A Journal for Bible Teachers

Genesis : : [2] The Fall of Mankind

Genesis : : [2] The Fall of Mankind

The Planting of the Garden of Eden

“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed.” (Genesis 2:8). It is so revealing of the character and nature of our Heavenly Father that He loves the beauty of life as epitomised by a garden filled with trees that are pleasant to the eyes. (The name Eden means “delight” or “pleasure.”) We have a saying in England that one is closest to God in a garden. Judging from the account of the creation story that is probably not very far from being accurate.

“And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:8). This idyllic lifestyle, however, had a purpose that we need to understand in order that we might more fully appreciate our loving Heavenly Father. God is holy, but He did not create man holy. Adam was created in a state of innocence. God’s ultimate desire was, and still is, for man to become holy.

Difference Between Holiness and Innocence
The difference between holiness and innocence could best be illustrated, perhaps, with this story of a little boy and a cookie jar. Entering into the kitchen, the little boy perceives that his mother has just baked some scrumptious cookies and placed them in a jar. He therefore with boldness and without scruples puts his hand into the jar and takes one of them. Munching it, he sees his mother and tells her that they taste very good. However, his mother replies those cookies are for tea and that he must not eat any more until then.

Unfortunately, the temptation proves too much, and when his mother is not around, he puts his hand in and takes another one. Thus his state of innocence is lost. Had he passed the cookie jar without taking another one, he would have been holy. Holiness is that state of knowing the commandment and not yielding to temptation. It is to be separate from sin. Holiness is to know to choose the good and refuse the evil (Isaiah 7:15).

Thus the Lord had provided lavishly for the needs of all His creation. This is a truth that needs to be firmly rooted in our hearts, even as the Lord Himself taught us to trust our Heaven Father implicitly. “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” (Matthew 6:25). All that was needed for the garden and His creation was furnished, including a river.

The Rivers of Eden
“The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;” (Genesis 2:11) Pison (Pishon) means “the freely flowing river.” Everything before the Fall was without impediment. This river is now nonexistent, but remembering that the earth in those days was probably one landmass, it could well have been the Nile. This opinion is favoured by a number of scholars. The Land of Havilah is in all probability the modern day kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Thus, the Nile of those days could have had its head in the Fertile Crescent and encircled the land of Arabia. Remember, too, that in antediluvian times, there were no desert areas but every place was well watered from the mist that went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the earth (Genesis 2:6).

“And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.” (Genesis 2:12). This verse could
perhaps be best understood by translating it “the white pearl and precious green stone” which was prevalent in Arabia.

“And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.” (Genesis 2:13) Gihon, meaning “to break forth,” could equally have been the Nile since the Nile of our day flows through part of Ethiopia and the Sudan.

“And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.” (Genesis 2:14) Hiddekel is the Hebrew name for the third river flowing from the Garden of Eden. Most modern translations translate it as the Tigris. The important areas of subsequent world history owed their fertility to God’s original garden of creation. Hiddekel also retains the transliteration for Tigris in Daniel 10:4. The fact that Hiddekel is still mentioned in Holy Scriptures until the time of Daniel seems sufficient proof that these two rivers (Hiddekel and Euphrates) that water the Fertile Crescent, point to the original location of the Garden of Eden.

The Making of Woman
In Genesis 2:18, we see that man is incomplete without woman, and her primary role, with the exception of childbearing, is to strengthen her husband and assist him in fulfilling his God appointed task upon earth.

The Naming of the Animals
Concerning those who would have us believe that man evolved from monkeys, we should note that the first man was exceedingly intelligent. He was able to name over 500,000 species of creatures according to their characteristics. Which man today possesses a vocabulary approaching that magnitude?

A helpmate among the animal kingdom was not found for man since only the spirit of man would know the things of a man (1 Corinthians 2:11). Therefore, only one who is made like unto man can have the ability to understand his needs and be able to offer strength and comfort to a man. Thus, God created woman.

The Divine Institution of Marriage
“And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.” (Genesis 2:22) Therefore even as in birth man comes from woman, so in the beginning woman came from man (1 Corinthians 11:8-12). Oh, who can fathom the wisdom and knowledge of God for His ways are past finding out (Romans 11:33)!

