This is a continuation of yesterday's post regarding Mike Garner's response to my initial post about Free Will. I think that his points are interesting and would like to cover them through a series of posts as the breadth of what he is saying is too broad to cover in one post (let alone in one comment box.)
2. Corruption of the Fall of Man?
From Mike's comment:
I would agree that Adam freely chose to sin against God. The question becomes if the rest of mankind has this same freedom. The question can be asked differently: Does the corruption of the Fall affect Man's free will?
Mankind did not lose their free will through Adam's fall. What mankind lost was the access to the Tree of Life as punishment for Adam's original sin. Because of the loss of access, we were all destined to die. Why? Because we bear the stain of Adam's original sin.
This is the original sin that Paul refers to in Romans 5. Because of Adam's sin, we are all inclined toward sin (or rather enslaved in sin). This is what Paul is talking about and not that we have lost our free will.
How can I be sure of my interpretation regarding the non-corruption of free will in Genesis 3?
By reading Genesis 4.
The very first story immediately following the Fall of Man is the story of Cain and Abel. In Genesis 4: 2-5, it talks about how the two made offerings to God. Why did they (and especially Abel) make offerings to God? For Salvation? To get back in the Garden? That was lost to them. They did it because they loved God for God alone (at least Abel did). Not for reward and reading this passage indicates that it was all a free choice.
Side note regarding Cain and Abel:
When I first read this passage, I struggled with it. Why was Cain's offering displeasing to God? Well, for two reasons...
1. He was not giving his best fruits of his labor.
2. He was paying more attention to what his brother was giving than choosing to love God.
Moral of the story: God wants us to give Him our best...also note that Abel was a keeper of the flock who was killed as a result of his brother's sin...a direct point from the Old Testament to the Passion.
So, how does one get eternal life? By coming back to the Tree of Life! Jesus Christ (the New Adam) restored that Tree when He came down as a man and fixed Adam's original sin by remaining obedient to God's will. Choosing to die for our sins (note: He was not murdered. True, we nailed Him to the cross with our sins but He chose to be sacrificed; thus God did not want to be murdered. He freely accepted death on a cross. There is no contradition in Scripture.)
What does He ask from us in return? To love Him. To keep His commandments. To deny yourself and follow Him (to death on a cross if necessary). To be His friend.
Does this guarantee us eternal life? No. His grace does.
So when is the Tree of Life that's discussed in the beginning of the Bible (at the beginning of creation) restored?
At the very end of the Bible in Revelation 22 at the end of times.
I think that's enough for tonight. Hopefully, God willing, I will continue tomorrow.
Peace to all who read this.