The threefold mystery of our corruption (Preek is ook in Afrikaans vertaal)

Ds W den Hollander (Kanada)
Heidelbergse Kategismus Sondag 3
Preek Inhoud: 

Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ

     Did God then create man so wicked and perverse? How come people are this way? Whose fault is it that they are inclined to hate, that they’re unable to love? Did God make them that way? Beloved, the fact already that such a thought can come up in man, shows how wrong and evil he is. Imagine, a child who is seriously ill. From early in the morning till late at night he is surrounded by the loving care of his mother. Then the thought comes up: am I sick perhaps because my mother gave me poison? Likewise the question in our Lord’s day is revealing about man: How is it that something is God’s and yet so corrupt? Brothers and sisters, isn’t the sinner inclined always to blame God for his misery and for all the evil in the world?!

     Is God to blame? Man may not even answer this question of himself or by himself! That would be the worst form of haughtiness, when a man would propose himself as judge over God, either to accuse Him or to acquit Him. The question about the origin of man’s corruption may only be answered from His Word! Yet, then I hasten to add that it is the peculiarity of the Word of God that it does not explain the origin of sin. So, when our LD answers the question ‘whether God actually is the Author of all the evil in the world’ with a straight forward ‘No!’ then we do not receive in that ‘No!’ the conclusion of a learned investigation or argumentation. The ‘No!’ of our Catechism is a confession of faith!

     Our LD deals with the mystery of our corruption! That mystery leaves many questions unanswered. We have to be prepared for that, this morning. Only faith enables us to live with the tension of unanswered questions. Only faith can leave some questions remaining. For faith bows before a God Whose doings exceed all understanding; the believer is able to accept the remaining questions and will still trust His God completely. However, in order to be comforted in life and death, we have to know the Word concerning the origin of sin and misery. We don’t look back at this origin in order to remind you of it, historically speaking, but in order to drive us out to Jesus Christ. This morning we will be asking three questions. Three times the answer will meet with our astonishment (and protest, perhaps). Three times our reaction will be ‘Lord, where do I go?’ The only answer will be, ‘To Jesus Christ! And then you will be comforted!’ I proclaim to you:

The threefold mystery of our corruption

1. The mystery of the origin of our corruption;

2. The mystery of the extension of our corruption;

3. The mystery of the power of our corruption.

1. The mystery of the origin of our corruption

     Brothers and sisters, we can divide the Bible into two parts. No, I’m not referring to the division OT/NT. That division may not even be called ‘two parts,’ for essentially they’re one. The division which I mean is on the one hand the part of Genesis 1, 2, and on the other hand the part from Genesis 3 to the end. Between these two parts there is a mysterious breach. These two parts seem to speak about two different worlds. At least, these worlds seem far, far apart! There is no logical connection between them. Genesis 3 is not the fulfilment of Genesis 1 and 2. Genesis 3 is not the result of Genesis 1, and 2. Genesis 3 comes totally unexpected! It was not a matter ‘of course.’ It was not predictable. It was not something ‘to be expected.’ No, Genesis 3 came totally unexpected. Genesis 1 and 2 do not explain Genesis 3 either. All the comparison of the two produces is astonishment, shock. Sin came into the world as one great mystery!!

     Did God put it into creation? No! It was good. Everything was good. God saw man and his wife, and ‘behold they were very good!’ God created them in His own image. That did not just mean that they were healthy, with a perfect body, a sound mind, a good will, pure feelings. It did not just mean what the Romans used to call “a healthy spirit in a healthy body.” [Mens sana in corpore sano]

     No, the actual thing of their creation was: they were God’s image! That was not an extra dimension or so, something which they had as well. No, it was their status! Adam and his wife were God’s image. They were related to God, meant for God, aimed at God. They were aimed at a friendship with God, a relationship to God. They had ‘communion’ with God; therefore they communicated with God. Thus they went for a walk with God. They talked with Him. They rejoiced in Him. Adam enjoyed his life with God. He enjoyed to his heart’s content the works of God: he had a marriage so enjoyable as none would ever have. Everything at every moment showed him God, so that he would love his God and praise his God. Yes, that’s what we must imagine Paradise to be, beloved: not the garden, the rest, the tranquillity first of all, but the bond with God, the life with God. God was in the centre of Adam’s life!

     In that situation the fall came! As a thunderbolt in a bright day! For no reason! There is no argument for it. You can’t think of any excuse. There is no excuse. All you may attempt here is trace the course of the conversation, but an explanation is impossible. That’s what I used to say to my Catechism students too: “Now you expect me to explain sin to you, to explain the origin of sin, so that you may know it. Then you can go home and say, ‘So, at least I know how come. That makes it easier to accept it. We know it’s there; now at least we know how come!’” However, then I’d add, “Forget it! I can’t give the arguments. No, sin is foolishness. And foolishness cannot be argued! There is no explanation for the fall. The origin of sin and misery is in that totally incomprehensible reckless action of man in which he acted against his own nature. There is no explanation! For he who explains means to give an excuse! That’s true already for Adam.