“And brought her unto the man.” I believe this is the divine way in marriage. God causes the woman of His choice to come to us, and we men do not have to go out in search of a bride. This is illustrated when God led Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, in the selection of a bride for Isaac.

This was my own happy experience. My beloved wife was brought to me in Europe all the way from the west coast of the United States, a distance of 7000 miles. And what a blessed marriage we had because it was God who brought us together. God reserves the right to select our mate for us. We must be willing to choose His choice and not be disobedient or self-willed.

The Two Trees in the Garden of Eden
God commanded Adam and Eve not to touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). This tree may also be called the tree of conscience. The other notable tree in the Garden was the tree of life (Genesis 2:9, 3:22-24). If a man partook of the fruit of the tree of life, he would live forever (Revelation 2:7). These two trees were literal trees in a literal garden, in the Middle East. Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of the tree of conscience. In fact, they were commanded to not even touch it. Touch always leads to trouble. The Serpent, who is also referred to as the Tempter, persuaded Eve that she would be like God if only she would taste of the tree of conscience (Genesis 3:2-3).

In Genesis 3:6, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Genesis 3:6) Thus, she regarded and dwelt upon the qualities of the tree. The tree was:

  • Good for food. Many, alas, have thought of their belly before the will of God. Paul wrote, “Whose God is their belly…who mind earthly things” as he lamented over the spiritual state of many in Philippi (Philippians 3:18-19).
  • Pleasant to the eyes. Many sins begin with the eyes. For example, Lot made crucial decisions according to what he saw in the natural with his eyes without consulting God (Genesis 13:10-11). Sodom looked like a beautiful place to live, but it was ripe for judgment. Christ did not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor did He reprove according to what He heard (Isaiah 11:3). He possessed the understanding and perspective of His Heavenly Father because He relied upon Him.
  • Furthermore it was desirable to make one wise. Of the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge outside of the will of God we must be careful, since many have erred thereby. Scripture warns, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent” (1 Corinthians 1:19). We must seek God’s wisdom, not the wisdom of man.

Colossians 2:8 admonishes, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Sadly, many Christians lose their faith when they go to secular colleges.

Man is Made to Be Tested
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17). Not only was liberty given to man in taking the fruits of paradise, but also everlasting life, which was made sure to him upon his obedience. However, there was a trial appointed to test his obedience.

By transgression he would forfeit his Maker’s favour, and deserve His displeasure with all its awful effects, so that he would become liable to pain, disease, and death. Worse than that, he would lose the holy image of God, and all the comfort of His favour. He would feel the torment of sinful passions, and the terror of his Maker’s eternal vengeance, unless the Lord Himself provided a supreme sacrifice.

One of the first things we learn about man from the beginning is that he was created to be tested and proved. God looks for individuals who choose to love Him out of their own free will. God has never commanded love by constraint. Instead, He has showered us with innumerable blessings to show His love for us, and He looks for a response from man.

Tests are for the purpose of examining us to see what is in our hearts. Tests also show if God has first place in our affections. Abraham was tested to see if Isaac and the promises were more important than God Himself (Genesis 22). God is testing us all the time (Job 7:17-18). Paul warned the elders at Ephesus that the Church was going to be tested (Acts 20:28-31). God even allows heresies in His Church to see who is genuine and who is not (1 Corinthians 11:19, Deuteronomy 13:1-3).

Eve Was Deceived – Adam Was Not

The thought of Adam’s eating the forbidden fruit must be analysed very carefully. The Apostle Paul told us that Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression (1 Timothy 2:14). Clearly, the serpent and Eve had their dialogue in the absence of Adam. After the serpent had beguiled Eve, Adam came on the scene and realised what she had done. Therefore, he partook of the forbidden fruit with her for several reasons.

Firstly, it seems evident from Genesis 3:17 that Eve had been like Delilah (Judges 16:15-16) and had persisted in her appeal for Adam to take the fruit. Secondly, having seen Adam in a vision, I know by revelation that he was governed by his soulish emotions. Realising that Eve would die and that he would lose her and be separated from her forever; he identified himself with Eve and became sin for her.

There is a parallel between the two Adams. Both Adam and the Last Adam (Christ Jesus) became sin for their brides. The first Adam took the path of disobedience, choosing Eve over the will of God, while the Last Adam became sin as an obedient servant to save His bride. Oh the wisdom of our Almighty God!

