IN THE BEGINNING GOD (6) THE DOCTRINE OF THE FALL OF MAN
During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Genesis chapter 3. She said that Genesis chapter 3 is absolutely essential in understanding the Bible and the history of man. Here we see how sin entered humanity. For the first time, we are presented with the Gospel of Christ. If you study the history of man, there is no better explanation of why things happen the way they do, except you believe the doctrine of the fall of man and the doctrine of the original sin.
The fall of man, also called ‘the fall of Adam’, or simply ‘the Fall’, is a term used in Christianity to describe the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience. The doctrine of the Fall comes from a biblical interpretation of Genesis, chapters 1-3. God created Adam and Eve perfect. They were innocent concerning sin. But God allowed their free will to manifest. Obedience meant life. Disobedience to God’s command meant death. God gave Adam a covenant of works. He broke the covenant.
This is a reminder that later, God then sent His Son Jesus Christ with a covenant of Grace. We believe Jesus Christ, that He died for us. Grace means unmerited favor. If Adam, as perfect as he was could not keep the covenant of works, God knew that we cannot keep it. Grace is introduced thru Christ. That is why salvation is Christ can never fail. We are saved, not by works, but by Grace, thru faith in Jesus Christ, in His death on the Cross. Salvation in Christ is eternal!
At first, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden. It was their home, their paradise created by God specifically for them. They were happy as a husband and wife. They worked and took care of the garden. God, their Creator, visited them daily, in the evenings, to fellowship with them. This was their lifestyle. God put Adam in the Garden and commanded him “to tend and keep it” (Gen 2:15). These words mean that Adam was supposed to cultivate the Garden and to watch over it. In other words, Adam was to be a farmer and a watchman. God did not tell Adam about the devil, but the command to watch over the garden implies that there is an enemy outside there. Adam was commanded to protect the garden from enemies. This command was given to Adam before Eve was formed. That is why when both fell, God held Adam responsible for both of their sins. He was formed first. He was the leader of the home. God gave the law to him in particular. He was to teach Eve the law. But he failed to do so. That is why their fall into sin is called The Fall of Man or The fall of Adam. Adam understood the law of God. He was created intelligent. He was also created to love God and obey His commands. For Adam to disobey God’s command, he had to willingly choose disobedience. Sin was not an ignorant error. Eve was deceived into sin, but Adam disobeyed God willingly and knowingly. “Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1Tim 2:13, 14). There is a great lesson here: Husbands, fathers, pastors and leaders have a greater responsibility to protect their spiritual territory. Pray for your leaders!
The devil using the serpent tempted them into eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They both fell into sin. God curses the serpent and curses the ground. God does not curse Adam and Eve because He has already blessed them. But God gives His judgement: there shall be pain to the woman in the process of her being a mother. Also, God adds sorrow to the man in the process of his labor. At the same time, God announces the Gospel. The Seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, will come one day and bruise the head of the devil. God clothes them with animal skins. Lastly, God expelled them from the Garden to prevent them from eating from the tree of life and becoming immortal in sin. Two cherubs with flaming swords were placed at the gate of the Garden to prevent them going back!
The serpent was ‘more cunning’ than any other animal that God has made. The word ‘cunning’ is also translated as shrewd, wise or prudent. Initially, the serpent was created innocent. God gave it more wisdom than He gave to the other animals. Possibly, the serpent could speak at that time. Eve does not look afraid to speak to the serpent. The devil possessed the serpent and use it to tempt Eve. This is reminder: Temptation is not a sin. Agreeing with the temptation and yielding to it, is sin. Temptation came from the outside. Eve obeyed the devil and broke God’s law. That is sin!
We are not given many details. We are not told how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden as husband and wife. It seems that they did not live long in the Garden as a husband and wife. The devil is not introduced as devil. The serpent is its victim. There is no explanation how the devil came to possess the serpent and tempt Eve. The devil knew God’s law in the garden. He starts the discussion with Eve using a question. “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen 3:1. KJ). The word ‘yea’ means a surprise. Questions are powerful on the human mind. They are like a hook. They arrest the thoughts forcing them to consider the question. Research show that for as long as the human mind thinks how to answer the question, it cannot think about any other thing. Human brain can only think of one thing at a time. Questions are selfish and possessive. They influence action. The devil knew that starting the discussion with a question, Eve’s mind will be manipulated to answer the question and forget every other thing.
Throughout His life on earth, the Pharisees bombarded our Lord with many questions. The devil was behind all those. But Jesus could not be manipulated by the devil. Each of His answers, even His silence, gave glory to God. For example, our Lord answered Pilate but refused to answer the Pharisees. “Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly” (Mt 27:11-14). It was the same with King Herod. “Then he (Herod) questioned Him (Jesus) with many words, but He answered him nothing” (Lk 23:9). What is the lesson? Questions can be spiritually poisoned arrows! They may be part of spiritual warfare! Be careful and discerning with people who ask you many questions? The devil may use the questions to try to rule over your mind. Do not allow these questions to penetrate your mind. Leave them on the altar of God. Remain calm! Pray for wisdom! Let the Holy Spirit help you deal with these questions!
“The Lord God” in Hebrew, is Jehovah Elohim. Elohim means God, The Creator. Jehovah means the Covenant Keeping God, the personal relationship God. Towards men, God’s title Elohim is more distant than the Name Jehovah, which reflects an intimate relationship. It is Jehovah Elohim that speaks to Adam and commands him to tend and keep the Garden. It is Jehovah Elohim that tells Adam to freely eat fruits from any tree in the Garden, but not from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is Jehovah Elohim that makes a wife for Adam and invents the holy institution of marriage (Gen 2:15-18). It was the duty of Adam to teach Eve how to honor God by addressing Him with the proper names: Jehovah Elohim! It was the duty of Adam to teach Eve how to obey God’s commands! When the devil asks Eve about God’s prohibition, he only uses the name Elohim. He ignores the name Jehovah. He dishonors God by reducing His name. He tells Eve that God is only her creator, not a God who desires a relationship with her. He makes Eve feel that God does not care for her; that is a God afar off. The devil pretends to care for them more than God. Eve falls to the deception. She takes the devil’s example, and she too addresses God only as Elohim. Both the devil and Eve ignore the name Jehovah, the personal Covenant keeping God in their first conversation! As you can see, Eve was not watchful. That is how deception entered. Sin entered. Man fell in the Garden! Their lives will never be the same again!
But in the middle of this tragedy, the Hope of the Gospel is introduced. One day, the Last Adam, the Second Man, our Lord Jesus Christ will come, and He will obey all God’s Law. He will take man’s sin upon Himself and die on behalf of man. This is the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected! Once again, light shines in the darkness! God can never fail! Jesus is Lord! Worship the Lord!