     God asked Adam that question too: How come, Adam? What did Adam do? Did he fall flat on his face? Did he scream it out? Did he beat his breast, crying to himself ‘How could I do it?’ No, he didn’t. Adam explains it. Adam tries to find the answer in Genesis 1 and 2. Adam’s answer to the Catechism question “Did God then create man so ...” is: Yes! It’s in that woman that you’ve created for me. That woman must have been created wicked and perverse. No wonder it was to be expected with her. Thus Adam denies his guilt. He explains his sin. I guess we recognize that tactic: shifting the blame! Explaining someone’s fall into sin: ‘No wonder,’ we say, ‘in such a situation.’ However, then we have explained the sin; or better: excused the sinner! Thus we fumble the consciousness of guilt! Then we don’t say, ‘O God, o God, how could I do it?!’ Eve follows the same pattern: the serpent did it! One of those creatures here in the garden. One of those products of your hands! That explains it! It must have been in that serpent. However, why did Eve listen? Why did Adam listen? Why did they not cling to God’s Word?! Beloved, there is no excuse! There is no explanation which allows for extenuating circumstances. There is only guilt!

     However, perhaps you have a few questions yet? May be you say, is it really that simple? Why did God not intervene. Why don’t we read of God’s preventative activity? Genesis 1 and 2 are full of God’s activities, His power and might. Now, in Genesis 3, where is He? Why don’t we read of a thunderclap from heaven? A warning is the least one would expect! God did not withdraw Himself, did He? Did God come too late? No, beloved, God had given to Adam a great responsibility. A real responsibility! God did not create robots! Eve was not a robot either. Before everything happened, Adam had learned to see God as the One who could allow this to happen: “On the day you eat of this tree you will surely die!” When you eat! You are responsible!

     God had made a connection between Adam’s obedience and eternal life, as well as between his disobedience and the disaster of death. That was God’s own Word. That was God’s covenant Word! He made this covenant in His sovereign good pleasure. Then there may be questions, questions which only God can answer. He did not reveal everything. “Don’t try to answer them either,” Calvin said, “don’t enter into that labyrinth!” Only confess: sin did not come from God! God is light and in Him there is no darkness! “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil and He Himself tempts no one.” God and sin are absolute contrasts. Sin does not come in some mysterious way from God; the thought alone would be blasphemous already. Then there may be many questions, but a mystery it is and remains.

     One of these many questions could be given some consideration, because God has revealed about it. The event did not happen outside of God’s plan did it? God was not surprised by it, was He? Indeed, although the sin was completely against God’s will, against God’s Word to Adam, it did not happen by surprise. In order to accept this we must not depend on our understanding, but we must rely on the Scriptures. In the Scriptures we find, for instance, the example of Peter. Peter says to the Jews, “You have crucified the Christ! You killed Him on the cross!” Yet, he adds, nevertheless “it is all part of God’s council; it happened according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.” So, it happened by lawless men, against God’s will; yet, it was not outside his plan. We have to believe this! We cannot explain this. There is no excuse for it either. It’s not so that God made Adam eat. No, God says, “You have eaten.” “I had said, ‘You shall not eat!’” Adam did not have to eat. The fact that he ate is foolishness! You cannot explain that from creation! All it is, is guilt! Plain guilt! With David we have to come to the confession, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless in your judgment.”

2. The mystery of the extension of our corruption

     The second mystery, beloved, is the question how Adam’s guilt is ascribed to me. Before I came to the age of understanding, before I had done anything wrong, before I had punched the other boy’s lights out, my parents confessed that I was conceived and born in sin. When everyone was standing around that cute little baby - ‘O look at his nice curly hair’ - my parents were about to pronounce publicly that I was subject to condemnation itself. Yes, we all shared in it! We all said it about our children: miserable boys and girls! No, I don’t mean, when they were 15, 16 years old or so (may be then it shows a bit more!); no, when they were just born! Subject to condemnation?! Can we accept that?

     Imagine that an earthly judge would do so: convict children in the cradle for what some distant forefather has done? Is that fair, we would say! O imagine the protests if that were published in the paper! We have inherited guilt! We have received the verdict ‘guilty!’ through our ancestors! Can we accept that?

     Sure, we say, we are standing on the shoulders of our forefathers. We benefit from all the accomplishments of our fathers and grandfathers. The children jump on the bikes which they did not invent. We turn on the light which we did not develop. We have no problem enjoying the fruits of our forebears. We could even accept it, actually, if we inherited some less pleasant fruits: a weak back, a chronic headache, or so. We are able to understand that, by laws of heredity. We won’t hold it against our parents. However, when the guilt of sin is imputed to us, we say, “We didn’t eat, did we?!” It doesn’t make sense either to say that “if we had been there, we would have fallen too.” That’s no answer either. For we were not there! Yet, we are convicted; we are declared guilty; partakers in Adam’s guilt!

