The Fall of Man
In the last issue of The Intercessor Norman delved into the origin of evil, and called Satans choice to be his own god Historys darkest moment. Now we look at mans fall, and begin to understand how Satan gained entrance into humanity and infected us with his lie of independence.
We now proceed to the first man Adam, and the important lessons we have to learn from him. The investigations in recent articles, going to the sources of things in God and the origin of evil, have not been easy; but to those who, like myself, have always sought for a solid foundation under their spiritual feet, I hope they may have given light and understanding, even as I have derived so much light from the writings of men of God in their openings on the Scriptures.
We must first take a glance at the creation of this present world order, though we need not spend much time on it. It seems clear that between the first and second verses of Genesis 1 is the fall of Lucifer and his followers, and the consequent chaos in this world system, over which he ruled, and which he still claims to control (Luke 4: 6), a claim recognized by the Lord Jesus in calling him the prince of this world. A spirit forms its own body according to its own essence, therefore when that power-spirit, Lucifer, became the devil, his realm as well as his accompanying hosts shared in the chaotic consequences of the rebellion. In the creation of Genesis 1, God intervened to restore the situation. His plan centred in another being, made in His own likeness, a spirit with soul and body, without doubt to replace Lucifer and his angels in fulfilling Gods final purposes for the world. This man, Adam, with his wife, Eve, He put in Eden the garden of God, just as Lucifer in previous ages had been in that same garden (Ezek. 28: I3). Now let us remember what we have learned already, that no human spirit, created to be Gods fellow and son has Gods nature in himself. As a created self, he is empty of goodness and love. He can only by himself, in his basic selfhood, become a self-centred devil. His created spirit has been made for one purpose for union: to be a container of and co-operator with another Spirit, the Father, Son and Spirit, the perfect One.
The Necessity of Freedom
But another fact must be noticed. If Adam and his race were to be in fellowship with God, they must be both intelligent and free. God cannot have fellowship with automata. Each must know what he does, and do it voluntarily. That is the key to Gods long dealings with humanity. He must have free lovers, free servants, free sons. However long it takes, whatever tragedies or disasters there may be on the way, the kingdom of heaven must be peopled with willing subjects who love to be what they are. They must therefore clearly understand the conditions of their creation, both their endowments and limitations; they must learn their innate emptiness of all good, and in what relationship of grace and union they are for ever to be, creature with Creator, sons with Father, human spirit with God the Spirit. Then having learned and seen that place of dependence for which alone they are made, they must come of their own volition to cast themselves forever upon the One for whom they were made; they must be His lovers by conviction, His bondslaves for eternity by intelligent and delighted choice.
Now watch the strategy of God. He makes Adam, we are told, a living soul. Is that not enough? Yet two verses later, when He had put him into the garden, we read that in the exact centre of the garden was a special tree, the tree of life, and near to it, though not in the centre, the other tree. But why a tree of life, when he already had life? We know the answer of course, but Adam had to discover it. Alas, he never did. All Adam had, all that a Creator can give a creature, was a natural life, which can do nothing good of itself: We are told what that tree of life was, for after the disobedience, God put cherubim at the entrance of the garden lest they should take of the tree and live for ever. That tree was the gift of eternal life, and eternal life is Jesus. Doubtless both trees were symbolic. We have the counterpart in the bread and wine of the Lords supper. There is no merit in the actual elements; but the taking of them is the outward testimony to the inward act of faith; behind the symbols we see Jesus and our faith partakes of Him. So the taking of the fruit of either tree would indicate the act of faith which received either Christ or Satan into the heart.
A Test for Adam?
Most mistakenly we often seem to think that God put Adam there to test him, to see whether he would obey or not. Not so. It was because by no other means could he discover his own innate helplessness.
It was not as we often erroneously think, that Adam could have done the good deed of rejecting the advances of Satan. If that were so, man could be good by his own unaided effort. But he was placed between those two trees to learn that of himself he can do nothing good, and is not expected to! It was to teach him the basic fact of his creation, that his own human spirit is an empty helpless vessel so far as living the good life is concerned: in me, that is in my flesh (my humanity) dwelleth no good thing. He was not created to be good. He was created to be indwelt by the Good One, and the negative command not to eat of the tree, followed by the direct temptation to do so, was not to stir into action some potential capacity in Adam for obedience and goodness, to demonstrate that he could be good if he would; but to reveal to him the one essential point he had to learn about himself, that he was created helpless so far as being and doing good is concerned: and then that his little human spirit had one marvellous potentiality; it could be the container of the Divine Spirit via the tree of life, and yet not lose its own individuality in being so; but that the two can dwell together, each in the other, in an eternal fruitful bond of union, the human being the delighted and loving bondslave of the Divine.
The Lesson God Intended
This fundamental lesson about ourselves and Himself, which even redeemed humanity is learning so painfully and slowly, and millions, alas, never learning at all, could have been learned by Adam and Eve at the crisis of their temptation. That strange negative command not to eat of that one tree, when all else that God did and said to them was so gracious, good and positive, must have had the effect that all commands have on a human being; it must have aroused questioning, inquisitiveness, and produced the contrary desire to do the forbidden thing, leading finally to the direct temptation and solicitation to do it. But somewhere or other along the trail of this contrary desire, this disturbing antagonism to the One who had given them all good things and in whose presence they were living, they could have faced up to their condition, and inquired of God why they felt a pull in this forbidden direction and what they were to do about it. It was then that their attention would have been directed to the tree of life.
