Frustration of the Fallen

In his comments on Genesis 3 in his book, For the Love of God, vol.1, Prof. Don Carson writes,

“God’s curses on the human pair are striking. The first (Gen. 3:16), which promises pain in childbearing and disordered marriages, is the disruption of the first designated task human beings were assigned before the Fall: male and female, in the blessing of God, being fruitful and increasing in number (1:27–28). The second (Gen. 3:17–19), which promises painful toil, a disordered ecology, and certain death, is the disruption of the second designated task human beings were assigned before the Fall: God’s image-bearers ruling over the created order and living in harmony with it (1:28–30).”

God’s curse on his creation results in merciful frustration for his image-bearers. For us who are ‘under the sun’ (Eccl.), all is vanity, emptiness. It’s what Paul mentions in Rom.8:20,

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it…

Leaving aside for a moment the dire, eternal consequences of our rebellion against God, our own minds and hearts have been disrupted by sin. We know that there is something wrong, but apart from grace, we can’t put a finger on it.

In his mercy God has put this burr under our spiritual saddles. We seek comfort and relief in all kinds of ways and places, but we find that “all is vanity.” There is no relief to be found “under the sun.” As Augustine wrote, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.”

My quotation from Rom.8 above didn’t complete the sentence: Paul continues,

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

By God’s amazing grace, there is hope for us. There is the offer of liberation, glory and adoption into God’s family!

Our lives and families are messed up; our world is messed up; but in Christ, God promises healing and hope! Those who belong to Christ patiently look forward to a new creation. As the Apostle says (Rom.8:23-25),

… we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.