Monday, August 15, 2016

166. A TRIBUTE TO A FRIEND

A friend died on Wednesday, August 10, 2016, ending a seven month bout with cancer.  He was only 68 years old.  One of his daughters wrote a tribute to him on Facebook, published on Sunday, August 14th.  It began, "We laid my Dad to rest yesterday."  The tribute continued with special memories of her dad and the loving things he did for the family.  The tribute ended with ...
Dad was a great man of faith. He was ready to go home and be with Jesus. I, however, was not ready for him to go. Mom and my brother and sisters were not ready. The grandkids were not ready. We all love him and miss him so very, very much. I'm not really sure where to go from here, but I know that Dad would want us to keep walking forward and do something good with our lives. My personal goal is to try and become the person that my Dad already thought I was.
RIP Daddy. See you on the other side.
The last sentence, "...become the person that my Dad already thought I was," is profound, because that is a description of God the Father for us.  

First, it is obvious that all fathers would want to be like this - a model of God the Father for our wife and children.  That is what the family from out of a God-ordained marriage covenant is all about (Eph. 5:22-32). 

But, more, it describes one relationship of one human father that is everything to one family, representing a tiny glimpse of an entire universe of fulfillment of the foreordained plan of God, made before time began and going forward into eternity.

When we choose God's plan and remain faithful, we glorify God, we are transformed into His true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), and we bear witness to the world of the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10).

God blotted out our sins (Col. 2:3-13-15) so we could be unencumbered to keep eyes on Jesus and run the race before us (Heb. 12:1-2).  Our sins from the shortcomings of the human nature, trying in the flesh to be like God, have been removed so that we can grow by the control of the spiritual nature into the fullness of Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:12-16).

Like the daughter's tribute to her Dad, by the grace of God, we yield to the power of transformation so that we can become the person that God has already predestined us to be in Christ. 


Originally posted on August 14, 2016 ; revision posted on August 24, 2016

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

165. SEEING JESUS THROUGH OUR “LOOKING GLASS” OF SIN

Oh, Depravity, Depravity; where art thou, Depravity?

Alice in Wonderland” is a classic story that Disney studios has taken into a “sequel” movie titled “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” released May 27, 2016.

What is “the Looking Glass”? Perhaps it’s like a special lens, through which one looks at objects – in the real world, objects at higher magnification, but in the unreal world, objects controlled by the magical forces of the “looking glass.” The viewers place themselves under subjection to see whatever the forces of the “looking glass” decide to conjure up – whatever images, sounds, experiences, totally encompassing environment – like surround sound in a big screen 3-D movie cinema. An experience of a lifetime. You are here.

Instead of the viewer controlling the image being presented, like through an ordinary magnifying glass, the “looking glass” controls the image to the viewer. The image presented to the viewer’s mind may be real or imaginary, uplifting or depressing, funny or sad, peaceful or violent, and the views may promote thoughts and behaviors that are good or evil.

That’s the usual fantasy thinking about the “looking glass.”

At this point we depart from the more familiar script and start a “wonderland” of our own creative imagination. In this new wonder-script, the plot thickens and becomes even more intricate and complicated (like, you would expect something else?). The scene that the viewer sees through the “looking glass” is controlled by the glass, and these images are carried and placed as engrams in the person’s cortex. But, a closer more micro-examination reveals that the “memory slots” into which these supposedly new engrams are to be placed actually resemble ones that are already there. How can that be?

We have said that new sensory input received by the viewer through the looking glass has already been distorted by an unknown controlling force outside the looking glass, itself.  The viewer chooses to look through the glass at this screened and filtered material, with all its distorted information, but when these unrealistic views are taken to be stored in the viewer’s brain, they closely resemble engrams that have already been stored there.  Does this sound cyclic?

If the engrams were of any different shape and size, there wouldn’t be an available memory slot to store them. That engram wouldn’t fit the available space. The memory storage space was already prepared for the engram, and if a new input doesn’t fit, it is rejected and tossed out – maybe even destroyed.
 
Does the looking glass know what images what images would be acceptable by the viewer, so only these images are presented?  Why does the person choose to look at images of distorted, filtered reality and then accept them as real?  It is because the input is similar to memories that he has previously stored away.  Therefore, this view, distorted by the looking glass, is actually recognized as familiar to the viewer, who then accepts it as being valid, even if it’s really not.  

Now to close the cycle.  How does the force behind the “looking glass” know what distorted images should be selected because they will be accepted, and not rejected, by the viewer?

