The Origin of Sin — The Fall of Man — Genesis 3:1-7

If God created the world and God is good, then how did evil come into this world? There is no question that we live in a world filled with evil and wickedness.  It’s a legitimate question and one which will be addressed by Genesis 3.  Look at the stark contrast between the Paradise that God created in the Garden of Eden – described by God as very good and characterized in 2:25 as a state of purity and innocence: “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”  Contrast that with post-Fall state of shame and fear and loss of innocence described just 7 short verses later: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.”  Something catastrophic has occurred – something that has altered the condition of man for all time – the Fall of Mankind and the entrance of sin into the world with all of its devastating consequences.

S. Lewis Johnson: The Apostle Paul speaking for the divine revelation in Romans Chapter 5 and verse 12, speaks with the outmost plainness and assurance regarding the entrance of evil into this world. He says therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, so death spread to all men, because all sinned. The Apostle claims that sin entered into this world through the fall of Adam and Eve. Later on, he writes in the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans about the creation and he says, for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of him who subjected it and hoped that the creation itself also will be free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. So that at the present time, what we see is the result of what happened in the Garden of Eden.

This morning we will study more closely this familiar story.  It is not a myth or just some type of allegory.  It is a literal historical account of the entrance of sin and death into the paradise that had been Eden.  We will gain insight into the devious ways in which Satan schemes to attack us and drive a wedge between us and our Creator.  By understanding how temptation works we can better devise a strategy for victory over it.

FALLING TO THE TEMPTATION TO QUESTION THE AUTHORITY OF GOD’S WORD AND THE GOODNESS OF GOD OPENS THE DOOR TO THE DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES OF SIN

I.  (:1-5) THE CONSIDERATION OF TEMPTATION

A DIRECT ATTACK AGAINST THE AUTHORITY OF GOD’S WORD AND THE GOODNESS OF GOD —

FLIRTATION

A.  (:1) Temptation Attacks With Subtle Craftiness

  1. Understand How Satan Attacks

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.

Apparently, this was an actual serpent; as repulsive as most of us find snakes to be today; before being cursed to writhe around in the dust of the ground, they may have been more appealing creatures.  Anyway, it seems that the Fall of Satan as described in Ezek. 28 and Is. 14 must have happened between creation and this early point in history so that now Satan is working through this particular serpent.  Even though this context does not identify Satan’s involvement, we know this from subsequent NT passages like:

Rev. 12:9  “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world

Consider other references to snakes and to Satan:

Matt 10:16be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

Steven Cole: The word “crafty” means shrewd and is used in a good sense of “prudent” in Proverbs (12:16, 23; 14:8, 15, 18; 22:3; 27:12). But Satan uses his shrewd knowledge about life to deceive and trap us.   [clever]

2 Cor. 11:14for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light

David Pratte: Satan knows that, to have success, he must deceive as he did Eve here. He cannot present his evil and its consequences in their true light else people will not follow his will. He must therefore counterfeit and disguise. He must appear to be other than he is, and his purpose must appear other than what it is. One way to achieve this is to work through agents. This is why we must always put teachers and teachings to the test and make sure we know the truth of God’s word (Matt. 7:15-24; 1 John 4:1,6; Acts 17:11).

Parunak:Subtle” is in Hebrew a strong pun with “naked” in 2:25.

John 8:44 – prototypical murderer and liar

Just as God has a will for our lives and it involves what is best for us in light of eternity, Satan has his own contrary objectives and is roaming about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  We must not be ignorant of his schemes.

  1. Understand How Satan Twists the Commands of God

                        “And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

Notice that Satan picks on Eve here apart from Adam; going around the divine order of headship to get Eve to act independently and in rebellion to God’s authority

Outrageous contradiction of what God had commanded – makes God out to be a Scrooge who withholds good blessings from His children – the exact opposite of the true character of God who delights to give good gifts to His children

R. Kent Hughes: Satan was so subtle, He did not directly deny God’s word, but he introduced the assumption that God’s word is subject to our judgment.

Parunak: He refers to the creator as “God,” in striking contrast to the name used elsewhere throughout the chapter, “LORD God.” Thus he implicitly denies the personal relationship between man and God, and urges her to consider God simply as an abstract, impersonal, uncaring power.