Seven Maladies We Inherited from Our First Parents

The following weaknesses and tendencies have been passed on to us from Adam and Eve, our first parents. When they fell, we fell, as we were in them (Genesis 3)

  1. To doubt God’s Word, to question or challenge what God has said
  2. Pride, ambition, a desire to be something God did not intend us to be
  3. Curiosity to know what is forbidden
  4. Making decisions by emotion, and by how things appear to be
  5. Exalting human love above God’s love
  6. Fear of coming to the light and exposing our hearts to God and others
  7. Blaming others to ease our own guilt

Innocence Lost
“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” (Genesis 3:7) With their innocence lost, they now tried to cover their sin. Job stated, “If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom” (Job 31:33). We cannot hide our sins from God. Fig leaves speak of sweetness, yet our own sweetness and good works cannot atone for our transgressions. Many seek to do as Adam; however, increasing our good works, whatever they may be, cannot cover our sins. Isaiah 64:6 states that all our righteousness is like filthy rags. (See also Romans 10:3 and Philippians 3:9) We need another covering! Later in Genesis 3:21, the Lord clothed Adam and Eve with skins of animals, suggesting that the blood had been shed to provide these skins. The only covering God accepts for sin is the blood that was sacrificed by His own Son (Hebrews 9:22).

In Genesis 3:8 “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” This is the case with all of us, to desire to flee from His Holy Presence when sin comes between the Lord and us. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2).

God Calls upon Adam and Eve to Answer
“And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9). It is ever the nature of the Good Shepherd to seek us when we have strayed through sin or ignorance. Let us remember the parables of the prodigal son and the lost sheep. The Lord takes the initiative to seek man. We love Him because he first loved us (1 John 4:19, Romans 3:11-12).

God’s presence that once had been such a joy to our first father now becomes one of dread. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and others. The fallen nature creates suspicions, distrust, and imaginations. In Genesis 3:11 we see the graciousness of the Lord. He gave Adam an opportunity to repent, and made it easy for him to confess by asking the appropriate questions. Instead, Adam sought to justify himself.

In so justifying himself, Adam was in reality reproaching God, blaming God’s gift (Eve) as the cause for his fall. Eve followed suit. Eve blames the serpent. Then the Lord to pronounce judgement upon the main perpetrator of the fall in Genesis 3:14-15. In Revelation 12:9, 20:2 Satan is also called the serpent.

The Plan of Redemption

The Promise Seed: In Genesis 3:15, we have a picture of a man violently trampling upon the head of a snake. The seed of the woman is referring to Christ. The Lord revealed His plan that was conceived before the foundation of the world—the promise of a Redeemer who would crush the head of the serpent, although He injured His heel in the process. A crushed head is fatal, but a bruised heel is temporary. On the cross, Christ crushed the head of Satan and stripped him of all his power. Christ’s injury was temporary. He rose from the dead three days later.

There is another truth to consider here also. There is enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. The seed of the woman is Christ but it is also His followers. The seed of the serpent are the demons, the fallen angels, and all who follow Satan. There is a perpetual strife between the godly seed and the serpent’s seed. Ultimately the righteous will also gain a personal victory over the devil and crush the head of the serpent, through Christ.

The Punishment of Mankind
Genesis 3:16 “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Certainly a woman’s life is a vale of tears. Her disposition is one of extreme sensitivity and she is easily wounded by a chance remark. Her life consists of a desire to please firstly her father and then her husband. Yet her discernment is such that she is easily deceived by the unscrupulous. My wife has admonished me on many occasions to care for the single woman whether she is young, single, a divorcee, or a widow. In restaurants, my wife would go out of her way to show kindness to waitresses of a certain age, adducing that they were obliged to work those long and arduous hours because of marital economic necessities.

There is a promise whereby the curse can be reversed for those women in Christ who live godly lives; “notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety” (1 Timothy 2:15). The sentence of sorrow and of pain in motherhood put upon women can be alleviated if she continues in faith, love, holiness, and propriety (bearing in mind that the husband is always the head of the home).

The delightful conditions into which man was placed in the original Garden of Eden were now changed (Genesis 3:17-18). Thistles and thorns now appeared to blight the handiwork of God which, in themselves, speak of the works of the flesh as delineated in Galatians 5:19-21. Added to this is the hard labour to which Adam was condemned.

