Bible Reading: Genesis chapter 3

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

Romans 5v12 KJV

Why don’t we all live in the Garden of Eden today? Why do thorns prick us when we try to smell a rose? Why do those we love get sick and die? Why do we wear clothes today? Why do millions have to work so hard even for the basic necessities of life? What spoiled the perfect world that God made? For the answer to these and other questions we must turn to Genesis chapter 3 and we discover the answer is sin.

However, first we want to consider Lucifer being cast out of heaven.

The Fall of Lucifer

Take time to look up the Bible verses if you want to really benefit from this study

When God made this world, He made it perfect with no sin in it (cp. Genesis 1v31). God made the angels at the very beginning of the first day, and amongst them was Lucifer. They did not exist before then, for Christ created everything in heaven and earth, visible and invisible, within the 6 days of creation (Colossians 1v16; Exodus 20v11). The angels shouted for joy to see the earth’s creation (Job 38v4-7).

Isaiah 14v12-15; Ezekiel 28v12-15; Revelation 12v7-9 are passages of scripture taken to refer to the fall of Lucifer from heaven.

God created the angel Lucifer perfect in wisdom and beauty (Ezekiel 28v12-15).

Lucifer was there when God created the earth, but instead of continuing to glorify God, Lucifer wanted to rule the universe and be worshipped (Isaiah 14v12-15).

So, Lucifer led a great army of rebellious angels in an unsuccessful battle against God and His faithful angels (Revelation 12v7-9).

Cast out of heaven, Lucifer became Satan, or the devil, the author of sin. He is the enemy of God. Speaking through the serpent, the evil fallen angel led Adam and Eve into sin (Genesis 3).

Satan is absolutely and thoroughly bad and evil (John 8v44). His purpose is to deceive and destroy mankind (1 Peter 5v8) and to try to frustrate the purposes of God (Genesis 3; Matthew 13v24, 25,38,39).

The Fall of Man

Man disobeyed God and as a result fell from his original innocent state and became a sinner (Genesis 3; Romans 5v12+19; 1 Corinthians 15v21+22). The Fall of man took place sometime between the end of creation week and the conception of Cain, Adam and Eve’s first child. God created this world all very good – without sin (Genesis 1v31). However, as we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, we all inherit a sinful nature as a result of our first parents’ sin (Romans 5v12). This included Cain, so therefore the Fall of man was before Eve conceived Cain.

The Temptation  

Genesis 3v1-5

God had commanded Adam not to eat the forbidden fruit i.e. the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and He had warned him that the penalty for doing so would be death (Genesis 2v16-17). Adam understood this.

The temptation to sin came from without – from Satan through the serpent (Genesis 3v1-5); and not from within. Man did not, as yet, have a sinful nature.

Satan began by questioning God’s Word, “Yea, hath God said…” (Genesis 3v1). He wanted Eve to doubt God’s Word. He still wants people to doubt God’s Word.

Satan contradicted God’s Word (Genesis 3v4). God had said, “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2v17) but Satan said, “Ye shall not surely die.” He suggested God is a liar. He still contradicts God’s Word today.

Then Satan mixed in a bit of the truth – “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3v5). He inferred that God is not infinitely wise and loving in withholding this fruit from them. Satan still uses these tactics today. However, God loves us and He knows what is best for us, therefore we ought to obey Him.

The Transgression  

Genesis 3v6

Adam and Eve’s sin was disobedience. God their Creator had given them a command (Genesis 2v16+17) and they chose to disobey it. They were created without sin but with a will to choose. Their sin was not sexual relations for God had distinctly commanded them to populate the earth (Genesis 1v28).

Genesis 3v6 is often compared with 1 John 2v16. Eve saw that the fruit (1) was good for food – “the lust of the flesh”, (2) was pleasant to the eyes – “the lust of the eyes”, (3) would make one wise – “the pride of life”.

Eve was deceived and ate the fruit. She gave it to Adam and he partook of it willingly – he was not deceived (Genesis 3v6; 1 Timothy 2v14). Nonetheless, they both yielded to Satan’s temptation and disobeyed God.

The Bible does not state that the fruit was an apple. We do not know what the fruit looked like but this does not alter the fact that our first parents’ sin was disobedience to God and His Word.

God created Adam head of the human race and gave responsibility of leadership to him, so the Bible says that sin entered the world through Adam (Romans 5v12+19; 1 Corinthians 15v21+22; 1 Timothy 2v13+14).

