Section 3: Humanity
Week 4: The Image of God within Us Has Been Distorted
Day 1: The Image of God Was Damaged by the Fall
Earlier we focused on the fact that we were created in God’s image. Something happened, though. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, and since then nothing has worked the way it’s supposed to. The earth was cursed, human relationships were strained, physical death entered the world, and we were separated from God (we’ll talk about separation from God more in the section on Sin and Salvation).
Something happened to the image of God within us as well. Genesis doesn’t say it directly, but mankind was profoundly different after the “Fall.” From that day on, the human race had a propensity to sin that wasn’t there before. And that sinful propensity has been passed on from generation to generation. We see that reality on display almost immediately in Genesis. Cain kills Abel, and then the world gets progressively worse until it becomes so wicked that God sends the flood and starts over with Noah and his family.
Does the fresh start change anything? Not really. The slide into sin starts all over again with Noah’s drunkenness and culminates in the world trying to become God themselves at the tower of Babel. We see that same tendency toward sin in the world today and in our own lives.
We were created to be like God. So why is it so hard for us to be the people we were created to be? To answer that question, we need to understand something about sin. We tend to think of sin as something we do. But sin is actually something that now resides inside of us.
Sin penetrates to the very core of our being and affects every aspect of our lives. We aren’t merely people who sin, we are sinful people. So, no matter how hard we try, we are no longer able to reflect God’s image the way we were intended to. That means none of us is capable of being the person God intends us to be.
We lost a lot of things in the Fall, including our true selves.
Do you think people are basically good or bad? Read Rom. 1:18-32, 3:9-18. How do you think Paul would answer that question?
Take a few minutes to look inside yourself. List some of the tendencies toward sin that you see.
Want to Dig Deeper?
Theologians often refer to the events surrounding Adam and Eve’s sin and the subsequent consequences as the Fall. In the second Digging Deeper topic, we take a closer look at the effects of the Fall.