See that little box over there by the bank of memory engrams? That’s a transmitter. The person’s memory unit transmits to the “looking glass” what view to present that will be acceptable to the viewer. That box tells the “looking glass” what to present to the viewer based on the shape of the memory engrams that the person already has stored. The “outside force” controlling the image, true or distorted, presented by the “looking glass” to the viewer is actually a signal from the viewer, himself. 

So, the “looking glass” is like a self-defined filter of truth and reality that people accept as believable fact because they have previously made it all up, themselves?  But, why does it seems so real That’s because everything else has been filtered out. This is like a self-reinforcing cycle that has been running for a long, long time. Old memory engrams control the filter of the looking glass which selects the new sensory input to match that which the brain has received in the past and will, therefore, accept.  Anything else "doesn't exist" in the geocentric universe of the person.



What causes this? Just read the labels on the “looking glass” instrument.

One label says: “Human preconceptions, presuppositions, presumptions.”

Another label says: “Made in the past.”

A third label has a caution symbol on it: “Never clean this glass or wipe off any dust.”

The last label says: “This is your sin from inherited depravity. Now, look through this glass to see Jesus.”

If this is the looking glass through which we see Jesus, are we in “wonderland” or “blunderland?”

Those memories of things we have heard over and over are stored, established, reinforced, and trusted; they are placed in position as an inner process to filter out contrary information so that newly received input is conformed to fit with our traditional thinking before it even gets to conscious levels. (…be not conformed, but transformed -Rom. 12:1-2).

What is the filter of preconception that we use to see the work of Jesus Christ? Don’t we see Jesus through the lens of our sin – that Jesus is the antidote for human depravity -- instead of through the lens of the foreordained plan of God -- that we would be transformed into His image? In the first case, we see Jesus in the flesh suffering and dying and enduring the scorn on the cross. In the second scenario, we see Jesus in the Spirit as the author and perfecter of our faith, sitting by the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:1-2). Scenario 1 is what He did; scenario 2 is why He did it. #1 is history; #2 is our future. Celebrating history is okay, but celebrating instead of going somewhere is not okay. Especially when the God of creation says for us to “go.”

Jesus said to “do this in remembrance of me.” Remember what? Remember the static past of what Jesus did in the flesh, and what that means for us as humans = big #1? Or, does Jesus want us to remember why He did it - so we could be part of the dynamic future in the Spirit, and what that means for us being created in the image of God?

The Lord’s Supper – the way it is traditionally presented, isn’t this functionally “the supper for human sin?” Should it be more accurately named, “Our human supper”? Did Jesus come to sweep up Adam’s dust so things can be nice and tidy so we can observe the supper while reclining on a clean floor? (That’s an attention grabber, but think about it. This is a very serious problem.)

What would the observance of the Lord's Supper look like if we eliminated inherited depravity, original sin and "the Fall" from the equation? Instead of being the "antidote" for false doctrines, the Lord's Supper would be the unity meal of the Spirit, with the church refreshing its dedication to fulfilling the foreordained plan of God - being transformed into the image of the Creator (Col. 3:10) and leading the whole of creation (Rom. 8:19-24) into Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:15), who fills and is superior to all things (Col. 1:15-20).

So, what is the “looking glass” in the above story? It is an idol, pure and simple. Humans created this idol based on themselves and their own limited physical understanding of God’s spiritual plan and work. The doctrine of original sin and human depravity is self-fulfilling – the doctrine of depravity creates depravity, which, for the church, results in increasing apostasy.

Jesus died to remove us from being under the bondage of the Old Law of sin and death. When we choose to go back and place ourselves under the Law again, we are choosing to be in sin.Is this doctrine of sin so entrenched in the traditions of Christian thinking that all the divided institutions - each of which considering itself to be “the church” - will have to be brought down before the true church can work the plan as God has predestined, being truly centered on our Lord and King, Jesus Christ?

The doctrine of "original sin" says that we are all sinners because of "the Fall," so we promote the idea that we become holy by eradicating sin in our lives, in the church, in the world. But one doesn't become holy by fighting against sin, by eliminating sin, by preaching against sin, by holding onto our entanglements instead of casting them off. One cannot put on the Lord Jesus Christ and keep wearing fragments of the entanglements. "If I can just get rid of this entanglement ...." Or, "We can't fellowship those people, they have too many entanglements that the Bible condemns. Take some of them off and maybe we'll consider you." How do we know what what is sin and condemned - the definition comes from the Old Law of sin and death - yes, the same Law that Jesus nailed to the cross. There is no "original sin"; there is no Law; there is no condemnation; there is no sin. Now we are free to fix our eyes on Jesus and allow the Spirit to transform us to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24).


