ACPADI Book Club—Creation Regained Week 3, Chapter 3: “Fall”
The chapter on fall shows that the scope of the fall is “not only the whole human race but the whole nonhuman world.” (p. 53) Wolters ticks off some of the domains affected by Adam’s sin:
- the family
- the state
- the environment
- the arts
- the academy
- emotional disturbances
- mental diseases
- bodily sicknesses
But the absolutely key thing to realize—and, Wolters says, the reason that theistic evolution misses the point of Genesis 3 and is theologically dangerous (p. 62)—is that all of these problems are parasitic on an originally good creation. “Sin and evil always have the character of a caricature—that is, of a distorted image that nevertheless embodies certain recognizable features.” (p. 58)
If this is the case, then distinguishing between the perfect original and that damaging caricature is all-important, and Wolters introduces a very helpful way of doing so: the concepts of structure and direction.
- “Structure refers to the order of creation, to the constant creational constitution of any thing, what makes it the thing or entity that it is.” (p. 59)
- “Direction, by contrast, designates the order of sin and redemption, the distortion or perversion of creation through the fall on the one hand and the redemption and restoration of creation in Christ on the other. Anything in creation can be directed either toward or away from God—that is, directed either in obedience or disobedience to his law.” (p. 59)
But God won’t let sin completely destroy His good creation. Jesus Christ is the turning point, “the ultimate and decisive antidote to creational distortion.” (p. 60)
There is a danger that we will “single out some aspect or phenomenon of God’s good creation and identify it, rather than the alien intrusion of human apostasy, as the villain in the drama of human life.” (p. 61) I used this quotation in my dissertation, because Wolters points to human emotional capacities as one of the commonly named villains. I wrote a whole chapter in the dissertation arguing that not just emotion but intellect and volition and every other aspect of man was created good, fell in Adam, and is restored through Christ. We can’t speak as if the intellect is trustworthy, pretty much untainted by the fall, but emotions are fallen.
If everything is touched by the fall and everything can be redeemed, then there is no reason to cut a big dividing line between the secular and the sacred. As Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. used to say, “There is no difference between the secular and the sacred; all ground is holy ground, every bush a burning bush” (sorry—that’s from memory; I can’t find an original source). There is worldliness in the church; there is holiness in the world. The fall touches everything, and so can (and will) redemption.