Original Sin and The Fall of Man

The following article contains excerpts from "A Book of Bible Study"

by Joseph F. Harwood.


To download the entire book in PDF format, visit our home page at https://www.abookofbiblestudy.net/


In Genesis 2, after the Lord God had created the heavens and the earth, the plants and creatures that live on the earth, we find that He created Adam, and then Eve to be Adam’s helper. God planted the Garden of Eden, and He placed Adam and Eve in the garden to tend it and take care of it. He put all kinds of trees in the garden that were good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God commanded Adam and Eve, saying that they could eat from any tree in the garden, but they must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or they would surely die. 


Following in Genesis 3, we read the account of the fall of man. The serpent, or the devil, deceived Eve with a lie, saying that if she ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that her eyes would be opened, and she would be just like God. The serpent then lied to Eve again saying that she would not surely die if she ate the fruit, as God had said she would. 


Eve, after hearing this enticement, looked at the fruit and saw that it was good for food, pleasing to the eye and desirable as something that would give her wisdom. So she took some and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband Adam who was with her. Adam, who also knew that God had forbidden them to eat this fruit, ate it as well. 


This is the original sin, committed by Adam and Eve, and this is the point at which sin entered the world. Immediately after they ate the fruit, Adam and Eve became aware that they were naked, and they felt shame, whereas they had no awareness of their nakedness before. As a result of this transgression, God cursed the serpent saying: 


“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.” (Genesis 3:15)


This curse that the Lord God pronounced upon the serpent was fulfilled in Christ’s victory over Satan at Calvary’s cross. After cursing the serpent, the Lord said to Eve that He would greatly increase her pain in childbearing, and that her desire would now be for her husband, who would rule over her. The Lord then said to Adam that because he had listened to his wife and had eaten the fruit of the tree that He had commanded him not to eat, he would have to toil painfully by the sweat of his brow to obtain food from the land until he died and returned to the ground from which he was taken (Genesis 2:7). 


At the point in time when Adam and Eve ate the fruit that God had told them not to eat, sin entered into the world. This was the fall of man. Before that time, Adam and Eve had the power to either obey God, or to sin by disobeying him. After that point, the inclination and tendency of man was to do only evil. The extent of man’s depravity after the fall is revealed in Genesis 6 where we read: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5). 


Paul described the fall of man saying: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.” (Romans 5:12-14). Paul then explained that just as sin came into the world through one man, Adam, and that one sin of Adam’s brought death and condemnation to every man, so also through one Man, Jesus Christ, and His one act of righteousness, God’s grace would overflow to many, resulting in justification that brings life. 


As we consider Genesis 6:5 and total depravity of mankind that resulted from the sin of Adam and Eve, we could also consider Romans 3:9-18, where Paul taught us that there is no one who seeks God, not even one. Paul also described the extent of man’s wickedness when he wrote in verse 9 that all men, both Jews and Gentiles, are under sin. Beginning in verse 10 we read: 

“There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks for God.
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12)

In these verses, Paul quoted Scriptures from Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 53:1-3 and Ecclesiastes 7:20 to describe the extent of man’s wickedness, and to emphasize that there is not one man who seeks God, not even one. Paul then continued in this passage to quote several verses from the Psalms and Isaiah that speak of man’s wickedness and depravity. Since Paul taught us clearly that “there is none who seeks for God”, then God Himself must seek men if any from among them are to be reconciled to Him. 


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