What is the Truth about the Fall of Man?


The Lord’s graciousness, goodness, wisdom, and power were evident in his creative activities.  He had created a perfect universe as man’s dwelling place.  He had created man in his own holy image and likeness.  He had given man the Garden of Eden for his home and had made him the ruler over all of creation.  In that perfect world man enjoyed a close relationship with his Creator God.  But all this quickly came to an abrupt end because of sin. The purpose of this lesson is to learn what sin man committed against his loving Creator God, and what the terrible effects of that sin have been.

1. What sin did man commit shortly after his creation?

Gen.2:16,17  And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat from every tree of the garden; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it, you will surely die.”

1. The Lord is loving and good.  He provided Adam and Eve with the opportunity to freely show their love for him by obeying this one command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
2. Death would be the punishment for disobeying God’s command.

1 Jn.3:8  . . . the devil has been sinning from the beginning.

1. God had made all things, including his angels, perfect.  But the devil sinned against God and led many angels into sin with him.

Read Genesis 3:1-24, which is printed below.

1 Now the serpent was more shrewd than any wild animal of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Is it even so that God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?’ ”
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;
3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it and you shall not touch it, lest you die.’ ”
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You shall not surely die.
5 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.”
6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes and the tree was desirable to become understanding, then she took from its fruit and ate and gave it also to her husband with her and he ate
7 and the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made aprons for themselves.
¶ 8 Then they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the breeze of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
9 Then the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 And he said, “I heard your voice in the garden and I became afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.”
11 Then he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you indeed eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
12 And the man said, “The woman, whom you gave to be with me, she gave to me from the tree and I ate.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”
14 Then the Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all the domestic animals
And all the wild animals of the field!
Upon your belly you will always slither (literally, go),
And dust you will eat
All the days of your life.
15 And enmity I will put
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He will crush your head,
And you will crush his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain and your conception.
In pain you will bring forth children.
Yet your yearning will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.
17 Then to the man he said, “Because you listened to the voice of your wife and you ate from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it,’
Cursed be the ground because of you.
By hard labor you will eat of it
All the days of your life
18 Now thorns and thistles it will continually sprout forth to you,
And you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread
Until you return unto the ground.
For from it you have been taken.
For dust you are,
And unto dust you will return.”
20 Now the man called the name of his wife Eve, because she indeed would be the mother of all the living.
21 And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skin and clothed them.
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man is like one of us to know good and evil, and now lest he stretch out his hand and also take from the tree of life and eat and live forever –“
23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
24 So he drove the man out; and to the east of the Garden of Eden he made the cherubim dwell and a flaming sword that flashed this way and that to guard the way of the tree of life.

Genesis 3:1-24 tell us:

1. The devil, after his own fall into sin, came to Eve in the form of a serpent and tempted her.
2. Eve was deceived and ate from the tree.
3. She gave the fruit to Adam, who had not been deceived (1 Timothy 2:14), and he ate it also.
4. Being guilty of sin, Adam and Eve ran from the Lord to hide, because they were afraid of him.  Their sin destroyed their close relationship with their Creator.  It erected a barrier which now exists between the human race and the Lord.
5. God cursed the serpent for the part it played in bringing sin into the world.  He informed the devil that a descendant of the woman would arise who would destroy him.
6. The coming destruction of the devil was good news to Adam and Eve.  Upon his destruction they would be saved from him and the punishment for sin he had ensnared them in.  The Lord showed he was merciful, announcing Adam’s and Eve’s salvation through a coming Savior before uttering even one word of punishment to them for what they had done.
7. The Lord also showed that he was a fair and righteous judge, announcing the temporal punishments Adam and Eve would suffer for their sin.

The Truth Is:

1. In love God commanded his creature man not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
2. Satan showed he was the enemy of God and man, corrupting God’s perfect creation and creature, man.  He deceived Eve so that she willingly ate the forbidden fruit and gave it to Adam, who, not having been deceived, also ate the fruit willingly.
3. The human race no longer enjoyed a close fellowship with God but was separated from him by its sin.
4. God promised a Savior for the human race, revealing the depth of his love and mercy for fallen mankind.  Instead of destroying mankind immediately for its sin, he provided a salvation from eternal death and damnation.
5. The human race would bear the punishments for its sin during life on this earth. Note:  The punishment God imposed on the human race was to remind people of the horror of sin and its terrible effects.  This would alert people to their need for the Savior who would come to bring them salvation.
death is the punishment of the soul being separated from the body and the Lord’s blessings in this world.
death is the punishment of body and soul being separated from the Lord and his heavenly blessings forever.

