The Fall of Human Beings

By Ron Jones

©Titus Institute 2009 (Updated August 2022)

When we look around the world, we see some disturbing realities. The world is not a happy place. There is war, crime, poverty, tyranny, disease, addictions of all kinds, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and a whole host of other troubles that plague human beings on the earth. How did God's original garden that he created for Adam and Eve get so corrupted? How did their descendants get so corrupted? In Genesis 2, God created Adam and took him to the garden God had prepared for him. Genesis 2:15-17 states, "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'"

God informs Adam that he is to "work it and keep it." This "work" was farming the land and shepherding flocks so he might provide food for his family. Then God gives Adam a serious command. He could eat of all the trees of the garden, but not of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This tree was put by God in the garden as a test to see if Adam and Eve would submit themselves to God and follow his commands to live righteously. The tree itself and its fruit probably did not do anything supernatural. It was a test for Adam and Eve to see if they would trust God and follow his ways. This was not an arbitrary and unnecessary test that God created for them like a coach who wants to test a runner and puts up some obstacles in his path to test his endurance.

This was the essence of what it means to have free will as a human being in the righteous kingdom of God. There can be no free will without the ability of humans to turn away from God, but also there can be no righteousness if human beings do not choose to trust God's judgment about what is righteous and then submit and follow it. Human beings do not have God's capacity to judge what is righteous and what is not. Only God alone can determine that by his knowledge, wisdom, and nature. To live in the righteous kingdom of God, we must submit and follow God's righteous ways. To do that, we must trust God and his judgment about what is righteous. By the way, righteousness brings so many blessings for human beings. Unrighteousness brings evil that destroys and is harmful for human beings.

After God married Adam and Eve together, he left their presence so they might live together and fulfill is commands and enjoy their lives. Genesis 3:8 indicates that the Lord would come every day in the afternoon and meet with Adam and Eve. They had a great life in the garden until they fell into sin. When God created Adam and Eve, he created them "upright," that is, humanly righteous with no sin in them. Sin did not exist in Genesis 1 and 2. Ecclesiastes 7:29 says, "See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes."

Human beings had no sin nature, no tendency to sin as a result of God's creation. Sin was not a part of the human race originally. Human beings were also created with a mind and will so that they could freely choose to obey or disobey God. God wanted to give human beings the ability to freely love him. With that ability to freely love God, came the ability to choose freely not to love God. The decision revolved around obedience, for that is how love is demonstrated to a sovereign holy God. Sin is simply disobedience to the revealed will of God. God reveals his will to Adam and through Adam to Eve. If they ate of the fruit, it is sin. When God told Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he also told him that if he did, there would be a penalty for breaking God's law. The penalty is death. There are two kinds of death, spiritual separation from God and physical separation of the human soul and spirit from the human body. Before the fall, death in either form did not exist for humans or in the world.

However, before this time, God had created angels, spirit beings to serve him. Some of God's good angels, led by Satan, rebelled against him. God chose to allow Satan to operate in the world to a certain degree according to God's plan to test human beings and their commitment to love him. In Genesis 3, before Adam and Eve had children, we see Satan come to earth to attempt to get Adam and Eve to sin against God. Satan couldn't force them, only tempt them. Satan inhabits a serpent's body and speaks through it to Eve. Genesis 3:1-6 shares the event, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?' And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.' But the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.' So 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 to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate."

Satan tempts Eve by deceiving her into thinking that if she ate of the fruit she would become like God. But Satan was lying. Eve listened to Satan and ate the fruit and gave some to Adam who also ate of it. Adam and Eve should have trusted God that his command was for their benefit and that God was not withholding anything from them, but they didn't and disobeyed God. At that moment, they both died spiritually. Their righteousness before God was destroyed and they could no longer have a personal relationship with him and stay in his presence or his garden. And, as a result, they would eventually physically die. This is when sin and death entered the world and the earth itself was corrupted. Romans 5:12 states, "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned." Paul tells us that sin came into the world through one man, Adam, and death spread to all men (humans) because all sinned. Every human being because they are descended from Adam and Eve are born with a sin nature called the "flesh." As we have seen, their fleshly nature has desires to sin against God. That sin nature and our actual sins condemns us to eternal punishment in hell.

In Genesis 3, God comes to the garden and judges Adam and Eve for their sin and rebellion. In judgment, he cursed the ground so that it would no longer yield good food easily, but would now require hard labor. Because the earth was given to humans as a resource for their benefit, God cursed it so it would be benefit only after much work and effort for humans. This would always remind them of the sin they had committed against God. However, because God loved Adam and Eve and all their future descendants, in the midst of the judgment, God also gave a promise of a redeemer. In Genesis 3:15, God tells Satan, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." God says he will put enmity (hostility) between Satan and the woman and between Satan's offspring and Eve's offspring. The word "offspring" can refer to all descendants as a group or one individual descendent. In Genesis 3:15 God says that there will be enmity between the offspring of Satan (unbelievers) and the offspring of the woman (Jesus Christ). God also says that Satan will strike the heel of Christ (which he did when Jesus died) and Christ will strike him on the head (which Christ will do when he throws Satan into hell at the end of time).

Later, the Bible reveals that this redeemer God promises will restore God's kingdom on the earth by dying on the cross to pay the penalty of the sins of human beings. Those people that accept him as Savior and Lord will receive forgiveness of sins and enter his kingdom. Because of the fall, human beings are in desperate need of a Savior. How human beings can be saved and come into a relationship with God is the subject of the next article.