4.2.2 The consequences of the fall into sin for the creation

Mankind's fall into sin also resulted in far-reaching consequences for the creation, which is blameless.

Originally, the creation was "very good", that is to say perfect (Genesis 1: 31). Man was made regent of the visible creation. Thus man bears responsibility to God for the creation, but also bears responsibility to the creation itself (Genesis 1: 28-30). Considering that man occupies such an important position within the visible creation, his disobedience toward God also has significant effects upon the earthly creation: after mankind sinned, both the ground–as an image of the visible creation–and the serpent were cursed (Genesis 3: 17-18). Thorns and thistles–and the effort mankind now had to summon up to eke out an existence–are symbolic of mankind's remoteness from God and God's concealment from mankind, which have prevailed in the creation since that time. Mankind could no longer find direct access to God in the creation. Man's life was now accompanied by insecurity and fear.

The behaviour of animals towards each other can be seen as a sign of hostility and discord. The longing to overcome and heal even this situation is expressed in Isaiah 11: 6-8: "The wolf shall also dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat ..."

Hence the creation is in need of liberation from the curse that weighs upon it. The epistle to the Romans makes clear reference to this: "For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now" (Romans 8: 19-22).

SUMMARY

Mankind's disobedience also had consequences for the blameless creation: it was originally perfect but has now been damaged. (4.2.2)

In this corrupted creation, human beings cannot find direct access to God. Their lives are accompanied by uncertainty and fear. (4.2.2)

The fallen creation is in need of redemption. (4.2.2)

See also