Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

The Fall

Genesis 3: The FALL

(This chapter describes the fall of man, and when all of man’s sorrow, hardship and pain began – including death.)

OBSERVATIONS and INTERPRETATIONS:

The characters:

God: He gave the command: Do not eat this fruit or you shall die.

Man: Created by God for a special purpose: to have a personal relationship with His Maker, and become a partner with Him in accomplishing His purpose

Serpent/Satan: Challenges God’s Word; Plants doubt in the mind of man; Entices man to disobey and even lust after becoming like God (the same reason that made God cast Him away from His presence).

The Anatomy of The Fall

The Scene: Woman was taking a leisurely stroll in the garden when she was confronted by the Serpent, who in reading the story and the context, was upright and can speak the human language!

The dialogue. The Serpent did not even begin with “small talk.” He started with a hook: “Indeed has God said, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?” Was he privy to the conversation God had with Adam and Eve? Must be, because he knew God had said something about not eating fruit. Satan is focused and knew how to get the woman’s interest: by egging her to talk about God and His command.

Eve took the bait: she corrected the Serpent. No, not from “any tree.” They were allowed to eat from all the other trees except for that which was in the middle of the garden. Eve told the serpent that they were not even allowed to even touch it, or they die! I think that while listening to God, Eve must have told herself, “Better not go near that one! Nope. I won’t even touch it with a ten foot pole!” Something she added in her mind becomes part of what God said – in her mind.

Satan challenged God’s Word: “You shall NOT die!” Who was lying? God or Satan? We all know that God said they will indeed die if they eat the fruit – or more accurately – go against His will and Word.

The Serpent did not stop at challenging God’s Word, He also started challenging God’s character. The Serpent told the woman, “God knows that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil!” The Serpent accused God of simply being too selfish, power-hungry, and unwilling to share His special powers, that of knowing good and evil. The Serpent seemed so hung up on becoming like God doesn’t he? This seems to be at the very core of sin: pride, lust and covetousness.

Now if this is a movie I am watching, I would be screaming at Eve on the screen: No!! Don’t listen to him! He is lying! Bad things will happen to you! Remember what God told you! Turn away now! Ignore him!” Of course, she doesn’t hear me, and she does the unthinkable. Wonder what was what was going on in her head:

The downhill path to sin

First, doubt seeped in. Really? Now why would God keep us from sharing that kind of power! Knowing good and evil! I wonder what that even means. After all at this point, what does Eve know about evil? The Serpent succeeded in planting doubt about God in her mind.

Second, lust stepped in. Eve ceased thinking about what God said and turned her attention to the tree and its fruit, and she, “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes…” The fruit must have looked ripe and luscious! “I want some of that!”

Third, lust took over. Now, the more dangerous thought crept in: “…that the tree was desirable to make one wise…” That was when she took the Serpent’s bait. Now before we judge Eve, wouldn’t we want to be like God – wise? It is curious that Eve equated knowing good and evil with being wise. Not sure that Eve’s thought about being wise, nor the Serpent’s, was the same as having God's wisdom, because they both were NOT God! God’s wisdom emanates from His nature including His holiness and goodness, as well as His truth and His justice, and all that only God is and can be! The Serpent and the woman were mere created beings! They were not and never will be like God. Eve, at this very moment. like the Serpent wanted to be “like God” – perhaps be more in control! There you have it. Like the Serpent, she too now wanted to usurp God’s place in the Universe! She too wanted to be like God!

Finally, sin was born. Eve still could have thought more about it and must have said to herself and the Serpent: “Naaaaah! I like God and I don’t want to offend Him. Besides, I am not sure this “dying” thing is anything good. I better go ask Him about that next morning when he shows up for our morning walk!” I wish she had. Instead, she reached out and picked one fruit and ate.

I am sure that in that instant, she experienced instant separation, alienation and isolation from God, and all that sin brings about– and separation even from Adam, who up until that point was still one with God. The sad thing was, she was not instantaneously repentant. Instead, she sought Adam and made sure he joined her in her plight.

