.
And the woman actually corrects him.
“What we see is the fall of the human race starts not with an action, but with an attitude, not with an act, but with a sneer.
… It shows the sense of this is not that the Serpent is denying what God said; he’s mocking what God said.
… the fall of the human race starts not with an action, or even with a thought, but with an attitude of heart.”—Keller
Sin starts not with our actions but rather with an attitude that refuses to believe God’s goodness.
“He doesn’t deny the existence of God.
He doesn’t deny the law of God, the will of God, the holiness of God.
He denies the goodness of God.
He denies the goodness and the love and the grace and the good will of God behind all of those decrees.”—
Why do we act the way we do?
Why to we spurn at God’s rules?
It’s because we don’t really believe that he has our best in mind.
Illustration for this??
And so the serpent mocks God’s words and tempts the man and woman to question God’s goodness.
And basically says, “God is lying to you.
You’re not going to die.”
Then he says, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
You can “be like God” — autonomy and self-sufficiency — sin is in essence making yourself to be God instead of God
He’s saying, “Don’t listen to God.
He doesn’t have your best in mind.
He’s lying to you.
He’s just trying to control you with all these rules.
You can be your own god.”
And so they decide to mistrust God’s goodness, to deem him a lier, and they decide to become their own gods.
Humans Experienced Terrible Consequences
“… in the day you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen.
Physical death (v.
19b—”you are dust and to dust you shall return”)
Spiritual death (v.
24 “He drove out the man …)
Separation/alienation from God — barred from the garden and life
Human relationships marred—most important (husbands and wives)—why?
Healthy procreation (healthy societies) requires healthy families (It’s an established fact that kids need both parents in a healthy relationship or all kinds of pathologies occur).
So we see that the fundamental relationship between the man and the woman was broken
“Your desire will be for your husband”—over dependence upon the man
“He will rule over you” — over dominance and abuse by the man — have you seen this problem?
Then it gets more basic.
Blame game — “the woman you gave me” — “the serpent gave it to me”
When Adam says, “She made me do it; send her to hell; give me another wife,” basically … “You’re talking to the holy God of the universe.
What do you have to say for yourself?”
“Take her.”Here we see the essence of sin in a horizontal perspective.
Sin is a willingness to throw anybody else under the bus to justify yourself.
Sin is justifying yourself at the expense of other people, to feel superior to other people.
Murder, wickedness, and more
5—desases as well
Effects creation—Romans 8
Humans Experienced a Great Promise
Through Adam and Eve, sin entered into the world with its promised punishment/consequence: death, both physical and spiritual.
Adam and Eve are plunged into alienation both from God and from one another.
They are driven out of the garden, away from God’s presence.