THE FALL OF MAN

A STUDY BY
GARY RAY BRANSCOME
Lesson 6


    Since the historical facts concerning Adam and Eve’s disobedience are basic to a sound understanding of how sin and suffering entered into the world and the need for a Savior, the pertinent facts are carefully recorded in the book of Genesis.

THE HISTORICAL RECORD


    The first two chapters of Genesis tell us that Adam and Eve were both created in God’s own image (righteous and free of sin), and placed in a garden that God had prepared for them. In that garden they were free to eat of all the trees except one, the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. [Genesis 1:26,27,31, Genesis 2:15-17, Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10, Ecclesiastes 7:29.]

    The third chapter then tells us that Satan (working through a serpent) led Eve, and through Eve Adam, to disobey God. The serpent began by asking Eve if she was allowed to eat from every tree in the garden. When she told him that God had forbidden her to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil lest she die, he contradicted God by telling her that she would not die but instead would be as God, knowing both good and evil (Genesis 3:1-5). Then, seeing that the fruit of the tree was good to eat and looked delicious, she ate of it and convinced her husband to do likewise (Genesis 3:6,7).

    That disobedience on the part of Adam and Eve was the first sin committed by man  (Romans 5:12), After committing it Adam and Eve both became conscious of their own nakedness, and were ashamed, so they wove fig leaves together to make aprons.

AN ANALYSIS OF THE HISTORICAL RECORD


    Although the Bible does not tell us why Satan chose to use a snake rather than a parrot or some other animal when he deceived Eve, it suggests that his aim was subtlety (Genesis 3:1).  He may have also planned to carry out his deception in a way that some would later find hard to believe. However, we know that he did use a snake to deceive Eve, and just as his deception was subtle then, we can expect it to be subtle today. He wants us to regard our impure thoughts and desires as our will, not his will. He wants women to believe that abortion is their choice, not his choice. We are more likely to hear his voice coming from our own wishes and desires, than from confrontation with anti-Christian bigots (Jeremiah 17:9, James 1:13-15). Nevertheless, it is important to realize that God did not create the sinful desires which we experience. Adam was not created with a heart “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Instead, sin has corrupted our nature, and, because of that corruption, we are “by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). [1John 5:17, Romans 3:23, Genesis 5:3, Psalm 51:5, Romans 5:12-19, Romans 8:7, Jeremiah 17:9.]

    Due to the limitation placed upon man's life span by the fall, God’s command to be fruitful and multiply mandated an increase in the rate of reproduction, which resulted in an increase in the sex drive (Genesis 3:16, Romans 5:23). That increase, coupled with the corruption of our nature wrought by sin, turned male-female relationships (outside God's ordinance of marriage) into a continual reenactment of the first temptation (or first sin). For, apart from marriage a woman's body is a forbidden fruit that provides a continual source of enticement and temptation to men. At the same time, men have become a source of enticement to women, and the widespread identification of the serpent as a phallic symbol reveals the spiritual significance of that enticement.

    If the Biblical record of creation and the fall lacked any symbolism, the enemies of the Gospel would belittle it as simplistic. However, since that is not the case, they go to the opposite extreme and try to pass it off as entirely symbolic and nothing more. However, their opinions are of little consequence (Luke 7:32-34), for the Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth of His Word. No man-made story even comes close to revealing the depth of insight into nature and the world around us that is found in the Book of Genesis (1Corinthians 3:19).

    As a consequence of Adam’s sin, Satan was able to gain dominion over him, his descendants, and the physical universe which God had placed under his authority (2Corinthians 4:4). In other words, because he chose to sin, we are born in the bondage of sin (Romans 5:14,17). Just as we are citizens of this country because of a decision by our ancestors, Adam’s decision to sin brought us, and all that was under his authority, under Satan’s dominion (Romans 5:12,14, Ephesians 2:3, Romans 6:16). Thus, God's curse came upon the entire visible creation through the sin of Adam. As a result decay, corruption, and the tendency toward destruction became a part of the very nature of things (Hebrews 1:10-12). The entire universe is now growing old, the rotation of the earth is slowing down, the moon is getting farther from the earth, and the sun will eventually grow dark and cold. Likewise, in our own lives we see conflict, corruption, sickness, pain, and decay. However, all of these consequences should be recognized as a testimony to the fact that we are all sinners in need of a Savior (Luke 13:1-5).

    If it sometimes seems like the innocent suffer, that suffering should be recognized as a testimony to the fact that in the eyes of God “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). If anyone were truly innocent, they would never die (Romans 5:12,18, Romans 6:23). Therefore, the consequences of sin are themselves an expression of God’s call to repentance, for it is only because sin brings suffering that we are able to recognize the true nature of sin and our need to be delivered from it. In other words, if sin had no consequences, it is doubtful that anyone would ever repent. Nevertheless, we need to distinguish between the consequences of sin and its punishment. The punishment of sin is hell, and if God gave us what we really deserve, we would all be instantly plunged into hell (Lamentations 3:22). As it is written, “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10).

CONCLUSION


    The historical record of the fall is basic to our understanding of why it was necessary for Christ to come into the world, and why we need a Savior (Romans 5:12,19). To put it briefly, because all men have a fallen nature, all men are by their very nature sinners in need of a Savior (Ephesians 2:3). Furthermore, since no man can change his own nature, no man can save himself (Jeremiah 13:23). One cannot understand God’s law aright until one understands that fact, for the purpose of the law is to show us why we need Christ.


STUDY QUESTIONS


1- What was the first sin committed by man?
2- Why did Satan use a snake to deceive Eve?
3- Is Satan always open and obvious?
4- What do Jeremiah 17:9 and James 1:13-15 tell us about human nature?
5- Was man originally created with a sinful nature?
6- What was the result of Adam's decision to yield obedience to Satan?
7- What is the presence of sickness, pain, suffering, and death a testimony to?
8- Why do those who seem innocent and righteous suffer?
9- If there was no pain or trouble in the world, would we ever realize that we were sinners?
10- Why should we be thankful that God has not dealt with us according to our iniquities?