God told Adam before Eve was created that he was not to eat of the of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 2:17) Further God warned that in the day he did eat fruit of that tree man would surely die.
Adam was without sin, but God had given him a will which gave Adam the potential to sin. At first, Adam exercised his will toward God and had fellowship with Him. How long a period of time between Adam and Eve's creation elapsed the Bible does not tell us. The only clue we have is that they did not have children before the Fall, which seems to indicate a short period of probably a few weeks. However, this is speculation.
Eve was tempted by Satan who took the form of a serpent. (3:1) The serpent is described as being more subtile or clever than any other animal of the field. This probably is why Satan choose to take the form of a snake. Eve, seems not to think it unusual that the serpent could speak to her. Possibly, Adam and Eve could communicate with animals, but again that is pure speculation.
Satan is a created being, an angel called a cherb. In Ezekiel 28:12-17, the Bible gives us information concerning Satan. Though the passage states this is referring to the King of Tyre, it is clear that Satan had indwelled this king, for the King of Tyre was not in the Garden of Eden as V13 says. It was Satan who was in the Garden of Eden. Verses 13 and 17, state Satan was created beautiful. He was covered with precious stones. And as a Cherub he was the highest of all the angels God created. He had a special place of prominence. On the Ark of the Covenant, it is Cherubs whose out stretched wings guarded the mercy seat. (Ex. 25:20) Verse 15, states he was created perfect without sin.
Yet, Satan sinned against God and God cast him down from his high position. Isa. 14:12-14, Further describes Satan's sin. He is called "Lucifer" meaning the bright one, "the son of the morning". He was cut down to the ground because of his sin he said in his heart that he would be above God. He was determined to set up his own throne that men might worship him. Yet God said he would be brought down.
It is obvious that Satan first led a rebellion in heaven against God (Matthew 12:24, 2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6, Revelation 12:4) and then proceeded to tempt man also to disobey God.
The question always arises as to when Satan's fall in Heaven took place. In Genesis 2:1, God pronounced that "the heavens and the earth....and all the host of them" were "very good". Henry Morris, believes that the "host of heaven includes the angels as well as the stars.(1) Charles Ryrie, concludes that refers to stars (Neh. 9:6), and to angels ( 1 Kings 22:19), and this use of the term "the host" simply means all the things God created.(2) This would mean the Fall of Satan took place between the completion of the Creation or bet ween Genesis 2:25, and Genesis 3:1. Whether we accept that the term "host of heaven", included the angels and Satan, it is clear that Satan's Fall took place before Genesis 3, and that is all we can be sure of.
Those who believe in the "gap theory" preclude that Satan's Fall took place after Genesis 1:1, and before Genesis 1:2. Weston Fields explains the this supposed "gap" this way:
"In the far distant dateless past, God created a perfect heaven and perfect earth. Satan was ruler of the earth which was peopled by a race of "men" without souls. Eventually, Satan, who dwelled in a garden of Eden composed of minerals (Ezek. 28), rebelled by desiring to become like God (Isa. 14). Because of Satan's fall, sin entered the universe and brought on the earth God's judgment in the form of a flood (indicated by the water of 1:2), and then a global ice-age when the light and heat from the sun were somehow removed. All the plant, animal, and human fossil upon the earth today date from this "Lucifer's flood" and do not bear any genetic relationship with the plants, animals and fossils living on the earth today."(3)
At the heart of the "gap theory" is the effort to place in time the Fall of Satan. But it is not a proper or correct method of interpreting Scripture to "dream up" the existence of a supposed prior earth which was destroyed. There is no Biblical or Scientific evidence to support such an idea. Thus, if we honestly want to teach what the Bible truly says we can only state that the Fall of Satan took place before Genesis 3. It serves no purpose to do otherwise.
Satan begins the temptation with a question, "Hath God not said Ye shall no eat of every tree of the garden?" This is the way of Satan to bring into question what God has plainly stated. It is actually bringing God Himself into question. To question God is suggest that God could be wrong, or have some sinister reason for what He says.
