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  • Writer's pictureRev. Chris Brademeyer

Why is There Evil in the World?

The Fall

Invocabit – 2/18/24

Genesis 3:1-21

Rev. Christopher W. Brademeyer

 

That portion of God’s holy Word for consideration this morning is our Old Testament lesson from Genesis chapter three with special emphasis on verses six and seven which read as follows:

 

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”

 

Thus far the Scriptures.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

                There is much that can be said of the ills of this world. There is death and evil of every sort seemingly around every corner. It does not take much looking to see that there is a lot of sorrow and suffering around us. No doubt, much time could be spent compiling a list of all the evils present in this age. But an even greater question stands before us concerning all these things, one that has been the discussion of theologians, philosophers, and regular folk alike. And that question is this: why is the world the way it is? Why is there death and sorrow? Evil and selfishness? Destruction and despair?

                A number of explanations have been given throughout the years as to the reason for this deficiency in our world. Some have speculated that such things are the result of freedom. Others have argued that these things are due to the chaotic forces of the natural world. But the reason for this is detailed for us in our reading from Genesis.

                Sin and all its effects came into the world through the fault of the first man, Adam. That is to say, when the father of our race ignored the Word of God and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he did not only offend God and earn God’s wrath, he also introduced to creation a state of being, a fall from grace for not only human beings, but also for the whole of the created order. When Adam sinned, he introduced sin to all things as he was the head of creation and meant to be its master. And from this first sin sprung forth all others including the great penalty of sin which is death itself.

                And this first sin was not the act of disobedience, but the attempt to usurp the role of God that led to a disregard for God’s Word and the act of rebellion which accompanied that. In other words, Adam and Eve decided that what God had established was not what they wanted and they sought an alternative arrangement, in effect, declaring themselves to be above God and His instructions.

                This has been the substance of sin ever since. Sin is when we decide that some other course of action or some other thought than those things commanded by God should be undertaken. No matter how small the thing done in sin, it reveals the heart’s desire to overthrow the rule of God and establish some other authority more agreeable to our own desires.

                But how did this happen? Adam and Eve were created in sinless bliss and were given a perfect and beautiful home. God granted them dominion over the earth and all creatures that dwell in it. And yet, they were given a temptation by the devil that they gave into.

                Now this might seem surprising to us from our vantage point. After all, who would give up a sinless world for this world with all its death and suffering. But we should not be so surprised about this. After all, the devil is a liar and the father of lies. Such is the nature of a temptation to be something that is hard to resist. But this truth also reveals a defect in our human nature. This truth is this: we like to imagine that we are strong and capable and able to resist all temptations. Much like the hero of the old Charlie Daniels song, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, we see ourselves as overpowering the Devil at his own game. But traps don’t work when they’re obvious. If they were obvious, no one would ever get trapped by them. And in that old song, sure, Johnny gets a golden fiddle. But the devil would gladly trade such a trinket for a soul, and Johnny leaves the encounter condemned by his lack of faith. So too does the devil like to lay snares for us and to entice us, tempt us, to leave our faith in Christ for other things. And make no mistake, he is very good at what he does. After all, he was able to tempt sinless Adam and sinless Eve into committing the first sin. It is child’s play to tempt sinners like us. And so Satan, the old serpent of death, uses the promise of being like God to lead us astray. And our old sinful hearts are more than happy to buy into his lies.

                But all is not doom and loss. Adam and Eve earned the wrath and punishment of God and God certainly condemned them for their sins. The Lord even cursed them, both showing the reality of sin and prescribing a punishment that was meant to drive them to repentance. And even in the midst of this, the Lord promised redemption to His people. Eve is told that one will come from her line that will crush the head of the snake. And though this is not clear in English, in Hebrew it is made clear that this child will be a single son. In other words, this is the very first promise of Christ given in Scripture. More than this, God takes it upon Himself to cover the sin and shame of Adam and Eve with the skin of animals, foreshadowing the death of the Lamb whose blood and righteousness will cover us in righteousness and forgiveness.

                In other words, God from that very first moment of sin resolved to do something to repair the damage. And so he decided to not withhold His Son and promised to send Him into this world as a man in order to die for the sins of the world. By doing this, God shows that though divine justice compels Him to meet out punishment, His greater desire is the righting of sin and the death of death. You see, it is God’s great love that compels Him to do these things. And because of this great love, He is not content to see us suffer sin and temptation. In fact, God despises evil and sin in all forms and so He decided to do something to rectify the problem.

                Just as sin came into the world by a man, so too our Lord Jesus will destroy it as a man. And such is the power of God, that becoming a man does nothing to limit His ability to crush the Devil and destroy sin. Even that great enemy death is rolled back by the work of our Lord. His death unmakes these things. His death becomes our life. His death is our salvation.

                And when He returns again in glory, He will make a new world, free from sin, and our status will be greater than that even of Adam and Eve before their fall. No longer are we counted as mere creatures of God, but now through Christ we are counted as sons and heirs, members of God’s own family. The ancient church had a phrase for this in Latin: felix culpa. That is to say,” happy fault”. While sin is certainly a problem, we must remember that in Christ all things work for good and, at the end of all things, our state before God will be even greater and more blessed through Christ and His redemption than what we were originally granted in the Garden of Eden.

                So, dear friends in Christ, we must acknowledge not only the reality of sin, but also our part in it. But even more, we must look to the Christ who has redeemed us unto eternal life through His death that destroyed sin and the power of the devil and stopped death itself.

 

In the holy Name of + Jesus. Amen.

 

The peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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