A guest piece of mine on the subject of the development of the theme of the Fall in the Old Testament has just been published over on the Theopolis Institute.
Articulating the Fall in the context of our theological systems or evangelistic presentations, we tend to frame it in terms of grand universals—sin, death, mankind, etc.—and miss how much the Genesis account is shaped by its particular details. For instance, Adam and Eve sin in different ways: Adam transgresses, but Eve is deceived. The judgments upon them differ too. Adam sins, not just as a generic human being, but as the appointed priest of the Garden sanctuary. He is the one charged with upholding and teaching the law of the tree and guarding the Garden, and by implication, his wife from attack.
Although the Fall leads to alienation from God, it is a relative not an absolute alienation. It is exile from a very particular location: the place of God’s special earthly presence in the Garden sanctuary. The exile of Cain in Genesis 4, for instance, is a further judgment and alienation. The Fall of Genesis 3 is a decisive and definitive event, but it belongs to a much larger story of the subsequent spread of Sin and its effects in the world and, on the other hand, of the reversal and unworking of the Fall through God’s providential and redemptive action in history.
Read the whole thing here.