11 May 2003
Genesis 3:8, Ephesians 2:3 & Romans 5:14
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 19. What is the misery of the estate whereinto man fell?
A. All mankind, by their fall, lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.19. What is the misery of man’s fallen condition?
A. By their fall all mankind lost fellowship with God and brought His anger and curse on themselves. They are therefore subject to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.
1. Of what does man’s misery in the fall consist?
It consists of three things: (a) What man has lost. (b) What man is brought under. (c) What man is liable to.
2. What was the communion with God lost by man because of the fall?
This communion was the presence and favour of God, together with the sweet fellowship and enjoyment of God in the garden of Eden.
3. Does this loss of communion with God extend to this day as far as man is concerned?
Yes, it extends to today. Mankind comes into the world today alienated from God. Mankind lives today alienated from God unless he comes to know God through faith in Jesus Christ.
4. What is man brought under by the fall?
Man is brought under God’s wrath and curse by the fall and this is a great misery. The favour of God is better for man than life itself. Man is wretched and miserable without fellowship with God.
5. Are the miseries in this life external or internal as a result of the fall?
The miseries are both external and internal. Such things as calamities, sickness, losses of homes, jobs, families are all external miseries that could result from the fall. The internal miseries that result from the fall are such things as living under the domination of Satan, the spiritual blindness of mind and hardness of heart, vile affections, perplexities and distresses of the mind.
6. What is the punishment which man is liable to by the fall?
The punishment is death itself at the end of his life. This punishment could be simply physical if a man was born again by the Spirit of God. This punishment could be eternal - an eternity in hell - if man is not born again.