Once we looked through a glass darkly and saw a poor image, but now the veil has been removed and we can see the face of Jesus. (c.f. 1 Cor. 13:12; 2 Cor. 3:13-18; Heb. 12:1-2). That's the foreordained plan of God.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

164. Q&A's ABOUT THE FAIL OF THE DOCTRINE OF DEPRAVITY

This post concerns the Q&A's posed at the end of the previous post (#163).

Q1. If the "Fall of Man" doctrine is of erroneous human origin, what is the true doctrine revealed from God?

Let’s ask the Apostle Paul this question, which seems an appropriate thing to do since Paul provided the answer.

Eph. 1:3-14 says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory."

In addition to Eph. 1:3-14 (above), references about the plan of God include Eph. 3:2-6, 7-12; Col. 1:25-28; Rom 8:28-30; 16:25-26; 1 Cor. 2:3-7; Heb. 11:39-40; 2 Thess. 2:13-17.

Some additional references to the involvement of Christ in God’s plan include John 1:1-4; Gal. 4:4; Acts 4:25-27.

Some references to our involvement in the plan include 2 Cor. 3:18; 4:16-18; Rom. 12:1-2; Heb. 12:1-2; Col. 3:9-10; Eph. 4:23-24 and to the role of the church in Eph. 2:19-22; 3:10; 4:12-16.

The plan of God - that His creation, led by humankind, would grow into His likeness - preempts Gen 1:1, the story of creation in Gen. 1-3, the story of the Garden, trees, fruit, Adam and Eve. Everything created was done so to fulfill God’s foreordained plan. To say that mankind rose up and derailed the plan of God so that an alternate plan had to be used or to say that God intended to make Adam fail abysmally is not only without scriptural basis but is contrary to what the scripture does say. Christ was foreordained to come into the world before Adam ever existed. Saying that God planned for Adam to fail is a human interpretation out of the sinful nature, and it is idolatrous because it places attention on the created instead of Jesus Christ. Isn’t that the principle behind what Paul addressed in Rom. 1:18-32? “They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for doctrines to look like the fallacies of mortal man” (slightly adjusted from vs.23).

The plan of God is that the church would lead the world and all creation into God, into His likeness, into His holiness and righteousness, into His character, into His love, into the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The plan is forward and dynamic, not present and circular, not past and static. The definition of sin in the New Covenant does not involve going around and find spots on one another or splinters in people’s eyes – sin is the church in apostasy, not following the predestined plan of God, and choosing instead to follow its own direction.

The foreordained plan of God does not involve the retrograde human doctrine of the fall of man or of human depravity. There is no “fall.”


Q2. What problems are presented in the church because of the erroneous doctrine of the "Fall of Man?" How does this make the church go in the wrong direction?

 

Look at the condition of the church today and consider the characteristics, and many of the problems of human doctrine will be included. Many of these problems stem from a lack of understanding that the total priority of the church is to fulfill the foreordained plan of God, which is the predestination for the church. If the all-encompassing nature of the plan of God is missed, all sorts of human invention can fill the void.

Why can’t the church realize that by traveling through the field of depravity to supposedly get to Jesus is a defeat from the start? The church participates in the sin that Jesus died to cancel. Does the church think that if it tromps through the filthy field of sin, it is Jesus’ job to hose it off? Do we have an inspection? “Look, here’s somebody with mud on them.” Is this like the pig returning to the mud? Is this sinning that grace may abound? Paul said if one does that, they don’t understand what the work of Christ is all about.

