While we don’t think of the fall very often, it changed everything for our world and for our lives. There is a direct connection between every sin we struggle with and every heartache we experience with the fall, when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God.
With the fall, what God had declared to be “good” and “very good” became bad and very bad. It is hard to comprehend the terrible consequences of that act of disobedience for in an instant everything changed. Immediately Adam and Eve lost the innocence of righteousness and realized they were naked and ashamed. Then when God came to commune with them as He did in the garden they hid from Him.
For the first time, they understood and felt guilt. For the first time they were afraid of God. For the first time they experienced relational disconnect as Adam blamed Eve. For the first time they blamed others for their sin: Eve, Satan and Adam, Eve. It was an awful, terrible, cataclysmic day of firsts that has dogged every one of our footsteps down to the present day. No longer would God walk with them in the garden. No longer could they even remain in the garden. For the first time, hardships would enter their lives and they and their offspring would suffer all of the effects of sin: Relational brokenness with God, with one another, disease, death, sorrow, pain, murder, war, bondage, addictions, and all the brokenness that we have experienced firsthand.
Of all the consequences of the image being broken the one most cataclysmic in its implications was the separation of the created with the creator. From friends with God we became enemies of God. Our sin made us objects of His wrath for sin cannot co-exist with absolute righteous holiness.
From people destined for eternity with Him we now became people destined for eternity without him as well as physical decay and death. Righteous hearts turned dark. Communion with God became distant where it existed at all. A friendly world turned unfriendly and uncooperative. It was a tsunami shift in every way.
Every heartache we have suffered, every fear, every setback, every funeral we have attended, every sadness we feel, depression we suffer from, sin we struggle with, physical ailment we deal with, emotions we struggle with – it all goes back to the fall. It was in every way a very far fall, a fall so far that it is impossible to adequately describe its impact. It was an eternal fall as people destined for life with God became absolutely separated from God. It was a massive fall as hearts that once embraced God now rejected Him. It was a fearful fall as people who once treated one another with love now used people for their own purposes. A perfect image became a ruined facsimile of its original form.
Yet, God in His love and grace left a residue of His image even in the fall. This includes a knowledge in the hearts of men and women that there is more to life than mere physical existence and a desire to understand what that is. Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet on one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Think about that: eternity set in our hearts so that we would look for eternal significance. Yet it is still frustrating because “no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Paul makes a similar point in Romans 1:18-20, that God has indeed made himself known to mankind. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
The very magnificence of creation in all of its forms from the galaxies in the skies to the beauty of the depths of the seas clearly demonstrates that there is an eternal hand behind all of creation.
Furthermore, God left in the human heart the capacity, through our choice, and God’s call to respond to Him and to enter into new life with Him. In fact, His intention to come and rescue a world gone terribly wrong was announced at the very time that he pronounced judgment on Satan and Adam and Eve at the fall.
“So the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”
It seems that serpents were forever destined to crawl on the ground as they became a symbol of Satan who had appeared to Eve in the form of a snake. But more important is what God says about the relationship between Satan and the woman and her offspring. There will be enmity between Satan and Eve which is understandable given his part in this terrible event. Eve would never forget the awful event that Satan had enticed her to participate in.
But then God says something more interesting. He will put enmity between Satan’s offspring and hers. But the apex of this verse is the last phrase, “he will crush your head and you will strike his heal.”
Here God introduces a single male offspring who will eventually come and who will crush the head of Satan once and for all even as Satan strikes his heel. This is the first reference in Scripture to the One who would one day come and defeat Satan. Even on this terrible day that changed all of history, there would be another day that would also change history, the day that a Savior would come and defeat the evil one.
Think about this. From that day forward, Satan knew that he would be defeated by an unknown male offspring of Eve. He lived in eternal fear of who that would be and when that day would come. It is clear he recognized Jesus for who He was when He ministered on earth, which is why Satan tried to entice Him to follow Him in the desert temptations immediately after Jesus’ baptism by John. And, on Good Friday he was ecstatic that God’s Son was crucified! He had won! He had defeated the one who came to defeat him. Little did he count on Resurrection Sunday and on that day he knew he had met his waterloo. He had lost. God had won and all he could do from that day forward was to fight a losing rearguard battle.
All of history from the awful day of the fall has been a story of redemption as God, out of amazing love for rebellious people put in place His divine rescue operation that would climax with the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus and culminate in a New Heavens and New Earth where God and His redeemed will live for all time.