There is a connotation that attaches itself to the above word. Let your mind rest on that word for just a moment. “Separated!” There is a sense of hopelessness in that word; a sense of loss, yea, irreparable loss. “Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles….were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:11-12). Most of you reading this article are aware of the events of Genesis chapter three. While some have concluded that the story is nothing more than some kind of myth, let me assure you that the story reflects historical accuracy that defies any attack that modernists might make to the contrary. Any attempt to explain heaven’s inspired account of the fall of man as some kind of fairy tale is an attack on the Bible, God, and Jesus Christ, Who during His earthly ministry, attested to the reality of Adam, Eve and the serpent on numerous occasions. Paul treated the fall of man as a time-space reality. By the action of one man’s disobedience sin entered into the world, and through that one man’s disobedience the “many” were made sinners (Romans 5:12-19). Be careful here! The many were not “made sinners” separate and apart from their own choice. Careful examination of that passage in Romans will reveal that all men are “made” sinners because they chose to follow in the steps of Adam. None were born sinners, but all became sinners by individual will.
One of the first things we notice in the fall of Adam and Eve is that both of them attempted to pass the proverbial “buck” and thereby devoid themselves of any responsibility in their actions. “And the man said, The woman thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Gen. 3:12). “And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat” (Gen. 3:13). As one South African brother was fond of saying, “The man blamed the woman, the woman blamed the snake, and the snake didn’t have a leg to stand on.” But God in His divine omniscience saw through their feeble attempt to shun personal responsibility, and pronounced judgment on the man, the woman, and the serpent. Beginning with the latter, God said to the serpent: “Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life; and I will put enmity between thee and the women, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:14-15). Unto the woman Jehovah said: “I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16). Unto the man the Lord said: “Cursed be the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the filed; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:18-19). The fruit of the fall of Adam and Eve is not limited to the physical. In fact, the most significant aspect of the fall of man has to do with the spiritual. This can be seen when we focus our attention on the various separations that occurred as the result of the sin of Adam.
First, the greatest separation is between God and man. In actuality it overshadows all of the other separations because of the eternal consequences associated with it. Someone once said, “When man sinned, the purpose of his existence was smashed” (Francis Schaeffer, On-Line quotes). It is this spiritual separation that threatens the vast majority of the human race. Unfortunately this separation between God and man is seldom considered because men are unaware of it due to their unwillingness to “come to the light, lest his works should be reproved” (John 3:20).
Second, there is the separation of man from himself. He suffers a psychological separation because of self deception. He blinds himself to the reality of the God of heaven, turns his back on the word that can inform him of that God, and seeks the things that are below rather the things that are above, all the while deceiving himself into thinking that this is the true course to genuine happiness. The “god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them” (2 Cor. 4:4). Their self imposed blindness occurred when, like Eve, they ceased to believe in the word of God and chose rather to believe the devil. But man’s separation from himself is not limited to the psychological. He is also separated in his relation to those about him. He begins to treat others as objects to be exploited for his own selfish ends. Self becomes the center of his focus, and the real purpose for his existence (Ecc. 12:13) is lost in the maze of his own selfishness. This quite naturally leads to our third point.
Third, sin separates man from his fellow man. This is the natural outgrowth of his separation from himself. Look at that tragic scene in the garden. Immediately following his sin, Adam became separated from Eve. Both of them sought to pass the blame to another. Excuse making drives a wedge between the one who makes the excuse and one to whom he attempts to pass the blame. This separation of man from his fellow man will play out on the stage of Biblical history: Adam and Eve; Cain and Able; the “seed of the woman” an the “seed” of the devil; the “sons of God” and the “children of darkness.” This last one becomes more defined as Biblical history unfolds declaring the one single division in all of humanity, namely those who stand in rebellion to God and those who are redeemed.
The final separation is that which exists between man and nature as God had originally intended when He created man and placed him in that beautiful garden to dress and keep it. We are not provided with much information of the beauty of that garden, but we are promised that all will be restored in that heavenly Jerusalem that awaits all of the faithful. When Adam and Eve sinned they were cast out of the garden, and their descendants have, without exception, had to endure the thistles and thorns that have exasperated every attempt to build some utopia on earth. Separated from God, man has failed to subdue all that God placed under his dominion. The Hebrews writer so declared: “For in that he subjected all things unto him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we see not all things subjected to him” (Heb. 2:8, emphasis mine, TW). While man has made tremendous strides in technology, travel, medicine, etc., the one thing he has yet to subdue is himself.
There is one thing from which man has not been separated. That one thing is his soul. Man is still man, and the temporary tabernacle that God has given man for his four score journey through this life will one day give way to that resurrected body that will, at the sounding of the trumpet, go forth unto eternal glory, or unto eternal separation from the God Who made man in His own image.