The First sin – disobedience
In the previous study we considered the rebellion in heaven. The Bible does not reveal when that rebellion took place, but it did have an influence on the life of Adam and Eve in paradise, which is what this study will explain further.
The rebellious angel was banned from heaven, together with the angels who had followed him. Since then, this angel is called Satan and the devil in the Bible, and the angels who followed him are called demons. They are active in heavenly realms and on earth.
The world scene changed drastically as a result of this event.
In the previous studies Adam and Eve, and mankind in general, were presented schematically with complete openness towards the spiritual world, as in the diagram on the left. The struggle in heavenly places was left out of the picture until now.
However, as explained in the study ‘Rebellion in heaven’, a separation took place in the spiritual world. As illustrated in the diagram on the left, God’s Kingdom and the realm of Satan became opponents as a result of Satan’s rebellion.
The separation between these realms is represented by the black vertical line. Both kingdoms are active in the whole area of the heavenly realms however.
These two diagrams have to be combined in order to sketch the world in which Adam and Eve lived, as shown below.
Created perfect by God, Adam and Eve lived oriented towards the Kingdom of God, in an open relationship with, and in complete obedience to Him.
They were shielded from Satan’s sphere of influence because of the separation between light and darkness, and he was unable to exercise any influence on their soul.
Man has a free will.
God did not wish man to obey him like a robot. He created man with a free will. Adam and Eve were therefore able to decide freely whether to obey God fully or not.
To give them this possibility of choice, God planted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were allowed to eat of all the trees, but not of that one tree.
The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground -trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.
In the middle of the garden were the tree of life,
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9)
And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
Why did Satan speak to Eve?
As far as God was concerned, the love relationship between Himself and Adam and Eve was the most important thing in creation, and Satan aimed at disrupting it.
He only needed to approach one person, Adam, to achieve his goal.
- Adam, the first human being God had created, by breathing the breath of life into his nostrils.
- Adam, the man from whom God had taken a rib to form Eve.
If Satan were able to strike Adam, Eve would also be influenced and all their descendants would suffer the consequences.
Because Adam lived completely in tune with God, Satan was unable to influence the meditations in Adam’s soul through his spirit, because of the separation between light and darkness in the invisible world.
He was only able to influence Adam through his body, by speaking to him in the visible world.
It may be assumed that he supposed that Adam, who lived under God’s direct authority, would recognize that something was amiss, because an reptile spoke to him, and, especially, because of what that reptile told him.
Satan therefore had only one person he was able to influence: Eve.
However, he was not able to approach Eve directly through the spirit either.
Satan only had one possibility left: making use of a reptile’s body, in order to thus be able to speak to Eve in the visible world.
How Satan tempted Eve.
Satan chose a serpent in order to be able to speak in the visible world.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. … (Genesis 3:1)
Perhaps he chose the serpent because it strongly resembled his own character: the craftiest animal in the field, according to the text.
How Satan misleaded Eve.
Satan said through the serpent’s mouth,
… to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)
This was Satan at his best, the slanderer, painting God in a negative light.
He gave a false, lying testimony about God.
He distorted God’s words, confusing Eve.
Eve resisted Satan with what God had said.
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” (Genesis 3:2-3)
She repeated God’s words … but made two mistakes when doing so.
- Genesis 2:9 states that the tree of life stood in the middle of the garden. Because Satan suggested that Adam and Eve were forbidden from eating of any of the trees, Eve started to doubt what God had said, and her attention was diverted from the tree that stood in the middle of the garden, the tree of life, and she gave the tree of the knowledge of good and evil centre stage in her thinking.
- The second mistake Eve made was to add something to what God had said. God had said that Adam and Eve were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because if they did they would die.
Eva added that they were not allowed to touch that tree either.
How Satan achieved his goal.
He gave a lying presentation of part of the truth.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)
It was correct that if Eve were to eat of the forbidden fruit, her eyes would be opened and she would learn the distinction between good and evil. In this declaration by Satan, who gives an incorrect testimony about God, he can be recognized him as the slanderer who is inciting Eve to jealousy, to be able to be like God; the sin which Satan himself had fallen into.
Satan’s words aroused desire.
Eve listened to Satan’s words.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, … (Genesis 3:6)
Satan diverted Eve’s attention from the tree of life to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And of course that tree was attractive; it was created by God after all.
Eve had become curious as a result of het conversation with Satan, and desire was aroused in her soul, her heart.
The consequence of quoting God’s Word incorrectly.
Satan appeared to be telling the truth!
When Eve touched the fruit (which, according to her own addition, was forbidden,) and plucked it, she did not die (which was what God had said would happen)!
So why should she not eat of that fruit as well, (the only fruit God had forbidden)?
… she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Genesis 3:6)
With, as a result:
After Adam had accepted the fruit from Eve and eaten it:
… Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked. (Genesis 3:7)
Adam’s eating of the forbidden fruit had an influence on both him and Eve, and opened the eyes of both of them.
After having lived in perfect harmony with God, and having lived in perfect purity with each other, Adam and Eve were now initiated into the knowledge of good and evil.
This had tremendous consequences for both themselves and the whole world.
The consequences of this simple act of disobedience are discussed in the following study: ‘Broken Relationships’.
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The first sin - disobedience.