Then Eve looks for an accomplice. Misery loves company they say, so Eve had to seek someone else to share her misery. There was not a lot of embellishment or explanation as to how Adam responded. The Bible simply says, “she gave also to her husband and he ate.” I am sure he knew it was the forbidden fruit. What went on his mind? “Oh, she ate one and she looks okay. She’s not dead so it must be okay, and what God said about eating it might not be true. After all, He is a good and loving God!”  OF course, I am making this up. 

Adam was not just persuaded by Eve so that his later blaming everything on her was not completely justified. On his own, he decided to go against God’s clear command: Do not eat this fruit! Before he took the fruit from Eve’s hand, he was still one with God. Between that time and the moment he took the fruit and took that bite, he had to make the decision: do I go disobey God or not? He could have easily said: “What have you done? God clearly said not to eat that fruit? Throw that away! We have to see God about this!” That is called righteous indignation! Sadly, he became the hen-pecked husband God never meant for him to be, and ate the fruit.

The consequences of the Fall to man

First, their “eyes were opened…” Indeed, they are seeing the good and evil perhaps for the first time -except they could not do anything about it. Their disobedience had incapacitated them from doing good and avoiding evil. By disobeying God, they have inadvertently aligned themselves with Satan and thus had become God’s enemy.  They could not go back to their original good state! The first thing they saw and became maliciously aware of was of their nakedness, so they made leaf under wears –  a puny attempt to take care of the shame and guilt that sin brings about.  It is curious how their sexuality, which God declared to be good, turned into something that made them ashamed and uncomfortable. Awkward.

Second, they hid from God. Adam and Eve heard the rustle of leaves as God started approaching them, who knew what just happened. Instead of running towards God, they HID from Him. Sin produces GUILT and guilt has a wonderful way of making the guilty party immediately ashamed and defensive.

God called out: “Where are you?” I don’t think that God was clueless about their whereabouts. He knew exactly what just took place and where they were.  Those three words must have been full of pain, I can imagine God saying those words as a cry. They were with Him prior to their fall, but now a wedge had separated God from Adam and Eve. It must have brought Him pain to know and feel that this couple are now dead spiritually, alienated from Him and as such cannot, in their sinful, fallen condition fully experience and enjoy His love and plan for their lives. He is Holy and at this pint they were marred with sin, which His Holy nature simply cannot tolerate.

Third, they focused on their nakedness rather than their guilt. They obviously passed this tendency on to us. When we are guilty, we try to distract God. Instead of saying, we sinned against you, we say: “Well you know I’ve been having this problem (loneliness, homelessness, hunger, etc.) lately.” God wants to get right to the problem: “Who told you that you were naked?” Their nakedness, their sexuality, which God had created and purposed to be so beautiful and so natural just like the rest of their being such as their intelligence, emotions, or like the rest of their bodies, were meant to be enjoyed and nothing to be specifically conscious of, now suddenly became something they thought brought shame and made them feel self-conscious!

“Have you eaten the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” He went straight for the jugular! Of course He already knew this. Was He giving them the opportunity to come clean and confess? They could have thrown themselves at His feet and cried: We have sinned! Nope. They started pointing fingers. Adam quickly said. “The woman you gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Do you see it? Adam blamed God! He essentially was saying, "Well, if you had not given me this woman, this would not have happened!" It's just so like us to blame God for our actions! Well, if you had not made me so poor, I would not have to steal! Have you not allowed me to be born into this dysfunctional family, I would have turned out better! I am sure he did not say the words “this woman” in romantic, loving way! When he said “this woman.” His words were more likely NOT uttered with dreamy eyes, but with narrow eyes full of contempt. This would be the first rift between this man and woman! Sin does that too. Sin does not just cause a rift between man and his Maker, but between him and his fellow man. 