     That’s quite a saying in our LD, beloved. When you are talking to your son, daughter, and tell them that they have a father and mother, a grandpa and grandma (or oma, opa; or pake, beppe, for that matter), and that before they were in Canada, back in the dark times in Europe, before the Romans even, that back then in the distant history of Paradise there were a man and a woman, Adam and Eve, who sinned: well, because they sinned they were guilty of disobedience, worthy of death, and their guilt came to YOU! ... Our footprints are not in Paradise! Our fingerprints can’t be found there either! Yet, we read in Rom. 5: 12, “just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin...” Through one man (not through millions of men, sinning independently), through one man death came and spread to all men because all sinned! In verse 19 we read as well, that by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners... Many were made sinners! Then with the Catechism we imply that we are among them!

     Did you notice that, brothers and sisters? The tone of the Catechism became more personal as we proceeded. At first it spoke of ‘man’ in general. Then it mentioned names, Adam and Eve. Now, however, it deals with ‘us,’ ‘our,’ and we. On what basis does it do so? Well, the proof-texts say, on the basis of Rom. 5: 19, ‘many were made sinners,’ and verse 12, ‘because all sinned.’ That’s not an explanation. It does not say how or why we were made sinners, or how we all sinned. No, ‘all sinned,’ ‘were made sinners.’ Theologians have written many books about that ‘how’ and ‘why,’ interesting material, enriching studies. Yet, the big question is today: can you accept that? Can you accept God’s legal framework in which He makes us sinners? Accept it, without being able to explain? Without saying, ‘that’s how and that’s why? Yet, you’ll have to, for your comfort’s sake! You will have to travel back to Paradise: over the rails of the previous generation, for that’s where it started! In Paradise is the beginning of the rails, the rails between Adam and us, between Paradise and Pretoria! Yes, don’t break up those rails, for when you tear yourself loose from Adam, you’re separated from the second Adam as well: Jesus Christ! For precisely in Rom. 5, Christ is placed right beside Adam; the cross also is placed right beside it! Romans 5 takes you along over the rails to Adam, to Paradise, and what you see there is Christ instead of Adam, a cross in the place of that tree. Then Romans 5 tells us, that the same legal framework applies: as the unrighteousness came by one man so righteousness came by one. That’s God’s legal framework. That’s God’s justice. That justice is good! Even though it is and remains a mystery!

     When we accept it, beloved, we won’t excuse ourselves anymore either. Then we say with David, in faith, when he had committed a murder: how come? When did this wickedness come to me? When I became a king, and had the opportunity to arrange it my way? No, it was there already! When I was 16? When I was small? No, it was in there already when I was born! It was there already before I was conceived! He doesn’t blame his Mom, of whom some say today ‘she’s kicked me into this world.’ No, it’s not my mother, but it has never been good; my guilt dates back, far back in history: my guilt goes back to Paradise! Then we join Adam and Eve, David and Bathsheba, Enoch, Noah, Peter and Paul, and together we stand in a circle around the tree. Then in our great joy and amazement we will see instead of the tree a cross, and on that cross the second Adam. He gave His blood to cleanse us from our guilt, to make us white as snow! Then we stand there, because we have accepted the verdict of guilt! We stand there with a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, because we sinned as all men sinned!

3. The mystery of the power of our corruption

     This third mystery, brothers and sisters, is the question that we are so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined to all evil. Well, that’s not easy! Of course, we don’t want to say anything about ourselves; we don’t like bragging or conceit. No, look at that neighbour, or that lady at work, what she does! No, she’s not a believer, o no, but a great woman she is, an angel of a woman! She’s always ready to help us; always willing to do something; always cheerful, not moody at all. Unable to do any good? Inclined to all evil? That’s hard to believe! Then we may as well declare the world a jail and all men convicts! Then we must all be on death row! Really!

     Beloved, what is the criterion? The criterion is whether we show the image of God! Indeed, we see many people doing many things which we consider good or which we call humane, self-sacrificing, but what does the LORD do with it? What does He benefit by it? Does he, she, apply it in love to Him, to serve Him with it? Of course there are differences. There is a difference between the unbeliever who sacrifices himself completely in all his work for the Red Cross and the unbeliever who murders an old lady for the twenty dollars in her purse. The Catechism doesn’t say that all men are criminals; there are gradations indeed. Yet one thing is sure: things aren’t right! It’s not going to improve; it’s not going to change! Mankind is stuck! Man is stuck, totally stuck in his corruption. Man is unable to break away from that power of corruption.

     Therefore, without God it won’t change. It can’t change. Deliverance has to come from the outside. God made man good and in His own image. We have to go to Paradise. We have to go back to creation. We have to go back to the Creator, to the Spirit of God, for total re-creation! Back to Paradise, beloved, to confess our guilt and to regain Paradise! The Word tells us to! The Word reveals us so!

