John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

Fallen But Not Forgotten

Tonight in class we looked at the Fall, and let me just say this: Nobody likes hearing that they are depraved. Folks, I'm just the messenger here. And, by the way, if you deny depravity how in the world do you explain the mess this planet is in? Violence, deceit and broken relationships litter the landscape of our lives. And all the media pundits can talk about is the goodness of humanity?

Hey, I think the Image of God is still in us, but it's marred. Just like glass is pre-disposed to shatter, I was born pre-disposed to set aside the will of God whenever I feel it may hinder my agenda. I want to do the right thing, but I'm prepared to hurt others or allow hurt to come upon them if it will help me get what I want. That's just the way we are.

But when I go to the Bible, I keep reminding myself that humans aren't the main characters of the story. God is the main character; we're the damsel in distress.

So what stands out to me as I read the first 11 chapters of Genesis: God cannot be swayed. He is relentless in his pursuit of us. Adam and Eve disobey God, and end up hiding from God in fear. Yet he comes to walk with them -- in spite of what he knows has happened.

They cower and point fingers, but God himself takes initiative to clothe them properly -- covering their shame so they can once more stand before him. They are banished from the Garden, but the next thing we read about is God graciously giving them a son. His plan to form a loving community is not foiled.

Cain grows up and kills his brother Abel, and once more God is forced to pronounce judgment against human wickedness. But God offers Cain protection. Cain's son Lamech introduces polygamy and vengeance. And God starts over with one man: Noah. He spares Noah and the human race, beginning again with the same command to be fruitful and fill the earth with people who live in harmony with God and each other.

Then Noah gets drunk and passes out naked. His son comes in and makes fun of him. Noah curses his own grandson (can you say "dysfunctional family"?). People continue to move farther and farther away from the divine community they were intended to share. But God never stops coming.

This is the truth about our Creator: he is immensely fond of these dust bunnies he has created.

We are fallen. We hide from God. We live with fear and frustration -- cut off from our Source. But we are not forgotten. God continues to take the initiative and invite us to take a walk with him.