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Summary: God wants us to have more than an intellectual understanding of the principles of His kingdom and more than a mere awareness of His existence. His desire for man is that he might enter into a very personal and intimate relationship with his God

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The Majestic Mystery of Great Salvation, Part 3

Consequence of sin

“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)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

God created man and placed him with perfect order in a garden to enjoy perfect peace, joy and happiness. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed, they were at once stricken with guilt and they hid themselves with shame. Guilt and fear replaced the peace and happiness they knew. Here was the beginning of a troubled world- and a troubled mind. Like Adam and Eve, when you are out of tune with God, fears and anxieties crowd into your life. When you focus your attention on the uncertainties of life, on a changing, decaying world, your security and confidence are shaken. Your peace is disturbed. Sin has separated man from God. “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6).” “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). Guilt, fear, irritation, resentment, selfishness, and other hostile impulses plague man wherever he goes. They bring weariness and mental exhaustion. The love of self was at the root of the first disobedience of man. It continues to be the one of the first basic evil inclinations that takes you down the path of despair and heartache. The longer you travel the path of self-centeredness, the more troubled you become

The accounts of the first sin, which we find in the third chapter of Genesis, acquire a greater clarity in the context of creation. It begins with the conversation between the tempter, presented under the form of a serpent, and the woman. This is something completely new. Until then the Book of Genesis had not spoken of the existence in the created world of other intelligent and free beings, apart from the man and the woman. The description of creation in chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis concerns the world of "visible beings." The tempter belongs to the world of "invisible beings,” even though for the duration of this conversation he is presented by the Bible under a visible form. The human sin at the beginning of history, the primordial sin of which we read in Genesis 3, occurred under the influence of this being. The "ancient serpent" tempted the woman: "Did God say, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?'" She replied: "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" But the serpent said to the woman: "You shall not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:1-5). The tree "of the knowledge of good and evil" denotes the first principle of human life to which a fundamental problem is linked. The tempter knows this very well, for he says: "When you eat of it...you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

The tree therefore signifies the insurmountable limit for man and for any creature, however perfect. The creature is always merely a creature, and not God. Certainly he cannot claim to be "like God," to "know good and evil" like God. God alone is the source of all being, God alone is absolute Truth and Goodness, according to which good and evil are measured and from which they receive their distinction. God alone is the eternal legislator, from whom every law in the created world derives, and in particular the law of human nature. As a rational creature, man knows this law and should let himself be guided by it in his own conduct. He himself cannot pretend to establish the moral law, to decide himself what is good and what is bad, independently of the Creator, even against the Creator. Neither man nor any other creature can set himself in the place of God, claiming for himself the mastery of the moral order. This is contrary to creation's own ontological constitution which is reflected in the psychological-ethical sphere by the fundamental imperatives of conscience and therefore human conduct.

God who as Creator is the sole source of the good granted to all creatures, and especially to spiritual creatures. They had contested the truth of existence, which demands the total subordination of the creature to the Creator. This truth was supplanted by an original pride, which led them to make their own spirit the principle and rule of freedom. They were the first who had claimed the power "to know good and evil like God." They had chosen themselves over God, instead of choosing themselves "in God," according to the demands of their existence as creatures, for "who is like God?" By yielding to the suggestion of the tempter, man became the slave and accomplice of the rebellious spirits!

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