Sometimes illustrations help clarify a point and sometimes they make things worse; but let’s try this one: Let’s say that there is this field – it’s not the “field of dreams” but more like the “field of depravity” – a great deep bog created by a human doctrine. And a historical marker is posted at the edge of this swamp, with a label “Adam fell in here. Now it's your turn!”  This field is a dump -- messy and full of filth. Let’s say that it’s someone’s turn to put on the big wader boots and tromp through the field; so, they do that and get really dirty. They cycle through and come to the edge of the field, at which time they notice three groups awaiting them – each group has a different clipboard, and their scribes check things off as their specialists of the law examine and evaluate the mess all over the field-tromper’s boots. One group says “Yuck, this is … uh … 'refuse.' We need to kick this person out because they stink, and, yea verily, it is said that a little stink fills the whole room. So they label the person “big stinker,” and the committee informs them that the wonderfulness of their very own olfactory repulsive selves must go somewhere else where their kind will fit in better. Another group says, “Ohhh, it’s just mud; everybody’s got some; we’re all mud-trompers; we take turns going through there; we’ve adjusted to a muddy presence because it seems to follow us around (like the “bad penny”)  We might even sling a little of it on occasion; you’ll fit right in. So, they accept the person. The third group says, “Wow, this isn’t mud; it’s black gold and it is underrepresented; and we need this. So, they not only accept the person, they make the person the head pastor. Now, the question, “which group is right?” Is it group 1, 2, 3, or all of the above? Perhaps a composite of selections from each of the three? Those options of so-called answers represent a closed box of human thinking. Because, the real answer is “none of the above.” The torch of truth is being carried by the group following the foreordained plan of God. This group has left behind the filthy field and those who would hover over it, while they debate “sin” as defined by the traditionally maintained remnants of the Old Law, as well as the humanly constructed doctrinal mud-boots that go with it. This group has put on track shoes and they are, together, running the race, with eyes on Jesus, forgetting what is behind and straining forward toward what is ahead – which is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. You see, people who are running the race don’t have time for recycling immature thinking, for those interruptions by irrelevant field trips, wearing mud-boots, and forming examination committees who carry clipboards.

Paul said we are to be made new in the attitude of our minds (Eph. 4:23); and why? Because the next verse says, “We were created to be like God.” This is an opportunity to examine ourselves and come before the Lord and ask Him to show us encumbering attitudes that we must leave behind so that we may renew our minds as we build one another up into the love and holiness of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the focus; this is the goal; this is the predestined mandate for the church. Unless we, in obedience, fulfill this purpose, why should we even deserve to exist?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

163. THE FAIL OF HUMAN DOCTRINE OVER THE "FALL OF MAN"

Many of the core beliefs of Christianity have been rooted upon the doctrine of “the Fall of Man.”  Most Abrahamic-derived religions maintain some form of the account of Adam in the Garden.  In the Christian version, the momentum for the object of God’s love and redemption starts with the Bible’s account of Adam’s “sin” in the Garden; it increases through scripture until the coming of Christ; and it exits in the book of Revelation.  The traditional story of redemption usually goes like this, with perhaps slight variations:

A perfect creation 

God created a perfect world with no sin, no death, God’s presence, a paradise.

God created a perfect human (Adam) for this perfectly created environment; God made him in His (pl., their) image; God gave him authority over everything in creation; God and Adam had a personal fellowship together in the Garden of Eden. 

Adam sinned and fell from God’s favor; there were bad consequences for humanity 

Adam rebelled against God and disobeyed God’s command; therefore, sin entered the world; Adam and Eve had to be evicted from the Garden of Eden, had to work for their existence, and had to now experience death. 

Man had spoiled God’s perfect creation.  Now death entered the world along with sin.  Animals then had to kill and eat one another for food.  

Man, through his own action and fault, had rebelled and fallen from his position with God.  This was the original sin.  Sin and death entered the creation through Adam, and the creation was not perfect anymore. 

At creation, Adam had been given the DNA (image) of God, but this was lost or irreversibly damaged beyond repair (at least, not repairable by humans).  Humankind was separated from fellowship with God because of Adam's sin.  

Because of Adam’s disobedience, sin, the guilt and shame of sin, and death were inherited from one generation to the next so that all humans thereafter stood condemned before God. 

God promised a rescue and a redemption for humankind 

But all was not lost; God promised that one day humankind would be redeemed back to the state of perfection of the Garden.

Mankind continued to rebel, and God had to intervene and put things back on track 

A wicked generation, Noah, the Flood; The Tower of Babel 

God’s promise of redemption back to Himself began to take form 

The call of Abram (Gen. 12); a promise is given to Abraham followed by a covenant by God. – Abraham’s genetic descendants would be a great number and inherit the land; from his descendants all people would be blessed; sign of the covenant - circumcision 

The promise was repeated through Isaac, Jacob, Judah 

The promise began to be fulfilled 

Egyptian slavery and release; Moses and the children of Israel; the Law of Moses given; the Law defines sin and prescribes penalties for sin, including condemnation and death; sins temporarily forgiven and rolled forward by the blood of animal sacrifices.

