< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: The Fall of the Human Race

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

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!”
Genesis 3:1-6  Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

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:

1.      He brought doubt of God’s love and discontent with present circumstances. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” He concentrates Eve’s attention upon the one prohibition until she forgets that everything else in the garden is hers. A seed of discontent with God is sown in her heart and this raises a doubt as to whether God really loves her.
2.      The devil pursued his advantage by suggesting that she could sin and get away with it. “You will not surely die.” Until now physical death had no meaning for Adam and Eve since they had never had any experience of it. The devil caused Eve to lose her healthy fear of disobeying God and to doubt His word concerning punishment. Today the devil uses these same tactics when he causes a person to doubt the reality of hell and everlasting punishment. “There’s no such thing; we make our own heaven and hell now.” says man. But Jesus talked about hell more then He did about Heaven!
3.      The devil finally wedged open the door into Eve’s slowly responding heart. He excited her personal ambition to excel. She craved to appear wise and powerful like God and to exert her independent will. “You shall be like God.”

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.

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