1) CREATION: THE WORLD WE WERE MADE FOR
The story begins, not with us, but with God. Deep down, we have a sense that this is true. We sense that we are important – that there is something dignified, majestic, and eternal about humanity. But we also know that we are not ultimate. Something (or Someone) greater than us exists.
The Bible tells us that this Someone is the one infinite, eternal, and unchanging God who created all things out of nothing (Genesis 1:1-31). This one God exists in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). Because God is Triune in his being, he wasn’t motivated to create the world because he needed something – be it relationship, worship, or glory. Rather, he created out of the overflow of his perfection – his own love, goodness, and glory. God made human beings in his image (Genesis 1:27), which is what gives us our dignity and value. He also made us human, which means we are created beings, dependent on our Creator. We were made to worship, enjoy, love, and serve him, not ourselves.
In God’s original creation, everything was good. The world existed in perfect peace, stability, harmony, and wholeness.
2) FALL: THE CORRUPTION OF EVERYTHING
God created us to worship, enjoy, love, and serve him. But rather than live under God’s authority, humanity turned away from God in sinful rebellion (Genesis 3:107; Isaiah 53:6). Our defection plunged the whole world into the darkness and chaos of sin. Though vestiges of good remain, the wholeness and harmony of God’s original creation is shattered.
As a result, all human beings are sinners by nature and by choice (Ephesians 2:1-3). We often excuse our sin by claiming that we’re “not that bad” – after all, we can always find someone worse than we are! But this evasion only reveals our shallow and superficial view of sin. Sin is not primarily an action; it’s a disposition. It’s our soul’s aversion to God. Sin is manifested in our pride, our selfishness, our independence, and our lack of love for God and others. Sometimes sin is very obvious and external; other times it’s hidden and internal. But “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Sin brings two drastic consequences into our lives. First sin enslaves us (Romans 6:17-18). When we turn from God, we turn to other things to find our life, our identity, our meaning, and our happiness. These things become substitute gods – what the Bible calls idols – and they soon enslave us, demanding our times, our energy, our loyalty, our money – everything we are and have. They begin to rule over our lives and hearts. This is why the Bible describes sin as something that “masters” us (Romans 6:14). Sin causes us to “serve created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).
Second, sin brings condemnation. We’re not just enslaved by our sin; we’re guilty because of it. We stand condemned before the Judge of heaven and earth. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). We are under a death sentence for our cosmic treason against the holiness and justice of God. His righteous anger toward sin stands over us (Nahum 1:2; John 3:36).