THE FALL OF MAN
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (I Corinthians 15:22).
I The Temptation by the Serpent
1. The subtle doubt was presented to the mind of the woman, [Genesis:3:1]; [Matthew:4:3]; [Revelation:12:9].
2. The woman's reply indicated her knowledge of God's commandment, [Genesis:3:2-3]; [Matthew:4:4].
3. The forbidden fruit was represented as something desirable, [Genesis:3:4-5]; [Matthew:4:8-10].
4. Eve and Adam fell into sin by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, [Genesis:3:6-7]; Roman:5:12-21.
II Adam's and Eve's Excuses for Their Fall
1. Adam and Eve hid themselves from the voice of the Lord, [Genesis:3:8].
2. The Lord called, and Adam had to admit his undone state, [Genesis:3:9-10].
3. Adam attempted to lay the blame upon the woman, [Genesis:3:11-12].
4. Eve attempted to lay the blame upon the serpent, [Genesis:3:13].
III Sin's Penalty and the Messianic Promise
1. The serpent was first to receive God's curse for deception, [Genesis:3:14].
2. At this early period of history, God gave the Messianic promise of Christ's coming to redeem lost mankind, [Genesis:3:15]; [Matthew:1:21]; [John:3:16].
3. The Lord pronounced judgement upon the woman, [Genesis:3:16].
4. God's curse fell upon man for his part in the transgression, and upon nature as well, [Genesis:3:17-19]; [Ecclesiastes:12:7].
5. Adam and Eve were ejected from the Garden of Eden, [Genesis:3:20-24].
It is the aim of Satan, and has been since the beginning of creation, to bring all humanity into his ranks, to gain absolute control over all the earth, and to set himself up as God. There was no fear between man and beast in the Garden of Eden before sin came in, and it was therefore a part of Satan's subtilty to approach Eve through the serpent, when discussing God's commandment. Satan appeared as an "angel of light," as he continued to do even to this day. Since the fall of man, he takes possession of men who willingly become his ministers and emissaries.
God had placed Adam in the Garden of Eden and made him lord over His handiwork, the virtual prince of this world. It was, no doubt, a part of Satan's design to put Adam down, and make himself prince of this world, which he succeeded in doing through the downfall of man. The fight of right against wrong has been raging in this world ever since. Referring to Satan, Jesus once said, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me" [John:14:30]).
Seeds of Unbelief
Satan's first cunning step was to approach Eve with a question: "Hath God said?" Eve's answer reveals that she was well aware of God's commandment, and, had Eve kept the true value of that commandment in her heart, all would have been well. But Satan kept right on talking; he did not give the woman a chance to recover her sense of values. A doubt was instilled in Eve's mind regarding what God had said. Then Satan sowed the second seed of unbelief by insinuating that God did not mean what He said: “Thou shalt surely die." Satan followed quickly with the third dose of unbelief, representing to Eve that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was an item of desire, not only for food, but also for making one wise. The seeds of doubt concerning God's Word entered Eve's heart, and she became an easy tool in the hands of the devil and a useful agent for the downfall of Adam.
The Devil's Pattern
The devil has had approximately 6,000 years in which to learn the best methods to tempt the hearts of men away from God. Through reading the warnings in God's Word upon this matter, and through personal experience, we learn that the devil's methods have not changed much through the years. From Adam's day to this, doubt and unbelief concerning the Word of God has been a besetting sin of humanity. (See [Luke:24:25].)
Through a study of Satan's methods, much can be learned of the manner and means one must use to avoid his snares. The devil is ever ready to challenge the authority of God and His Word. The devil tries to cast doubt upon the authenticity of the Bible; he tries to say that the Bible contradicts itself; he insinuates that the Bible is not true to present day "facts"; and a thousand and one other arguments does he bring. But the child of God knows that God has spoken and that God cannot lie.
If the devil cannot cause a person to doubt the Word of God itself, then he will try to cast a doubt upon the meaning of what God has spoken. God has plainly said, "The wages of sin is death" [Romans:6:23]); but the devil quickly adds, "Ye shall not surely die." The evil one whispers into the ears of men that they can sin for a long while, then repent just before they die, and all will be as though they had never sinned. God has uncovered the deceitfulness of the devil on this point. Did Adam and Eve go unpunished for their sin? Neither can any other man expect to do so. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" [Galatians:6:7]). Thank God, the mercy of God willingly receives with open arms the repenting sinner, and the grace of God forgives the contrite heart; but too often those who wilfully spurn the love and mercy of God find that the devil drives them to perdition without a stopover. "The wicked . . . shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world" [Job:18:5], [Job:18:18]). God means exactly what He said, and those who please Him will order their lives according to what "Thus saith the Lord."
