The fall of man. Man and woman fell from the Garden of Eden. This experience is expla-ined in genesis chapter 3 verse 4; chapter 6 verse 9 and chapter 11. In these verses, the Bible is teaching about sin, which made Adam and
Sin is defined as iniquity, and guilt. It is to miss a mark, to transgress. Sin is a rebellion or an offence against God. Sin originated with the disobedience of Adam and Eve.
They had been commanded not to eat of the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil – the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden. But Adam and Eve ate the fruit after being deceived by the serpent.
Man had the power to resist temptation but instead he yielded. Genesis Chapter 3 verse 6 states that man wanted to be wise and thought how wonderful it would be to become wise…” hence sin arises from the lack of knowledge of God, from the denial of trust of God.
The consequences of sin
After sinning, we the human race and sinners:
1) Replaced friendship with God with fear of God.
2) Lost innocence. What had been innocent and good became shameful. Adam and Eve became ashamed of their nakedness, something they had never felt before they sinned against God.
3) Lost good relationship with God. The good relationship between God and man was betrayed. Human beings – were alienated from God. “The Lord God sent him out of the Garden of Eden…”
4) Damaged the perfect relationship between man and woman. The Lord said to the woman “You will have desire for your husband, yet you will be subject to him”.
5) Pain became part of human experience. “I will greatly multiply your pain in child bearing”.
6) Man began toiling and struggling to meet his needs… “You will have to work hard and sweat to make the soil produce anything”
7) The home of man, and the earth itself was placed under a curse. “Cursed is the ground because of you.”
Enmity between man and wild animals emerged.
9) Man began to die. Death sentence is passed upon all men. “You will return to the ground… you are dust”
10) Man began to hate. Man developed murderous feelings in his heart, for example Cain killed Abel, his younger brother.
11) Man changed and became prone to sin.
12) Life span of man was reduced (see Gen. 6:3) “I will not allow people to live forever, they will live no longer than 120 years”
13) Man’s language was confused by God after the flood (read Gen.11: 7)
14) Sin led to embarrassment, mistrust, suffering, pain, pride, arrogance and death.
Disobedience of God by Adam and Eve brought serious sin consequences to human beings. Sin brings sadness and suffering to man even today.
Concept Of Evil
In this lesson, we shall discuss the concept of evil as told by the traditi-onal African religion and the biblical writings. We shall study similarities and differences of evil from the two religions.
What is evil?
In the traditional African society, evil was an offence against God, spirits and ancestors. It was also viewed as an offence against another person or community. Evil was also a misfortune that can befall an individual or a community.
What are the causes of evil?
Many of the traditional African societies do not associate God with evil. God is not the creator of evil. Some communities believe that evil is an external power that exists on its own.
Thus in the traditional African society, evil was understood or explained as something mysterious that was caused by several people and things. These were:
a) Evil spirits
b) Ancestral spirits – due to disobedience to them
c) Some animals like the chameleon are sources of evil. The Akamba believed that chameleons brought evil. Other communities believed that if an owl cries near one’s homestead, it is a sign of evil.
d) People with mystical powers for example magic, sorcery, and witchcraft are evils
e) If a member of a community breaks a taboo by disobedience, this action may bring evil spirits.
f) The spirits of the dead; cause evil; if they are not remembered or respected. Evil spirits cause harm and violence.
Consequences of evil in traditional African society
These were many and ranged from (a) Barrenness (b) Drought (c) Epidemics (d) Madness (e) Sickness (f) Death (g) Drowning (h) Burning in a house (i) War (j) Physically and mentally handicapped children (l) Rebellious children
God’s Plan of Salvation
After the fall of man, God took steps to heal the damaged situation and relationship between Him and Adam and Eve.
Provided clothing of skin to Adam and Eve.
Looked for Adam and Eve since they were hiding from His presence.
Provided Adam and Eve with the knowledge to find different foods.
Declared enmity between man and the snake.
Hinted at the ultimate victory of man when He said that the seed of the woman would crush the snake or serpent’s head. The serpent would attack the heel of man and woman.
All through the Old Testament, and the New Testament, we see God’s plan of salvation being manifested. For instance, GOD chose and separated Abraham from other communities. The children of
Israel led by Moses (were delivered) from Egypt,. God sent prophets to teach and warn the Israelites of the dangers of sin. Finally God sent his only son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to save human kind.
Similarities And Differences Between Traditional African View Of Evil And Biblical Concept Of Sin
Both the Biblical and traditional African view or agree that
God is supreme. God is neither the creator nor author of evil
Sin comes from the disobedience of God by human beings
Evil and misfortune are God’s curse to man (Biblical) while the traditional African society sees evil as curses by ancestors, and elders. Both curses lead to misfortunes.
The result of sin and evil is human sufferings
Sin and evil lead to man being separated from God
God is the guardian of law and order
Human beings have the ability to overcome evil
Biblical account emphasizes personal nature of sin while in the African concept; sin is more social and communal
Biblical account attributes evil to disobedience while African concept attributes evil not only to disobediences but other external forces.
Biblical accounts offer a message of hope to overcome evil while African concept doesn’t offer a solution to sin and evil.
Traditional African concept all forms of suffering as a result of sin while in the Bible suffering is not always a result of sin.