Recently, and I think it’s particularly because of the Easter season, there have been a number of jibes at Christianity and faith in general. How can we, as people of faith, honestly believe such a horrendous doctrine that God made our perfect children to be conceived in sin and doomed from birth? This is how the story of the Fall has been oversimplified, and I agree – this does sound horrendous.
But that’s not the way it is.
I am not old enough to remember Adam and Eve, and I have yet to meet the great majority of their posterity. I wonder if the story of Adam and Eve is more allegory than history, but there are some interesting points that come to mind at this time every year as we celebrate Easter and Passover.
Adam and Eve, the story goes, were living in a state of perpetual same-ness, never knowing the good because they had no experience with the unpleasant. When push came to shove, Eve wanted to be a mother and Adam chose to be with his wife so they could grow old together and have children. Perhaps that’s an oversimplification, but that’s what happened.
The Fall is a one-word description of the awareness of mortality expanding into the created world. With the Fall, humanity (in the bodies of Adam and Eve) chose the possibilities of unpleasantness, bad choices, wrinkles, and pain because we desired their opposites – joy, fulfillment, growth, and pleasure. The story illustrates our awareness on some level that if all things eternally remained the same and expressed no extremes, the wonders and good things would never be experienced either.
Without the Fall I would never have been. Without the Fall the incomparable woman who became my wife (thank goodness I had better sense than she did!) would never have been. Without the Fall we would never have been blessed with our beautiful children. Yes, horrible things happen and we have many, many nasty experiences – but without these negative possibilities having a path of expression, there would be no point of comparison or avenue for the expression of the good, the wondrous, and appreciation of the truly beautiful.
I believe in a Creator Who made human beings as creatures with astounding potential, not as creatures forced to live and writhe in pain. Without sorrow we could not experience joy, and we are made to experience joy.