  • Is God Himself really the one who delivered this command?? – questioning source and authority of revelation
  • Do you really have the correct interpretation of the meaning of what God intended??

Parunak: Often the temptation comes cloaked with false piety, urging us that any God worthy of our worship would never say such a thing. “A loving God would never require you to do such a thing. You must have misunderstood him.”

Indeed, has God said” is the tactic Satan still uses to introduce doubt regarding the authority of God’s Word and His Goodness; we need to aggressively counter as Christ did in the Temptation account with the confident assertion of  “Thus saith the Lord” – requires that we know the Word of God and how to apply it to the specific areas of temptation that come up

B.  (:2-3) Temptation Thrives on Dialogue

  1. (:2)  Understand Your Liberty

And the woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;’”

Leaving out modifier “every” meant that Eve was minimizing the gracious provision that God had given;

This is where legalism errs by only focusing on the “Thou shalt nots” and creating additional man-made restrictions

End result is to make God’s commands burdensome and restrictive when they are designed to enhance our freedom to pursue righteousness

Eve rightly starts out with a declaration of liberty as she corrects the serpent’s false claim – this contradiction should have been enough to alert her to break off dialogue with someone who is so out of step with God’s intended purposes – why give the serpent’s words any more consideration??

  1. (:3)  Respect God’s Boundaries

but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden,

                God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'”

Parunak: 2:9 uses this expression [“middle of the garden”] to describe first of all the tree of life, which was not forbidden. Her attention is so focused on the one tree that is excluded, that she ignores the ones to which she is granted access. . .

She does not distinguish between the law of God itself and appropriate safeguards.

Where does this added requirement – not touch it – come from??  From God??  From Adam??

Eve could not use ignorance of God’s commands as an excuse for her sin

Deffinbaugh: While exaggerating the prohibition to the point where even touching the tree was evil, Eve had unconsciously downplayed the judgment of God by omitting the word ‘surely,’ and by failing to report that death would come on the day of the offense. In other words, Eve emphasized God’s severity, but underestimated the fact that judgment would be executed surely and soon.

R. Kent Hughes: Eve diminished, added to, and softened God’s word. Her revisionist approach to the holy word of God put her in harm’s way. And it likewise does so today.

Leupold: Eve’s reply should have been an emphatic disavowal of the suspicion that God had been withholding good from man.  Instead, it becomes a temporizing, a partial refutation, but at the same time a statement that allows room for the suspicion that perhaps God has not been as entirely good and gracious as they had hitherto supposed.  But as soon as one does not wholeheartedly and unreservedly trust God, mistrust is gaining ground and sin has entered.

C.  (:4-5) Temptation Denies Consequences and Offers False Promises

  1. (:4)  Denial of Consequences of Sin

And the serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely shall not die!’”

This is the INFINITIVE ABSOLUTE and a QAL IMPERFECT from the same root – very emphatic statement in the Hebrew

Key Claim by Satan – lies at the heart of the passage – this is the pivotal statement that must be addressed at the heart of the temptation

Why do people today so blatantly transgress the commands of God?  They don’t believe they will suffer any devastating consequences.

David Pratte: Many sins are said in the Bible to be deceitful:

  • drinking alcohol (Prov. 20:1),
  • riches (Matt. 13:22),
  • and sin in general (Heb.3:12,13).

Yet, sin always leads to harmful consequences, if not in this life, then in eternity (Eph. 5:3-7; Gal. 6:7-9).

Eve should have resisted the advances by Satan and he would have fled; God would have given grace; but she entertained his lies

  1. (:5)  Offering of False Promises

                        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.”

We can see that Eve is considering the temptation; entertaining it; dialoguing with the serpent; not rejecting it outright and fleeing from temptation

Cf. example of Joseph

Cf. example of Jesus in the Temptation account in the wilderness

David Pratte: Today homosexuality is called an alternate lifestyle, fornication is called a trial marriage, and murder is called preventing an unwanted pregnancy. And the people who oppose such are said to be unloving, insecure, self-righteous bigots. Multitudes of other examples can be given in which good is called evil and evil good.