     The Word tells us about a criminal, a man who had committed at least one murder. This one murder brought him on the cross. When hanging on the cross, he warns his fellow-criminal: “Don’t say anything man! We deserve it! We are guilty! We are hanging here between earth and heaven, subject to a deserved condemnation from God!” That criminal showed guilt! That criminal confessed guilt! He showed a broken and contrite heart, and with that broken heart and that confession of guilt he turns to Jesus. Then he heard it: back to Paradise! Today you will be with me in Paradise! Yes, everyone who, with a broken heart, goes back to Adam in Paradise, will hear the same from the second Adam: “Today you will be with me in Paradise!”

     In this way Christ opens the way to a new future! It is God’s Spirit which reveals the misery of guilt to you. This knowledge of sin and misery is not a condition for regeneration but the fruit of regeneration! Can you accept that mystery, beloved? Then the new life begins, and the darkness is removed by the light! Amen!!


Geliefde gemeente van Jesus Christus

Het God die mens dan so sondig en verkeerd geskep?  Hoekom is mense so?  Wie se fout is dit dat hulle geneig is om te haat, dat hulle nie in staat is om lief te hê nie?  Het God hulle so gemaak?  Geliefdes, die feit dat so ʼn gedagte by ʼn mens kan opkom, wys hoe verkeerd en sondig hy is.  Dink jou in:  ʼn kind is ernstig siek.  Van die vroeë oggend tot laataand is hy omring deur die liefdevolle sorg van sy ma.  Dan kom die gedagte by hom op:  is ek miskien siek omdat my ma my gif ingegee het?  Net so is die vraag in die Kategismus onthullend van die mens:  Hoe kan iets wat van God is, so verdorwe wees?  Broeders en susters, is die sondaar nie altyd geneig om God vir sy ellende en al die kwaad in die wêreld te blameer nie?

Kan God blameer word?  ʼn Mens mag hierdie vraag nie eers self of op sy eie beantwoord nie!  Dit sal die ergste vorm van hoogmoed wees wanneer ʼn mens homself as ʼn regter oor God voorstel, om Hom of te beskuldig of vry te spreek.  Die vraag oor die oorsprong van die mens se verdorwenheid mag net vanuit Sy Woord beantwoord word!  Alhoewel, ek haas myself om te sê dat dit die eienaardigheid van God se Woord is dat dit nie die oorsprong van die sonde verklaar nie.  So wanneer ons Sondag die vraag beantwoord ‘of God eintlik die Skrywer is van al die kwaad in die wêreld’ met ʼn reguit ʼnee!’, dan kry ons nie deur daardie ʼnee!’ die gevolgtrekking van ʼn geleerde ondersoek of argumentasie nie.  Die ʼnee!’ van ons Kategismus is ʼn belydenis van geloof!

Ons Sondag handel oor die geheimenis van ons verdorwenheid!  Daardie geheimenis laat baie vrae onbeantwoord.  Ons moet onsself vanoggend daarop voorberei.  Alleen geloof stel ons in staat om met die spanning van onbeantwoorde vrae saam te leef.  Alleen geloof kan sommige oorblywende vrae so laat.  Want geloof buig voor ʼn God Wie se dade alle verstand te bowe gaan;  die gelowige is in staat om die oorblywende vrae te aanvaar en sy God nog steeds ten volle te vertrou.  Alhoewel, om in lewe en dood getroos te wees, moet ons die Woord betreffende die oorsprong van sonde en ellende ken.  Ons kyk nie terug na hierdie oorsprong om ons te daaraan te herinner nie, histories gesproke, maar om ons na Jesus Christus te dryf.  Vanoggend sal ons drie vrae vra.  Drie maal sal ons antwoord ons verbasing (en protes, miskien) ontmoet.  Drie maal sal ons reaksie wees ‘Here, waarheen sal ek gaan?’  Die enigste antwoord sal wees, ʼna Jesus Christus!  En dan sal jy getroos word!’  Ek verkondig aan u:

Die drievoudige geheimenis van ons verdorwenheid

1.       Die geheimenis van die oorsprong van ons verdorwenheid;

2.       Die geheimenis van die reikwydte van ons verdorwenheid;

3        Die geheimenis van die krag van ons verdorwenheid.


1.       Die geheimenis van die oorsprong van ons verdorwenheid;


Broeders en susters, ons kan die Bybel in twee dele verdeel.  Nee, ek verwys nie na die verdeling van die OT/NT nie.  Daar die verdeling mag eintlik nie eers ‘twee dele’ genoem word nie, want hulle is essensieel een.  Die verdeling waarvan ek praat, is aan die een kant die deel van Genesis 1 en 2 en aan die ander kant die deel van Genesis 3 tot die einde.  Tussen hierdie twee dele is daar ʼn misterieuse breek.  Hierdie twee dele lyk of daar geen konneksie tussen hulle is nie.  Genesis 3 is nie die vervulling  van Genesis 1 en 2 nie.  Genesis 3 kom totaal onverwags!  Dit is nie ʼn kwessie van ‘o, natuurlik’ nie.  Dit was nie voorspelbaar nie.  Genesis 1 en 2 verduidelik ook nie Genesis 3 nie.  Al wat die vergelyking van die twee voortbring is verbasing, skok.  Sonde het as een groot geheimenis in die wêreld gekom!!

