Dating the Fall, Part One

When did the Fall occur? A shout is heard from the sidelines: “Right after Summer!”

[ standard punchline “rim shot” sound here.]

Ha, ha, but no! To rephrase the question, when did the most horrific tragedy of all time take place – that sudden descent of Adam with all his posterity (except one Man) from primeval uprightness into a sinful state of guilt and corruption?

That real, historical rebellion of Adam, standing as the representative of all humanity, is also called the Lapse. It is recorded in Genesis 3. It is manifested by the behavior of even godly people throughout both Testaments. It is articulated as a doctrine by that one sinless Man our Lord Jesus Christ, and those called to be His apostles, in passages such as Matthew 7:11, John 3:18-20, and Romans 5:12-21.

Sadly, many doubt the absolute veracity of God’s infallible and inerrant word the holy Bible. This is so especially when it comes to the account of creation and the world’s earliest history provided by our Creator in the book of Genesis. Many claim to find myth in passages recounting actual events. They are willing to impute a kind of invincible ignorance to Holy Spirit inspired Moses, the human author of that holy book, though that holy man was given surpassing knowledge and wisdom by direct revelation from the God with whom Moses communed for forty days and nights in a cloud of glory on Mount Sinai.

Hopefully those willing to be wishy-washy on this matter will be brought face to face with their incoherence by this question: If the Fall is myth, how do we account for the origin of sin? If they want to play loosy-goosy with the orthodox doctrine of creation, but retain the orthodox doctrine of the origin of death (that it came into the world by one man’s sin, Romans 5:12) the incoherence is multiplied.

Even those committed to the orthodox doctrine of creation, including the plain truth that almighty God brought into being the entire cosmos in the space of six days of ordinary length, admit that the moment when disaster struck in Eden is hard to pinpoint. However, we can make at least one helpful observation, and we have have several “clue texts.”

The helpful observation is that although Scripture always gives us accurate history, it does not always give us a “sacred diary,” so to speak. For example, a good deal is recorded about Jesus’ birth and infancy. Scripture is silent about His later youth except for one glimpse of the Boy Jesus at twelve years of age (Luke 2:40-42). As far as the next two decades of the Nazarene’s life we know only that He worked as a carpenter with His stepdad Joseph and that He had half siblings, Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3. The holy record then skips to about His thirtieth year (Luke 3:23) and provides a partial account of His public ministry (John 21:25), with significant detail about His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection at its conclusion.

So it is with Genesis. The first seven days of history are recorded in gapless, sequential fashion. Genesis 1 is indeed a diary style narrative by the only eyewitness to creation, the Creator Himself! After the seventh day (the first sabbath), dating Biblical events takes some diligent sleuthing. Moses does not write under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, “and there was evening and morning, the eighth day…the ninth day…the one hundredth day,” and so on down to the exodus.

Which brings us to those clue texts. Lord willing, they will be provided along with a brief recap of what we have discussed so far when part two of this article is published one week hence, D.V…

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