The Fall of Man

We’re still working through the doctrine of sin.

We’ve looked at the OT and NT terms that are used to speak of sin.

There are many words that are used, but the big takeaway we said, is that while all sin is infinitely evil before the eyes of God, there are gradations of sin within the heart of a person. Sometimes people sin without even knowing it, because we’re all sinners by our very nature, and at other times there is great intentionally within the heart of a person.

Then, last time, we began to develop the doctrine of sin by taking a look at the essence of Sin. We gave some false definitions and some working definitions. We talked about various aspects of sin, including the way God sees sin (Gen. 6:5).

And, then, we ended by talking about who sin offends.

But today we are going to talk about the Fall of Man.

How did sin enter the world?

Why did sin enter the world?

What was God’s response?

The Fall of Man

The Genesis record:

The Place: The Garden of Eden.

The Test: To obey God’s will.

There was a positive and negative aspect to obeying God’s will:

Positively: they were to show dominion over creation as God’s vice-regents (Gen. 2:15).

Negatively: they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

(Gen. 2:16-17)

So at this point, they were innocent, and not yet guilty of any transgression.

*It is very important to understand that God declared everything “very good.” 

This does not mean perfect - it means good.

There is a moral quality here. Nothing was yet tainted. It was morally upright and innocent -- but that does not mean infallible (i.e., incapable of erring).

It is a critical point to keep in mind when trying to make sense of the Fall.

God did not force Adam and Eve to sin. He did not make them do this.

Having said that, He is also not guilty of their sin because He made them fallible.

God was not obligated to create Adam and Eve to be infallible human beings.

The People: Adam and Eve. They were untested creatures who were unconfirmed in holiness.

People wonder how Adam and Eve could have sinned. It is probably one of the hardest questions to answer in the Bible-- and ultimately we can’t.

However, this is why it is important to keep in mind that they were untested in their holiness.

Again, they were created “very good” and innocent, but not perfect.

There is no language of holy or righteous in the creation account.

Everything was declared “good,” but there was no mention of “sanctified” or “made holy.”

The Tempter: Satan.

He is possessing the body of a serpent (Gen. 3:1, 14; Rom. 16:20).

He is also described as “more crafty than any other beast of the field which God had made” (Gen. 3:1). 

The point is that He was shrewd and clever. The word carries the idea of using one’s mind - there is forethought and planning. The LXX tranlsates the term as φρόνιμος. It carries the idea of intelligence and wisdom. So the serpent is employing some incredible skills to set up the temptation and Fall.

The Attack:

First, it is important to notice that his strategy focused upon the limits that God had imposed, rather than the vastness of liberty that Adam and Eve possesed.

He doesn’t attack them at the point of their dominion (ie. what they were to do), but on the fact they were not to eat of the tree (i.e., what they were not to do).

So he doesn’t try to get them not to do something. Rather, he attempts to get them to do something they were commanded not to do.

Second, the nature of the attack was deception. (Gen. 3:13).

“Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

So the question we want to explore, is how did the serpent deceive? What tactics did He employ?

First he asks a roundabout question that he knows is not true (vs. 1). 

Gen. 3:1 - “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?'"

So he is just posing a question.

He’s introducing a category into her mind that wasn’t originally there, and this is how deception first begins.

He wants Eve to start exegeting God’s command to see if there is some kind of loophole.

And He does it by simply posing a question. The goal is to introduce an element of doubt.

Second, he directly contradicts God’s statement (v.4).

“The serpent said to the woman, 'You surely will not die!'”

So he begins with a question to create some doubt. Then, he overtly opposes the Word of God.

Third, He plants in her mind an alternative, but built on a false interpretation of God’s motives (v.5) 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."

He builds an argument (“For”).

It directly contradicts God, but then justifies that contradiction on the basis of God’s own words.

So He is not stupid. 

He doesn’t fully contradict God because Eve would see that.

Rather, He speaks in half-truths. And the best lies always contain an element of truth. The more truth the lie possesses, then the greater the lie.

So the serpent builds his argument on the basis of what Eve knows that God has said. The Serpent simply spins the truth.

What are the categories of the deception? [Carson’s categories, based on v. 6].

“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate;