Nope: “The Fall”

I come from a tradition that demands “Bible words for Bible things.” That is not why I’m filing “the fall” in the Nope category.

My beef is instead with a widely influential set of concerns that are read into Gen 3, for which “the fall” is usually shorthand. I deny that the rejection (whether anti-Pelagian or Reformed) of humankind’s ability to “merit” salvation should control our understanding of Gen 3. The biblical narrative is not nearly so anxious about that issue and, it seems to me, rather openly expects humans to be able to live up to the commission set out in Gen 1 well after Gen 3. That is, in fact, the entire premise of guilt.

Are humans capable of “saving themselves” according to the biblical story? It hardly needs saying: NO.

Does Gen 3 present some kind of essential change in the nature of humans who are made in the image and likeness of God?


One thought on “Nope: “The Fall”

  1. I now refer to it as the “tumble” and think in terms of Genesis 1-11 rather than simply the contrast between 2-3. It is not about metaphysical changes in human nature but about exile, redemption, and the cycle of human degeneration and God’s redemptive initiative to renew humanity.


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