Sunday, June 5, 2011

What If Adam Hadn't Sinned?

"What if’s” are useless questions.  The past is over.  It cannot be undone only remembered, judged, celebrated, forgiven, or forgotten.  The past is nothing but a place of learned lessons or ignored warnings.  The future is not much different.  James says, “you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). 

There is no point in thinking about “what if’s” or “what then’s”, only "what now’s."

And while I firmly believe that this is the case, the other night I had a dream that was interesting and worth discussion regarding a “what if” scenario, particularly what if Adam hadn’t sinned. 

It’s not a topic that I wonder much about because I’m also a firm believer that Jesus was chosen before the creation of the world to save us from our sin (1 Peter 1:20).  And I don’t think God was at all surprised by His creations’ actions in the garden.  All that said, in the dream I was explaining to my wife what our place in the world would be like if Adam hadn’t sinned. 

I said:

Some people have this misguided notion that if Adam hadn’t sinned; we’d all be rulers and have absolute authority over the Earth.  But that’s not true.  God would be the ruler of Earth, and Adam would be His appointed delegate of authority over the Earth.  He’d be King Adam.  We would be at best delegated small areas of authority under the thousands of our forefathers still alive on the Earth, maybe a section as small as our own households and nothing else. 

This scenario is much the same as our authority in Jesus Christ.  God rules.  He gave Christ authority.  And Christ makes us delegates on Earth of His rule.  Some He puts in higher positions than others.  Others He puts in smaller areas, maybe just their own households.  Many of those who envision themselves as powerful rulers in a ‘what if’ Earth without sin also tend to imagine themselves as powerful rulers in this world because they believe in Jesus.

But we’re not powerful rulers.  We’re weak servants.  From the beginning we’ve been weak servants, servants delegated authority from on High.  Any power we have is ultimately God’s power handed down to us.  Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). 

And since it’s not our power, we can’t just go around doing whatever we want with it.  Jesus didn’t.  He said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel” (John 5:19-20).

If Jesus never did anything without the Father showing Him first, should we?  More to the point should we do anything in the name of Father, Son, and Spirit without really praying for understanding in what God would have us do?

And then I woke up and started telling my wife my dream in real life, and she peered at me with half-mast eyelids and said, “I’m going to need coffee before any deep theological conversations, dear," which is how most of our mornings start . . .


Jailer said...

I'm inclined to think that life in Eden would be much like life in the New Jerusalem in Rev 21-22. Of course, I don't know whether there would ultimately be a garden or streets of gold, etc. In the end that's just details.

God would dwell among his people, as in Eden (21:3); no tears, death, mourning, crying or pain (21:4); water from the spring of life (21:6); no Temple but the Lord (21:22); nothing impure ever enters (21:27); nourishment from the Lord's river and the tree of life (22:1-2).

As to whether there would be day and night as in Genesis 1, or whether that would pass away as in Revelation 21 ... I suppose I'd have to default back to Eden.

However, as you said this is completely hypothetical. God did not cause the fall, but He ultimately ordained all of history and He will cause His name to be honored and His children to be lifted up at the last trumpet. And the heavens will rejoice.

Stephen Phillip Porter said...


Thanks for you comments. I hope it didn't come across that I believed God was responsible for the fall.

Rather, I believe God created Adam and Eve with the full knowledge that they would sin, which a lot of people argue makes God responsible for their fall. He could have just not made them after all.

However, the whole sovereignty and free will argument are not mutually exclusive. God is in complete control and man has free will. God created Adam knowing he would fall. Adam made the choice to sin and was responsible for the fall.

Why didn't God just not create man knowing that he would fall?

Because God also knew that He would send His Son to redeem man and that for eternity there would be men and women forgiven and reconciled to Him, who would praise Him for His loving-kindness and His mercies forever, which is something the angels can never understand and long to look into (1 Peter 1:9-12).

Ultimately, I think that was the plan all along. I hope to write a post on it someday.

Thanks for reading

Jailer said...

We're in agreement on the point where you said, "... the whole sovereignty and free will argument are not mutually exclusive. God is in complete control and man has free will."

I generally try to take this tack when addressing this thorny issue. Perhaps you will find this thought process to be helpful as you consider how to address it:


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