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Lecture 8 – The Christian Story Part 2 – The Fall

The Fall of Creation into Sin

Last week....

The meaning of creation affects far more than biology class – it influences the way
we see all of life

The Christian vision of creation avoids both

(1) a right-wing conservatism that restricts everything

(2) a left-wing libertarianism that embraces everything.

Part 1 of the story explains the goodness and delight of creation and culture.

But we no longer live in Eden...

Creation speaks out of both sides of its mouth now. It still sings and rings, but it also
groans. (Cornelius Plantinga)

Something about creation that is “not the way it is supposed to be”.

The worldview significance of figuring out what is wrong with the world.

1) If Genesis chapter 1 and 2 outline the glory and the goodness of creation –
chapter 3 gives the Bible’s explanation of what went wrong. In Genesis 3 we have
outlined for us a story.

a) First human couple are tempted by an evil serpent to distrust God and to eat
of the forbidden fruit

i) The explicit aim of the eating is to “be like God”. The result of the eating
is that they become less like themselves – lose the privilege of being in
the garden. Sin is not about eating the fruit – the sin lies in the creature
wanting to dethrone the Creator. This is the fundamental sin of the Bible
– to not trust in God’s Word and to want to take his position.
Lecture 8 – The Christian Story Part 2 – The Fall
(1) Tim Keller: “according to the Bible, the primary way to define sin is
not just the doing of bad things, but the making of good things into
ultimate things”. Our chief problem is disordered loves, or
disproportionate loves. We take what is good – ourselves, another
human being, work, sex, whatever – and make that our God”

(a) “No human relationship can [this] burden of godhood...If your

partner is your “All” then any shortcoming in him becomes a
major threat to you...What is it that we want when we elevate the
love partner to this position? We want to be rid of...our feeling of know our existence has not been in vain. We
want redemption – nothing less. Needless to say humans cannot
give this.” Ernest Becker

Ruth Ritchie on Australian Idol

“Our TV contest has really only produced acts suitable for carols
nights and the long lost Midday show, yet the process is utterly
compelling and entertaining. And as we fondly waved farewell to
Tarisai, the Groucho Marxesque question remains: can we really ever
worship any Idol we are stupid enough to create and vote for

a) They are cursed in various ways

i) the consequences of their sin

(1) The Christian vision of a whole world - shalom (peace between God
and people, peace between people and people, peace between
people and creation).

(2) Hence, sin destroys the whole fabric of shalom

(a) God and people

(b) People and People

(i) Gen 3:12 - The man said, "The woman you put here with me--
she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.
(ii) Genesis 4 – Cain and Abel

(c) People and creation

(i) Gen 3:17-19 - "Cursed is the ground because of you; through
painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will
produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants
of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food
Lecture 8 – The Christian Story Part 2 – The Fall
until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken;
for dust you are and to dust you will return."
(ii) Romans 8:20-21 - For the creation was subjected to
frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one
who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be
liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the
glorious freedom of the children of God.

God hates sin not just because it violates law, but also because it violates
trust. Sin grieves God, offends God, betrays God, and not because God is
touchy. God hates sin against himself, against neighbours, against a good
creation, because sin breaks the peace – in the first place between the sinner
and God. Sin interferes with the way God wants things to be. That is why God
has laws against it. God is for shalom and therefore against sin. (Cornelius

The Meaning of the Fall

a) The whole world is now “out of whack”.

i) Born into a world that is already broken

ii) We come into the world already bent out of shape – born with sinful
tendencies and our nature is not entirely pure.

(1) Therefore, what is natural, or innate to me, may not be the way things
are supposed to be.

iii) Even in the most beautiful things in the world, we find a measure of

The true vision of humanity:

What sort of freak then is man! How novel, how monstruous, how chaotic, how
paradoxical, how prodigious! Judge of all things, feeble earth-worm, repository of
truth, sink of doubt and error, glory and refuse of the universe… Man’s greatness and
wretchedness are so evident that the true religion must necessarily teach us that
there is in man some great principle of greatness and some great principle of
wretchedness! (Blaise Pascal)
Lecture 8 – The Christian Story Part 2 – The Fall

We are glorious but broken – “tortured wonders” (Rodney Clapp)

Alternative visions

How does this affect our cultural production?

Why I don’t believe in Disney

Why I don’t believe in Sex and the City, Tarantino, etc

The link between telos and praxis

 Do you have a telos sufficient, personally and publicly, to orient your praxis
over the course of life?

 To what end your brilliant technique?

The cult of novelty

Art that understands the glory and the garbage

1) Even Hitler could have kicked another dog

2) Everybody has a dignity in the image of God

3) The way home is not to redefine our badness – it is repentance.

4) Questions about the end

a) Does this point us to how things are supposed to be?
b) What do I want someone to become as a result of them encountering
my art?