Het God dit in die skepping geplaas?  Nee!  Dit was goed.  Alles was goed.  God het die man en sy vrou gesien en ‘dit was baie goed’.  (Mens sana in corpore sano)

Nee, die eintlike ding van hul skepping was:  hulle was God se beeld!  Dit was nie ʼn ekstra dimensie of so, iets wat hulle ook gehad het nie.  Nee, dit was hulle status!  Adam en sy vrou was God se beeld.  Hulle was verwant aan God, bedoel vir God, gerig op God.  Hulle is bedoel vir ʼn vriendskap met God, ʼn verhouding met God.  Hulle het ‘gemeenskap’ met God gehad;  daarom het hulle met God gekommunikeer.  Hulle het met Hom gewandel, met Hom gepraat.  Hulle het hul in Hom verheug.  Adam het van sy lewe met God geniet.  Hy het hom verheug in die werke van God:  hy het ʼn huwelik gehad so genotvol soos niemand ooit sou hê nie.  Alles op elke oomblik het God aan hom gewys, sodat hy sy God sou loof en prys.  Ja, dit is hoe ons die Paradys moet voorstel, geliefdes:  nie die tuin, die vrede, die rustigheid eerstens nie, maar die band met God, die lewe met God.  God was in die middelpunt van Adam se lewe!

In daardie omstandighede het die val gekom!  Soos ʼn donderslag uit die bloue hemel!  Vir geen rede!  Daar is geen argument daarvoor nie.  Jy kan nie aan enige verskoning dink nie.  Daar is  geen verskoning nie.  Al wat jy kan probeer is om die trant van die gesprek te volg, maar ʼn verduideliking is onmoontlik.  Dit is wat ek altyd vir my Katkisante ook gesê het:  ‘Julle verwag nou van my om sonde aan julle te verduidelik, om die oorsprong van sonde te verduidelik, sodat julle dit kan weet.  Dan kan julle huis toe gaan en sê, ‘So nou weet ek ten minste hoekom.  Dit maak dit makliker om te aanvaar.  Ons weet dit is daar;  nou weet ons ten minste hoekom!’  Ek sou dan egter byvoeg, ‘Vergeet dit! Ek kan julle nie argumente gee nie.  Nee, sonde is dwaasheid.  En dwaasheid kan nie beargumenteer word nie!  Daar is geen verduideliking vir die val nie.  Die oorsprong van sonde en ellende is daardie totaal onverstaanbare, roekelose aksie van die mense waarmee hy teen sy eie natuur gehandel het.  Daar is geen verduideliking nie!  Want hy wat verduidelik, probeer om ʼn verskoning te gee!  Dit is reeds waar vir Adam.

God het Adam ook daardie vraag gevra:  Hoekom Adam?  Wat het Adam gedoen?  Het hy plat op sy gesig geval?  Het hy dit uitgeskreeu?  Het hy op sy bors geslaan, by homself gehuil “Hoe kon ek dit doen?’  Nee, hy het nie.  Adam probeer dit verduidelik.  Adam probeer om die antwoord in Genesis 1 en 2 te vind.  Adam se antwoord op die Kategismus vraag ‘Het God die mens dan so geskep...’ is: Ja!  Dit is daardie vrou wat u vir my geskape het.  Daardie vrou moes boos en pervers geskape gewees het.  Geen wonder; ʼn mens kon dit van haar verwag het.  Adam ontken dus sy skuld.  Hy verduidelik sy sonde.  Ek dink ons verstaan daardie taktiek:  verskuif die blaam!  Om iemand se val in sonde te verduidelik:  ‘Geen wonder’, sê ons, ‘in so ʼn situasie.’  Dan het ons egter die sonde verduidelik;  of beter:  die sondaar verskoon!  Ons hanteer die bewustheid van skuld baie onhandig!  Dan sê ons nie, ‘O God, o God, hoe kon ek dit doen?!’ nie.  Eva volg dieselfde patroon:  die slang het dit gedoen!  Een van daardie skepsels hier in die tuin.  Een van die produkte van U hande!  Dit verduidelik dit!  Dit moes in daardie slang gewees het.  Waarom het Eva egter geluister?  Waarom het Adam geluister?  Waarom het hulle nie aan God se Woord vasgehou nie?!  Geliefdes, daar is geen verskoning nie!  Daar is geen verduideliking wat versagtende omstandighede toelaat nie.  Daar is net skuld!

