What happened to man in the fall?

Question 17Question 17 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What happened to man in the fall?

The answer given is, “Man fell into a condition of sin and misery.”

You might take issue with the idea of the fall of man as recorded in the book of Genesis. You might not attribute the state of man to sin, but one would have to work very hard to avoid the evidence that man is prone to misery.

As evidence of our misery we can point to:

  • War
  • Suicide
  • Addiction
  • Poverty
  • Disease

In no way is this list exhaustive; these are categories that immediately come to mind and provide ample evidence that something is wrong with us.

The Bible tells us that what is wrong with us is that we have inherited the spiritual dysfunction of our first parents. We are broken as a result of that first sin.

To affect a cure, the doctor must first accurately identify the disease. If the diagnosis is wrong, the course of treatment may actually make things worse.

We have a spiritual problem which requires a spiritual solution. Jesus Christ came to affect that spiritual solution by paying our debt and allowing us to be declared righteous in the eyes of God.

All attempts to deal with man’s sin and misery apart from Christ end up in some form of totalitarianism (religious or atheistic) or hedonism that borders on anarchy. Many tyrants have promised utopias to their followers.

The Bible offers a reasonable explanation of why the world is the way it is. You may not like the explanation. You may choose to not accept that explanation. But the Biblical explanation goes a long way toward explaining why things are the way they are.

Not only does Christianity and the Bible provide an accurate diagnosis, they also provide a proven course of treatment.