Summary: One of the basic truths we learned from the account of the fall is that it is not a good start, but a good ending, that is most important.
A young boy came home from his first day of school and confessed to his
father that he told a lie. The father asked why he did it and the boy said,
"Well, dad, when they asked me where I was born it seemed so sissy to say
The Woman's Hospital, so I said the Yankee Stadium." So often the truth
seems sissy in comparison to fiction, and so there is a tendency to ignore facts
and interpret life to fit ones wishes. This is a common attitude when it comes
to the account of Adam and Eve. It is alright for fun and light hearted conversation,
but it would seem too sissy to take it as a serious account of the
origin of man and sin, and so people have pushed it aside, and filled up books
with speculation which has no foundation, but does seem more dignified.
It is true that the story is simple, for it was written for people with simple
and unscientific views of life. If the revelation was given in our day God
would, no doubt, give us more information, but since He gave it in the day of
Moses it is natural that it should be in a form fitting the need of that age. In
spite of its simplicity, there is no other source through which we can gain so
much information about origins, life, sin, death, and God's purpose in the
world. Gen. 3 tells us what no philosopher or scientist could ever tell us
concerning why man is the way he is.
It is the story of the most fantastic of all failures. Nobody ever had a
better start than Adam and Eve. They had a great start, but they didn't
continue, and so they fell. One of the basic truths we learned from the account
of the fall is that it is not a good start, but a good ending, that is most
important. It is not the seed that quickly sprouts and gets a good start in
growth, but which then withers in the sun for lack of depth that counts for
anything. It is the seed that however poor a start it gets arrives at the point of
bearing fruit that really counts. It is he who endures to the end that shall be
saved, and not just he who gets off to a good start.
A golfer writes, "A long drive, straight down the middle of the fairway,
does give a man a tremendous advantage, but it is not decisive. One can have
an impressive beginning and end up very badly, and one can have a miserable
start and a thrilling finish. As one golfer exultingly reported to me, I was in
the rough all the way, and then pared the hole." A good start doesn't count
because you don't add the scored until you finish. This is a principle that
applies to all of life.
Benjamin Robert Haydon was a painter in London in the early part of the
19th century. His first painting was accepted by the Academy, and then
followed a succession of large historical painting that gained for him the
reputation of being one of the greatest painters for centuries. The art critic
raved about him. Wordsworth said of his painting "Christ Entering
Jerusalem," that it was worth waiting half of century to complete. The whole
of Piccadilly was blocked by the carriages of those who came to see this
marvelous painting. Leigh Hunt said of one of his works, "It is a bit of
What a start he had on the road to fame, wealth, and influence. But
Halford Luccock says that by the turn of the century his name was not even
known in the world of art. His rapid success in the beginning filled his heart
with pride and he wanted to be the king of painters. He began to write abusive
and bitter letters of satire about his rivals and critics. This caused him to lose
his popularity as quickly as he gained it. He was soon friendless and
bankrupt. His terrific success was reversed to a tragic struggle just to survive.
Finally, in despair he ended his own life. This poor ending destroyed
everything gained by the good start. Better to be like those who start was
miserable, but who had a glorious ending. Just as it is true-
That lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.
So it is also true-
Lives of brilliant failures all remind us
A good start is not enough.
We must forget the road behind us,
And press on however rough.
As we examine the account of the most tragic of all brilliant failures I trust