“I don’t see why God would hold me responsible for a sin Adam and Eve committed, 6,000+ years ago. That feels unfair.”
These comments were made by a young man I was meeting with whom was not yet a Christian. Someone had made a gospel presentation to him that began with the story of Adam and Eve’s eating from the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, an event Christians call “The Fall.” (The spiritual failure or fall of mankind.)
“Do you actually believe in The Fall, that sin began with Adam and Eve and every person since has been contaminated by sin?” he asked me. “Yes. I do.” Then I made this observation; “But just for the sake of this discussion let’s assume for the moment that sin didn’t begin with Adam and Eve. Do you believe you do things that by your own standard are sin – morally wrong? “Yes, of course I’ve made immoral decisions and had immoral fantasies and thoughts. Everyone does, don’t they?”
“Yes,” I agreed with him. “The reason you do is because either you were born with a sin nature, or you simply learned to sin as you got older. So now, like an addict, while you can exercise some discipline over your sin, you are powerless to stop yourself. But no matter how you got to be what the Bible calls “a sinner” you still have a problem that only Jesus can solve.
God the Father requires every human to either be sinless on their own, which no one can do, or believe in his Son Jesus, confess to your sinful nature and trust that Christ paid the penalty for you on the cross.”
Then we discussed this interesting story in the Old Testament. The Israelites were grumbling and complaining against Moses, the leader God put in charge, so God sent poisonous snakes to punish them. But God also provided a solution.
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’ So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.” Numbers 21: 8, 9
God delivered judgment, but then he delivered mercy. This wasn’t God flip-flopping. It was his divine nature on full display. Because he is Holy, he must deal with our sin. Because he is love, he choses to offer us with mercy.
Then in the New Testament God reminds us of his continuing Mercury and love for us.
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” John 3:14-15
All the Israelites had to do was look to the bronze snake on a pole to be healed from the poisonous venom. Christians look to their Savior on the cross to heal us from the poison of sin.
Why did God chose these ways to deal with sin? We don’t really know for sure. The point is, God provided a solution that simply requires us to trust his plan. That’s it. And so many people miss or reject his generous offer precisely because it’s so easy and simple.
So, back to the question in the title of this blog. No, you do not have to believe in “The Fall“ to be saved, only in your own sinful condition that no human can fix on their own.
So here’s the question I left this young man to ponder; “Are you going to trust God’s plan to deal with your sin, or your own plan, whatever that is?”
Sadly, I’m still waiting for right answer.