Eve's response was to correct Satan's question, by stating that she and Adam could eat of all the trees of the garden except the one tree called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It should be noted that she further stated they could not eat or "touch" it lest they die. God had said in Genesis 2:17, that they should not eat it. God did not say anything about touching it. This addition to what God had said seems to indicate that Eve resented the fact of God prohibition not to eat of that particular tree. On the other hand, it could mean that she was indicating her understanding that God did not want them to have anything to do with this tree. God said not to eat the fruit, she concluded she shouldn't even touch it.
Satan who is the father of lies, then blatantly lies and tells Eve that she would not die! Speaking to the Pharisees Jesus said of Satan:
" Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44).
Satan tells Eve, that God has with held the truth from them and that if she eats the fruit of the tree she would see the truth and she would become like God. The words used in the KJV, "as gods", is better translated "like God".
Morris makes this most revealing statement:
"In effect, of course as soon as one begins to deny God's Word or to question His sovereign goodness, he is really setting himself up as his own god. He is deciding for himself the standards of truth and righteousness." (4)
Even today Satan still tempts gullible man into believing he can become as his Creator. The devil dangles this before the eyes of the cults and they believe Satan rather than what God has clearly stated. It is the ultimate and most despicable act of the pride of man to even entertain the idea we can be "like God". Satan is cunning he knows his subject well. Being a creature of pride, he know of pride's weakness. The cults and the false teachers of today question the stated Word of God. They add, subtract, twist and lie as to what God has said. Many are they that fall victim.
Satan's attack was outward which appealed to the inward heart of man. God's appeal is first an inward one that when accepted changes the outward character of man.
Eve then allowed herself the be deceived in three areas. First, Eve saw the fruit was good for food, appealing to the flesh and bodily senses. Second, She saw it was pretty, appealing to the emotions, and Third, it appealed to her mind and intellect, in that she wanted to be wise.
Satan used the same line a attack in tempting the Lord Jesus. He first suggested Jesus, "Command that these stones be made bread", appealing to Christ's bodily senses. Next, challenging the Lord's courage and His emotions, Satan said, "Cast thyself down". Lastly, the Devil appealed to the spiritual pride and said, "Fall down and worship me". (Luke 4:1-13)
Satan's tools of deception remain the same today. He appeals to the weakness of our flesh, emotions and intellect.
Eve's failure was a series of multiple errors. She refused to simply accept God at His Word. She added to and subtracted from it. She doubted God, opening the door to the Devil's appeal to the flesh and her spiritual pride. She succumbed and sinned and in doing so plunged all the world thereafter into sin.
She also failed in the area of her position as Adam's helper. She made the decision to disobey God by herself. She did not involve Adam in any way until the act of disobedience was done. Then she became a instrument of temptation herself and offered the fruit to her husband. She failed in her role as a helper and was the means bringing his downfall.
Sin and rebellion by its nature is contagious. Its effects are never confined to only the one who sins. It grows. It spreads and seeks to involve others as well. Eve, upon eating the fruit immediately sought the one she was suppose to be a helper to, Adam. She was the source of Adam's temptation, not Satan. I Timothy 2:14, states Adam was not deceived. He fully and completely knew what he was doing in taking the fruit.
The verse further states that it was Eve who was in transgression or became the sinner. Yet, Romans 5:12, 18, and I Corinthians 15:22, the Bible lays the guilt to Adam, not Eve. The responsibility rests on the shoulders of Adam. Adam was made first, and Eve was from Adam and thus all of mankind is the descendent of him.
Some have concluded that Adam loved Eve to the point he willing sinned in order not to lose her or be separated from her. It is a false view because it makes Adam's deed almost honorable. Adam would have gave up all for love. All sin is an abomination unto God and the wages of sin, any sin is death. There is nothing honorable about doing wrong.
