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The Story of Our Broken World

How believing a cosmic lie shattered paradise


When I was about ten years old, my dad, a medical doctor, received a special gift from one of his patients: a beautiful globe with shiny sequins. The globe spun around on its base and played one of my dad's favorite songs. My dad proudly demonstrated how it worked: grab it by the base, slowly wind it counter-clockwise, and then release it, letting it spin clockwise while playing beautiful music. He told us, "You can touch it but don't wind it because you might break it."

A week later, while my dad was at work, I found the globe and brought it to my room. And although I heard my dad say, "Don't wind it up," I decided to wind it up anyway. I gave it a little twist and let it play. It played, but only for five seconds. So I gave it another twist and another twist and five more twists and then—snap! The globe separated from the base. I tried desperately to put it back together again. I forced the two pieces together. I tried gluing it. I tried taping it. Finally, as I stared hopelessly at the two pieces of the globe, I realized it was broken beyond repair. So I went into my closet, shut the door, and hid.

It was Genesis 3 all over again. Although I believe Adam and Eve were real people, they are also "mythical people" in the sense that we don't just read Genesis 3 as a distant, hazy story. Every day of our lives we are living in Genesis 3.

It's a story that started with Genesis 1:1—"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." And after God completed his work of creation, he surveyed it all and pronounced it "very good." The first two chapters of Genesis declare God is good—so good that it ought to make us like the kids in Willy Wonka, running through a candy heaven saying, "Oh, look at ...

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Matt Woodley serves as the Editor for and the Pastor of Compassion Ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. He is also the author of God With Us: The Gospel of Matthew (IVP).

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