THREE EFFECTS OF THE FALL OF MAN
I. SPIRITUAL DEATH
In God’s conversation with Adam in Genesis 2:16-17, God clearly warned Adam of the danger of sin or disobedience to His command. He commanded Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The result of disobedience to God was death.
However, as events unfold and we arrive in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve eat of the tree they were commanded not to eat of by God, but they do not fall to the ground and die as God had said they would. God had said that ‘in the day the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die’. Therefore death was a sure thing in the day they ate of the tree. According to God’s warning, death was to happen immediately. Thus therefore implies that, what God had in mind wasn’t a mere physical death but an event that was not perceptible to the physical senses. It is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, death surely occurred in that day but it was not physical. It was a spiritual kind of death but will nonetheless eventually lead to physical death.
In Scriptures, death is used to refer to separation of spirit from (James 2:26). It is also used to refer to separation from God, both in this life and in eternity. (Revelation 2:11). According to the English dictionary, death is defined as the cessation of life. Hence, this is true both for our physical existence and our spiritual existence. The absence of the life of God in man’s spirit is spiritual death. It is a separation and alienation from the life of God, from eternal life. (Ephesians 4:18).
According to the Apostle Paul in Romans 5, death is a result of man’s Adam’s sin on the human race. In Ephesians 2:1, Paul tells us that ‘and you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins’. We have been quickened or made alive by receiving God’s gift of eternal life by faith in Christ Jesus.
When Jesus spoke to Jews in John 10:10, he was not talking to a group of corpse, neither was he preaching in a cemetery or mortuary. What He offered them was eternal life, without which they were dead. ‘For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’. (Romans 6:23).
Another effect of sin is man’s lack of righteousness. Amongst other definitions, righteousness means the ability to stand in God’s presence without any sense of guilt, fear, shame and condemnation. It is the state of being made right with God, a state of having a right standing or right relationship with God. It is being as God wants us to be. This right standing and relationship with God is the reason Why we can stand in His presence without fear, shame, guilt or condemnation. It is why we can come boldly before God’s throne of grace.
In Genesis 3, after man had sinned and fallen, the same presence of God that he had previously enjoyed was now something that he hid from. Adams excuse was that he was afraid because he was naked. (Genesis 3:10). But He had always been naked. His nakedness did not originate from or begin with his sin. He was made that way. But his nakedness was never a problem until the fall. He didn’t become naked after he sinned, he only became aware of his nakedness and became afraid because of it and therefore attempted to hide himself from God. Not only did he try to hide, he also tried to cover his nakedness by sewing fig leaves to cover themselves. This was an attempt by Adam and his wife to cure their shame, fear, guilt and condemnation but to no avail. This clearly shows us that nothing we can do or not do can ever be enough to make us righteous and deal with our sense of inferiority before God. Doing good works or not doing bad works can never make us righteous, but through faith in Christ Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Romans 5:17.
People generally like to think that they are in control of their lives. They believe that their actions are completely their own, a result of the exercise of their free will and nothing more. However, the Bible clearly disagrees with this belief.
According to the English dictionary, a slave is a person who is held in servitude as the property of another person, and whose labour (and often also whose body and life) is subject to the owner’s volition and control. It also means one who has no power of resistance (to something), one who surrenders to or is under the domination (of something).
These definitions quite hit the mark that is clearly described in the Scriptures about the state of a sinner as a result of the fall. In Ephesians 2 for example, the Apostle Paul makes this case clear. He affirms that sinners are under the control of the ‘Prince of the power of the air’ and that they live according to his control. One of the effects of the fall is therefore slavery to Satan and sin. In Romans 6:17-18, Paul says we were servants or slaves of sin but have now became servants or slaves or righteousness. In Colossians 1:13, he tells us that we have been delivered from the power (mastery, authority, rule) of darkness.
This is the estate of the fallen man. He is separated and alienated from God and God’s life, he cannot stand before God and is under the rule of sin and Satan.