Miskien het u nou ʼn paar vrae?  Miskien sê u, is dit regtig so eenvoudig?!  Hoekom het God nie ingegryp nie?  Hoekom lees ons nie van God se voorsorgende maatreëls nie?  Genesis 1 en 2 is vol van God se aktiwiteite, sy krag en mag.  En nou in Genesis 3, waar is Hy?  Hoekom lees ons nie van ʼn donderslag uit die hemel nie?  ʼn Mens kon ten minste ʼn waarskuwing verwag het!  God het Homself nie onttrek nie, het Hy?  Het God te laat gekom?  Nee, geliefdes, God het Adam ʼn groot verantwoordelikheid gegee.  ʼn Regte verantwoordelikheid!  God het nie robotte geskape nie!  Eva was ook nie ʼn robot nie.  Voordat dit alles gebeur het, het Adam geleer om God te sien as die Een wat kon toegelaat het dat dit gebeur:  ‘want die dag as jy daarvan eet, sal jy sekerlik sterwe.’  As jy eet!  Jy is verantwoordelik!

God het ʼn konneksie tussen Adam se gehoorsaamheid en die ewige lewe, sowel as tussen sy ongehoorsaamheid en die ramp van dood.  Dit was God se eie Woord.  Dit was God se Verbondswoord!  Hy het hierdie verbond in sy soewereine mag gemaak.  Dan mag daar vrae wees, vrae wat net God kan beantwoord.  Hy het nie alles geopenbaar nie.  ‘Moet ook nie probeer om dit te antwoord nie,’ het Calvyn gesê, ‘moenie in daardie doolhof ingaan nie!’  Bely net:  sonde het nie van God gekom nie!  God is lig en in Hom is daar geen donkerte nie!  ‘Laat niemand sê wanneer hy in versoeking kom nie, ‘Ek word deur God versoek nie’, want God kan deur die kwaad nie versoek word nie en self versoek hy niemand nie.’  God en sonde is absolute kontraste.  Sonde kom nie deur een of ander misterieuse manier van God nie;  die gedagte alleen is reeds lasterlik.  Daar mag baie vrae wees, maar dit is en bly ʼn geheimenis.

Aan een van hierdie baie vrae kan aandag gegee word, want God het daaroor openbaar gemaak.  Die gebeurtenis het nie buite God se plan gebeur nie, het dit?  God was nie daardeur verras nie, was Hy?  Inderdaad, alhoewel die sonde heeltemal teen God se wil gegaan het, teen God se Woord aan Adam, was dit nie ʼn verrassing nie.  Om dit te kan aanvaar moet ons nie op ons begrip daarvan staatmaak nie, maar ons moet op die Skrif vertrou.  In die Skrif vind ons byvoorbeeld die voorbeeld van Petrus.  Petrus het vir die Jode gesê, ‘Julle het Christus gekruisig en omgebring!’  Tog, het hy bygevoeg ‘deur die bepaalde raad en voorkennis van God.’  Dit het dus deur wettelose mense gebeur teen God se wil, maar tog was dit nie buite sy plan nie.  Ons moet dit glo!  Ons kan dit nie verduidelik nie. Daar is egter ook geen verskoning nie.  Dit is nie so dat God Adam forseer het om te eet nie.  Nee, God sê, ‘Jy het geëet.’  ‘Ek het gesê, ‘Jy sal nie eet nie!  ’’Adam het nie nodig gehad om te eet nie.  Die feit dat hy geëet het is dwaasheid!  ʼn Mens kan dit nie vanuit die skepping verklaar nie!  Al wat dit is, is skuld!  Eenvoudig - skuld!  Saam met Dawid kom ons tot die belydenis, ‘Teen U alleen het ek gesondig en gedoen wat verkeerd is in u oë, sodat U regverdig kan wees as U spreek, rein as U gerig hou.’

2.       Die geheimenis van die reikwydte van ons verdorwenheid;


Die tweede geheimenis, geliefdes, is die vraag hoe Adam se skuld aan my toegeken word.  Voordat ek my verstand gekry het, voordat ek enige iets verkeerd gedoen het, voordat ek die ander seun plat geslaan het, het my ouers bely dat ek in sonde ontvang en gebore is.  Toe almal rondom hierdie oulike klein babatjie gestaan het – O, kyk sy mooi krulhaartjies’ – het my ouers op die punt gestaan om publiek te verklaar dat ek die onderwerp van veroordeling self was.  Ja, ons het almal daaraan deel gehad!  Ons het dit almal van ons kinders gesê:  ellendige seuns en dogters!  Nee, ek bedoel nie toe hulle 15, 16 jaar oud was nie (miskien is dit dan meer sigbaar!);  nee, toe hulle pas gebore was!  Onderworpe aan veroordeling?!  Kan ons dit aanvaar?

Verbeel jou dat ʼn wêreldse regter so sou maak:  veroordeel kinders in die wieg vir iets wat ʼn verre voorvader gedoen het?  Is dit regverdig?, sou ons vra!  Dink jou die protes in as dit in die koerant gepubliseer sou word!  Ons het skuld geërf!  Ons het die uitspraak ‘skuldig!’ ontvang deur ons voorvaders!  Kan ons dit aanvaar?

