C) The Results of the Fall into Sin (Genesis 3:7-13)
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool 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 to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” 11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 And the man said, “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave 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.” (Genesis 3:7-13, NASB).
There were two contesting consequences from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
1) God’s “You shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
2) The serpent’s “You shall not surely die. For God knows that in the day that you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4).
Serious subversion is expressed through counter questioning the nature of God and His supremacy. Telemarketers appeal to potential victim’s vulnerability but hide the real cost. Let’s look at both the short term (immediate) and long term results of our forefather’s sin.
1) Immediate results of their sin
Eyes were opened (Genesis 3:7)
They got to know good and evil and in that sense became like God (3:22) so the serpent’s promise came true…. but they got MORE. While God has knowledge of good and evil, evil never has a controlling part. This shows God’s remarkable will and holiness! But for man, this knowledge of good and evil came by becoming subject to the control of evil, transfer of their rulership to Satan and loss of the very ideal of life as God designed it.
In knowing good and evil, they lost the free access to the tree of life, which if they had eaten after that would have lived forever.
The irony is that the excellence of their faculties was infinitely depressed. This is where mankind is today. He does not even have a proper perspective of God, His creation, the future, goodness and the other attributes God originally gave to man. His will, mind and heart were all at once stained. Man might consider himself good, but just by observing the world in general or a person in particular, the debate is quickly over. Man has with ample proof fallen into a world of sin.
Guilt, shame, lost innocence
A number of things resulted from their disobedience relating to their guilt.
- They knew they were naked (Genesis 3:7 compare with Genesis 2:25)
They were ashamed. At least they were honest about that (unlike the nudist proponents). They tried to cover up their nakedness with sewed fig leaves. God considered it inadequate and provided better set of clothes (Genesis 3:21).
- They hid from God’s presence (Genesis 3:8 -10)
They had to hide (if not hardened in their arrogance) because of sin. Sin does not make us want to go to God as it brings a fear of God’s presence (distinct from the healthy fear that aspires into God’s presence). “For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:20).
- They passed the blame (Genesis 3:12)
Other consequences include blaming others (‘buck-passing’) and denial of one’s personal responsibility. This hiding of sin is just another form of hiding from God. One is not willing to admit to one’s fault unless he feels hopelessly exposed. It is much easier to point someone’s attention to another than to admit that what has been done was due to one’s own wrong doing.
- They deceived and made excuses (Genesis 3:13)
The woman also passes the buck but at least admits that she was deceived. Unfortunately, this could be noticed only after the deception had worked it’s end when it was too late to change the fact. Usually, this is the only time a person will confess their sins when they are confronted and know there is no escape.
Deception---the essence of the enemy of God and our souls!
Why would anyone deceive?
Deceit is admission to inferiority. The serpent is evil because he deceives to get what he otherwise could not have. The serpent only could bait mankind through deceit. It was through deceit that he himself fell and used it to seed rebellion among mankind. So what did the serpent get for his deception? Control. But only for a short time, “He must be released for a short time” (Revelation 20:3) before his catastrophic and humiliating end. The light by nature is powerful where darkness is only present because of an absence of light. The evil one therefore only can continue as he continues his dark understanding. When God’s truth is revealed, he wilts away.
- Did the serpent’s promise that “you would not surely die” come true? No.
- Did they surely ‘die’? Yes.
The death they experienced could in no way be compared to the fruit of obedience. The contrast is so great that we can hardly comprehend why not only Eve but Adam fell into disobedience. The unfolding of the ‘surely die’ will continue on in the following chapters. There is a physical death that is delayed. Spiritual death took place instantly. This deathpervades through human history. Only in Christ Jesus do we see God interrupting this cycle of death with Life in Christ.
2) Long term results of their sin
Adam subjected all his progeny to the dominion of sin for eternity. In fact we shall see later that it is God, in His wisdom, mercy and grace, who immediately took steps to prevent this from happening in a way that could not be reversed (Genesis 3:23-24).
Man does not love anywhere near to the degree that the God of the Bible does.
This is why we say that man born of the will of man is fallen. Even the best of us struggle with the dominion of sin in our own members. Paul says, “The body is dead because of sin” (Romans 8:10). Very pathetically, we cannot on our own make it back to the standard of God. He is holed in a world of sin. Man has prided himself in his lofty human cultures, but God’s standard is infinitely higher than those achievements. Mankind does not know how off track they are. Romans 5:17 summarizes these long term results. Fortunately, these results have a positive long term effect through Christ Jesus–eternal life. Jesus Christ becomes the tree of life for us.
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).
The Fall of Man
Volumes have been written about the fall of man. We will only introduce this debate as it can easily cause us to forget what the main purpose of Genesis 3:1-13 is all about.
Man was made in the image of God. People differently state what that means largely because it depends upon what they think man lost. If for example, we consider the ability to make decisions through reason is part of that image of God, then we will believe man has not completely lost the image of God after the fall. He can still make such decisions even though they are based after a corrupt will. The basic argument is whether man has completely lost the image of God or partially lost this image. Again, one’s interpretation of image of God largely defines a person’s conclusion in whether he has completely or partially lost the image of God.
Fortunately, Colossians 3:10 lets us know that we now are being renewed in that image as Christ lives in our lives. “And have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” (Colossians 3:10). John tells us, however, that this image will not be completed until we see Christ.
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is (1 John 3:2).
Man has fallen. We see the shame, the loss of the glory of God, rebellion and disconnect. The Lord in His wonderful and gracious way has made a way through Christ where our stain is not only removed, but we gain the righteousness of Christ through which we can live as if we are righteous. Only when we see Him, however, will this redemptive process be fully completed to His glory and grace.
In choosing to ignore God while exercising their free will, Adam and Eve suffered the very consequences of God’s warning. Man is responsible to God even though he has a free will. With freedom there is responsibility. With responsibility, accountability. As a people, we need to trust Him enough to obey Him or be consumed by our desires to gain what is vain though appealing.
If only Eve and Adam had taken God at His word, they they would not have fallen. They only had to put the Lord and His will above their own, and all would have been fine.
In making decisions, small or great, we need to persistently prioritize putting the clearly defined will and principles of God in action. God will never ask us to set aside His will to obtain His promises (John 17:17).
Natural man is no longer innocent but Fallen. However, in Christ the second Adam, through faith the people of God are alive and able to live in obedience.
Bible study questions: Genesis 3:1-6 | Genesis 3:7-13
Genesis 5-9 Genesis Flood | Genesis 05 Genealogical Chart