The Fall of Man Part 1 of 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
March 16, 2014
The Fall of Man
A conscientious Bible teacher was trying to teach his class of small children about the nature of sin. He hit a snag when he started telling them that we are all born in sin. One little girl gave him a puzzled look, and then said very seriously, “I wasn’t born in sin. I was born in November.” Well, we know that this little girl’s understanding of sin is probably incomplete. But, all we need to know about sin is found in the Bible.
At the beginning of the Bible, we find the first sin and the fall of man. Satan was behind it. Because he hated God, he wanted to destroy His creation. Satan made his attack on our first parents, while they were in the Garden of Eden. It began with an attack on the Word of God. The Word, at that time, consisted only of what God had said in person to Adam and Eve. They were innocent; in fact, they didn’t even know what sin is. We know that Satan hates God, and in this case, he was jealous of what God had created. That’s why he made a plan to destroy it. First, he disguised himself by taking the form of a serpent. Then he talked to Eve, using his genius and cunning, and he made certain insinuations against the LORD. Her only defense was God’s Word, to which she could have added, “Thus Saith the LORD.” In the final analysis, the temptation hinged upon the matter of belief. Would Eve believe God or would she believe the serpent?
Our text is Genesis 3:1-8, and I will read the verses to you.
3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
I wonder what God’s plans were for humankind, if sin never entered the picture. We’ll never know, because this passage describes the first sin, and it was that one sin that caused the FALL OF MAN.
Right off the bat, we hear Satan tempting Eve by questioning what God had told the couple. Verse 1 tells us several things; it says: Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Satan is able to overcome us since he is a fallen angel who is brilliant, cunning and malicious. Now, nobody can be fuller of malice against humanity than Satan is, and he proves it every day; and that malice sharpens his inborn wisdom, so that he has become exceedingly subtle. He attacks Eve, when she was alone. That placed her at the greatest disadvantage. He knew that “two are better than one”; and that what one might yield to, two could resist.
It’s highly probable that he assaulted her at a moment when she was near the tree, so that there would be no time for her to reflect and deliberate on his question; “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” He wants to create doubt in her mind about whether God really meant what He said. Satan doesn’t dangle the fascination of the forbidden fruit before Eve, but an apparently innocent doubt is passed into her ear. Isn’t that still the way that we are snared? A young person may think, ‘There is no harm in it’ about alcohol, drugs, and sex, even though they were forbidden at home, and before they know it, they have been attacked and they are half conquered.
Next, we have Eve’s reply in verses 2 and 3.
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. The test to which Adam and Eve were subjected was not so much whether they would eat or not eat this particular fruit, but whether they would respect and obey or neglect and transgress God’s orders. If they were to continue in happiness they must submit to one simple restriction; they had to refrain from eating the fruit of one tree, while they could eat all they wanted of the others. And they knew beforehand what the consequences would be for violating this restriction.
In verses 4 and 5 we have Satan denying the truth of God’s Word.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. As God had preached to Adam, so Satan now also preaches to Eve. The object of Satan was to draw Eve away from what God said, by what he was telling her; that God had lied about the tree. Here, as far as we know, is the first lie ever told. Later, Jesus will say about Satan that He always lies; in fact, He calls him the father of liars. Satan charges the LORD with committing two wrongs.
The first was being envious of his creatures’ happiness. He says, “God doesn’t want you to eat the fruit of this particular tree because you might die; the real reason is that it will make you just like Him. Then he charges God with lying by claiming that what God said wasn’t true, and that God really knew it was false. Then He told her that when she eats the fruit, her eyes will be opened, and she will know what God knows. She will not only know all about good and evil, but she will also receive the power to understand things that are a mystery to her now. Every word he spoke was a lie, and his intention was that they will discover their nakedness.There was one more lie, “And ye shall be as gods.” Not only would they understand “good and evil” but also they would be able to do what God does.
There’s a comparison that can be made between the temptation of Adam and Eve and the temptation of Christ. They had everything, the garden and its pleasures, while Christ had the wilderness and its hardships. They had confidence in Satan, while Christ had confidence in God; and the result was that they met with defeat, while Christ would later be victorious.
We’re told in verse 6, And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. This tree must have been beautiful, because when Eve saw it, and the fruit that it held, she wanted some. Isn’t that the way sin is; it has the strange power of making the object of desire, whether it’s good or bad, a powerful attraction.
She took some of the fruit, but she didn’t eat it by herself. She took it to Adam, because she no doubt wanted to make him a partner in this crime against God. Her actions went against God’s purpose for creating her, for she was to be a helpmate for Adam, and not his destroyer. Perhaps he was easily persuaded or she may have used all of her feminine wiles on him, but in the end, we are told that he did eat the fruit. Therefore, he involved himself in the crime of his already guilty partner.
But there is a difference between the two criminals. Adam wasn’t intimidated by the devil, and he took the fruit willingly fully knowing that God said not to. That’s why the Bible assigns this first sin to Adam.
Romans 5:12 says just that: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
Once again, someone might object that it was Eve and not Adam who committed the first sin on earth. That is true, but since Adam was the first to be created, headship was given to him. So, as far as the first sin is concerned, he is seen as acting for all of his descendants.