I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up
The fall of Adam sent curators at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to their knees. But they weren’t repenting of the sin that started in the garden of Eden with the fall of the first Adam. They were lamenting the plunge of a priceless fifteenth-century sculpture from its pedestal, and they were on their knees picking up the fragments.
When the statue fell, it didn’t break into nice neat pieces. The arms, legs, and head separated from the torso in such a way that they could not be glued back together easily. In the words of one restorer, part of Adam was “pulverized.” Experts predicted that it would take two years to piece Adam together again, but they promised he would be almost as good as new by the time he was returned to public view.
Imagine if you were given the dust and particles of Adam and were told to put him back together again. How long do you think it would take? What do you think Adam would look like when you were finished?
Now imagine if the dust tried to reshape itself.
That’s what we attempt to do whenever we try to “restore” ourselves from the effects of the fall. Like the statue, the original Adam and everyone after him has been shattered and pulverized by sin. We all lie in a pile of dust on the floor of creation—splintered emotions, pulverized personality, twisted minds, and broken bodies. And we have only one hope for wholeness—the One who created us. He alone has the knowledge and skill to put us back together.
In Scripture, the categories of heart, soul, mind, and strength are not precise divisions; there is much overlap. For example, the Bible sometimes indicates that thinking happens in the heart (e.g., Zechariah 7:10; Mark 2:8). For the purpose of this study, however, we will use heart, soul, mind, and strength to refer to the following:
Heart: Desires, emotions, feelings
Soul: Being, identity, life, self
Mind: Beliefs, discernment, knowledge, thoughts, truth
Strength: Actions, boldness, courage, enthusiasm, intensity, obedience
1. Read Genesis 3. What tactics did Satan use to get the woman to eat the fruit God had forbidden (vv. 1–5)?
Using the following category descriptions, what appeals did Satan make to her heart, soul, mind, or strength?
2. Compare the discussion between Eve and the Serpent (Genesis 3:1–5) with what God really said to Adam (2:15–18). How do the two accounts differ? Since Eve was created after the command was given (v. 18), what can we assume about her knowledge of what God said?
3. Why did Eve disobey God (Genesis 3:6)?
4. What knowledge did Adam and Eve gain (3:7)?
5. What did this new information cause them to do (3:7–8)?
6. Instead of angrily confronting them with their wrongdoing, how did God respond (3:9–13)?
7. How did Adam and Eve defend themselves (3:9–13)?
8. The curse on Eve (3:16) involved her desires. How does this correspond to her sin (3:6)? What did Eve want that she wasn’t supposed to have?
9. The curse on Adam involved his work (3:17–19). How does this correspond to his sin (3:6b)? Whose job was it to guard the tree (2:15–17)?
Fast forward to the first century: The second Adam (Christ) has come to heal our brokenness. However, all is not yet well. Conflicts continue. We are divided not only from one another but within ourselves. The apostle Paul wrote a classic description of this inner turmoil. Read Romans 7:14–25. Using the following chart as a guide, make a list of all the words in this passage that relate to heart, soul, mind, and strength.
10. Do you have an internal battle raging between your thoughts and desires? Are you fighting a desire to do something that your mind tells you is wrong? Or are you resisting a conviction to do something that you know is good but don’t want to do? Describe the battle. What do you want the outcome to be?
11. Read Romans 16:17–20. Reread Genesis 3:5 and compare it with Romans 16:20. Here or in your journal write a prayer based on these passages.
May God complete His work of
transformation in our lives by reversing the
effects of the fall and making us wise about
what is good and innocent about what
is evil. Amen.
Taken from A Heart for God: A Companion Bible Study to Above All Love
© 2010 by Julie Ackerman Link
Discovery House Publishers (affiliated with RBC Ministries)
Grand Rapids, Michigan.