Man lost much from the fall in the natural (Genesis 3:19), not to mention the loss of his spiritual blessings of the actual continual presence of His beloved Lord.

The Fall – The Curse
We should pause here for a moment to make a distinction between the Fall and the Curse.

  • The Fall was man’s disobedience.
  • The Curse (pain, toil, sorrow, and death) involves the restraints God has placed upon fallen man to keep him on course (Genesis 3:16-19, 5:29).

All of these judgments upon the human race were not because of God’s anger or revenge, but rather acts of God’s mercy (Ecclesiastes 8:11). When fallen man is idle or has no adversity, he becomes oppressive, proud, and exceedingly wicked (Ezekiel 16:49-50, Psalms 73:3-6). Strong pain often is necessary to destroy pride and evil bents in our nature (Job 33:14-19, 1 Peter 4:1-2).

According to Romans 8:18-22, God has subjected the creation to vanity (or disappointing misery), but has also subjected it to hope. When the Curse has performed all of its work, God will remove it (Revelation 22:3). Sometimes God allows a lingering “thorn” in our lives until a certain work of grace is performed or something obstinate changes. The Apostle Paul needed a thorn to keep him on course (2 Corinthians 12:6-9). A pearl is formed by terrible irritation. Sometimes a very aggravating situation is prolonged to accomplish something beautiful in our lives. When a problem or enemy has served its purpose, God will deliver us from it.

In His foreknowledge, God knew that man would fail, but He certainly did not predestine the Fall. God is not the author of disobedience, nor should sin ever be attributed to the Most High. Therefore, He ordained a Sacrifice for fallen man before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-20, Revelation 13:8).

Nehemiah 13:2b says, “God turned the curse into a blessing.” This is a divine principle. God is able to reverse a curse and turn it around for something good when man is repentant. The Curse created circumstances and a workshop for perfecting the following—longsuffering, mercy, meekness, true love, faith, loyalty, forbearance, and many other good qualities. God only uses the curse to bless us.

God’s Covering
God did not leave our first parents in their hopeless condition as sinners but clothed them with the skins (Genesis 3:21), presumably of lambs, which therefore forfeited their lives to cover them. This prefigured the Lamb of God who would later bleed and die for the sins of the world—sins past, present, and future. Remember, there is no remission of sins without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). God would not accept man’s covering for sin (fig leaves). He only accepts what He prescribes.

Adam and Eve Driven Out from Paradise

In Genesis 3:22-23, God bid man to leave; he would no longer occupy and enjoy the garden. This signified the shutting out of Adam and his entire guilty race from that intimate communion with God, which was the bliss and glory of paradise. The Lord sent man to a place of toil, not to a place of torment. Our first parents were shut out from the privileges of their state of innocence, yet they were not left to despair.

The way to the tree of life was closed. It was henceforth in vain for Adam and his descendants to expect righteousness, life, and happiness by the covenant of works. For the commandment of that covenant being broken, the curse of it is in full force. We are all undone, if we are judged by that covenant. God revealed this to Adam, not to drive him to despair, but to quicken him to look for life and happiness in the promised Seed, by whom a new and living way into the holiest is laid open for us all.

Mercifully, so that man would not continue forever in his sinful condition, the Lord prevented him from eating of the tree of life. Death is also an act of mercy because at death our corruptible body of sin is destroyed, and then raised in newness of life at the time of resurrection without sin in its members. Our redemption is not complete until we receive our new bodies (Romans 8:20-23).

Session’s Conclusion

Irrespect of everything God has done or humanity, man is given the choices to:

  • Love God in return, be thankful for all He has done, seek to know Him intimately, be obedient unto to Him, and do his blessed will.
  • Ignore God , be ungrateful to Him, defy Him, be disobedient to Him and invite Satan’s rebellious spirit into his life and follow adversary.

About the Teacher

Dr. Brian J. Bailey is the President of Zion Fellowship International, Zion Ministerial Institute, and Zion University. He is also Senior pastor of Zion Chapel in Waverly, New York. He has traveled to over a 100 countries during his ministry of over 50 years, teaching in Bible colleges and preaching in leadership seminars. He is a prolific author of over 50 Christian books, teaching believers the ways of God, and establishing them on the pathway of holiness that leads to spiritual Mount Zion.

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