Monday, January 26, 2009

The Fall & Redemption (Plantinga)

I don't remember ever talking about the fall chapter in class, so I think that is why I never blogged on it. That is why I'm adding it to the chapter on redemption.
Creation declares the glory of God, but it also declares the tragedy of fallenness, of chaos, of painful carnivorousness. Although there is so much beauty in the world there is also a lot of corruption; that is the result of the fall. Human life is not the way it is supposed to be, because we choose to live against God, our neighbors, even ourselves. Life has been like this ever since Adam & Eve ate that apple in the garden...
We have chosen to live against our ultimate good, the paradise God offered us, and now "evil lies close at hand." Evil is what is wrong with the world, and it is when we deviate from God. Anything that spoils shalom is evil; it is not shocking that God hates evil. Our sinful acts interfere with how things are meant to be, how God created us to live.
Original sin refers to the tendencies of the whole human race to be pulled into sin. We make wrong uses of God's gifts, we pollute relationships, make false gods , and we often don't even know we are doing wrong. We start with small sins such as lying, and suddenly we cannot tell which are the lies and which are the truths in our life.
So who is to blame for all of our wicked ways? Many think that all evil comes from Satan, but he cannot wreck the lives of those who are faithfully clung to Jesus Christ. Satan only decieves those who are already self-deceived. If we are not in continuous prayer with God we will not be strong enough to combat the Devil. Only with the Holy Spirit in us can we be firm in our beliefs and not be deceived by evil. "The problem is that we humans put our faith in nature or in ourselves instead of in God."
But there is hope!
Human misery does not last forever, for the grace of God grants mercy to the undeserving. As much as God hates sin, he loves to forgive us! We may leave His side but He never loses sight of us, and He never will. We can be free from our sins when we follow the ten commandments. It is not a set of rules humans have to fulfill to be rescued by God but it is besause we are saved we follow them. It seems strange to think we get freedom by obeying rules, but godly obedience liberates us. By following God's will, we are free from sin and corruption; we get to live the life that was meant for us.
Through baptism we become "in Christ" but that is only the start of a lifelong conversion process. We do not automatically receive the golden ticket into Heaven by attending on church service; we must be patient and let God work in us. "We are not saved by good works, but neither are we saved without them." By living a "good life" we are not necessarily living a holy life, pleasing to God. According to Lewis, we must act like children dressing in our parents' clothes. It's not an act of pretending, but an act of prepartion: we are to prepare to clothe ourselves in Christ. By expressing the image of God we are restoring shalom. Just as we are changed when we are "born again" we must also change the world around us. Everything needs restoring. The whole world belongs to God, so we cannot restore ourselves without reforming all of creation.
Many of us have said Plantinga is not inspiring, but we have to look at the messages he is trying to reveal to us. We are fallen beings; we are born into sinful lives. It is a tragedy, but it has a happy ending. By faith in God and living according to His plan, we are redeemed. There is hope for us all! No matter how many times we sin against God, He never leaves our side. He is always eager to restore us, to give us a second chance. What a wonderful Savior we have!

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