Table of Contents / Overview
THE FALL OF MAN
An earlier lesson (Lesson 3) gave you evidence and assurance that God created man. The idea that man evolved by chance is in direct opposition to what the Bible teaches. Moreover, evolutionary teaching cannot tell us of any overall plan in the universe, it cannot give us any purpose in life and it offers no hope for the future. The Bible account offers us all of these: a Divine plan a purpose for ourselves and a hope for the future. This lesson explores the early stages in the development of God's plan.
God has clearly told us the essential reason for creation: "For thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4 v 11). It is recorded that when the creative work was completed "God saw everything that he had made and behold it was very good" (Genesis 1 v 31). It was not long. however, before the beauty and peace of God's handiwork was marred as a result of man's refusal to obey the will of his Creator. How this came about is the subject of this lesson.
It is evident from the Bible that God required a special relationship from man for, unlike the animal creation, he had moral intelligence - the ability to respond to suggestion, instruction, command.
God placed man in the garden of Eden "To dress it and to keep it." (SEE IF YOU CAN FIND THIS VERSE). In this occupation man was free to express his own will, but in one matter he had to obey God's will. In the garden there was a tree called "The tree of the knowledge of good and evil", which bore fruit. Adam and Eve were told that they must not touch or eat the fruit. If they did they would surely die.
- Genesis 2 v 17
Two important principles are made clear here:
- God, as Creator, had THE RIGHT to command and receive obedience from the man and woman whom he had created. Of their own free-will and moral obligation they were required to be obedient.
- Death was the penalty for doing wrong.
In the garden of Eden was a serpent which had a limited ability to reason and, also at that time, to speak. One day it talked with Eve - the woman.
- Genesis 3 v 1-6
You will perceive from this that the woman fully understood that if they took and ate the fruit of this tree, they would die. In direct contrast the serpent said "Ye shall not surely die".
This resulted in a conflict in the mind of the woman.
She saw the fruit was very desirable - it appealed to her. What should she do? God was her Creator - therefore she should obey Him. Yet she yielded to temptation and both she and Adam partook of the fruit.
SO THE ACT OF TAKING AND EATING THE FRUIT WAS A FLAGRANT ACT OF DISOBEDIENCE TO DIVINE COMMAND.
- Genesis 3 v 11,17
This was SIN
- I John 3 v 4
Look in the New Testament to find what the Apostle Paul says about this. This is the reason why everyone dies.
- Romans 5 v 12
This was just payment for sin.
- Romans 6 v 23 (first part)
The immediate effect of this sin was:-
- a sense of shame and guilt,
- an endeavour to overcome its effects,
- a need to avoid meeting their Creator -"They hid themselves".
It was now impossible for God to ignore what had taken place. His will and expressed command could not be flouted with impunity. So disobedience was punished.
- Genesis 3 v 8-21
The serpent was cursed, and there would be enmity between its seed and that of the woman's seed (offspring). It would be continuing antagonism.
- Genesis 3 v 15
NOTE THIS VERSE PARTICULARLY.
"It shall bruise thy head - thou shalt bruise his heel".
This is significant surely. Injury to the head contrasted with injury to the heel. The former denotes a fatal blow - the latter a temporary wound.
The term "seed of the serpent" is used here figuratively to denote the principle of sin and sinners, whereas the "seed of the woman" denotes righteousness and the righteous. The particular "seed" of the woman was the Lord Jesus Christ who, although "bruised in the heel" by the sin power when he was crucified, overcame sin and death by his perfect obedience to God and thus dealt a fatal "head-wound" to the power of sin.
NOW READ AGAIN THE WHOLE OF GENESIS CHAPTER 3.
The judgment on the woman decreed that she was to have conception and childbirth with sorrow and that her husband was to rule over her. This is the basis of several New Testament references to the relationship between husband and wife.
