Updated: Jun 1, 2022
(This blog series introduces the Walk Applied Biblical Counseling Model, which is fully explored in the book: "The Walk Applied: Living the New Creation Life as a Citizen of God's Kingdom in a Secular World.")
CONSEQUENCES OF THE FALL
When Adam and Eve made their regrettable choice to fall, we saw profound consequences to their choices:
- Banishment from the garden (Gen 3:22-23)
- They now knew the difference between good and evil (Gen 3:5; Gen 3:22)
- Fear, shame, and guilt made them afraid (Gen 3:8)
- Blame entered the picture (Gen 3:12-13)
- They realized that they were naked.(Gen 3:7)
- They now saw themselves negatively, as opposed to positively (Gen 2:25; Gen 3:7)
- They covered themselves because of shame and guilt (Gen 3:7)
- Both feared being rejected by the other because of that judgment (Gen 3:7)
So for the first time we see judgment: the action of putting ourselves in spiritual authority over another. If there was no fear of judgement then there would be no need for covering. Adam and Eve now had a radically different belief system. Their behavior after the fall was profoundly different than it was before the fall. They now saw the world significantly differently than they did before, and consequently, they acted quite differently. The sin nature had emerged.
THE FOUNDATIONAL LAYER OF THE SIN NATURE
Consider the state of mind of Adam & Eve when they were exiled from the garden. The garden was the only home they had ever known; every need had been fully supplied. Now, they would have to fend for themselves. The onrush of emotions must have been overwhelming. The Genesis account has a distinct feel to it in that the execution of God’s judgment was swift. Within a matter of minutes what was once their home was now forever denied them. Besides the guilt, the regret, and the shame, there must have been an ominous dread: who will take care of us? We can surmise that security – or the lack of it – was a primary consideration in their makeup, as it is in ours. These elements of guilt, shame, and security bring us to the foundational layer of the sin nature.
In a sensational sermon delivered by Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church of New York, he expounds upon the relationship of guilt, shame, and the fall:
“Genesis tells us we were created in the image of God. We know we fell. We know deep inside that there is something wrong with us. Guilt describes our conviction that we know we did the wrong thing. We know we owe Him because of what we did. Guilt is specific – we can point to it and say “yes, I did it,” or “no, I didn’t do it.” Shame is different than guilt. Shame is that feeling of regret we feel when we realize the horror of what we’ve done. Shame is like smoke – we can’t pin it down, you can’t erase it. Despite our salvation, we still sense our guilt and shame over what we have done. While guilt may have been resolved in some who have truly accepted that Jesus did die and paid the price and resolved our guilt, it’s very rare that we find someone who has resolved the shame issue”.
THE SIN NATURE "INSTALLED"
The Walk Applied interprets Ps. 51:5-6 as the point in our development whereby the sin nature is installed in us:
"Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place."
THE SIN NATURE: THE FOUNDATION
The foundation of the natural belief system (the sin nature) has five roots:
GUILT: The inner, gnawing paranoia because we know we have offended God.
SHAME: Our deep-seated regret that we offended God; The deep root of why we feel that something “is wrong with us.”
INSECURITY: Since we have been separated from God, who will take care of us?
IDOLATRY: FALSE WORSHIP: The Walk Applied postulates that our drive for safety and security is a foundational, innate, and intrinsic need. When we believe that we have little or no sense of safety, our response can be very visceral and primal. Our innate need to seek that which will bring us security. Idolatry is manifested when we:
- Worship anything other than God
- Worship what we believe is security
- Worship what brings us pleasure
PRIDE: Adam and Eve rationalized that it was permissible to disobey God, which exemplified pride. The Walk Applied posits that pride is a foundational aspect of the sin nature. Pride is defined as the fundamental notion that we believe we can choose to operate out of God's will as we see fit.
FALSE WORSHIP(i.e., IDOLATRY)
Worship is defined to be the active relationship that exists between us and what we believe provides our security. Rick Warren writes in the Purpose Driven Life that we are “hard-wired to worship.” In other words, God has implanted within us an innate need to seek our security in something outside of ourselves that we perceive as being superior to ourselves. Further, we recognize that we are vulnerable and that we acknowledge that we are indeed in great need of protection. Indeed, the profound idea is that we recognize our smallness and that we need something or somebody more powerful than us to protect us. More properly, we recognize this innate, fundamental tendency as idolatry.
THE CURSE: WHY ME?
The Bible teaches that every single human being that has ever occupied this planet is born under the curse. Many object to this. “Why me? I didn’t do anything! I’m not responsible for what they did! I didn’t ask to be born!” But we must accept the reality that God sets the rules, and they are not negotiable. We only have one existence that is available to us; this natural existence is what have.
God, in His infinite wisdom, allowed us the enormous privilege of the capability to choose or deny Him. He could have destroyed Adam and Eve and been done with it. But that was not His plan. God’s response was to allow us an idolatrous belief system that undergirds and forms the foundation of our sin issues.
THE TWO IDOLATRY SYSTEMS OF THE SIN NATURE:
REBELLION IDOLATRY AND NEED IDOLATRY
The Walk Applied postulates two idolatry systems that are manifested in the sin nature: Rebellion Idolatry and Need Idolatry. These two systems are foundational, intrinsic and innate. We cannot “remove” them; they are so deeply embedded such that only Jesus can resolve the problem.
NEXT TIME: AN OVERALL LOOK AT THE SIN NATURE & IDOLATRY AND
THE RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN BEHAVIOR
Rev. Dr. N. Patrick Marica contributes incisive Christian commentary on this blog on a regular basis. He is the Vice-Chancellor of Amherst Theological Seminary, and he has a D. Min. from Amherst Theological Seminary. He has his MA from Liberty University in Marriage and Family Therapy. He is the author of the book: "The Walk Applied: Living the New Creation Life as a Citizen of God's Kingdom in a Secular World". He has also written "The Fasting and Prayer Handbook". He has been married to Kathy since 1985. They have 2 adult daughters and an adult son.
Contact Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Amherst Theological Seminary