In all things the law of demand and supply is at work. We seek and we get what we first need. The hungry and thirsty are filled. Every indication is that Adam saw nothing that appealed to him in the tree of life, because he saw no need of it; he had life enough by virtue of his creation; what more did he need? He was self-sufficient, so he thought. He had to learnbut learned too latethat natural man is a slave to his own desires, and must always be so. That which captures his affections holds him in its chains. Nor can he free himself from the false by mere resistance: the very motions of resistance focus his attention yet more on the thing which enslaves him: he may hate it, he may fight it, but to be delivered from it can only be by the captive being led captive: a counter attraction, an enslavement: a new master must be fully, but rather to go along with his wife; that is why these sins have such a hold on humanity. But they were not deliberately anti-God; rather, just proself and pro-world. They ate of the tree of good and evil; they still could know, discern and appreciate the good. God could talk to them and they could hear and answer. God could both pronounce judgment and give them hope of a deliverer. Not yet for them had values been totally reversed, good become evil, and evil good. There was in them the light that lights every man that cometh into the world, the light of conscience. They had become children of the devil, as we all are by nature; they had walked out into the night of the great delusion, that self can get on by itself: In such a lost condition we are by nature children of wrath; we are not merely blinded and self-deceived, but also guilty, deliberate sinners and enemies; we are on our way to the lake of fire, prepared for the devil and his angels; but we are still savable and reachable by the long arm of grace.
Humanitys Tragic Error
Mr. Earl Hitchcock, a student of the writings of Jacob Boehme, gives this adequate summary of what we have been saying. Oh, if the world could see that God in Himself outside of creation wills nothing but God, He creates nothing but good: that Jesus Christ is the object of His affection, that the Son is the Sun that shineth upon all in nature to produce the same life of God.
If they could see that all of our troubles come from the fall of Lucifer and its results: that the first earth went into chaos and confusion, a mass of rebellious nature, neutrons and protons substituted for the old; it must be the expulsive power of a new affection. That is the law of mans being. The fruit of the tree of life, the indwelling Christ, was Gods provision for Adams hungry, fascinated, yielding and helpless spirit: with Christ in him the temptation would have lost its power and his eyes would have been opened to the great delusion; but he never saw and never sought, and humanity still stumbles along the dark road of blinded self-effort. The Difference Between the Fall of Satan and of Man But between the fall of Satan and that of man there is an important difference. There are those, according to the Scriptures, whom God cannot recall. The fallen angels are among these. So are human beings who add to their ignorance a persistent refusal to respond to His grace and truth, and a persistent allegiance to Satan. They start as fallen humans, they end as devils. Satan in his fall dethroned God and enthroned self by a deliberate attitude of will. Eve, on the other hand, was deceived into her act of disobedience; it was not so much deliberate antagonism to God as desire to indulge the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life; Adam indeed sinned wil-within the atom exploding to their own ruination: that this was all set off and triggered by self-will, self-imagination, self-assertion with the ego in predominance: that the devil is the result of the reaction of God in nature, the power of God in nature which was blessing nature, when upset by created self, went into a chemical reaction that was chaotic; the eternal nature, when fallen, became diabolic nature, that is that part of eternal nature that entered into self, not all of eternal nature, but just that part which Lucifer controlled.
It was only the loving graciousness of God in the Son which recreated order out of disorder and gave man the privilege of restoring and repopulating the earth of good and evil we are now in. Man was given world dominion to rule this earth in righteousness by the power of the Triune God residing within him, by his becoming a god-man full of the light of the Shekinah Glory; he was to be the walking, talking tabernacle of the Triune God in nature.
Mans great trial came upon him because he was residing in a body taken from the fallen and restored earth. This gave the great enemy Lucifer a ground to work on in man, through his body. The conflict was too strong, because man was too earthly minded, too body conscious, too nature conscious. The carnal nature is too close to us, when once the mind agrees with the lower nature; it starts a fire that is fed with the oil of hell; but mans mind had the ability of naming everything after its innate nature, and of restoring the lost paradise on the earth, and had a good start in the garden which was to be extended to the ends of the earth, if it could have been brought under the dominion of the Divine nature. Mans trial would have been for forty days until complete victory had been won, and there would never have been the record of a fallen race of Adam.
The last hope of creation now rested only in its Creator. God in Jesus Christ had finally to defeat the enemy and open up a way for poor creation to return to glory again. All life, blessing and the fulfilment of the promises of God are only in Christ. He is the seed to whom the promises were made. In Him nature can die to the core and become alive to the good, regenerated and harmonized in the dynamics of God. All things outside of Christ are in death, all evil manifestations such as sickness, anger, storms, earthquakes, are the workings of the perverted power of God in nature, or the reaction of the power of God in nature. All the judgments in Revelation are this power in nature: sores, water changed into blood, fire, hail, one third of the earth burned up, nature not giving her fruit. The last fire must convert all unintelligent nature back again.
If the world could see this, they would be only too happy to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, the Bible would make sense to them, and there would be no atheism and all of this higher criticism, and charging God with sin and being the cause of rebellion and wars. But the devil is mans great deceiver, he is jealous of man and working hard to cause his ultimate ruin. But thank God, redeemed man will take Lucifers vacated seat of power under Christ and will rule this earth once again.
For many years after his retirement as General Secretary of the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade, Norman Grubb traveled extensively sharing the truth of our union with Christ. He also carried on a huge personal correspondence with individuals throughout the world. He was the author of many books and pamphlets, a number of which are available through the Zerubbabel Book Ministry. Norman lived with his daughter, Priscilla, in Fort Washington, PA. Norman P. Grubb entered the Kingdom at 98 years of age.