I said, “You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High, nevertheless you will die like men, and fall like any one of the princes.” Psalm 82:6-7 NASB
Fall – Why do we fall? Unless we know the conditions of our demise, we may never recognize the traps that corrupt God’s design. Yes, we all die, but that isn’t the emphasis here. Death is the inevitable result of sin. No man can avoid it. But falling is not inevitable. Falling is the deterioration of what God formed. Falling is putrefaction. Zornberg notices that the midrash Shemot Rabbah translates this verse as “like one of the princes you shall fall – you have brought yourselves low.” The process is not inevitable. It is self-induced decay.
And what leads to this self-induced rot, this progressive decomposition of God’s image? The biblical answer is simple and clear. The process begins by usurping God’s role as moral sovereign. God tells me what is good and what is not, but as soon as I add my own evaluation into the equation, I take God’s place in the moral analysis. I decide what is good for me and what is not good for me. I become my own sovereign, my own god. “What is not acceptable to God is that we should decide on our own what is good and what is evil.”
Do not make the mistake of thinking that this progressive decay involves only “bad” behaviors. That suggestion is a result of morality and morality is always a function of leaning on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In other words, morality is what we decide is good. It doesn’t matter if it is a personal decision or the decision of the group or the state. God is not interested in morality. He is interested in holiness and only He can define the term. We may be the most moral people in the neighborhood and still be rotten in the core. Why? Because morality is determined by the society. Holiness is not moral behavior. It is God-obedient behavior. Don’t point to the behavior of Cretans (cf. Titus 1:12) as grounds for your claims of purity. Look to God’s instructions. Compare yourself with His standard. None other matters.
You and I were formed as His sons and daughters, in His image. We were brought into existence to reflect His majesty, His holiness, His sovereignty. But no one likes to be told what to do. Rebellion is simply the choice to do it my way, even if my way is morally laudable. Morality is often an excuse for rebellion. The opposite of rebellion is not cooperation. It is submission. The only man who is free is the one who submits to God’s instructions for that man is able to be all that God designed him to be. Freedom is not determining my own destiny. Freedom is conforming my life to His design.
Why do we fall? Gravity is not the culprit. Arrogance is.
Topical Index: fall, nafal, sovereignty, Psalm 82:6-7, Titus 1:12