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Lesson 9 The Original Testing and Fall of Man


Devotional Reading:   James 1:12Ė15.


Memory Verse:           Genesis 2:16Ė17.


And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.




Genesis 3:1Ė6, 17Ė19. Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. . . . 17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return




Genesis 3:1. The serpent was doubtless a literal serpent. This is shown in the penalty imposed on him. He was the instrument of the temptation. Satan himself was back of it all and spoke through him. Vv 2, 3. Eve was acquainted with Godís command and aware of the consequence of violating it. V4. The tempter charges God with falsehood and denies the result of sin. V5. The result of sin is represented as something to be desired. God is withholding a blessing from man. V6. Here are described the steps taken in the fall. Sin now follows much the same course. Vv 17, 18. God pronounces upon Adam the sentence due him because of his sin. A life of toil in a cursed earth follows. V19. The sentence of physical death is here pronounced. It is not till now that man is told he must return to dust.






The probation of Adam was a period of testing through which he passed. The result of such a test must be a reward for obedience or punishment for disobedience.


1. Probation was necessary.


A) Because of manís moral nature. Since man is a creature of free will it was necessary that he be so situated as to give opportunity for the exercise of this freedom. The temptation to disobey permitted him occasion for choice. B) To develop moral character. It is the test that proves character. Strength of character comes through overcoming temptation to do wrong. ďBlessed is the man that endureth temptation.Ē True test of love is obedience. C) For the highest blessing. Adam possessed a disposition to do right. Blessings undeserved cannot bring the pleasure of those that are merited. The reward of obedience carries with it a high satisfaction.


2. Man placed under law.


A) Man is under moral law. Man intuitively knows the distinction between right or wrong. His deductions are not always accurate, and his moral perception may be dimmed by sin, yet the distinction is not fully obliterated. The original man possessed such a knowledge in a high degree. Besides such knowledge Adam possessed a nature impelling him to do right. B) Another law was enacted. In addition to the inherent moral law God gave to man a commandment not to eat of a certain fruit. This command was well adapted to its purpose: the testing of manís character. The mere eating of the fruit was not the moral question, the disobedience was. The test was purely on of love and obedience.


3. The justice of the test.


A) It was not impossible nor difficult. Man had free access to all other trees of the garden, including the tree of life. He had done without this tree heretofore and it was unnecessary to his comfort or pleasure. He was not asked to forfeit anything hitherto enjoyed or to do anything but merely to refrain from eating of it. B) He had power to obey. The power of free will was sufficient to meet this demand. Besides the power of will, his natural bent to righteousness would incline him toward obedience. C) He was told of the penalty. In this God was perfectly fair. A test was necessary.




1. The fact of the fall.


A) The Bible story of the fall cannot be misunderstood. There is no reason for not accepting the account as true. The whole plan of salvation was based on the fact of the fall. No fallóno redemption. B) The downward trend of man is proof of a fall. All nature fills its purpose except man. The failure of man to live out his purpose indicates a fall. C) The individual experience suggest the fall. All persons experience a personal fall from innocence. This fall is, in some respects, like that of Adamís.


2. The temptation.


Several steps are noticed in temptation. It is well to notice these, for many of our temptations come in much the same way.

A) Doubting Godís Command. The tempter sought to weaken Godís word: ďYea, hath God said?Ē Eveís reply was definite yet slightly weakened. B) Questioning Godís Motive. The fact that the mere eating of fruit did not appeal to reason or moral sensibilities as anything wrong gave occasion for questioning Godís motives. The tempter boldly charged that God had false motives in keeping man from the tree. C) Deny Godís Word. The tempter now boldly challenges the truthfulness of Godís word. He asserts that God knows man will not die by disobeying the command but will be better. D) Appeal to Ambition. Having broken down the defense the appeal is now made to ambition and curiosity. What would the fruit taste likeĒ Would it not be great to be like God.


3. The sin. It brought eternal death.


A) The nature of sin. It was not the quality of the fruit that brought such dire results. The sin was disobedience. There was deliberate violation of a known law with full knowledge of consequences. The act, especially by Adam was done deliberately and with no excuse. B) Step in the fall. Eve first listened, looked, desired, took, ate, then gave to Adam.




Driven from garden to toil in cursed earth. Pain, sorrow, and death. Spiritual death.