Conquest of the Land of Canaan (the Promised Land)

Tribes of Israel – Judges, priests; Nation of Israel – Kings

Israelites worshiped idols of other nations; conquered by enemies; exiled 

Prophets tell of a Messiah to come who will redeem Israel and restore the nation 

When the time had fully come, Jesus Christ came into the world as God in the flesh

Jesus fulfilled the Law and the prophecies, became the perfect sacrifice for sin; the Old Law of sin, death, and condemnation was no more; sins of all people for all time nailed to the cross; death defeated by resurrection.  Jesus died for our sins that we might be free from condemnation.  When we accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and became obedient to His commands, we were justified in God’s sight; restored back to fellowship with God; redeemed back from the pit of hell.  We have been given back the DNA of God.

The Gospel, the Good News of redemption, salvation from the wrath of God against disobedience, needs to be preached to the world, because otherwise people will die in their sins which have been inherited from disobedient Adam.  Unredeemed human nature is depraved and bound for condemnation without accepting the saving work of Christ.

We still battle with the sinful nature; Christians still do wrong things, sin, and are disobedient.  If we confess our sins, God forgives our sins.  Christians say that they sin, or that they are sinners, but are forgiven by the blood of Jesus.  If we say we haven't sinned, we make Jesus to be a liar (1 John 1:10). 

Those who accept Jesus and maintain faith and obedience may be called “the elect,” meaning those who were foreordained and predestined for salvation before creation.  If once saved, always saved. 

So, the customary sequence is that God initially created everything in perfect condition; mankind disobeyed and messed up the creation, bringing condemnation, and death, which is passed down and inherited as a sin nature of depraved humanity. Jesus Christ came to redeem and restore those who place their faith and obedience in Him.  

(Note the above description is only a "straw man" for our purpose and is not being endorsed here as correct.)


As people have continued to study the passages used in the sequence of “Perfect creation- Fall of Man- Redemption by Christ- the church today- Christ comes again,” problems and inconsistencies with some of the interpretations of passages in this story become increasingly evident. Even so, many of these problems are minor blemishes compared to some fundamental flaws that are more fatal.  The problems are questions that assume the Fall of Man doctrine is correct; whereas the fatal flaws show that the doctrine is human error.

Fundamental flaws in the Fall of Man doctrine:

[1] Anything, including the “Fall of Man” doctrine, is idolatrous when it centers on humans and not God.

[a] It is presumed that the story starts with Gen. 1:1.  The Fall of Man doctrine backs up to Gen. 1:1 because that is where physical creation started, which is what physical humans can understand well enough to form their own plot.  But, the subject of Gen. 1:1 is not humans – the subject is God, who predates the beginning of creation.  The understanding of Gen 1-3 changes when the priority of creation is placed on God instead of physical humanity.  The mystery of the plan of God was revealed to the apostles, particularly Paul, who wrote about it in the epistles.  Rather than receiving God’s plan as revelation through Christ, humans essentially hand to God what they think the plan is and let the church run according to their own pattern.

[b] It is presumed that Gen. 1-3 must be literally interpreted, with “literally” meaning an English translation with words having the same definition as in modern English usage.  This, in turn, necessitates a position of Young Earth Creationism with a Bishop Ussher creation calculation of 4004BC and a 6000 year old earth.  The scientific illiteracy of this presumption is not as important as the error in forcing the Genesis creation account into one of physical human origins instead of an account of the eternal intent of God.  It forces the interpretation into something humans can understand in their limited mind instead of a creation from the mind of God.  Paul said the plan originated from God, not humans.

[c] Humans are placed in a position of power to maneuver God’s creation.  Man was created to be in God’s image, not a substitute for God, not to take over the direction of the universe, as “deputy creator.”  In using the Garden story to form the ontogenesis of “sin,” humankind plotted subterfuge for the perfect creation while God had wandered off somewhere.

[d] The Fall of Man story is not internally consistent.  If creation were perfect before Adam’s “sin,” where did the evil serpent come from?  Was the serpent not created?  Was the serpent outside of physical creation?  Did the serpent outsmart God?

[e] The “Fall of Man/original sin” doctrine was created as a result of a human question about human behavior, rather than finding the plan God designed for creation.


The human question is about right and wrong, good and evil, why evil and bad things happen, why we as Christians still have a “sin nature,” and why we succumb to temptation.  It is the same basic question represented by the (poor) choice made by Adam and Eve.  Everyone who has a human nature asks similar questions about their own undesirable thoughts and actions, or those actions from someone else that negatively affects others.  Augustine wrote about his questions regarding the sinful nature he once was a slave to, but it still sometimes harassed him even after being in Christ.  Since the arrival of the nature of the Spirit on Pentecost, Christians have recognized a battle between good and evil and have had questions about their separation.  The Greeks and Gnostics tried to deal with the natures by separating them, which was an early heresy.