Satan's goal was to get Adam to sin. He used Eve's gullibility and weaker nature to get at man. Adam saw that Eve had eaten of the fruit, and he must have concluded that she was not dead and thus God must have lied to them. He most likely based his response to a false perception of what he thought the situation was. Instead of believing God, he believed what his eyes saw and what his own wisdom concluded was real. He was wrong! His error was deadly and he willing accepted his own wisdom over the expressed Word of God.
After Adam sinned, both their eyes were opened and they saw themselves as their had made them to be, naked and ashamed. The had succumbed to temptation, and instead of being elevated to the status of a god, they had been plunged down into the depths of destruction. What a awful realization it must have been. What emptiness and depths of shame they must have felt.
They immediately sought to cover their nakedness and sewed fig leaves together into an apron. There was no way to hide or undo their sin. The leaves sewn together were a poor and useless substitute for the purity they had before they sinned.
Adam and Eve, having sinned had broken intimate fellowship with God. The effects of sin is always separation from God. This does not mean that God does not love us, but it means God by His nature must be separated from sin.
The sin that plunged mankind into sin was not murder or some other gross sin, but a simple act of eating the fruit of a prohibited tree. The sin was disobedience. It shows that man was not capable of determining what was good and evil and that man must trust God in the matter. The tree was placed there to define good and evil. On all the earth there was only one source of temptation, that one tree. Adam and Eve, in reality did already know what was right and wrong. It was wrong to eat the fruit of that one tree. That had to exercise trust in God; God said it was forbidden and thus they had to accept that it was.
God is our creator and thus has the right to establish laws that His creation live in an orderly manner. God's laws are both spiritual and material. The material law of gravity is absolute. If you disobey the law of gravity by jumping off a high cliff you will be injured or killed. The law of gravity is vital for order on the physical earth. The law of gravity is not evil but is good. Further it is not evil because if violated it can bring harm to the violator. The responsibility rests with the individual to obey and observe the law of gravity thus benefiting from it.
God wanted the very best for man, thus he had the right to prohibit man from doing that which was destructive to him. Thus he instructed man to always obey God. The tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil established the bonds of man's responsibility. Of all the trees in the garden man could freely eat, however this one tree was harmful and God told man not to eat of it.
Note that God had given man a will. There was a need of a prohibition on man's will. Man was not God and did not have the knowledge of God, thus was and is a creature needing guidance and help. Man was not a robot programed to be a performer. Man was made a free being able and expected to use his God given ability to choose to correctly obey God.
There are many questions these brief notes do not explain. Man has sought to find the answers throughout history, yet without success. We then are left with a mystery. We do not know the mind of God in why man was created or understand how all this came to be. But we do know this, whether we understand it or not, God is not the author of sin. Man was created in God's image, able to exercise his will yet, man was created Holy, separate from sin. Sin ended when man disobeyed and God allowed it to happen. God will not violate man's will. To do so would turn man into a robot. The sun is not the source of darkness, but darkness exists where the sun does not shine. God is not the source of sin, but when man disobeyed God's good law, God withdrew and darkness came upon man.
God came as usual in the cool of the day to fellowship with Adam and Eve, but they withdrew. This is the hard fact that man withdrew from God, not God from man. It is clear that man tried hide from God, and yet he could not. The created could not divorce itself from his Creator.
These two sinners could not escape the presence of God, and when called responded honestly, "...I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself". (Gen. 3:10) When we come in contact with God face to face we are left with no defense. Isaiah, the prophet of God, cried, "Woe is me!, for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclear lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." The holiness of God exposes our sin and deep down we know we have no defense.
When questioned by God as to how they knew they were naked and asked had they eaten of the forbidden fruit both Adam and Eve tried to justify their action by passing the blame.
Adam, pleaded is was the fault of the woman, "...whom thou gavest to be with me". It seems Adam was indirectly blaming God. As if, if God had not given him the woman he would not have sinned. However, Adam was not deceived as noted earlier. He with full knowledge willfully disobeyed God. Eve, followed Adam's example and said it was the serpent's fault. He tricked me she said and thus she pleaded she was not responsible.
