Observing the Fall of Man

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Author's Bias | Interpretation: conservative | Inclination: dispensational | Seminary: none

1. Examine the details of the Fall in Genesis 3:1-6. What do you observe?

Satan (John 8:44, Rev 12:9), in the guise of a serpent, tests Woman's knowledge of God's commands.

Satan's method:

1. Doubt God's will. "You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?" Is this prohibition really God's will? Satan implies that it is restrictive and unfair.

2. Deny God's word. "You surely will not die! Instead of challenging God's sovereign right to place limits, Satan denies God's promise of judgment for disobedience.

3. Doubt God's goodness. "For 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." God is withholding something good for you. Satan magnifies God's single limit as a negative portrayal of His goodness.

Satan's fallacious logic:

1. Restrictions are not good.

2. God's plan is restrictive

3. Conclusion: God's plan is not good.

Woman's own cautious uncertainty of God's word gave way to her lust. She saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh), a delight to the eyes (lust of the eyes), and that the tree was desirable to make one wise and be like God (lust of the ego / pride of life) (1 John 2:15-16).

She ate the fruit.

She gave the fruit to her husband who was with her and he ate.

Woman led the way into sin and in so doing, usurped the leadership (headship) of the marriage.

While Woman was deceived into sinning, Adam, who received God's command before Woman was created (Gen 2:16), was not. Adam, following her example, sinned with knowledge, which was an act of rebellion.

2. What was the consequence of the Fall? Examine the details Genesis 3:7-20.

After Adam committed the sin, the eyes of both were opened; they came to a new understanding, which was not what Satan had led them to believe. Instead of seeing through God's perspective, they saw through their own and independent of God.

They came to a new understanding about themselves.

Instead of having the "knowledge of good and evil", they knew "that they were naked." Instead of the positive aspects of their original beauty and innocence, they knew only of the shame and guilt of its negative aspects.

They admitted their sin but blamed another for it. Adam blamed Woman, and Woman blamed the Serpent.

They came to a new understanding about God.

They ran and hid from God.

They feared God.

The Serpent was judged for his deceitful temptation.

The Serpent will be cursed more than any beast of the field, he will crawl on his belly, hostility will exist between him and Eve's descendants one of whom will crush Satan.

Adam was judged for both listening to the voice of his wife and disobeying God's command.

The ground was cursed.

This curse not only affected how easily man would grow his food, but would cause the groaning of all of creation (Rom 8:20-22).

"And to dust you shall return."

Adam is told that God's promise of death will be fulfilled and, in this verse, it is explicitly in reference to mankind's physical death.

Woman was judged for both listening to Satan and disobeying God's command. However, there is considerable controversy about the meaning of God's words here. Consider carefully the observations of the text:

1. Woman's initial desire was to be like God, to have the wisdom of knowing good and evil. Now her desire was to be for her husband.

2. Woman's punishment: she will painfully bring forth children, her desire will be for Adam and he will rule over her.

3. From her experience, she was brought forth from Adam who, in primary position of created order, received God's word and was responsible for teaching it to her, which he failed at doing. Now she will be the one bringing forth children. As Adam learns of her childbearing, he changes Woman's name to Eve. No longer called the "feminine helper complement to his masculinity", she became known as "life-giving."

4. The Hebrew term for "desire" is a reference to a "single minded devotion." In this context, as the one who brought forth children, Eve's desire is to be the one who is in primary position and responsible for teaching God's word to her children.

5. As an unauthorized rival to Adam's role and position, Adam will rule over her.

Note carefully that, in this context and in God's eyes, Adam is tasked with the responsibility teaching God's word. Eve's desire for her husband is of an adversarial nature. Desire, in an adversarial sense, is also seen in Genesis 4:7 when God warns Cain that sin's "desire is for you, but you must master it."

Is this interpretation correct? Are there other passages that can add clarity to the meaning of Eve's desire for her husband?

1. Writing to Timothy, Paul, emphasizing the sequence of Creation, spoke of not "allowing a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man", but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve." This issue of authority was in the context of the church leadership and God's word.

But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. (1 Tim 2:12-14)

2. To the Ephesians, in the case of husbands, in, Paul indicates that husbands have a broad authority over their wives (Eph 5:22-24); however, the verses that follow, verses 25-30, he instructs husbands to agapē love their wives just as Christ loved the church. In other words, husbands are to esteem their wives for the sake of their salvation without personal consideration or benefit.

Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. (Eph 5:22-24)

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church - for we are members of his body. (Eph 5:25-30)

When Paul speaks of "He who loves his wife loves himself," he is referring to Jesus' two greatest commandments:

And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matt 22:37-39)

Jesus taught the disciples that leadership is not lording; it is serving for the sake of the salvation of others without personal consideration. And to care for the salvation of others, whether initial or ongoing, requires the knowledge of God's word.

If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. (John 13:14-16)

But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. (Luke 22:26-27)

As the consequence of their sin, Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden.

While Eve initially disobeyed God, it is Adam who is blamed for the Fall. The apostle Paul reveals that with the Fall, Adam's legal standing before God and moral nature changed from innocent of sin to guilt (Rom 5:12-19). As God's representative for all of mankind, Adam's change in legal standing was imputed and charged to all of humanity (imputed sin), and Adam's sinful moral nature was passed on and inherited by all human beings (original sin).

The concept of imputed sin is significant here. In all instances of imputed sin, especially regarding the instruction of the Word of God, there are no examples of a woman's sin being passed on to subsequent generations in the entire Bible (Ex 20:4-5, 34:6-7; Num 14:18; Lev 26:22; Josh 7:1-26; 1 Kings 14:7-11; Jer 32:18).

This distinction must be emphasized: only fathers, like Adam, who God sees as responsible for headship of a marriage and family, have been recorded in the Bible as having their personal sin imputed on to succeeding generations.

The tragic Fall of man is one of the most far reaching events in the Bible; had it not occurred, the Bible would not make sense. With the Edenic Covenant broken, the Adamic Covenant changed the status of the serpent, woman, and man. From a life of fellowship with God: peace, provision, comfort, and life to one without the fellowship of God: hostility, pain, toil, and death, the Fall serves as the basis for the proper understanding God's redemptive history, and mankind's hope and restoration.

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