R. Kent Hughes: The lie also held out the lure of moral autonomy … By taking the fruit she would become wise, equal with God, she would autonomously decide what was right and wrong. How intoxicating! She would make the rules [cf. Dean – I want to be the father and make the rules].  She would do it her way.  That promise still intoxicates.  A funeral director tole me that among the unbelieving population Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” is in first place as a funeral favorite”

How sad!

II.  (:6) THE CONSUMMATION OF TEMPTATION

THE MOTIVATION FOR COMMITTING SIN —

FALL

A.  Wrong Desires

1 John 2:15-17

  1. AppetizingThe Lust of the Flesh

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food,

the desire to do something contrary to God”s will, i.e, eat the tasty fruit

Parunak: Many other trees met this same qualification, according to 2:9. So she hardly needed this one as a food tree. The issue is not meeting a legitimate physical need, but rather, satisfying a desire to taste that which is forbidden.

Luke 4:3  command this stone that it be made bread

  1. AttractiveThe Lust of the Eyes — Pleasure

and that it was a delight to the eyes,

the desire to have something apart from God”s will, i.e, possess the beautiful fruit

She longed to possess it; could not take her eyes off it

Luke 4:6-7  All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. {worship me: or, fall down before me}

  1. AppealingThe Boastful Pride of Life – Pride / Ego

and that the tree was desirable to make one wise,

the desire to be something apart from God”s will, i.e, as wise as God, or gods)

Luke 4:9-11 If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 11 And in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

S. Lewis Johnson: Now then the Fall is described in the sixth verse. I want you to notice this fall is both internal and external. It is important to see that there is the sinful inclination that issues in the sinful volition. Sin took place before Eve took the fruit and ate it. She had already sinned and the response of the sinful inclination was the sinful volition, “I will take the fruit,” and the eating of it the sinful action. So there is sinful inclination, sinful volition, sinful action, but the sin takes place with the inclination. Mesmerized by the serpent, listening to the creature rather than the Creator, following impressions and not instructions from the word of God, seeking self-fulfillment not the glory of God, Adam and Eve inclined to evil. They volitioned — volitionally took of the fruit and they ate off it and in that act, sin was complete.

That is why I am speaking of the Consummation of Temptation and Sin

She let her emotions rule her mind and the result was yielding to temptation, which is sin.

B.  Wrong Actions

  1. On the Part of Eve

she took from its fruit and ate;

  • God is not the author of sin – James 1
  • Sin began in the heart with doubt and wavering regarding the word of God and then expressed itself in this act of sinful rebellion
  1. On the Part of Eve and Adam

and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

Parunak: NT commentary on this episode: Rom 5:14, 1 Cor 15:22, all died in Adam. Though the woman went first, he is the one who bears the responsibility, since she was under his authority. We shall see why when we consider the excuses each gives, and God’s verdict on them, in 3:8-13, 14-17.

1 Tim. 2:14 — the woman was deceived, but Adam was not; both were guilty before God

III.  (:7)  THE CONSEQUENCES OF TEMPTATION AND SIN

CORRUPTION OF INNOCENCE AND PURITY —

FALLOUT

A.  Guilty Conscience

  1. New Sight

Then the eyes of both of them were opened,

  1. New Knowledge

and they knew that they were naked;

Not exactly what Satan had promised the experience would yield

B.  Man-Made Coverings

and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

Makeshift; man-made attempts to deal with their fallen condition

God would have to provide any type of adequate covering for sin

Parunak: Satan had promised that their eyes would be opened (3:5), and indeed this happened, but the outcome was not as desirable as he had intimated. What they have come to know is not marvelous mystical truths, but their own nakedness. They now know themselves to be immature, children, humble and weak. To remedy this, they take the largest leaves they can find, which are fig leaves, and make belts of them.

Application: Satan’s lies are often half-truths like this. There is just enough truth to lead us astray, if we let down our guard. But be sure that the outcome will be bitter disappointment and disaster if we follow him.

Deffinbaugh: we must give thought to the severity of the consequences of man’s partaking of the forbidden fruit in the light of what seems to be a rather trifling matter. What was so evil about this sin that brought about such a harsh response from God?


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