Our world is broken. Poverty. Violence. Injustice. Slavery. Hunger. Rage. Indulgence. Divorce. Loneliness. Separation. Fear. Hurts.
Where did it all begin?
The world God created was perfect. The perfect Garden of Eden. Adam & Eve lived there, and they had a perfect relationship with God and each other.
1 Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. 3 But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave ⌊some⌋ to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
Questioning God. The serpent’s strategy was simple: begin by questioning God’s Word. He asked Eve something that caused her to question what God had said. You can hear the attitude in the question he asked her: “Did God really say…?” Anytime you find yourself questioning God’s Word, stop and pray. It is normal to have questions for God. Take those to him in prayer. But if you find yourself questioning the truth about something that is crystal clear in God’s Word, be careful. Satan may be tempting you in the same way that through the serpent he tempted Eve.
In the course of their brief conversation, the serpent misrepresented God’s Word. He made it appear that God was holding out on Adam and Eve. This was far from the truth. The reason that God had told them to avoid the tree was so that they would avoid the pain and consequences that would follow by eating of its fruit. God had given them an enormous, beautiful, perfect Garden to enjoy. He simply asked them to obey him by avoiding the fruit of one tree. They acted just like a child who is told, “Play with any toy in the room that you want. Just not that one toy.” Guess which toy the child will most likely choose? The one the child is told not to play with. Human nature draws him or her to question their parents just like the serpent tempted Eve to question God.
Falling to temptation. In just a few words, the Bible describes how Eve descended down the slippery slope of sin. Here is what she thought:
- The fruit was good for food — lust of the flesh
- The fruit was delightful to look at — lust of the eyes
- The fruit would make her wise — pride of life
Eve had a choice in that moment. She was being tempted, but she did not have to give in to the temptation. She could have consulted with Adam. Adam could have stepped in and stopped her from eating the fruit. He was right there with her. Both of them could have called out to the Lord for help. But they did none of those things.
Eve ate of the fruit. And then Adam ate. And our world has been broken ever since.
Interestingly, the three ways in which Eve was tempted are paralleled by the ways Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan. But the main difference is this: Jesus overcame each of the temptations of Satan. (See Matthew 4:1-11 and 1 John 2:15-17)
Dealing with consequences. There were real world consequences and spiritual consequences for Adam, Eve and the serpent (Satan). The serpent had spoken in half-truths when he convinced Eve to question God’s Word. Adam and Eve did not physically die on that day, but in a very real way their bodies began to die. The death that occurred that day was spiritual death because of sin. Adam and Eve were now spiritually separated from God. They did see a clear distinction between good and evil. They had thought they could determine good and evil. But they were wrong. They were embarrassed and ashamed. They made fig leaves to cover their nakedness. What had previously been a beautiful, close relationship with God was now full of fear and hiding.
In the midst of their brokenness, God spoke to them out of his love. God is sovereign. He is good. He is just. He is gracious. God called to them from their hiding and asked them where they were. God knew where they were the whole time. He wanted them to realize where they were.
The consequences were clear:
- The woman would have pain in childbirth, and there would be tension and power struggle between her and her husband, and enmity between her and the serpent (Satan)
- The man would experience thorns and thistles and pain for the first time as he worked the ground; work would be difficult now, much different than before
- The serpent would forever have to crawl on its belly upon the earth; and most importantly in a prophecy concerning the Deliverer to come: the seed of the serpent would bruise the heel of the seed of the woman, but the seed of the woman would crush the head of the seed of the serpent. (See Genesis 3:15)
This last consequence is a prophecy indicating that Jesus (a descendant of Eve) would be crucified, and that Satan would think he (Satan) had won. But through the resurrection Jesus would demonstrate that he (Jesus) is the risen Savior, the One who died for the sin of all people, the Deliverer who offers salvation to all who will believe.
Covering for sin. Adam and Eve had tried to cover their sin physically with fig leaves. God sacrificed an animal to provide them with animal skins to cover them. This animal sacrifice showed them that without the shedding of blood their is no forgiveness of sins. The animal died in their place. They trusted in the Lord for forgiveness and eternal life.
God banished them from the Garden. He placed an angel at the entrance to keep them out. What seems like a cruel act of judgment is an act of grace. Had they remained in the Garden of Eden, they would have eaten from the Tree of Life and would have lived forever, but they would have been eternally dying. God is his grace removed them from the Garden, allowed them to live a long life on earth, and I believe he then welcomed them into his presence when they died.
Implications for us today. This story provides so many answers to the world in which we live today.
- the origin of sin and brokenness in this world
- the ways in which Satan tempts us, even to this day
- the solution to the world’s problems, and our only hope for salvation — Jesus
What do you need to do in response to these truths from God’s Word?
4 thoughts on “The Fall of Man”
John and I appreciate receiving your messages ‘way down here in Arkansas. I have a question — if you gave a Bible to a 21 yr old girl who was dating your grandson, where would you tell her to begin her quest? She has no experience with church or the Bible, but we have persuaded them to come to church with us once. Her life has been tough and she has a 14 month old little boy. Sometimes we want to wring her neck, but lovin’ her probably works better. . .
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I think one of the Gospels is the best place to start, for sure. Pick your favorite one — Matthew, Mark, Luke or John — and point her that direction. Then Genesis, then another Gospel, then James, then Exodus, then 1 John. Paul’s letters are all good, Ephesians might be the best for her. Psalms and Proverbs are great too! I’ll be praying.
I wasn’t able to be there Sunday. Always enjoy your Sermons.