So, humans questioning their own human nature can relate to the struggle that Paul portrayed in Romans 7:7-25 – “I do what I don’t want to do which is the sin within me.” (vs 24).  Rescued by Jesus (vs 25).  Although we personalize this battle, Paul said the battle is with the law of sin.  But, by identifying ourselves with this sin conflict and personalizing it, we drag the battle forward 2000 years past the cross, as if Jesus has had, and still has to rescue every believer after every impure thought or action.  So, even after dying to sin for us and nailing it to the cross forever, does Jesus still have to perform “rescuettes” a billion times every minute all over the universe, with every one coming with a little dose of forgiveness?  Do we have to always be asking for that forgiveness?  Is this an operation of the grace of God, or is it works done by us?

From where cometh this mess?  Paul said everyone has sinned (Rom. 3:23) and that sin was identified and defined as such by the Law of Moses.  With the preconception of looking for a culprit for our imperfect situation, Paul’s statement that “through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners” gives us the origin of it all – yes! -it was Adam.  That takes the search to the Garden and the story of Adam and Eve messing up the perfect creation for then and forevermore.  And the straw man of “original sin” builds from there.

This creates a cycle of human rhetoric from contemporary humans back to Adam to Adam's sin to depravity, through Christ and back again to humans questioning themselves. 

This entire excursion from question to answer and back is human-centric; it is not centered on “what is God’s will?”  It is “how rebellious mankind hijacked God’s will and what God had to adjust for this bad thing that mankind did.”  As if God has to mop up after Adam spilled his illegal fruit juice?

This is a human-generated question with a human-fabricated answer.  Why isn’t that idolatrous?   This human question of the origin of sin is the wrong one, and so it shouldn't be surprising that the constructed answer is also wrong.  The church is so busy with trying to purify itself from the straw sin man that it misses asking the right question, which is negligence because God has already provided the answer, beginning before the creation of the Garden, and it has nothing to do with a “fall” of mankind.


[2] In addition to centering on created humans rather than the Creator God, the development of the Fall of Man doctrine uses faulty inductive reasoning.


[a] Inductive reasoning goes from specific to general in application, like making a law within one state applicable to the entire country and enforcing it on everyone, even if it is not appropriate.  In the case of the Fall of Man, a “local question” about the sinful nature is taken as far as that question can go, which is the origin of humankind in Gen 1-3, and an “answer” is carved out of the story with some suppositions filling in spaces until a doctrine of depravity is formed, which is then applied to all of humanity forever in time.  So, not only is the question wrong and the answer wrong, but the error is effectively amplified all over Christianity.

(Additional discussion on the risk of errors in inductive logic and selected retrograde analyses can be found in an addendum below this main post.)

[b] Additional compensatory errors have to be added to the “Fall of Man” doctrine as it is applied to later events included in Biblical history.  With the erroneous “Fall of Man” doctrine taken as a “given” presupposition, interpretations of the rest of the scriptures that follow start with the presumption that God is trying to recover and get His plan back on track (the Way) by rescuing and redeeming mankind from the consequences (condemnation and disfellowship) of Adam’s mistake. 


God’s intervention in the direction of the development of mankind in the Flood and the Tower of Babel are interpreted as God’s rescue.  The promise to Abraham is taken as God’s plan taking shape that will rescue and bless a rebellious world through his descendants.  Jacob’s blessing to Judah (Gen. 49:8-13) is said to restore God’s blessing to the world.  
A "rescue" is something humans can understand - the drama of the good guys against the bad guys.  It is much harder to understand our being transformed into the likeness of a spiritual being.  It's like Abraham - God is telling us "I am taking you to a destination I will know when we get there." A rescue yields a humanly understood drama and gratitude for the result; transformation requires faith in God for both the process and the result.

If this rescue interpretation were correct, one would expect the scripture would use these words to describe the significance of these events.  Rescue from Adam’s mistake; restore to the time before Adam’s “fall;” redeem man’s lost relationship with God.  Not.

[c] Vocabulary words are lacking.  Note that the Old Testament does not use the vocabulary of “The Fall” doctrine in reference to anything related to the Garden, Adam’s “sin,” a perfect creation before Adam, Adam’s fall, etc.  Neither are other words used, such as “redeem,” “restore,” “rescue,” “return,” in reference to a perfect creation before Adam, but messed up by Adam.  Neither is there reference to a prior sinless perfect paradise to which we will return through Christ.

