Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Fall of Man

.... Another popular misconception begins with the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. It is widely believed that when the serpent tricked Adam and Eve into sinning, he also tricked them into surrendering their dominion of the world to him.
.... Apparently God was caught off guard by this stratagem as well, because Satan is said to have gained the ‘legal right’ to control everything in the world, and even God seemed to be constrained by this. He was reduced, instead, to a sort of guerilla warfare. But just how Biblical is this concept?

.... "The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S; but the earth He has given to the children of men."

(Ps 115:16)

.... In the beginning, God gave dominion to man through an arrangement called Pro-Rex. In other words, God remained the true Sovereign at all times, and man was given a sub-dominion of the world (Psalm 24:1). We see a Biblical example of this concept when David made his son Solomon the king in the practical ways, though he himself remained the true king in the meantime, and could overrule Solomon whenever he wished (1 Kings 1:1-53). In fact, at a later time, he issued further instructions to him (2 Kings 2:1).
.... So even if mankind had lost their dominion of this world in their fall, that dominion would have reverted back to God alone, and not to Satan by default. For if a steward fails, only his master can appoint a new one (as in Luke 16:3). The fall of man would not have effected the true, overall dominion of God at any time or in any way, for He has always been and will always remain Lord of all (Josh 3:13).
Let’s return now to the account of man’s fall, to see how the question of dominion was actually settled. God’s judgment on the serpent was a curse, to make him lower than the other animals as he went on his belly in the dust; and also, the serpent and mankind would thereafter be at war (Gen 3:14-15). In no sense was a ‘new dominion’ announced, except that the man should now have dominion over the woman (Gen 3:16).
.... What actually happened was that man’s dominion fell into ruin with him (Rom 8:20), so that Adam would now rule in the world through toil, adversity, and eventual death (Gen 3:17-19). But man's dominion did not change hands to Satan through this. In Psalm 115:16, which is quoted above, God still considered man’s dominion to be intact after such a long time; after more than 4,000 years, He still refers to man's dominion as the status quo.
.... Therefore the belief that Satan acquired man’s dominion through Adam's fall is unfounded. In fact, it raises questions that are so problematic and profound they simply cannot be answered honestly:

1. The argument contains an important contradiction when it notes that the world, lost by Adam, could only be reclaimed by a second Adam (meaning Jesus). How, then, could Satan have gained control at any point? For only another Adam could do so.

2. The fall of man took place on essentially the same terms as Satan's own fall: "Ye shall be as gods" (Gen 3:5; Is 14:12,13). How could this possibly mean that mankind lost the dominion, but Satan gained it?

3. It is claimed that man lost the dominion of the world through one sin. How then can Satan, who sins continually, maintain it? (And with the ‘legal right’ to do so!)

4. Those who teach this doctrine tell us that Jesus, as the second Adam, reclaimed Adam's dominion. Why then do the same persons continue to ascribe this dominion to the devil? Their own doctrine tells them that this must have ended 2,000 years ago.

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