Failing in his other attempts to draw the hearts of men away from God, the devil will try to make sin appear as a thing very desirable. He told Eve that the forbidden fruit would open her eyes and make her wise, that God was actually withholding much good from her and Adam by His commandment. The devil represented to the woman that she would know good and evil if she would only partake of the tree; but what was the result? Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and she gave of the fruit to Adam, and he ate also. Their eyes were opened, truly, but what they saw was their nakedness, their shame, and their undone condition before God. Were they wiser than before? Yes, they were wiser -- in a very depraved way. Did they have the knowledge of good and evil? Yes, to their sorrow. They had the knowledge of good through the loss of it, and they had the knowledge of evil through the sense and guilt of it. Sin is a thing never, never to be desired!
Placing the Guilt
Adam set the pace, and seemingly all his children have followed his footsteps, in trying to place the blame of sin upon another person: "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." God turned to the woman, and immediately she accused the serpent of beguiling her and causing her to eat. God directed His attention to the serpent and meted out judgement and a curse to that subtle creature for allowing the devil to use him as a cloak.
Adam and Eve may have thought for a few moments that their excuses were valid and sufficient, for the Lord turned from the one to the other and then to the serpent. In like manner, today, because in great mercy God does not bring immediate judgement, many people are fooled in the thought that they are getting away with their sins in the sight of God. "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil" [Ecclesiastes:8:11]).
"Be sure your sin will find you out" [Numbers:32:23]). Judgement upon Adam and Eve may have been delayed a few moments, but it was certain to fall upon them. God has made ample provision for the salvation of man's immortal soul today; therefore no excuse for sin is valid in the sight of God. Men may try to hide behind a refuge of lies, but God will sweep the refuge away [Isaiah:28:15], [Isaiah:28:17]). Many will come to God's judgement with their sins following after them, and they will stand before God speechless and without excuse.
Adam and Eve would have given the world, no doubt, if they could have undone in that instant the sin that they had committed; but the die was cast. Through sin their downfall was complete. Adam lost the righteousness and true holiness in which he was created. He lost his purity of heart and mind. He lost his fellowship and sweet communion with God. He lost his high estate as prince over God's creation and was ejected from the Garden of Eden. He lost his righteous Lord and Master; and came under the dominion of a cruel taskmaster, with an inevitable death facing him, as Cod had pronounced [Genesis:5:5]). Toil and sorrow attended him and Eve the remaining days that they lived. The effects of Adam's sin were not limited to him and to Eve, nor to their immediate children. Through Adam, sin passed to all humanity [Romans:5:19]). Adam not only lost the blessings which God bestowed upon him, but a sinful nature was conceived in his heart, which was passed on to his posterity as an inheritance [Psalms:51:5]). That was not all. God pronounced a curse upon the fields, upon the grass, upon the trees, and upon the beasts. A semblance of beauty still continues in this earth, but God's curse is upon it. War and famine and plagues are the result of sin. Sickness, sorrow, disease, and death are in the world because of sin.
The fearful scope of the curse which Adam's sin brought upon this poor world may appear to some to be all out of proportion to the seeming lightness of his transgression. But the exceeding sinfulness of sin is not to be measured alone by either the apparent lightness or the heinousness of one transgression. The seriousness of Adam's transgression is that it consisted of a willful breaking of God's commandment, and that is rebellion against God. Men today are minimizing sin, but no man can treat lightly the commandments of God and retain God's favour, any more than Adam retained God's favour.
Beam of Light
A verse here, [Genesis:3:15]) written into this dark picture of sin, sheds a beam of light for lost humanity. In this verse is revealed God's wonderful mercy. No sooner did the fall occur than God disclosed a way back to the Father's house. This is the first verse in Scripture pointing to Christ, the Redeemer of men. Through Him the "image" lost by the fall is to be restored. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" ([1 John:3:1]).
The promised Messiah is here called the seed of the woman, because in the fullness of time, in His incarnation. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin and took upon Himself the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men [Philippians:2:6-9]). Even though first in the transgression, the woman was honoured of God as the one through whom the Holy Child was brought forth. As God had said, Satan bruised Christ's heel when Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world; but Satan's head was bruised when Jesus arose from the dead, triumphant over death, hell, and the grave. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, in redeeming believing men from sin [John:3:16]), has continued to deal the stunning blow to the archenemy of God. One day the Lord will complete the conquest; for the devil, and death, and hell will be cast into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night for ever and ever [Revelation:20:10], [Revelation:20:14]).
1. Whence came the subtilty and power of speech, which the serpent in the Garden possessed?
2. With what question did the serpent approach Eve?
3. What is the Bible definition of sin?
4. Wherein consisted the sin when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?
5. What were the curses, which God pronounced because of their sin?
6. What was the promise, which God also made at this time?
7. What effect did that sin in the Garden of Eden have upon all humanity?
8. What was the object of Satan in bringing about the downfall of man?