It’s amazing how quickly we grow accustomed to things. Case in point: Nearly every day, as I make my circuitous drive to work, I encounter the remains of an unfortunate confrontation between a small animal and one ton of barreling steel.
It happens so often that we offer up a quick, insincere prayer thanking God that we avoided getting the mess on our car, and then go about our merry way. Rarely do we ever reflect on the deeper meaning of . . . roadkill. However, this is exactly what I invite us to do.
As I drove past the unfortunate creature, I couldn’t help but think about the implications of what I saw. In what seemed to be an insignificant, every-day occurrence, we see the manifestation of a larger truth: Sin continues to have devastating consequences. It seeks to maim, kill, and destroy everything it touches. It’s a lesson we’re prone to forget, but that we need to frequently remind ourselves.
Genesis teaches us that when God made the heavens, the Earth, and everything that is in the Earth, that He deemed everything to be good. There was no sin; nor was there sickness and death. However, Adam and Eve, in their pursuit to become like God, deliberately ignored God’s warning that moment they eat of the Tree of Knowledge that they will surely die.
Since that first, seemingly “minor” sin, humanity quickly devolved. In just a few short chapters we read about Cain killing his brother Abel out of a jealous heart. Over the course of the remainder of human history, from the fall to the present, we have been exploring and pushing the boundaries of our sinful natures.
Only God knows, precisely, how we inherited Adam’s sin tendency. However, the bible clearly clearly teaches that we inherited his nature nevertheless (Gen. 6:5, Gen. 8:21,Jer. 17:9, Eph. 2:3, Rom. 5:12). Perhaps the clearest case, in my opinion, is Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” In our natural state we are not blank canvasses like some would have us believe, but posses an irresistible bent towards sin. In other words, we do not become sinners because we sin; instead, we sin because we are sinners.
Furthermore, sin has produced far reaching consequences. Physical death was not the only consequence of sin entering the world. Consider just a few ramifications:
- Physical – Sin has produced real, physical death. We are reminded of it every time we bury a loved one. During the death of loved one – especially if they were particularly young – we experience a rightful sense that there is something wrong in the universe. Because there is something wrong. Physical death is perhaps the most patently obvious consequence of sin.
- Eternal – God’s warning to us, “lest you surely die,” was not only referring to a physical death. Because we have been created with eternal souls, and because sin separates us from a Holy God, without Christ we are objects of God’s wrath, destined for hell. (Rev. 20:14b)
- Spiritual – Sin has ravaged our relationship with our Creator. Not only are we born with sinful natures, and not only are we subject to both physical and spiritual deaths, but for what little time we have breath it is impossible for us to please God without the transforming power of Christ at work in our lives. (Rom. 8:5-8)
- Mental – Despite living in a supposed, “Age of Reason,” even our minds have been corrupted by the fall. In other words, we are unable to think rightly about God, our minds and hearts have been darkened, and we are unable to experience Godly guilt. Our minds are slaves to our sinful natures, constantly using them to dream up new ways of fulfilling our desires. Therefore, Romans teaches us that we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This renewing occurs as we expose ourselves to the gospel – and to the whole of scripture – whereby God reveals himself to man. (Romans 12:2)
- Relational – Immediately after the fall, we see discord in human relationships. Adam shifts blame for the fall onto Eve. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Jesus teaches that family members will betray one another on account of the Gospel. Lastly, Paul states that as a consequence of the fall, that men and women gave up natural relations for one another, and were inflamed with lust. (Gen. 3:12, Gen. 37:18-36, Rom. 1:18-31)Societal/National – We see the consequences of sin societally and nationally every time we turn on the news. Nations are at war with one another. Cultures devolve into godlessness, and promote every kind of evil imaginable. Homicide and crime rates fluctuate. And, as a general rule, we do not seek to do good to our neighbors. (Prov. 14:34)
- Creational – Mankind was not the only being to suffer from the fall. The scripture teaches that all of nature suffered as well. The ground was cursed as a result of our sin, fields produced thorn and thistle, and animals became predatory. Paul confirms this when he writes:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Rom. 8:18-22)
The ramifications of sin extend far beyond the short list I have compiled. The truth of the matter is that something big happened at the fall. Something that has affected nearly every faculty and every facet of our lives.
And so we come back to that poor creature lying on the road. Whenever we see the death of a cat, or dog, or squirrel, or some other kind of roadkill, we are witnessing the far reaching and continuing consequences of our sin. We have become too numb to it. Out of the fall we have adapted and forged a kind of “new normal.” But it is not natural, nor right, nor normal.
How should we respond, then? Let us cry over spilled milk. There is nothing we can do about our new present state. But we can weep over sin and its destructive fruits. Let our weeping move us to prayer. Let us be moved to share the news of a God who will make all things new – both our bodies and the creation. And finally, let us long for the redemption of our bodies in the age to come. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!