The “retro-words” (redeem, restore, rescue, return) are used in the Old Testament to refer in some way to Israel.  God rescued the Israelites from slavery (forward direction = good); the Israelites wanted to return to Egypt (reverse direction = bad).  “Restore” is used regarding bringing back Israel’s greatness, but even this was anterogradely fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost with the creation of kingdom of God on earth, the church.  The word, “redeemer,” takes meaning with the story of Ruth and Boaz, not with a correction action back in the Garden.

What was the promise by covenant made by God to Abraham – that through his seed all nations would be forwardly “blessed” or that all nations would be retroactively “rescued?”  Is the blessing a rescue?

Redeem, rescue, restore are used in connection with the work of Christ, but it is in relation to being released from the condemnation from sin and death by the Law, not the result of Adam’s supposed rebellious “fall.”


[3] The “Fall of Man” doctrine involves looking to the past instead of the future, explaining the present human condition by using a blast from the past instead of transforming the human condition by keeping eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:1-2).  Our faith is perfected by looking to Jesus, not by examining and cataloging our “sin” supposedly inherited from Adam.


[a] “The Fall’s” explanation for our sins sets human disobedience as the driver for the grace of God, the work of Christ in creation, and the message of the Gospel.  This doctrine promotes fleshly immaturity instead of spiritual growth.   It also retains that which Jesus died to erase – sin, condemnation, guilt, and death from the operation of the Old Law.  Most Christians would agree that sin produces guilt, shame, separation from God, death, and condemnation.  The Old Law defined sin and linked sin to death and condemnation.  Sin results in condemnation and condemnation comes from sin.


If the Fall of Adam produced an original sin that was passed on throughout humanity in the form of depravity, how did this depravity get past the cross?  Did human depravity only get blocked by the cross for “the elect?”  Did all the rest of humanity inherit depravity?  How do sin and depravity still exist past the blood of Jesus?  Is the significance of the death of Christ applied only selectively?  Have humans been given the authority to decide that? 

If sin produces condemnation, what does Paul mean in Rom. 8:1 -- “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  If there is no condemnation, then where is the sin?  If there is no sin, then where is the depravity? 

The doctrine of The Fall promotes a pseudo-scriptural basis for Christians carrying sin and depravity with them past the cross.  Christian feel they must admit that they sin and that they are sinners.  With sin comes condemnation.  If sin is carried along, then little doses of the justification by Jesus need to be passed out again and again to continually cover our continual sins.  (Maybe if we continue to do enough works?)  This continual recycling of spiritual immaturity (Heb. 5:11-13) does not involve training into righteousness (Heb. 5:14); it focuses on the encumbrances to be removed instead of Jesus as the goal (Heb.12:1-2); and it crucifies Christ all over again, subjecting Him to public shame (Heb. 6:6).  This condition is the real depravity, which the writer of Hebrews calls, “apostasy” (falling away, Heb. 6:8). 

[b] The writer of Hebrews said concerning the race we run, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Heb. 12:2).  There is no mention of Adam in this verse – only Jesus.  The race is one directed toward the goal, which is only Jesus.  The race is not a relay where one first runs and touches Adam and then runs toward Christ.  We do not run through the “fields of sin” so that we can understand atonement and forgiveness.  Jesus has accomplished this so that we can understand transformation into the likeness of the Creator.  We do not keep looking at entanglements – we throw them off because we have already been unshackled from the sin (Heb. 12:1). 

We become what we focus on.  Therefore, the doctrine of The Fall -- the sin of Adam, original sin, and human depravity -- is self-fulfilling.  The doctrine is of human invention.  When the doctrine invades the church and consumes the mission of the church and the basis for the gospel, the doctrine becomes sin for the church.  Exalting the doctrine makes it like an idol.  Focusing on sin that we say we do not have glorifies sin and the sinful nature.  Being controlled by the sinful nature brings condemnation, depravity, and apostasy.  Sin is not just making mistakes; sin is choosing to continue and live in the mistakes that are made and to travel in a direction that is contrary to the will of God. 

[4] The doctrine of the “Fall of Man” discounts the work of Christ. (A more accurate word might even be “blasphemes.”)  Even if the “Fall of Man” were a legitimate interpretation of scripture based on a legitimate question, the cross of Christ and His shed blood should block the view of Adam.  How do sin, guilt, and condemnation make it past the cross, except that our humanness drags it along with us?  We cannot put behind what we choose to drag alongside.  There is no carry-on baggage on the flight of the Spirit to transformation into the likeness of God.


