Fall of Man

These small group studies take us through almost twenty of the key events in the Old Testament. Our Old Testament Survey contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Old Testament Survey Lesson 2 – Fall of Man

Outline:

  1. The temptation (1-5)

    1. The serpent’s crafty words (1)

      1. Casts doubt on God’s command

      2. Twists it to exclude all the trees

    2. Eve’s response (2-3)

      1. Misquotes God’s command (2-3)

        1. Takes out the provision to freely eat (2)

        2. Adds the prohibition to touch it (3)

        3. Lessens the penalty (3)

    3. Serpent’s response (4-5)

      1. Contradicts God directly (4)

      2. Promises a good result (5)

  2. The sin (6-7)

    1. Eve eats the fruit and gives it to Adam (6)

    2. They experience deep guilt (7)

  3. The cover-up (8-13)

    1. They hid from God (8)

    2. God gives them repeated chances to repent (9-13)

    3. Adam and Eve make the problem worse by hiding their sin and blaming others (9-13)

  4. The consequences (14-24)

    1. For the serpent (14-15)

      1. Humiliation (14)

      2. Final defeat (15)

    2. For the woman (16)

      1. Pain in childbirth

      2. Gender conflict

    3. For Adam (17-20)

      1. Cursed the ground (17-18)

      2. Mortality

      3. Hard labor (19)

  5. God’s gracious provision (21-24)

    1. Garments of skin (implied sacrifice) (21)

    2. Protection from eternity in their sinful state (22-24)

      1. The decision (22)

      2. Driven out (23)

      3. The defense (24)

Observations

1-7

From this account of the first sin in the world we can learn a lot about it. We can learn of its power. We can learn of the methods of temptation Satan uses. We can learn about the process that leads us to sin. We can learn about the consequences of sin.

What do you notice about what Eve says God’s command was? Is it the same? How is it different? What is the significance of that? Eve changes the command of God to make it more restrictive than it actually is.

The actual act of committing the world-dooming sin only takes up one verse. It was very quick, as sin normally is. The temptation and the results are much longer lasting.

Satan doesn’t start of by directly contradicting God. He just attempts to cast doubt on God’s command and imply that it is too restrictive. Later he directly contradicts God’s command, claiming that God is withholding something good and valuable for humans. He makes a big promise. Not only does he not have the power to keep it, he has no intention of keeping it. It is only meant to entice Eve to commit the sin. He only has his interests at heart.

Satan was crafty. Why did he tempt Eve instead of Adam? He tempted the woman, the weaker vessel.

Sin not only affects us. It is contagious and affects others as well. Eve passed the sin on to Adam.

The process of temptation >> sin is very much the same as it is today. First Eve stayed there and talked to the serpent. What should she have done? Then she looked at it. She saw it was good. She thought more about it and considered it would make her wise. Then she took it. Then she passed it on. Then she became guilty. Then what did she do? Then she hid her sin. Then she blamed the serpent.

Adam was responsible too. He knew the command and he wasn’t deceived. He went into it eyes-wide-open. For whatever reason, he followed Eve’s lead instead of taking responsibility himself. This mistake is often repeated by men today, who don’t take responsibility.

It is much easier to be tempted and to fall into it in solitude than if we are exercising close fellowship with other Christians. If Eve was with Adam it is less likely she would have fallen into this temptation.

For Eve, it wasn’t yet sin to be near the tree since there was only one command. For us, it is wise to stay far away from temptation and not go close to it (Proverbs 4:15).

“Satan tempted Eve, that by her he might tempt Adam; so he tempted Job by his wife, and Christ by Peter. It is his policy to send temptations by unsuspected hands, and theirs that have most interest in us and influence upon us.

(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary)”

“You shall know good and evil, that is, every thing that is desirable to be known.” To support this part of the temptation, he abuses the name given to this tree: it was intended to teach the practical knowledge of good and evil, that is, of duty and disobedience; and it would prove the experimental knowledge of good and evil, that is, of happiness and misery. In these senses, the name of the tree was a warning to them not to eat of it; but he perverts the sense of it, and wrests it to their destruction, as if this tree would give them a speculative notional knowledge of the natures, kinds, and originals, of good and evil. And,

(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary)”

The temptation promised more than it could deliver. This fruit did not increase the IQ of Adam or Eve. They did not become more wise, as Satan had said. Their eyes were opened. How? They were opened to see their sin and feel guilty. Their innocence was gone (compare to 2:25). The passing pleasure of sin was temporary.

8-13

The process of sin continued to its normal end. Adam and Eve hid their sin. Then they blamed others. Who was responsible for the sin? (All) If we do make mistakes and sin we should not try to hide it. Also we should take full responsibility and not blame others. This is true confession.

God was merciful throughout the whole situation. He created a perfect world for two people and put them in the middle of a beautiful garden. Then He gave them freedom to do whatever they liked except for one thing. Instead of loving and respecting and following Him, they revolted against Him. Yet He didn’t grow angry. He calmly asked them where they were and what had happened and what they did. Why did He ask them this? Didn’t He already know it? He did this, I believe, to give them a chance to repent. It’s like a parent asking a child what they did when the parent already knows. He asks for the child’s benefit.