The Lord then turned to Eve and she did pretty much the same thing. She did not take responsibility for her own action, she blamed the Serpent. It is interesting how the Lord did not give the Serpent a chance to speak! At this point, Satan has no option.  Satan was judged after his initial rebellion.

How you have fallen from heaven,

morning star, son of the dawn!

You have been cast down to the earth,

you who once laid low the nations!

You said in your heart,

“I will ascend to the heavens;

I will raise my throne

above the stars of God;

I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,

on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon

I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High.”

But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,

to the depths of the pit.

 -    Isaiah 14:12-15

All God can do for the Serpent (Satan) is to heap or pile more punishment.

Punishment after the Fall

To the Serpent: he was cursed above all animals; he was to crawl on his belly, he will eat dust all his life, there will be “enmity,” between humankind and serpents and then the prophecy regarding the final encounter between him and the woman’s seed, the Christ. Christ will bruise his head, while His seed will bruise His heel.

To Eve: multiplied pain in childbirth (must have been some pain involved even then. One cannot multiply a nothing), her “desire” will be for her husband and he will rule over her. The word desire is nothing positive, but the feeling of despise and wanting to control and usurp his leadership. According to Matthew Henry’s commentary on Genesis, had man not sinned, men would lead with love and wisdom, while women will submit with meekness and humility. Sin has ruined their God-designed inclinations and tendencies to love like He does. After sin, there will only be selfishness, and the vying for power and control. It is interesting to note that Eve’s punishment revolved around her relationships: her young and her husband.

To Adam: the ground was cursed. Whereas, before the fall, working the ground probably was a pleasant though tiring experience, as a result of his sin,  it would be like pulling teeth to have anything growing out of it! There was no promise of retirement here! God said man will have to eat bread, “by the sweat of (his) face,” until he dies. Adam’s punishment was tied to his work and livelihood.

Then the Lord remedied their puny attempt at dealing with their sin. God “made garments of skin for Adam and his wife.” This meant an animal had been killed and skinned for God to provide the animal-skin clothing for them. Thus, the first animal sacrifice for man’s first sin was done. There was no way around it. The Scriptures says the wages of sin is death. With the animal dying, man was given another chance to walk and work with God.

FINAL SCENE:

The Trinity started discussing what just happened, and knew they had to do something else. Adam and Even could not become eternal creatures like God or the angels and demons, and for eternity live in sin and in enmity with God. That would be bad. Can you imagine Hitler living forever? Or Sadam Hussein? Besides, there are enough demons running around trying God and sabotaging His plans (or at least they try – for God cannot “lose”). They had to evict the first couple from their beautiful dwelling place called Eden to prevent them from eating of the Tree of Life and living forever. God made sure they could not go back by placing “the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the tree of life.” Thus, Adam and Eve had to begin their mortal existence filled with strife, pain, suffering, and ultimately death. This while constantly fighting the inner urge to both need and reject God.

APPLICATIONS:

1.  God’s Word is true and final. We better believe and take it seriously.

2.  Be aware of Satan’s lie. He is constantly luring us to doubt God’s Word and His character, and to usurp God’s place, to be, “like God.” We can never be God! We are His creatures, created for His pleasure and purpose. Therefore, becoming like God is really a losing proposition. It is never going to happen. The lure, no matter how wonderful, is never worth the consequences that follow sin – especially that of being separated from our Creator, God. Apart from Him we not only lose life, we lose our meaning and purpose for existing. Sin ruins not only ourselves, or our lives, it also ruins our relationships around us.

3.  At the first sign of temptation, nip it in the bud – turn the opposite way and remind yourself of what God said.

3.  To take responsibility for sin, instead of blaming God and/or people around us.

4.  To run to God when we sin instead running away from God, because He alone can solve our sin problem.

Besides, for some reason, God had chosen to give man a second chance, unlike the angels who rebelled against Him whom He banished from His presence and His grace forever. It will be idiotic not to take it.

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