#TweetLikeJesus: Social Media in the Fall

This is the third post in a multipart series—#TweetLikeJesus: Social Media to the Glory of God. For background on the approach taken, see the first post — “Social Media to the Glory of God.”

The Fall

When we refer to “the Fall,” we don’t mean autumn. We refer to the moment at which the first humans rebelled against God, and sin and death entered the world. This event is recorded in Genesis 3.

You likely know the story. God had told Adam to eat freely of any tree in the Garden, except for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In the day he ate from that tree, he would surely die. The Serpent approached the woman, questioning God’s word and deceiving her. As a result, she transgressed God’s command, took of the tree, and ate. Then she gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. When he ate, both their eyes were opened to good and evil; they were filled with shame.

In response, God cursed the earth. As a result, the task of filling the earth, subduing it, and exercising dominion over it would become painful and difficult. Moreover, humans would die, returning to the dust from which they came.

As Adam and Eve move outside the garden and have children, we see that they pass along a fallen and corrupt nature to their children. Humanity is now full of sin, living in opposition to God.

Human Purpose in the Fall

The purpose of humans remains the same—the image of God is not lost. But human beings have rejected that purpose to live for another.

Instead of being content to be God’s representatives, Adam and Eve pursue being God’s equals. They believe the Serpent’s lie that in the day they eat of the fruit they will be like God. Their actions communicate that God is a liar and that they are the proper arbiters of truth. In other words, sin says, “I have more excellence than God. God is worth less than I am.” Sin is exchanging the glory of God for a lie. Human beings begin to live for self-glory and to mistreat one another.

We see this illustrated in Genesis 4. The first (and most famous) instance is the brother Cain and Able. Cain, angered that God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and rejected his own, murders his brother. When Cain is cursed for this sin, he remains unrepentant. He is unconcerned for how his actions failed to display God’s glory. Cain is unconcerned for how he treated another image bearer. He is only concerned that someone might harm him—he is living for his own glory.

Communication in the Fall

This pursuit of our own glory and indifference to God’s glory is particularly seen in communication after the fall.

To begin with, consider Adam. His first (and only) recorded words in his sinless state are an exclamation of delight in God’s creation of the woman. He glorifies God and honors her. His next recorded words—spoken after the fall—are entirely different. Instead of glorifying God and honoring the woman, he turns God and the woman into a scapegoat, blaming them for his sin. “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12).

Their children only go from bad to worse. This culminates in Cain’s descendant Lamech, who says to his wives (Genesis 4:23-24):

Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say:
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for striking me.
If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold,
then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.

Now humans are not seeking to hide sin or pass the buck. They are using communication to boast of their own wickedness. They defy anyone who might attempt to bring them justice. (It is worth noting that Lamech is speaking to his wives. It almost appears as a threat of domestic violence—“Wives, do you see what I did to a young man for striking me? Beware…”)

Technology in the Fall

In Genesis4, it is the descendants of wicked Cain who are known for the development of technology—animal husbandry, musical instruments, and metalworking (probably for tools and weapons). (This is what is highlighted about them in contrast to the line of Seth, which is known only for worshiping Yahweh—implying that technological advancement was their hope and glory instead of God.)

The supreme example of technological advancement in the hands of sinners might be in Genesis 11, the Tower of Babel. Humanity undertook the most significant technological endeavor to that point in history. They said (Gen. 11:4): “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” In other words—“We will not spread out over the whole earth to make a name for God. We will stay here and make a name for ourselves—and we will use our technology to do so!” And that is what humanity has been doing ever since.

Social Media in the Fall

In sin, humans value the wrong things. Misusing our communications and technology, we attack one another. We live for self-glorification, self-advancement, self-protection.

Does any of that sound like social media? Of course, it does. Social media is infamous for humans harming one another with their communications. Social media is full of people using the technology for self-glorification, self-advancement, self-protection.

That is the problem. What then is the solution?

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