Tumbling: A Degenerative Spiral

Text: Genesis 4:3-7; 6:11-13; 11:2-4

Days 11-13 in Around the Bible in Eighty Days

Traditionally, particularly in the West, Christian theologians have described the transition from the Garden of Eden to ground east of Eden as “the Fall.” Of course, there is a sense in which there is a fall because the circumstances radically changed: the original couple is now east of Eden rather than in the Garden itself.

However, “the fall” is often understood to mean that human beings radically changed in the moment they sinned. More specifically, their natures became utterly depraved, and they and their posterity were alienated from God through the guilt of Adam’s sin. The “original sin,” in this perspective, entailed total depravity and hereditary (or imputed) guilt for the whole human race.

In this video I suggest that a different analysis is more consistent with the narrative. Rather than humanity falling off a cliff from original righteous to total depravity as they exited the Garden, human tumbled from their original innocence through a foolish choice to anger, then to global violence, and then to imperial idolatry.

I prefer to call this a “tumble” rather than a “fall.”  What this represents is that humanity did not fall off a cliff and hit rock bottom on the day they ate from the forbidden tree but spiraled out of control through anger, violence, and idolatry. Cain murdered his brother, then the world was filled with violence, and in the post-flood period humanity embraced idolatry and pursued imperial interests. Humanity moved from innocence to idolatry facilitated by violence.

This was a tumble. Genesis 4-11 narrates a degenerative spiral into idolatry. This is the story Days 11-13 describes, and it is the topic of this video.

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