The Fall of the Human Race
Chapter Three is about the fall of the entire human race and therefore, the need of every human being for the redemption that is in Christ. This chapter is a pivot point in the Bible. If it were to be taken away, the key to understanding the rest of Scripture would be taken away with it. The record of man’s fall provides the key to social, psychological, and economic problems of today, as well as to religion because we live in the midst of two contradictions. On one hand we have tremendous possibilities. Some psychologists say we use only two-tenths of our potential personal abilities. We are aware we are made for something greater. This stems from a profound awareness of our original glory and destiny.
On the other hand we experience a sense of wrongness, frustration, confusion and deep subconscious uneasiness. We wish we could be different, without selfishness, temper or deceit. We feel like God is far away. Or not pleased with us somehow.
This chapter provides the answer to the contradictions of sin within us as well as the promise that provides the way back to deep contentment through a personal relationship with God and an awareness that “He IS pleased with me!”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
A commentator wrote that when God created Adam and Eve in His own image, He intended also that they should progress in spiritual development from immaturity to maturity. This was to be accomplished by their exercise of deliberate choice.
Hebrews 5:14 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Man wasn’t created to just love God and obey Him simply because there was no other way of life available to him. Genesis 3 reveals man as having the opportunity and responsibility to exercise his will, to choose deliberately either for God or against God. Such was the test of the two trees. Both trees were intended to be a means of blessing.
Look at Genesis 2:9 again The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
And we haven’t read it yet, but Genesis 3:22 says And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
It would appear that the tree of life was the tree Adam was supposed to eat from. If he had done so Adam would have had eternal life.
But the devil caused Eve to look at the only tree that had a negative command. The tree of knowledge was appointed by God for a moral test for Adam and Eve that would exercise and develop their wills, their intellects and emotions. And give them joy by being obedient to God.
By not eating of that tree man would demonstrate his submission to God by choosing to obey Him. But by exercising his God-allowed right of independence against God, he made sin and disobedience a part of his life experience. His knowledge now of good was that it was unattainable to him. At the same time he also received sin’s wages – death. First, immediate spiritual death and secondly ultimate physical death and thirdly, the “second death” that is a biblical term for hell. So sin did not free him. Just the opposite!
The serpent’s reason for tempting man would seem to be to take from him that dominion over the earth given to man by God. Through the fall of man, the devil became “prince and god of this world”.
1 John 5:19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
The serpent had a threefold method of temptation:
Satan caused Eve to take from his hand what God had planned to give her as a result and reward of obedience. She received the knowledge of good and evil from Satan’s hand and through her choice of evil independence instead of receiving it from God through choice of good dependence. Satan tempts man. Always has and always will. He even tried to tempt Christ in the wilderness.