Since the Fall it has never helped anyone to blame someone else for our own shortcomings. When we try to justify our actions we are denying our guilt. It are avoiding reality by not facing sin. All the while we are busy trying to justify ourselves we are delaying the cure to the problem. All who come to Christ must plead "guilty". We must accept our responsibility for our actions, and throw ourselves on the mercy of God.
God must judge sin. Without responsibility for our actions the law is invalid. God made the serpent a perpetual example to man of the Fall. The serpent lost its place as the "most subtil" of all the beasts of the field and made the lowest. It would crawl on its belly from that day forward. The judgment and effects of sin extended not only to the serpent but to all the animal kingdom. (See Jer. 12:4, Rom. 8:20)
Further, God said there would be "enmity" between the serpent and woman. The curse goes much deeper than just establishing an ill feeling between woman and serpents. It was addressed to Satan himself. Man would not be Satan's willing ally and the seed of woman, referring ultimately to Christ, would crush the head of Satan which is a fatal blow. Satan's power would be only to cripple mankind, and not be able to destroy it.
God's judgment on woman was that her sorrow and conception be multiplied. The result of sin was that the length and pain of child birth was increased.
Further, the woman would have a strong desire to rule over her husband, however her husband would rule over her. Having overstepped the bounds of her position and responsibility, she would be mastered by him. She would always be in subjection to man, and in her carnal nature, never be satisfied with this situation.
Man's sin brought the judgment of having to toil and have great hardships in making a livelihood. The same word which describes the pain of women in childbirth is used her to describe man's pain in laboring for a living.
The life of man would be one of hard work caused by "thorns and thistles" indicating that even the plants of earth were adversely effected by man's sin. After a hard life man would die and be returned to the dust from which he was formed.
Trusting is the promises of God that one would come who would restore fellowship with God and destroy the work of Satan, Adam named his wife, Eve. The name means "life", she was to be the mother of the human race.
This statement absolutely refutes any concept of theistic evolution. Eve was the mother of all men on earth. God did not evolve men from lower creatures.
Adam and Eve, must have been greatly repentant of their deeds which had brought sin into the world. God in his mercy made provision for them made them coats of animal skins for them to wear. Earlier they had made themselves fig leaves to hide their nakedness, however their efforts were lacking.
The word "covering" also means "atonement". Most see this act of God as being more than just providing clothes, but as an act of God's Grace in providing atonement from sin as well. They responded in their hearts to God and trusted Him, God in turn accepted their faith and saved them.
There was shedding of blood, as a picture of the coming of Christ and His shedding His blood to atone for the sins of all mankind. Animals were killed and their skins used for a "covering" for man.
The Garden of Eden continued on for some time after the Fall, maybe even until the Great Flood. However, God drove Adam and Eve from this special place prepared for them and sent them into a harsh world to hack out a living by the sweat of their brow. The would no longer have be able to take of the fruit of the tree of life that grew in the garden. The result of sin was death. God had warned them it would be so. Now cut off from the source of everlasting life they face a sure and certain future death.
God placed Cherubims with flaming swords to protect the entrance into the Garden and Adam and Eve never again returned to it.
Man's death was spiritual as well as physical. When he sinned he died spiritually being cut off from the source of life, who is God. In time sin works its way and all men eventually die. Romans 6:23, says, "The wages of sin is death...". Man is given time; time to live experience life and also to seek God and be saved.
As we close Chapter 3, the record of the Fall of Man, the picture looks bleak. But we have the promise of God, in Genesis 3:15, man had forsaken God, but God had not forsaken man. The Savior was promised and he would come and all that would by faith accept God's provision for atonement would not be taken in the "second" death, that being eternal separation from God in Hell's fires. The message is one of man's failure and God's demonstrated mercy to save the sinner gone astray.
1. Morris, pg 107.
2. The Ryrie Study Bible, Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Moody Press, 1978, pg 9.
3. 4 Unformed and Unfilled, Weston W. Fields, Presbyterian and Reformed Pulsihing Co., Phillipsburg, New Jersey, 1976. pg 7.
4. Morris, pg 112.