Saturday, January 20, 2007

Humanity in Sin Part 3 - The Temptation and the Fall

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev.Dr.Stephen Tong on his apologetics series on the Fall of Man on 7th January 2007.

Man’s fall, God’s revelation after man’s fall and His promise to man are all recorded in the Scriptures.

Epistemology has 3 parts, major premise, minor premise, and conclusion. The major premise is never proven but is always taken by faith and becomes the basis to build up all other knowledge (minor premise).

Hence knowledge is not just about logic. The basis of knowledge is faith. We must first believe in the major premise before we can start building up any knowledge at all.

When Satan tempted man, he began by making the absolute relative and the relative. Then he planted doubt regarding God’s motivation and finally gave false promise to man.

This is the starting point of the problem of epistemology and the beginning of doubt and agnosticism. Satan created doubt in the integrity of the Word of God. Who was right then? God or Satan? The only way to know is to exercise her freedom to try it out. However, when we exercise freedom, we kill our own freedom. This is the way things are. If we choose one way, we have rejected the other way. And time will not return so what we do cannot be undone. So if we make a choice which we think is right but turns out to be wrong, we cannot go back and choose it all over again.

God’s words are of the truth and Satan’s words are of falsehood. However, when Eve mixed the absolute (God’s Word) and relative (Satan’s words) together, she started to assume that the words of God and the words of Satan are of the same kind. This is the same problem we face today. Since we live in a relative world, we make faith an issue of relativity as well. Hence, we think we could pick our choice of either one which was true.

And then Eve assumed that what Satan said was true. So her knowledge is based on the faith she has in Satan. So Satan established man’s faith in him, the liar, by planting doubt in God’s Word. This is where knowledge confusion began and order is disrupted.

The right order should be man submit to God, woman submit to man, and the nature (animals and plants) submit to humans. However, here the woman listened to the serpent, man listened to woman and rebelled against God.

Absolute becomes relative and relative becomes absolute. Sin is the shift of identity. The first question God asked when man fell was not, “What have you done?” but “Where are you?” indicating that man was not where he should be. He has fallen and shifted from his original position.

When man ate of the fruit, their eyes were open. It seemed that Satan’s words were right. Absolute word of God did not seem to have absolute result because Adam did not die physical death immediately after eating the fruit, but lived another 930 years. However, this is only half-truth. When their eyes were open, they no longer saw God. They no longer saw Satan, but only themselves and their shame. This is how Satan “opened” our eyes. We are enlightened only to see ourselves and material things and are no longer able to see spiritual things. Originally, our eyes are supposed to be open to seek the face of God.

However, we have now become sinners waiting for God’s judgment. We have lost the glory of God.

So God summoned Adam and Eve. He pronounced His judgment and gave His promise of salvation. Hence in the midst of sufferings and punishment, we have the hope of salvation. (To be continued next week).


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