I once heard a comment that goes against common understanding—sin distorts Mankind’s thinking.
Most people agree that nobody’s perfect, but by this they mean, nobody lives a morally upright life all the time; nobody avoids making mistakes. The one thing that most people do NOT mean is that their thinking is flawed.
Rather, I suspect most people believe mankind’s ability to reason has become sharper over time, that we are out from under superstition and have honed deductive reasoning, can study evidence and make inferences more accurately than those who first lived on earth.
But why should that be true? If we believe the Bible, we know a few things about the earth before and after sin progressively took hold (some of these things became evident after the flood).
1. Before — animals were not carnivorous (Gen. 1:30).
After — even Man became carnivorous.
2. Before — animals were at peace with each other and with Man.
After — “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given” (Gen. 9:2).
3. Before — the ground yielded fruit abundantly.
After — the ground was cursed and needed to be cultivated by the sweat of Man’s brow.
4. Before — Man was destined to life.
After — Man was destined to death.
5. Before — Man apparently had the capacity to communicate with the animals.
After — animals only communicated with Man when God opened their mouths (see Balaam’s donkey).
6. Before — an “expanse” divided waters, some above, some below—apparently creating another layer of our atmosphere and providing protection from the molten lava at the earth’s core.
After — the “floodgates of the sky” opened and “the fountains of the great deep burst open.”
7. Before — Man lived for centuries.
After — once the atmospheric protection was removed, his life span became much shorter.
8. Before — Man communed in person with God.
After — Man hid from God.
9. Before — Adam and Eve were a perfect fit, naked and unashamed.
After — they hurled accusations at one another.
10. Before — Man spoke a common language.
After — God confused Men’s language and scattered them.
I could go on, but I think I’ve said enough for the purpose of this post. To sum up, sin changed the world, the heavens, the way Mankind relates to creation, to God, to others. Why would we think Man alone is untouched by the effects of sin? We know his life span was affected, so why not other aspects of his life, such as his ability to comprehend the supernatural or to reason clearly?
I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe that Mankind, with all the knowledge available to us, understands less about the world today than Adam did. Oh, sure, we know facts (and many of those prove to be incorrect at some later date), but we are reasoning ourselves away from God, not to Him.
It was Man’s observation, reasoning, and conclusions—well, woman’s, actually—that started the Fall in the first place: “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” (emphasis mine)
God had said … but she saw, and she went with her own observations and her own conclusions. In that respect, things haven’t changed so much over time.
This article originally appeared here in August 2012.