Sekerlik, ons sê ons staan op die skouers van ons voorvaders.  Ons trek wins van al die prestasies van ons vaders en oupas.  Die kinders spring op fietse wat hulle nie uitgevind het nie.  Ons sit die ligte aan wat ons nie ontwikkel het nie.  Ons het geen probleem daarmee om van die vrugte van ons voorouers te geniet nie.  Ons sou dit selfs kon aanvaar as ons minder aangename vrugte geërf het:  ʼn swak rug, ʼn kroniese hoofpyn, of so.  Ons kan dit verstaan deur die wet van genetiese oorwerwing.  Ons sal dit nie teen ons ouers hou nie.  As die skuld van sonde ons toegereken word, dan sê ons, ‘Ons het nie geëet nie, het ons?!’  Dit maak ook nie sin om te sê dat ‘as ek daar sou gewees het, sou ek ook geval het’ nie.  Dit is ook nie ʼn antwoord nie.  Want ons was nie daar nie!  Tog is ons veroordeel;  ons is skuldig verklaar;  deelgenote in Adam se skuld!

Dit is nogal iets wat na vore kom in ons Sondag, geliefdes.  Wanneer jy met jou seun of dogter praat en hulle vertel dat hulle ʼn pa en ʼn ma het, ʼn oupa en ʼn ouma, en voordat hulle in Suid-Afrika was, doer in die donker eeue van Europa, selfs voor die Romeine, nog verder terug in die geskiedenis van die Paradys waar daar ʼn man en ʼn vrou was, Adam en Eva, wat gesondig het.  En omdat hulle gesondig het was hulle skuldig aan ongehoorsaamheid, die dood verdien en dat hulle skuld na JOU gekom het.  Ons voetafdrukke was nie in die Paradys nie!  Ons vingerafdrukke kan ook nie daar gevind word nie!  Tog lees ons in Rom 5:12 ‘daarom soos deur een mens die sonde in die wêreld ingekom het en deur die sonde die dood...’  Deur een man (nie miljoene mans wat elkeen afsonderlik gesondig het nie), deur een man het die dood gekom en is versprei na alle mense omdat almal gesondig het!  In vers 19 lees ons ook, dat deur een man se ongehoorsaamheid ons almal sondaars gemaak is... Baie is sondaars gemaak!  En met die Kategismus impliseer ons dat ons onder hulle is!

 Het jy dit agtergekom, broeder en suster?  Die toon van die Kategismus word al hoe persoonliker.  Eers praat dit van die ‘mens’ in die algemeen.  Dan noem dit name, Adam en Eva.  Nou praat dit van ‘ons’.  Op watter grond doen hy dit?  Wel, die teks wat dit bewys, sê op grond van Rom 5:19 ‘baie tot sondaars gestel’ en vers 12, ‘omdat almal gesondig het.;  Dit is nie ʼn verduideliking nie.  Dit sê nie hoe en hoekom ons sondaars gemaak is nie, of hoe ons almal gesondig het nie.  Nee, ‘almal gesondig’, ‘baie tot sondaars gestel’.  Teoloë het baie boeke geskryf oor die ‘hoekom’ en ‘waarom’, interessante materiaal, verrykende studies.  Tog is die groot vraag vandag:  kan jy dit aanvaar?  Kan jy God se wetlike raamwerk aanvaar waarin Hy ons sondaars maak?  Dit aanvaar, sonder dat dit verduidelik kan word?  Sonder om te sê ‘dit is hoe en dit is hoekom?’  En tog moet jy, vir jou eie troos!  Jy sal moet terugreis na die Paradys:  oor die spore van die vorige generasie, want dit is waar dit begin het! In die Paradys is die begin van die spore, die spore tussen Adam en ons, tussen die Paradys en Pretoria!  Ja, moenie daardie spore opbreek nie, want dan sal jy jouself losskeur van Adam en so ook geskei word van die tweede Adam:  Jesus Christus!  Want presies in Rom 5 word Christus reg langs Adam geplaas;  die kruis ook reg langsaan!  Romeine 5 neem jou oor die spore na Adam, na die Paradys en wat jy daar sien is Christus in plaas van Adam, ʼn kruis in plaas van daardie boom.  Dan vertel Romeine 5 ons dat dieselfde wetlike raamwerk geld:  soos die ongehoorsaamheid deur een mens gekom het, so ook die gehoorsaamheid deur een.  Dit is God se wetlike raamwerk.  Dit is God se geregtigheid.  Daardie geregtigheid is goed!  Ook al is en bly dit ʼn geheimenis!

