SGBC Modesto

The Fall – Fact or Fiction?

April 5, 2024 by

William Heinrich

Genesis 3:1-6 records man’s first sin and the fall of mankind into sin’s corruption and bondage. This account has been called fictitious by many who likely do not want to face the truth that it teaches.

Some call this account a fable. They argue that we all know snakes do not talk except in fables. However, in the book of Numbers, the false prophet Balaam was confronted by a talking donkey when he, for money, was about to curse God’s people. Others call the account a legend. Legends usually involve superhuman individuals doing heroic deeds. We do not find Adam slaying dragons, but he appears as a normal man in a garden.

Others consider the fall a myth. A myth can be meant to tell a religious truth, but it is essential to be a myth that it not to be taken literally. C. S. Lewis who made his reputation dealing with mythology says, “I know what a myth is and I know that this is not one of them.”

Lastly, some call the account a parable. When one reads the many Bible parables and then reads Genesis 3:1-6, one must conclude a great difference. Parables have one point. What would be that one point? And why is it not that one point in the balance of scriptures?

By contrast we have the simple unfolding of the history of man. God made man upright, but he fell into sin, bringing corruption upon himself and all mankind. Adam, the first man, represented the human race. Romans 5:15 says, “Many died by the trespass of the one man.” Also, I Corinthians 15:21-22 says death came through a man, and in Adam all die. Therefore, not only does everyone sin and is guilty of his own deeds (Romans 3:23), but we are all guilty in Adam’s sin and pass it to the entire human race. This is called guilt by imputation. This is very hard for us to accept, for it seems unfair and unworthy of God. In reality, it is another act of God’s grace, for it is on the basis of representation that God is able to save us. Just as Adam is fallen man’s representative and all in him die, so Christ has become regenerated man’s representative and all in Him live; “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19).

It is necessary for us to accept his verdict on our fallen nature and turn to Christ for imputed righteousness and gracious salvation. The fall is fact, not fiction.