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God's Maths: 2 > 3


"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never harm me." This playground fallacy was invented by parents to toughen their children against the verbal barbs of neighbourhood bullies; but words hurt. I consider that these may be the most painful three words in the history of humanity:

Genesis 3:6 she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

And he ate: with those three words, Adam plunged humanity into an existence marked by sin and its results: spiritual death, separation from God, and moral depravity.

Paul explains the impact of those words like this: "sin came into the world through one man" (Romans 5:12).

So, yes, the historicity of Genesis matters because it explains our current condition, and it matters because Paul assumed it in explaining man's current condition. And painful it is! A summary of biblical teaching on the human condition resulting from Adam's sin is this:

  • Separation from God (Isaiah 59:2)
  • Legal Guilt (Romans 3:9-20)
  • Moral depravity (Ephesians 2:3)
  • Spiritual Death (Ephesians 2:1)

The good news, however, is that the pain of man's sinfulness rooted historically and spiritually in the three words and he ate is countered by God's most powerful two words: But God.

The but means that God enters into history the ultimate constrast, the ultimate answer, the ultimate solution:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6).

That's why God's two is bigger than any human three. 2 > 3.