2. How did the fall into sin affect the nature of all people?

Gen.5:3  When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, then he fathered a son in his own likeness, according to his own image, and he called his name Seth.

1. Adam’s son inherited his father’s spiritual image, which after the fall was not holy and righteous, but was sinful.

Ps.51:5  Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.

1. All people inherit Adam’s sinful nature through their parents.  They are sinful at conception and birth.

Ro.7:18  For I know that no good thing dwells in me, that is in my sinful nature; . . .

1. The sinful nature of us humans is totally corrupt and morally wicked, lacking anything good.

Gen.8:21 . . . the Lord said in his heart, “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though the inclination of man’s heart is evil from his childhood; . . .

  1. 1. The sinful nature of us humans is inclined only to doing evil all of the time.

1 Cor.2:14  But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1. The sinful human nature cannot believe or accept the gospel of God’s love in Jesus, for it thinks the gospel is foolishness.
2. The sinful human nature cannot understand the gospel of God’s salvation through faith in Jesus.  It has no spiritual understanding.

Eph.2:1  And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, . . .

1. The sinful human nature is spiritually dead, unable to believe God’s promises.

1 Cor.12:3  . . . no one is able to say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

  1. People themselves cannot believe in Jesus. God the Holy Spirit must enable them to believe Jesus is the Lord God himself and their Savior.

Ro.8:7  . . . the sinful mind is hostile toward God, . . .
And we were by nature children of wrath, even like the rest.

1. Being sinful by nature, all people are subject to the wrath and punishment of God.

The Truth Is:

The human race is now spiritually dead as a result of the fall into sin.
l death is the human spirit being separated spiritually from God and being unable to understand and enjoy the blessings of his truths and gifts.
1. Adam’s sinful nature was passed on to all people through their conception and birth. This is called inherited, original, or natural sin.
2. Nothing good rests in the sinful nature.  It is totally corrupt and morally wicked.
3. The human heart is now intent only on committing evil.  It has no desire to love God or abide by his will.
4. Humans by their own reason and determination cannot believe in Jesus Christ or understand the gospel.  Spiritually humans are dead and blind.  They cannot bring themselves to faith or begin to co-operate in bringing themselves to faith.  Faith is solely the work and gift of God.
5. Humans by nature bear an enmity and hostility toward God in their hearts.
6. Because of their sinful nature, all humans from birth are subject to the wrath and punishment of God in hell.

3. How does this inherited sin affect our behavior to this day?

Mt.15:19  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false witness, and slanders.

1. Our inherited sinful nature brings forth sinful thoughts, words, and deeds.

Mt.7:17  In this manner every good tree produces good fruit, but the decayed tree produces bad fruit.

1. Our sinful nature, like a decayed tree, can only produce sinful fruits.

Ro.7:19,20  For the good that I desire to do, I do not do; but the evil that I do not desire to do, this I keep doing. Now if what I do not desire to do, this I keep doing, no longer am I the one doing it, but it is the sin living in me that does it.

1. Though we are Christians who have been reborn spiritually and desire to obey God, our sinful nature, called the Old Adam or old self, remains with us throughout our lives, causing us to do evil rather than the good we desire to do.

The Truth Is:

Our inherited sinful nature affects our behavior.
1. By nature we can only commit sins in thought, word, and deed.  This is known as actual sin.
2. Though we are Christians who have been reborn spiritually, our sinful nature clings to us throughout our lives, causing us to commit sins we do not want to commit.

Review Questions

1. True or false: The best way for us to show our love for God is to keep his commandments.
2. God said the punishment for sin would be death.  We have discovered three kinds of death which now afflict the human race.  What are they?
3. How did the Lord show himself to be a loving and merciful God immediately after the fall into sin?
4. Does God punish us for our sins?
5. If an infant died shortly after birth, would he deserve to go to hell as a punishment for sin?
6. The philosophy of humanism, which is so influential, believes man is good by nature.  Compare this belief to what the Bible says about man and evaluate its correctness.
7. Consider the spiritual nature of the human race as it is now after the fall into sin.  In light of this, are the calls “Make your decision for Christ” and “Receive Christ into your heart” biblically sound ways to preach to unbelievers?  Why, or why not?
8. What are the two classifications of sin?