[5] The doctrine of the “Fall of Man” does not “go back to the Bible” to look for the truth of God.  Rather, the search has sought only to explain the falsehood in ourselvesThe doctrine that resulted has remained protected and largely unchallenged for hundreds of years, but that doesn't ensure the doctrine is correct.


[a] We are justified by faith in Christ, not by our faith in a human doctrine that makes us feel we have it all worked out.  The doctrine of the “Fall” is not grace-based as it claims; it is grace that has been extracted from God by human works, or lack thereof – it doesn’t matter, it is still human-centered.


[b] If we truly “went back to the Bible” like we claim we do, we would find the revealed foreordained plan of God that predates Gen. 1:1 – the predestined design of God for creation to fulfill.


[c] Sometimes, it may seem that these are just two ways to express the same thing, but it is not the same and it does have the same result.  The “Fall” doctrine leaves the church to focus on getting rid of sin; the foreordained plan of God is the church focusing on growing into the perfection of Jesus Christ, the Imago Dei.  The church can claim it serves Jesus while it is focusing on sin, but it doesn’t happen – two masters cannot be served.


Like the Jews who needed to remove the veil to see Christ (2 Cor. 3:14), we need to remove the filters of the “doctrines of Adam” so that we can more clearly see the foreordained plan of God for which Christ died to bring into the final age.

Isn't it time to reevaluate the presumed truth of the "Fall of Man" doctrine in light of the true revelation of God through Christ, as recorded in the Bible?

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Some Questions To Consider:

Q1. If the "Fall of Man" doctrine is of erroneous human origin, what is the true doctrine revealed from God?

Q2. What problems are presented in the church because of the erroneous doctrine of the "Fall of Man?"  How does this make the church go in the wrong direction?

Q3. What changes would occur in the church if the "Fall of Man" doctrine should be abandoned and the eternal plan of God obeyed instead?  (see here)

Q4. Without Adam's "sin," what is the work of Christ?  From what have we been rescued?  Christ redeemed us from what?  What does reconciliation mean?  Weren't we once enemies with God?

Q5. Without Adam's "sin," what is the explanation for sin?  Isn't the world in sin?  Don't we all sin?  What about Romans 3:23 and 1 John 1:10?

Q6. How does one explain salvation without first having doctrines of depravity and hell?

 Q7.  It seems like more problems are created by not having the "doctrine of human depravity" than there are by having it.

 

Some of these questions have been addressed in these other posts concerning the Foreordained Plan of God and the Fall of Man:














Are we, as a New Creation, restored to Adam's position before the Fall?



Addendum

The Fall is a creation of human interpretation using a retrospective analysis of scripture to answer questions that were current at one time.  As mentioned in a preceding paragraph, the doctrine of The Fall is an example of the fallacy of human inductive reasoning.

Inductive logic takes an “end of process” observation or question, forms corresponding conclusions or answers, moves upward (toward the top) in the process and/or backward in time (original, priority, precedent, purpose), and assumes those specific conclusions make a general, global application to a much larger field.

As the table (Deductive vs Inductive Reasoning) says, “Inductive logic allows for the conclusions to be wrong even if the premises upon which it is based are correct.”  Because the process of inductive logic takes a relatively small number of observations and applies them to a much larger set of questions, any error in the initial data or premises will be greatly magnified.  If the premises themselves are based on incorrect presumptions, then the entire picture can be corrupted.  That is why deductive reasoning is used in scientific research – the questions can be more easily validated and the results confirmed.  Inductive logic can be used, but the narrow inferences used in more global application must be confirmed deductively under each circumstance.  The more confirmations there are under a variety of different circumstances, the more secure an inductively derived concept might be.  If inductive reasoning is not confirmed by deductive reasoning, the concept might be valid under limited applications, but not universal, or the concept might be entirely wrong.





The doctrine of the “Fall of Man” is wrongly directed.  Time moves forward; development is forward; discovery is forward-looking; improvements are for the future; maturity is in the future; transformation is the future; Jesus Christ is the future.  A retrograde analysis for answers to questions is not the direction God has created things to work.  God’s direction for His creation is anterograde – forward into perfection, not retro- to explain our presumed imperfections.  The New Covenant does not prescribe archeological digging expeditions back in the Old Law, or even in the Garden of Eden. 

A doctrine is needed that looks prospectively – into the future.  We need a doctrine that is Christ-centered, not sin-centered.  We need a doctrine that is formed by deductive reasoning, with validity confirmed by inductive reasoning.  We do not need a doctrine formed by inductive reasoning that ignores fallacies, globalizes itself in application, and then deductively forces itself on everything.