Immediately Adam and Eve sinned, they died spiritually – they were separated from God. They no longer enjoyed the fellowship with God that they had had before they sinned. They were now sinners.

Their Guilt  

Genesis 3v 7-13

Adam and Eve immediately sensed the guilt of their sin. They were not ignorant savages with no moral responsibility to God their Creator. They were created in the image of God, and although that image had now been marred by their sin, their conscience still told them they had done wrong.

They realised they were naked (Genesis 3v7). We wear clothes today because Adam and Eve sinned.

They tried to cover their sin by making aprons out of fig leaves. Just as fig leaves were not sufficient covering for Adam and Eve, so our good works are not sufficient to cover our sin and save us (Isaiah 64v6; Ephesians 2v8-9; Titus 3v5).

They hid from God (Genesis 3v8). Never before had they hid from God. They had always enjoyed the fellowship with their Creator. Sin marred their appreciation of the Creator and their fellowship with Him.

They were afraid (Genesis 3v10). The guilt of their sin made them afraid of the Thrice-Holy God who hates all sin. Sin separates us from God.

God is All-knowing, so He knew what Adam and Eve had done and where they were but God wanted them to confess their sin to Him (Genesis 3v9-11).

Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent (Genesis 3v12+13). Doesn’t this sound familiar? We often blame others or our circumstances, instead of owning up and taking the responsibility for our own sin.

The Curse & Effects of Sin

God’s creation was originally all very good (Genesis 1v31) but now it suffers the effects of the Curse (Genesis 3v14-19). In our world today there are many visual aids to remind us that man has sinned and needs a Saviour.

Serpent cursed above all other animals

“Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life”

Genesis 3v14 KJV

While all other animals were affected by the curse (e.g. animal diseases), the serpent was cursed above them all for he was the instrument Satan used to get man to sin.  This verse suggests that snakes may once have had legs. Perhaps the ‘vestigial legs’ of such snakes as the anaconda, boa constrictor, and python are a reminder to man of his fall – resulting in God’s cursing the serpent above all other animals. The serpent transfers dust from its forked tongue to the Jacobson’s organ on the mouth’s roof where sensory cells analyse its content and the environment.

Sorrow in childbearing

(Genesis 3v16).

This is a ‘fact of life’. Women suffer so much more than female animals in producing offspring. This is because childbirth pains result directly from God’s punishment of Eve and hence of all women.

Ground cursed

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake…. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.”

Genesis 3v17-18 KJV

Some people tell us that thorns exist to protect the plant but dahlias and strawberries have survived as well as roses and gooseberries. God put thorns on some plants to remind us that this world is under His curse. The next time a thorn pricks your finger when you try to smell a rose, remember God cursed the ground because of man’s sin! Thorns did not exist before God cursed the ground but they are found in the fossil record, so the fossil record had to be formed after Adam and Eve sinned, and not during a gap of millions of years between Genesis 1v1+2. It is interesting to note that thorns, the result of sin, crowned Christ when He died for our sins on the cross at Calvary (Matthew 27v29-31).

Work hard to produce good food

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.”

Genesis 3v19 KJV

Hard labour and sweat were necessary for Adam to grow food-bearing plants, so that he and his family would have enough to eat. There were now many enemies that were not in the original creation – weeds, blight, etc. Contending with the cursed ground was so difficult compared to life in Eden. In many countries today, millions of people have to toil endlessly to provide just the basic necessities.

Death

Genesis 2v17; 3v19; Romans 5v12; 6v23; 1 Corinthians 15v21+22; James 1v15; Revelation 20v14+15; 21v8

The moment Adam and Eve sinned they experienced spiritual death (separation from God). They were now sinners. Their bodies began to age. Physical death was to follow – “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” We are all born with a sinful nature which makes us want to sin. Death has passed upon all men. Those who refuse to repent of their sin will suffer eternal death. Death is a solemn reminder to us that sin is punished by death and that we need to prepare to meet our Maker. The good news is that Christ has tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2v9) that we might have salvation free.

Violence

Genesis 6v5, 11-13; Romans 5v12

The results of sin were terrible – violence, death, and the struggle to survive filled the earth. There was murder in the first family (Genesis 4v8). Things got worse and by the time of Noah the whole earth was filled with violence and every imagination of man’s heart was only evil continually.

Some animals began to kill others. Before Adam and Eve sinned, all animals and man were vegetarian (Genesis1v29-30) and there was no death in the world (Romans 5v12), so animals did not kill one another. Some animals, that once used their sharp teeth and claws to obtain and eat plant food, now used them to kill and devour other living things in the fallen world e.g. T-rex, lions. The earth was no longer all very good. Some insects began stinging and biting after the fall.

