By Ernest O'Neill

What is the Fall of Man?

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

So instead of living off the love of God, we began to try to live off the love of the world. We began to operate in exactly the opposite way to what God had intended.

It's the same with the happiness thing. We feel that there should be more to life than this. It can't be work, work, work all the time. There must be something more to it. Of course, we would be utterly satisfied with work if we had this kind of remarkable relationship with our Father in Heaven. We would be utterly satisfied to work as a slave night and day if we had that happiness with Him. But we lack that.

So, of course, we say to ourselves, "Well, what? All right, maybe if I retire at fifty. Maybe if I retire, okay." Then you find Florida filled with all of us who have retired and thought heaven was waiting for us. But it's agony because it's just more of the same -- only worse. So we get into terrible frustration. Loved ones that's what the fall is.

When you talk about the fall of man, that's what the fall is. It's eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It's not just eating of the fruit of a tree. It's eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It's mankind saying, "Let's not trust our God."

We know what is good and we know what is evil ourselves. Let's set up the things that are good. It's good to get oranges off that tree because you can make juice with it. It's good to dam up that river because this is flood time. So we began to list a whole lot of laws. This is good to do and this is evil to do. If you think positively, it will work this way. If you think negatively, it will work that way.

We began to depend on our own knowledge of right and wrong in order to make the world supply us with what we thought was all that God supplied us with -- security and significance and happiness. Of course, that wasn't it at all. What we need is not those things. What we need is love. Those are only results of love. What we need desperately is love. That's why Howard Hughes dies in the luxury penthouse of a hotel with kleenex stuck on his fingers, emaciated and dying of malnutrition. He was one of the richest men on earth. Finally, it wasn't riches he needed and it's not riches or security we need -- it's love. It's not even our wife's love or our mother's love. It's the love of our Maker. You know you were made for that.

There's something inside you that lets you know you were made for that. What we have done is to begin to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and to live by that knowledge. In other words, we chose to live by knowledge instead of by friendship with God. So, what has happened is, the whole system has backed up. That's what the fall is. We're living off the world instead of off God.