What is wrong with the world? Or this country? City? That weird guy on the bus? You?
Creation got off to a “very good” start, until a man, Adam by name, attempted to seize (usurp/takeover/stage a coup) God’s kingdom instead of receiving it as a free gift.
A 7-fold process unfolds that shows us what went wrong and how we managed to end up with the trouble and difficulties we have today in our relationships with God, others and the environment.
- Adam is created in the image of God and given God’s Word / Law. Gen 2:16-17
- Adam is divided (blood is shed, his rib removed) and Eve is constructed. Gen 2:20-21
- They are brought together in a covenant of marriage. Gen 2:22-25
- Adam, as the high priest guardian & protector of both Eve & Eden is tested. Gen 3:1-6 (note the pronouns used here are all plural indicating that both Adam & Eve are involved in the temptation).
- Adam acts immaturely, seizes the fruit (takes things into his own hands, literally) and tries to cover his disobedience with inadequate fig leaves. Gen 3:7
- God uncovers Adam’s defeat by sin & covers it via shedding the blood of an innocent animal to give them animal skins for clothes. He is cast outside the angelic veil and no longer in the Edenic (promised) land. Gen 3:8-13, 21-24
- Instead of entering into rest and glory, Adam’s failed dominion is inherited by his offspring. Gen 5:3
Adam as representative of all people failed the test of whether he would open God’s Word, believe it, obey it and speak it to his bride. Dan Phillips in The World Tilting Gospel helpfully points out that if you argue that you don’t want him as your representative, you are already placing yourself in opposition to God and acting independently of his judgement – which means, you’ve just failed the test also. So we are sinners both by nature and by action.
The New Testament explains it as:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned. ~ Romans 5:12
Adams failure was 3-fold:
- Failed Priest – His job was to Guard & Protect the Garden. Instead of crushing the serpents head with his heel, he lets him by. Sin enters the world due to this failure of Adam (as high priest) to guard the kingdom.
- Failed Prophet – He was chosen to speak the Word of God. He should have reminded Eve of God’s promise and invited her to turn away from the forbidden tree and to eat from the Tree of Life. Instead, he stands silently while the serpent negotiates with Eve.
- Failed King – As he was created in the image of God and given dominion over the animals, he had the authority to command the serpent and extend the kingdom. He behaved passively, yielded his place and lost the battle.
Adam’s great sin was to act independently of God. He passed this proclivity to his offspring, you and I. Since then our inclination has been to continue doing the same, to the detriment and destruction of ourselves, our fellow man and the environment we were meant to manage. So, what’s wrong with the world? Take a look in the mirror.