2. The Fall and Consequences
We weren’t designed for this world, as it now exists. The Bible refers to our fallen condition as the Curse. Creation itself, in particular the natural world around us, is not fallen, but we are.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is better translated as judging good and evil. The Fall was the choice to trust our human capabilities rather than rely on divine revelation for what was good and evil. It means relying on sensory data and reason to decide what really matters. With this choice, our flesh was turned into a mortal cloak. We are no longer in eternal bodies, such as the risen Christ bore that forty days after His Resurrection. He was careful to demonstrate that an eternal body is not merely a ghostly existence. He was unhindered by physical barriers and appeared in multiple distant places within moments. But in our current flesh, we are now confined under space-time barriers.
This is not a case where the decisions of two people unfairly affect thousands of succeeding generations. You cannot read Western jurisprudence back into a Hebrew mystical narrative. Rather, we have to start from the Hebrew point of view to understand what the story of Adam and Eve tells us. That includes feudal assumptions. God Himself is feudal in His divine moral character, and it shows up in Creation. In other words, reality itself honors feudal authority. Adam had the authority to make a choice regarding all of his descendants. The consequences of his choice fall on us, since the entire human race descended from him. This is right and just in God’s eyes; He honors choices made by those He elevates to high stewardship authority.
The importance is not to provoke a sense of unfairness and futility, but to warn you to carefully consider moral choices made at critical moments. Something that seems small in our reasoning may have tremendous consequences for those who come behind us. Until we begin to “reason” from the heart in obedience to divine revelation, we cannot possibly comprehend what reality is all about. In that moment of choice, Adam and Eve decided to trust their human logic and their sensory data, instead of going with the revelation of God. It was not a move of faith. This is the crux of the Fall.
So a critical element in the narrative is that you understand it is our nature to be deviate from revelation. The Curse of the Fall is God’s way of showing us that there are consequences for bad choices. His grace will not let us go on in sin. Obviously, redemption means restoring us to a heart-led reliance on conviction and revelation. But from where we now stand under the Curse, living with mortality, the only real answer is death — we must leave this life to return to Eden. That’s what the Flaming Sword image tells us. However, it also symbolizes that we must accomplish the restoration of faith before we die. Indeed, that Flaming Sword also symbolizes self-death, the slaughter of the fleshly fallen nature in a moral sense, as well. Thus, the key to redemption is self-death, the choice to turn away from our instinctive reliance on the flesh and a return to faith.