Selfishness as Sin 59

It appears from the account given of his [Adam] first offense that it essentially consisted in loving himself supremely. He voluntarily partook of the forbidden fruit, from the motive of increasing his own knowledge and happiness, in opposition to the glory of God and the good of all his posterity. This was freely and voluntarily turning from benevolence to selfishness, which is the essence of moral depravity. He became morally depraved in the same manner that Satan, the first sinner in the universe, became depraved. Satan had no corporeal instincts or appetites to tempt him to rebel against his Maker. He loved his own glory more than the glory of God, and aspired to become independent and supreme, which was the essence of selfishness, or moral depravity. The prevailing notion that Adam became morally depraved by the mere want of holiness is repugnant to the very nature of moral depravity, and to every dictate of reason and Scripture. (Nathanael Emmons, Selfishness, International Outreach)

In this short account of the very heart of the fall we can see that the explanatory value of this position is very powerful. We can see the reasons that Satan fell, how he deceived Adam and Eve, how this is passed on to future generations, and the nature of sin today and for all time. We also see that the very nature of sin is not so much behavior as it is the reasons that things are done, though indeed this does not deny that many things are sinful and cannot come from a heart that desires good. Eve was deceived first, but Adam appeared to be either deceived at the same time and by her action, or he simply and coldly decided that he could be as God. Either way, without being forced Adam ate of the fruit that God had commanded him not to eat and the results of that one sin meant that all humanity for all history was fallen into sin.

As we think through what Adam did, instead of walking with God and loving God and thus all humanity that was in him or represented by him, he took of the fruit and ate it in complete disregard for God and all humanity. This was a completely selfish act and all sin follows this pattern. There is nothing wrong with eating fruit in and of itself, though indeed we are told that we are to eat, drink, and whatever we do we are to do to the glory of God. But Adam ate of the fruit in rebellion against God and with a disregard on the rest of humanity. He was seeking things for himself and so he set himself up as an idol and as his chief love. Adam fell from the upright nature he had by creation and was now the child of the devil.

In John 8 we are told that when the Pharisees lied they acted like their father the devil in that he was the father of lies. Adam because a child of the devil in that he is the father of selfishness with a heart that is directly opposed to the glory of God and the true good of humanity. Why did Satan fall? Well, the Scripture points to his pride. As a being without corporeal desires he did not have an apple or food to be deceived by. However, his deception of Eve shows something of how he fell. He could not imagine being greater than God, but if he loved his own glory more than the glory of God, then that is a horrible pride and it would show that he had fallen. He wanted to be independent and to be the supreme moral decision maker in his own existence and as such he would have wanted to be like God. It was this desire which he had and which he had fallen from his high position that he learned how to deceive human beings. Thus, by deceiving Adam and Eve they fell and became like him in their moral nature. It is a nature of selfishness which is a nature full of self, sinful love of self, and always seeking self in all that is done. It is seeking self rather than the glory of God and using others to seek self rather than using self to seek the true good of other human beings in accordance with the glory of God.

It is here that we see fallen human beings following the pattern of their father (the devil). They are like him in seeking the glory and honor of self rather than the glory and honor of God. They are willing to cause all other human beings trouble in order to obtain their own desires. They are willing for others to sin if that will help them get the desires of their hearts. They are willing for others to suffer if they can gain some leisure and riches. They will follow the ways of the world rather than the ways of God. They seek the honor of others rather than the true good of others which is to know and love God. These horrible creatures (all fallen human beings) want to be loved and respected more than they want God to be loved and respected, which is really not at all unless they think that if another respects Him that they can gain an advantage by that. These horrible creatures love works rather than free-grace. They hated preachers of truth and love those who deceive them with lies. They hate free-grace and those who preach it because free-grace can only be to the glory of God and His glory is what they seek for themselves.

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