- Ephesians 5 v 21-33
- 1 Peter 3 v 1-7
For man's sake the ground was cursed. Food would only be obtained as a result of a constant battle with pests, weeds, disease. It would mean hard labour ending in death, a return to dust, as God said would happen if man was disobedient.
You will note that because they were conscious of sin and nakedness Adam and Eve made coverings of leaves to cover themselves.
- Genesis 3 v 7 & 21
This was man's remedy, but it was not acceptable to God. Their own coverings were taken away and replaced with those provided by God. The Bible says these were coats of skins which means that animals must have been killed and their blood shed.
- Leviticus 17 v 11
- John 1 v 29
- Hebrews 9 v 22
Because of disobedience - SIN - Adam and Eve were no longer fit or worthy to remain in the Garden of Eden. Neither could they continue to enjoy a harmonious relationship with "The Lord God". Their new condition estranged them from Him. So they were expelled from the Garden and the way to the Tree of Life was barred.
- Genesis 3 v 22-24
MAN WAS NOW SUBJECT TO SIN, DISEASE AND DEATH, ALL THE RESULT OF DISOBEYING DIVINE COMMAND. NEITHER WAS HE ABLE TO BRING ABOUT HIS OWN DELIVERANCE.
The Bible teaches that man's death is FINAL - apart from Divine intervention. Man has never possessed immortality in any form. Death is the complete cessation of life. The doctrine of the immortality of the soul is therefore false.
- Ecclesiastes 3 v 19-20
- Ecclesiastes 9 v 5-6
- Psalm 6 v 5
He has by nature no advantage over the animal creation.
- Psalm 146 v 3-4
You will recall that God's creation was designed to give Him pleasure; man was powerless to rectify the evil situation - he being the sinner. Only God could institute means of reconciliation consistent with his righteousness.
Throughout the Old Testament we are shown that the only acceptable worship of God was that which acknowledged God's righteousness and man's sinfulness. This is expressly taught in God's dealings with His chosen people Israel.
- Leviticus 10 v 3
God gave laws to his people, especially in connection with the means by which they could obtain forgiveness for their sins. The governing principle was ANIMAL SACRIFICE, the animal being a representative of the sinner.
The sinner would bring his animal offering to the priest. He would lay his hand on it, thus identifying himself with it and acknowledging that he recognised that he himself, as a sinner, merited death. The animal being slain and the life bloodshed i.e. life offered - forgiveness was now possible. But due to the weakness of human nature, man continued to sin and so repeatedly had to offer sacrifice to obtain forgiveness.
- Leviticus 4 v 28-29
Animal sacrifice could not remove sin and its effects completely.
- Hebrews 10 v 1-18
Yet it all pointed forward to a time when a perfect sacrifice would be offered once for all.
THE SCRIPTURES TEACH THAT JESUS CHRIST - GOD'S SON - WAS THE PERFECT OFFERING (SACRIFICE) FOR SIN AND THAT THROUGH HIM HIS FOLLOWERS MIGHT HAVE FORGIVENESS OF THEIR SINS AND HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE.
(This forms the subject of Lesson 14).
"The wages of sin is death". This is what our first parents found. Like them, we all sin and we all die.
But Paul wrote, "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". You will notice eternal life is a gift. It is not a present possession and we can claim no right to it: it will only be given by God through Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul declared: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4 v 12).
It is the purpose of God to create a new order out of the present - an order in which man will be in harmony with his Creator in every way. This will give God pleasure. Today we have the opportunity of sharing in that wonderful time. Obedience to God's commands is the Way.
- What was the command given by God to Adam and Eve which they disobeyed?
- What caused Adam and Eve to disobey God's command?
- What was the effect of disobedience on Adam and Eve and their descendants?
- Explain the significance of the covering which God provided for Adam and Eve after they had sinned.
- How did God's curse on the serpent give hope to the human race?
- "The wages of sin is death ... " (Romans 6 v 23). What do you understand by this statement?