A Follow Up to the Biblical Fiction, ‘Fallen’
Recently, I posted a piece entitled ‘Fallen.’ You may have seen it. It is a story depicting Adam and Eve’s creation, temptation, and fall in the Garden of Eden. I love to read and imagine about the Garden of Eden: partly because I believe it is an extremely pivotal point in human history, but also because it is such a foreign environment to us. What was the Garden like? What was the serpent like? Why did it not surprise Eve that the serpent could talk? Why did Adam not say anything?
In writing it, I wanted to bring some realism to the story. Not that the Bible is not realistic, but it does not always give the detail of emotion and thought, it just simply narrates the fall of humanity. Yet so much can get lost unless you use your imagination.
I believe it was a normal temptation, just like any temptation we would have today. I imagine that Adam and Eve were on their regular stroll through the Garden and Satan happened to be there as a serpent and started talking to them. He started twisting God’s words and Eve’s thoughts and placed in her mind new ideas. Eve does not seem to have been actively rebelling against God; in fact, I believe she truly loved God. Think about it. How does Satan tempt you? He gets you to think about the sin, twists your thoughts to make it look desirable, and you begin to think that you need it in order to be happy, soon you are rationalizing away the act saying, “I can get away with it this time—just this once.” Satan used a similar strategy unsuccessfully against the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, in the desert, and still today he uses it against every one of us.
I believe it is good to put ourselves into history to imagine what it was like then and there. What was the culture like? How would the culture affect their thinking? Would I respond any different? These questions open a whole new world of insight into the story, and when we do this, we can also see what needs to be done today.
Because Adam and Eve fell, all of creation was cursed, not just the humans and the serpent. Are we then hopeless? No, because God gave us hope when He cursed the serpent saying that the woman’s offspring would crush the serpent and the serpent would strike the offspring’s heal. Of course, we know this as God’s prophecy of Jesus Christ. It is a wonderful prophecy. God was telling the humans that, “Yes, you failed. You failed miserably, but there is hope. Somebody needs to pay for this mess, but there is hope. Satan will be crushed and it will take some pain on our part, but there is hope.”
But did Jesus come simply to crush Satan?
God gave the humans a free will, the power to do whatever they jolly well pleased in and to the world. When Satan came along, they were given a choice: to listen to the serpent, or to listen to God Almighty. They chose to listen to the serpent, and thereby surrendered their authority over to Satan and Satan then became the “Prince of the World.” When Satan said he would give Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth if only Jesus would bow down and worship him, he was not bluffing: he had the authority to do so, given directly from the humans themselves.
That is the very reason Jesus came to earth. We had lost control. We were given authority over the earth and our destiny, but we had blundered and given it all away to Satan. We are losers. But Jesus—God—came as a man (he had to come as a man) to take that authority back. He was the Second Adam, but he did what Adam had failed to do: he defeated Satan, for everybody. He died even though he did not deserve death; He paid the price that we should have paid! With His great victory over Satan came a victory over death. Jesus did not just pay the price and remain dead: NO! He rose again and lives on to this day! Jesus is ALIVE! And we can be alive through Him! The great tragedy of the Garden is not the end, it only the prequel to the greatest story ever told: the story of GOD coming and paying OUR debt. We are wretches! We blundered, we fell, but God wants to pay the price. If we will only say “Yes” to God, He will show us His marvelous work.
God created, we rebelled, but God punished Himself for our rebellion.
But our duty does not stop here. Yes we fell, and yes, God has redeemed us, but the curse extended beyond ourselves and our souls. The whole universe was cursed because of what we have done—therefore should not Christ’s redemption extend to the whole universe as well? So often we focus on the soul and saving the soul—and that is the most important part—but our redemption goes way beyond that. We should be taking Jesus everywhere we go. Instead of just taking Him to souls, why not go farther and take him to our neighborhoods, to our schools, to our governments, to our parks. Christ deserves to be in our entertainment: he should be in our sports, in our movie industry, in our music. He should be everywhere. But how does He get there? Who takes God to the world?
We have the Holy Spirit of God living inside of us! In order to take God TO the world we must be IN the world. We should be taking God’s presence (His Spirit in us) to our schools (including colleges) as teachers, janitors, and students; to our sports as coaches and trainers; to the music and movie industries as musicians, producers, directors, actors, and writers; to our government as aids and secretaries—maybe even officials. We need to be in these places influencing them with the Gospel. We do not necessarily need to vocally witness to everyone, but we MUST witness through our lives. If we want to undo the curse in our cultures we must shine the Light into the darkest places and take Truth to the most ignorant people. Christians should be the salt and light of the world, otherwise our cultures will spiral downward and be lost.
The curse is very evident in the world. We all see it. Jesus died to undo it—to defeat Satan and save our souls. But now we must take that Redemption farther, we must take Christ’s redeeming blood to the most lost of places.
So why are we waiting?