A Prophet Among You


Changes in Man’s Relations and Thinking

With the entrance of sin into the world, there began a sequence of events and changes in man and in the natural world around him that made it impossible for man’s relation with God to remain as it had been from the day he was created. Even though God came again to the garden to talk with the transgressors, barriers had been erected which changed every relationship. Isaiah states the matter concisely: “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you.” Isaiah 59:2. Not only were there barriers between the created ones and the Creator, but basic changes took place in the mind of man that made it impossible for God to deal with him as in the past. As a background for the study of the place of the prophetic gift in the relation between God and man, it is essential that one understand the conditions that made the gift necessary. What happened to the mind of man as the result of sin? APAY 15.1

He could no longer see God face to face. Exodus 33:20. It seems obvious from Genesis 3:8 that the coming of the Lord into the garden was a usual occurrence. Apparently Adam and Eve had enjoyed talking with the Creator on many occasions; but, because of God’s nature it is impossible for sin to exist in His presence. To shield our first parents from the brightness of His glory, which would have brought them instant death, God veiled His face as He did later when talking with Moses. Exodus 33:20-23. That Adam and Eve could no longer see God as He truly was, made a difference in their relation to Him. Two persons cannot maintain the same kind of fellowship at a distance that they do when constantly together. Adam’s transgression caused the beginning of a separation which has continued for six thousand years. Small wonder that men who maintain that separation today know so little of their Creator. APAY 15.2

He came to know evil as well as good. Genesis 3:22. It was God’s plan that man should know nothing but good. It was not necessary to know evil in order to develop character. All that was essential was that evil should be resisted and good should be cherished. However, the impulses that led Adam and Eve to a knowledge of evil have been carefully cultivated by man, and it has become easier to yield to evil than to hold to good. God’s plan would have meant a continual growth of good in the life of every man. Not only did man transgress the divine law, but there was introduced into his mind an entirely different kind of thinking. His mind could never again be exactly as it had been. APAY 16.1

He became afraid. Genesis 3:8-10. Adam and Eve had known no fear; there was nothing to cause them to be afraid. Their lives were in full harmony with the will of God, and every creature on the earth was subject to their command. They could see the character of God revealed in all things that had been made. As long as they remained away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil there was nothing that could harm them. But when they had rebelled against God and He came to talk with them, they were afraid. What had happened? “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” 1 John 4:18. They had failed in love. Where before there had been constant devotion to the Creator and joy in His presence, now, when they heard His voice, they ran to hide. No longer did they have perfect love which would admit no fear. Seeds of terror sprang up to choke an ever-growing affection. Fear has increased steadily through the ages, until, in the last days, there will be an unprecedented time when “men’s hearts” fail “them for fear.” Luke 21:26. This constitutes a sign of the nearness of the end. APAY 16.2

He became subject to death. Genesis 2:17; Ecclesiastes 9:5. The work of Christ is described as being to “deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:15. Death will be the last of man’s enemies to be destroyed. 1 Corinthians 15:26. The knowledge of the imminence of death has done much to shape man’s thinking and actions. Age, physical infirmity, senility, are factors to be reckoned with in every life—factors which would have had no need to be considered had it not been for the disobedience in Eden. APAY 16.3

He began defending himself against God’s inquiries. Genesis 3:12. Few persons are willing to accept their responsibility for sins of either omission or commission. Slyness and scheming have become an integral part of human thinking in an attempt to shift blame from self to another. Misrepresentation and outright lying have resulted, until today many persons endeavor to shift responsibility for wrong in an attempt to better their own position at the expense of others. Adam did not want to bear the consequences of his own rebellion, and his thinking had changed sufficiently to cause him to try to lay the blame for his action upon the one whom God had made to be his beloved companion. APAY 17.1

His mind was corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3. “Simplicity” is used here in the sense of “purity.” Previously man’s mind had been uncontaminated by outside influences. Now, instead of working in a simple, straightforward manner, Adam’s mind was confused. The kind of thinking he had been accustomed to was spoiled. It was like the dead flies in the apothecary’s ointment that Solomon uses so vividly as an illustration of man’s folly. APAY 17.2

He became blind, ignorant, alienated from God. Ephesians 4:18. As the centuries passed, man degenerated more and more, so that Paul’s description of the spiritual condition of the Gentiles is accurate. The understanding has become darkened, not because God wants it that way, but because man has failed to concentrate on deep spiritual truths. He remains ignorant of the love and mercy of God and the plan of salvation. He is like a child who knows nothing of the love and care of a parent. Such a child is unable to comprehend the meaning of a true home where the interest of each member of the family is bound up with the interests of every other member. The thinking of that person becomes warped, and he remains an alien from his loved ones. Sin brought alienation, not only into the home relationship, but between man and his God. It is difficult for many to understand that God wants to establish a relationship that will bring man eternal life and happiness. APAY 17.3

He became carnally minded. Romans 8:6, 7. In one sense all the changes that took place in man’s mind as the result of sin might be summarized by the expression “carnally minded.” The word from which “carnal” comes is the one which designates the human body. Paul uses it to designate that which pertains to the material realm in contrast to the spiritual. Mere humanity is in contrast to the combination of humanity and divinity which God intends. All the other characteristics mentioned contribute to the condition of carnality where the thinking is focused on the things of earth and the body rather than on things above. As mentioned previously, “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16. APAY 18.1

All of these changes did not take place immediately when Adam and Eve sinned. But the train of events and the changes which have resulted in humanity’s present degenerate condition were initiated when Eve reached out and took of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. APAY 18.2