Sorrow

Genesis 3v16-19

What a change from Eden where Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect happiness and fellowship with their Creator!   Now there is sorrow in work, sorrow in childbirth, and sorrow resulting from death all around us in the world. Both men and women suffer sorrow as the result of the Curse.

Effect on creation

The Bible makes it clear that death, bloodshed, disease and suffering are a consequence of sin – they were not part of God’s originally perfect creation. Romans 8v22 tells us that the “whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” because of the effects of the fall of Adam – it was not ‘groaning’ with death and suffering before Adam sinned. God’s entire creation suffers “the bondage of corruption” and decay, and waits to be delivered from it (Romans 8v19-23). The earth began to “wax old as doth a garment” and some day it “shall perish” (Hebrews 1v10-12). After Adam’s fall, it became universally true that everything would eventually run down, grow old, wear out, die, decay, and return to the dust. Adam’s sin caused all of creation to be affected by the curse. Is it any wonder that this old world has sickness, disease, violent weather, earthquakes, etc?

Effects on plants

When God created this world, it was all very good and man could eat of every fruit bearing plant, except of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 1v29-31; 2v16-17). However, the Bible teaches us that the curse of the fall changed things (Genesis 3v17-19). The very ‘dust of the ground’ from which God had made living things, was brought under the bondage of corruption (Romans 8v22) – and once beneficial plants became corrupted, developing malevolent characteristics e.g. poison ivy and poison oak now contain acid-like oil that is extremely irritating to the skin, nettles sting, and some mushrooms became highly toxic. The next time a nettle stings you, remember “the sting of sin is death” (1 Corinthians 15v56) and then rub the sting with a dock leaf and think of how Christ was “bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53v5) that He might remove the sting from death for us (1 Corinthians 15v55).

Man’s relationship with all things changed because of sin – they are not ‘under him’ as they were originally in the world of perfect harmony (Genesis 1v28; Hebrews 2v6-8).

The earth is no longer “very good”. It will remain “this present evil world” (Galatians 1v14) until Christ’s return. What a day it will be when there will be no more death, sorrow, or pain, and “no more curse” (Revelation 21v4; 22v3).

Messianic Promise Genesis 3v15

“and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

Genesis 3v15 KJV

God put enmity, a deep-seated hatred between the serpent and Eve.

This verse is the first promise in the Bible of the Messiah (Christ). One day Satan would injure “the seed of the woman,” Jesus Christ, at the cross. But Jesus triumphantly rose from the dead to deliver a mortal head wound to Satan the serpent who will be cast into the lake of fire (cp. Hebrews 2v14; Revelation 20v10). Also, read Romans 16v20.

Here is the first hint of the Virgin Birth in the Bible. The Messiah would be the Seed of the woman, not the man.

God was not ‘caught napping’ when man sinned. God knew man would sin and the Bible speaks of Christ as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13v8). Also, Romans 8v30 and Ephesians 1v4 speak of a people chosen before the foundation of the world – before Adam and Eve had sinned. God so loved us that He planned our salvation away back in the courts of eternity, long before this world existed. God loved us with “everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31v3).

Eve – mother of all living

Genesis 3v20

Adam gave his wife the name Eve because she was the mother of all living. This means that every person born into this world is descended from her. She was the mother of human kind. Remember she was not even pregnant at this stage, so by faith Adam believed that she would have children. Perhaps he even thought that she would bear the One who would deliver them from Satan.

God made clothes

Genesis 3v21

Wearing clothes is a God-given principle and not just a cultural thing. It dates all the way back to Genesis to the Garden of Eden when God made clothes for Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness. They felt shame because of their sin and God provided them with covering.

The fact that God made clothes for Adam and Eve shows that nudity is not acceptable to God. It leads to lust.

Modesty is the key factor here. Obviously, God does not require us to dress in some sort of tunics made from animal skins today.

Spiritual Significance

God slew innocent animals to clothe Adam and Eve (Genesis 3v21), showing them that atonement (covering) for sin must be a blood sacrifice – “for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17v11); “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9v22). The innocent animals being killed was a picture of the Sinless Saviour shedding His blood for our sins. Adam and Eve were thus taught to look forward to the coming of the Messiah who would one day atone for the sins of the world.