Adam not only blames Eve, but backhandedly blames God for giving him Eve.

14-24

Although God was merciful and loving, He was still completely just. Sin must be punished and it must have consequences. This sin was of such a gross and huge nature that it must be punished accordingly. Since Adam was representing the world, the world must face its consequences. Each one who was responsible was judged. So God was and is just.

I am struck by the massive affect this sin had on the world. Its consequences were vast and far-reaching. The sin twisted the world and threw it out of the perfect balance that it was created in.

Satan may have experienced momentary victory, but God prophecies his final destruction. It is so certain it is just as if it had already happened.

Verse 15 contains a prophecy of a Savior descending from the woman. This prophecy was eventually fulfilled in Christ. (p

In verse 16 God tells of the problems that will arise between genders. Women will desire to rule over their husbands (same word used in 4:7). They will want to be the head. However, men will dominate and master them. This is a curse for the general state of the world. To this day there are severe gender barriers and problems. The root for these is in the fall. How can we solve this problem? What is the solution? The answer is to have a God-centered marriage and follow His plan (Ephesians 5). For believers, we can to some extent roll back certain effects of the fall by following God.

Work was not cursed. It was always in God’s natural design. However, after the fall it became much more laborious, difficult, and the returns were greatly diminished.

To the end God showed His graciousness. He drove them out of the garden part as punishment, but also to protect them. If they ate of the Tree of Life they would live forever in their sinful state. Therefore He drove them out and protected the Tree so that they couldn’t eat from it and be eternally cursed.

Cross-references

Revelation 12:9, 20:2, Ezekiel 28:13-17 – Who is the serpent? Where did it come from?

2 Corinthians 11:14 – Satan likes to appear as an angel of light.

John 8:44 – Satan is called a liar from the beginning and the father of lies because he told Eve she would not die if she ate the fruit when, in fact, she did and faced spiritual separation.

Romans 8:19-23 – Creation is subjected to futility. It is groaning and in a form of slavery, longing to be set free from its current, corrupt state, which is caused by sin.

Romans 5:12 – Adam’s sin did bring the whole world into sin and death. It didn’t only affect himself. It affected creation and humans until now. He was acting as our head and his sin affected the body.

Romans 6:23 – Wages of sin is death. This was the punishment for sin from the beginning.

What can we learn about Satan?

He is cunning and crafty. He is the enemy of God and all his thoughts are bent on fighting against God. He makes big promises. He appeals to natural desires. He is liar and twists or changes what God says (see his temptation of Jesus)

What can we learn about humans?

They are sinful. They are cursed. They are in a sense alienated from each other. They are alienated from God. Their own solution to sin and “covering” is not enough (leaves).

What can we learn about God?

He is just. He keeps His word. He is loving and merciful. He is the true Savior and the true provider. He approaches us. Only by His provision (skins) can we be healed.

Evil in the World –

A number of people in the class have raised the question of the problem of evil in world and asked how an all-powerful and loving God could allow evil to exist. This is one of most difficult questions for the human mind to solve. First of all, we should realize that all of us are limited. Our intellect and understanding is limited. We are not able to fully comprehend many elements of God and His plan because He is infinite. Nonetheless, there are some issues that will help us understand to understand the answer to this question.

One of the fundamental things that is part of our human nature is free will. We have freedom to choose between differing alternatives. This freedom is cherished by all humans. Free will must come with a choice between good in evil. Without this choice we wouldn’t have a free will, but would be more like androids than people made in God’s image. Some freedoms come with a cost.

It was man’s choice that brought sin into the world. All the evil that results is a direct result of Adam’s fall and our subsequent disobedience. When people sin the result is suffering for themselves as well as others. We can’t blame God for it because He created humans as perfect beings. It was of our own free will that we fell into sin and brought evil and all its effects upon ourselves.

In fact, we should be grateful to God. It was through His Son, Jesus Christ, that our sins can be paid for. Jesus took all the punishment for my wrongdoing when He sacrificed Himself on the cross for the world. Even though Jesus was perfect and had never sinned He gave his life to achieve the ultimate victory over sin. By trusting in Him we can be freed from the power of evil and be assured that one day He will give us a new and perfect body with no evil affects. While there is still evil today, it is because God is being patient with the human race. He wants to give people from every nation and race a chance to believe in Him before He sends Jesus back to destroy all evil once and for all. Please trust in Him while there is still time.

Another thing to remember is there are no innocent people. According to Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23, everybody has sinned and the wages for this is death. Christians are not exempt from this. We still face suffering and even death. The Bible never promises that we will have an easy life, but only that Christ will be with us in whatever we face. Our hope is not in this life; it is in the life after when we can be in heaven forever with Christ. Heaven is our real home. We are just passing through the earth. While we are here we should strive our best to serve God, but we should celebrate when we go home to Jesus. Then our body can be made new. Our sin can be wiped away. And our lives can be perfect as we rest in Him.

Rev 21:4

And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

Old Testament Survey #19 –

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