Wanneer ons dit aanvaar, sal ons onsself ook nie meer verontskuldig nie.  Dan kan ons saam met Dawid in geloof sê, wanneer hy ʼn moord gepleeg het:  hoekom?  Wanneer het hierdie boosheid na my gekom?  Toe ek koning geword het en die geleentheid gehad het om dinge op my manier te doen?  Nee, dit was alreeds daar!  Toe ek 16 was?  Toe ek klein was?  Nee, dit was alreeds daar toe ek gebore was!  Dit was alreeds daar voordat ek verwek is!  Hy blameer nie sy ma, of soos sommiges vandag sê ‘sy het my in die wêreld geskop.’  Nee, dis nie my ma nie, maar dit was nooit goed nie;  my skuld dateer terug, ver terug in geskiedenis:  my skuld dateer terug na die Paradys!  Dan voeg ons ons by Adam en Eva, Dawid en Batseba, Enog, Noag, Petrus en Paulus en saam staan ons in ʼn sirkel rondom die boom.  En dan tot ons groot vreugde en verbasing sal ons in plaas van die boom ʼn kruis sien, en aan daardie kruis die tweede Adam.  Hy het Sy bloed vir ons gegee om ons skuld af te was en om ons so wit soos sneeu te maak!  Dan sal ons daar staan, want ons het die uitspraak van skuld aanvaar!  Ons staan daar met ʼn gebroke gees, ʼn gebroke en verslae hart, omdat ons gesondig het soos elke mens gesondig het!

3        Die geheimenis van die krag van ons verdorwenheid.


Die derde geheimenis broeders en susters, is die vraag of ons so verdorwe is dat ons glad nie in staat is om iets goeds te doen nie en tot alle kwaad geneig is?  Wel, dit is nie maklik nie!  Natuurlik, ons wil nie enige iets oor onsself sê nie;  ons hou nie daarvan om te spog of verwaand te wees nie.  Nee, kyk na daardie buurman, of die vrou by die werk, wat sy doen!  Nee, sy glo nie, o nee, maar wat ʼn fantastiese vrou is sy nie, ʼn engel!  Sy is altyd bereid om ons te help;  altyd bereid om iets te doen;  altyd opgewek, nooit buierig nie.  Nie in staat om goed te doen nie?  Tot alle kwaad geneig?  Dit is moeilik om te glo!  Dan kan ons net so wel hierdie aarde as ʼn tronk verklaar en alle mense tronkvoëls!  Dan het ons almal die doodsvonnis gekry!  Regtig!

 Geliefdes, wat is die maatstaf?  Die maatstaf is of ons die beeld van God is!  Inderdaad, ons sien baie mense wat baie dinge doen wat ons as goed of menslik of selfopofferend sien, maar wat maak die HERE daarmee?  Hoe vind Hy daarby baat?  Doen hy/sy dit uit liefde vir Hom, om Hom daarmee te dien?  Natuurlik is daar verskille.  Daar is ʼn verskil tussen die ongelowige wat homself heeltemal opoffer in al sy werk vir die Rooi Kruis en die ongelowige wat ʼn ou vroutjie vir R20 in haar beursie vermoor.  Die Kategismus sê nie dat alle mense kriminele is nie;  daar is inderdaad graadverskille.  Maar een ding is seker:  dinge is nie reg nie!  Dit gaan nie beter word nie;  dit gaan nie verander nie!  Die mensdom is vasgevang!  Die mens is vasgevang, totaal vasgevang in sy verdorwenheid.  Die mens is onmagtig om weg te breek van daardie krag van verdorwenheid.

Daarom, sonder God sal dit nie verander nie!  Dit kan nie verander nie.  Verlossing moet van buite kom.  God het die mens goed en na Sy beeld geskape.  Ons moet na die Paradys gaan.  Ons moet terug gaan na die skepping.  Ons moet terug gaan na die Skepper, na die Gees van God, vir totale herskepping!  Terug na die Paradys, geliefdes, om ons skuld te bely en om die Paradys te herwin!  Die Woord sê ons moet!  Die Woord openbaar dit so!

Die Woord vertel ons van ʼn krimineel, ʼn man wat ten minste een moord gepleeg het.  Hierdie een moord het hom aan die kruis laat hang.  Terwyl hy daar gehang het, het hy sy mede-krimineel gewaarsku:  ‘Vrees jy ook God nie, terwyl jy in dieselfde oordeel is? – ons tog regverdiglik, want ons ontvang die verdiende loon vir ons dade, maar Hy het niks verkeerd gedoen nie.’  Daardie krimineel het skuld getoon!  Daardie krimineel het skuld bely!  Hy het ʼn gebroke en verslae hart getoon en met daardie gebroke hart en daardie belydenis van skuld het hy na Jesus gedraai.  En toe hoor hy dit:  terug na die Paradys!  Vandag sal jy met my in die Paradys wees!  Ja, almal wat met ʼn gebroke hart terug na Adam in die Paradys gaan, sal daardie selfde woorde hoor van die tweede Adam:  ‘Vandag sal jy met my in die Paradys wees!’

Op hierdie manier baan Christus die weg na ʼn nuwe toekoms!  Dit is God se Gees wat die ellende van skuld aan jou onthul.  Die kennis van sonde en ellende is nie ʼn toestand vir herlewing nie, maar die vrug van herlewing!  Kan jy daardie geheimenis aanvaar, geliefde?  Dan begin die nuwe lewe en die donkerte word deur die lig verwyder!



Ps. 103: 1, 5, 6;

Ps. 51: 1, 3;

Ps. 51: 5, 6;

Nicene Creed+ SB 14;

SB 29: 6-9.

Reading: Romans 5: 12-21;

text: LD 3.