Expulsion From the Garden  

Genesis 3v22-24

Adam and Eve no longer live in the Garden of Eden because they sinned. They must always have remembered this fact and no doubt often talked of the ‘good old days’ in Eden.

Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, lest they should eat of the tree of life and live forever in their sin (Genesis 3v22-24). God loved them and did not want them to live forever separated from Him. Cherubim guarded the way to the tree of life – there was no going back.

They continued to farm but life outside Eden was very difficult for them – sorrow, sweat, and hard labour as they tilled the sin-cursed ground (Genesis 3v23).

We do not live in the Garden of Eden because of sin and also it was always God’s purpose for the earth to be populated (Genesis 1v28). Eden no longer exists in this sin-cursed world.

Understanding the Fossil Record

Accepting that the fossil record teaches millions of years of death, bloodshed, disease, violence, all in the struggle to survive, and then going to the Bible to interpret it creates problems:

  • It is inconsistent with the character of God to suggest that He was the Author of a creation that was not perfectly good.
  • To put death, bloodshed, disease, and the struggle to survive, before the Fall of man is contrary to scripture and attacks the foundation of the gospel.
  • It is wrong to assume that all earth’s history was shaped by the same processes we see happening today. All things have not continued as they were from the beginning (cp. 2 Peter 3v3-6).
  • To believe in the evolutionary concept concerning the fossil record is to believe in an old earth, whereas the Bible teaches a young earth – about 6000 years.
  • The Bible not only tells us God’s plan of salvation but it is the true history book of the universe. We ought to start with the revelation from God (the Bible) as foundational to all thinking (biology, history, geology, etc.), rather than trying to make evolutionary notions fit into the Bible. If we did this, we would view the evidence found in the fossil record in a completely different way from the evolutionist.
  • The fossil record shows evidence of thorns, death, bloodshed, disease, and the struggle to survive, therefore it had to be formed after Adam and Eve sinned.
  • The fossil record gives evidence of the disastrous effects of man’s sin.
  • Most of the fossil record does not represent a history of life on earth over millions of years, but rather the order of burial during the flood. “If there really was a worldwide flood what would the evidence be? Billions of dead things buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth.” That’s exactly what is found.

Implications For The Whole Human Race

There is only one human race.

There are, however, many different people groups and cultures. As Eve was “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3v20) and God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17v26), our first parents’ sin has affected us all. Scripture nowhere states that there is another line of people, either created or evolved, other than that, which has descended from Adam and Eve.

We are all born with original sin.

The federal headship of the human race had been invested in Adam. We were in Adam, so when he sinned we all sinned. His sin and the results of it were imputed to all his posterity (Romans 5v12, 15-17; 1 Corinthians 15v21-22). The only exception was the Lord Jesus Christ.

Man is incapable of saving himself.

Scripture describes fallen man as Spiritually dead (Ephesians 2v1+5); Spiritually blind (2 Corinthians 4v4); Controlled by sin (Colossians1v13); An enemy of God (Romans 5v10; 8v7+8); and Guilty before God (Romans 3v19). As such there is just no way man can do anything to save himself. There is nothing we can do to remove our guilt before God. It is by God’s mercy and love that we can have salvation free (John 3v16; Ephesians 2v8+9). “Salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2v9).

Christ is the Only Saviour of mankind.

(Matthew 1v21; Acts 4v12; 1 Corinthians 15v22; 1 Timothy 2v5-6; 1 Peter 3v18). Jesus Christ the blessed God-Man suffered and bled and died, in our place, on the cross of Calvary to deliver us from the Curse of sin and death (Titus 2v14; Hebrews 2v14). The reason we send missionaries to the remotest parts of the earth, is because all the people of this world are descendants of Adam and Eve, they are all born in sin, and need Christ to save them.

Conclusion

The world has been changed dramatically because of sin and the Curse. Some people reject the Genesis account of history because they find it difficult to accept that all animals were originally herbivores and lived in harmony. However, the present food chain and animal behaviour cannot be used as a basis for interpreting the Bible. The Bible explains why the world is the way it is. Everything has changed because of sin. One must look at the world through Bible eyes to understand it.

Our Creator has given us so many visual aids all around us to remind us “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan” (Revelation 12v9) has led man in rebellion against his Maker, and we are all sinners in need of God’s salvation. The devil is still our adversary and seeks to destroy us (1 Peter 5v8). Do not be deceived by his lies. Trust the one True God who loves you and wants to save you.


For further information on creation/evolution issues visit:

Answers in Genesis
Creation Ministries International