By Craig Mercer
March 19, 2021
In this video, we're going to take a step back and look at the larger category than anxiety emerges from that of fear.
While some use the words fear and anxiety interchangeably for our purposes, we want to make a distinction that will be helpful as we look at this topic biblically and learn how to develop anxiety resilience. We understand anxiety as a type of fear. Let's take a look at a key difference.
Fear, in the broad sense, is the fight freeze flight responses to actual impending danger. It's source is typically external and objective. For example, our tornado has landed in your backyard, you're involved in a car accident or you're in some type of physical danger. Anxiety, on the other hand, is typically a state of uneasiness about a potential danger that might happen in the future. It's sources typically internal in subjective. For example, alternative might land in your backyard, you might get into a car accident you might get into a situation of physical danger. So, for our purposes, fear centers on actual present danger. It works in our behalf by mobilizing us towards safety anxiety centers on potential future danger. It works against us by paralyzing our thinking and expending energy on things that may never happen.
So where did fear come from? Let's go back to the beginning and see what we can discover. The first thing to understand is that God created mankind to live in a world governed by Shalom. Skye Jethani describes it this way:
"Shalom is the peace that comes from wholeness from lacking no good thing and living in harmony with God creation and one another. It is the condition that produces comprehensive flourishing where everything and everyone fulfills their God intended potential." -Skye Jethani
Genesis 1:27 to 28 says:
So God created man in his own image in the image of God, he created him male and female he created them and God blessed them and God said to them be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
So what we seek from this is that Eden was initially threat and danger free. Therefore, fear was not a state of being that Adam and Eve ever knew prior to what we call the fall. So God's original creation and intent for mankind was to live in a fear-free environment. To live in a fear-free relationship with him and each other. Genesis 2:25 says "and the man in his wife were both naked and were not ashamed." Unfortunately, it didn't remain that way. Adam and Eve were deceived out of the shalom. God wanted for them as outlined in Genesis 3:1-6. We see one of the immediate effects of their disputings was a shift in self-awareness that evoked change and the eyes of both were opened and they knew that they were naked and they sowed fig leaves together and made themselves clothing.
They're first response was a fig leaf project. They sought to cover the shame.
Then, because of the relational fracture with God, they experience fear for the first time and hide from him instead of running to him.
Continuing in Genesis:
"And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day and the man in his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, where are you and he said I heard the sound of you in the garden and I was afraid. Because I was naked and I hid myself."
So, to complicate matters, danger pain and difficulties (fear and anxiety inducing circumstances) exponentially increase because of the fall. This is outlined in Genesis 3:14 through 19 where we see the catalogue of implications of their disobedience.
But here's the thing; fear makes its permanent presence in our world as a result of sin. The outlook can seem pretty bleak until we see what God provides in response to this now shattered shalom, but that we're going to do in the next video.