The Tragic Fall

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Sin is defined in the Bible as rebellion against God, missing the mark of God’s holiness, and transgression of the law of God. The world is full of sin, all kinds of sin. Yet there was a time, when the world was perfect, when God created man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, it was paradise. We find man early in the Scripture as God’s creation, in fellowship with God. The world was marked by harmony and peace, and life prevailed.

What happened? The passage before us today tells of the tragic fall.

Genesis 2:4-18

God made man and formed him out of the dust of the earth and breathed life into his soul, creating him in the image of God. Because God did not want man to be alone he fashioned Eve from the rib of man. God gave them everything they could possibly need but there was one prohibition. 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.

Genesis 3 introduces us the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Satan clothed himself as a serpent– crafty, subtle, and shrewd. We have to go back further than Genesis 3 to understand what brought the serpent to this point. Lucifer, the most beautiful and powerful of the angels, was not content with his position, and desired to be higher than God. That led to his rebellion against God, and being cast out of heaven (Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14). Revelation 12:9 So the great dragon was thrown out- the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world. He was thrown to earth, and his angels with him.

The serpent introduced sin to humanity, in the Garden of Eden, where he tempted Adam and Eve.

Genesis 3:1-7

We are sinners by nature. Because of what happened in the rebellion of Adam, we all have inherited sin. Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world though one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned.

We are sinners by choice. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Satan had the power to tempt Eve, but not to make her sin. She willfully chose to sin as did Adam.

What happened in the tragic fall, and what can we learn from it as we seek to live for the glory of God?

The serpent’s strategy is to attack the Word given by God.

Eve was alone, standing by the forbidden tree, where she didn’t belong.

V1 The serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. His approach is to deceive, distort, and doubt with subtleties.

The serpent said to Eve, v1 “Did God really say, you can’t eat from any tree in the garden?”

Satan misquoted God’s Word. God had said man could eat from every tree except one, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Man had everything he could want- all the fruit except one tree, the forbidden tree that would destroy him.

Eve was deceived and confused by what the serpent said when he questioned her. She began to think God’s command was too restrictive.  Vv2-3 We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.

God never said don’t touch it, he said don’t eat it.

Satan’s attack plan has not changed. In Luke 8 Jesus tells the parable of the sower, vv11-12 The seed is the Word of God. . . then the devil comes and snatches away the Word.

He seeks to undermine and attack the Word of God. Sometimes he will use a supposed intellectual attack causing people to believe the Bible is not rational or scientific. Sometimes he will use a social attack where he causes people to believe the Word of God is out of date and something that needs to be adjusted to modern times and a progressive age. Sometimes he will use a selfish attack where he causes people to believe even though the Word of God says one thing, God really wants them to be happy so it can’t be true.

Know the Word of God and stand on it. In the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4 when he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and was tempted by the Devil, at each point of temptation Jesus’ defense was the Word of God. When tempted to turn the stones into bread Jesus said- v4 Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. When tempted to throw himself from the pinnacle of the temple he said, v7 Do not test the Lord your God. When taken to a high mountain and shown all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor in exchange for worshiping Satan he said. V10 Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.

God accomplishes his will on earth through truth; Satan accomplishes his purposes through lies. Faith in God’s truth leads to victory; Faith in Satan’s lies leads to defeat.

Psalm 33:11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart from generation to generation.

Settle in your mind and heart that the Word of God is true, and base your life on it.

The serpent’s strategy is to attack the sufficiency provided from God.

Eve began to doubt in her heart. At that point, Satan fed her the lie-vv4-5 No! You will not die, the serpent said to the woman. In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

This was the lie of personal fulfillment. If we take the bait, that the temptation will meet our needs more than what God has given us, we are in trouble.

Rather than depending on the sufficiency of what God provided, she was tempted with the ideas of her eyes being opened.

Rather than depending on the sufficiency of what God provided, she was tempted to be drawn toward power, strength, and independence. The temptation- you will be as God, do your own thing, and set your own destiny- go ahead, it will be worth it!

Rather than depending on the sufficiency of what God provided, she was tempted with the idea of knowing good and evil apart from God, and she wouldn’t need God.

Satan was suggesting God had left them in a state of incompletion and inadequacy.

The tree of life is not even mentioned. Eve saw only the forbidden fruit. Satan lied to her assuring her she would not die which was true physically, but it was not true spiritually.

The serpent’s strategy is to attack the contentment found in God.

V6 The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom.

1 John 2:16 For everything in the world- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions- is not from the Father, but is from the world.

The lust of the eyes-The woman saw that it was delightful to look at. Eve should have stayed away but she looked and gave the serpent an open door. She thought about the temptation, now she saw it as pleasing.

The lust of the flesh-she saw that it was good for food.

The pride of life-she sought contentment apart from God. Without God contentment is impossible to find.

Temptation is a charming vision to the soul, but it carries significant consequences.

James 1:13-15 No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God,” since God is not tempted by evil, and he himself doesn’t tempt anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desire. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.

V6b So she took some of the fruit and ate it, she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. V7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

She decided the benefits were too great and the consequences were unreasonable.

The consequences of sin far outweigh the benefits.

Genesis 3:8-24

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”

Nobody can hide from God. God sought them out and asked, Where are you? Adam said to God, I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked so I hid.

God asked him who told him he was naked and asked him if he ate from the tree he had been instructed not to eat from. Adam turned the attention to Eve and the Lord asked Eve, what is this you have done? Eve said the serpent deceived me and I ate.

God pronounced a curse on the serpent, and consequences for Adam and Eve.The worst part of it was separation from God by being put out of the Garden of Eden.

Isaiah 59:1-2 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear, but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

God has graciously provided the way back from separation to salvation.  

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is the message of faith that we proclaim: If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:8-10