(written and published Feb. ’17) Summary: One of the most important biblical principles to gain a clear understanding of is the principle of creature responsibility. Could Adam, the innocent and responsible man, be obedient to the will of God his Creator? Further, could fallen man, the descendants of Adam, be obedient to the will of God? The biblical answers to these questions are not only eye-opening, but sincerely humbling to all who are fortunate to comprehend this truth.
It is a solemn but instructive understanding to realize that in everything God has set up, and then giving man responsibility for the care of it, the first thing man has done has been to ruin it. Adam did this to himself at the first, when he was in the garden. The consequences were tragic. He lost his innocence and his paradise, and judgment was pronounced on him, his wife, and the serpent. Futility and corruption were placed on God’s creation (Rom. 8:19-22). Man was now a fallen sinner, and subject to death (Rom. 5:12), and all his children would be born in sin. The entire human race, through natural birth, automatically shared in the same fallen state – born in sin, all sinners. The immediate results are found in Genesis:
Gen. 6:5, 11 (NKJV)
“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually… the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.”
Even though God had His testimony in Abel, Enoch, and Noah, still He was forced to end this world in the judgment of the flood – so depraved was man’s fallen condition.
Then Noah, the new head of the world in which God institutes the principle of government, gets drunk in his first act. When Israel agreed to obey everything Jehovah said to do (Ex. 19:8), they made and worshiped a golden calf before Moses made it down the mountain with the tablets of stone – breaking the first commandment at the very beginning. When priesthood was instituted, they offered strange fire on the first day – Aaron’s two sons falling dead by the judgment of God, and in consequence, Aaron never enters the holy place in his garments of glory. When Israel rejects God as their King, asking to be like the Gentiles, their first king is according to the appearance of the flesh, and what they deserved – Saul is a colossal failure in leading Israel. Even though David was chosen by God, his sins are well known in scripture, so that he says:
Ps. 143:2 (NKJV)
“Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous.”
Solomon, the first son of David in the royal line, turns to idolatry and ruins the kingdom. From his time to today, Israel remains a divided nation – the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. When the principle of government was given by God to the Gentiles, Nebuchadnezzar, their first king given world dominion, makes a golden image and persecutes the people of God. Later, when Jesus was first sent to Israel as their Messiah, according to Jewish prophecies and promises, God’s own people refused and rejected Him (John 1:11). God came and visited the world which He created, and this world could not recognize Him (John 1:10).
Through all these events and situations, through all dispensations and institutions, God shows his longsuffering, moving forward in mercy and grace. However, all this history does show the system from Adam was fallen – whatever God set up, man was sure to ruin and corrupt, and this at the very first. I have no hesitation in saying I do not doubt the same result for Christianity, Christendom, and the Christian dispensation we are currently in (Matt. 13:24-43) – men failed in their responsibilities early on, and the general ruin of Christendom in its public testimony ensued.
We know the Christian dispensation will be replaced by a final one – that which we call the millennium. This ending dispensation will be upheld by the direct display of the power of God and the physical presence of Jesus Christ on the earth; Satan will be removed from the world for these thousand years, bound in a bottomless pit and out of the way. All will be made good, and more gloriously, by/in the second Adam. All biblical principles, institutions, and dispensations, made good and perfected in Jesus Christ, to the glory of God.