The Study of Sin
"When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate." Genesis 3:6
~ The First Temptation and the Origin of Sin ~
A. God's Plan for Man
1. Since Adam and Eve had a mind, emotions and a will, they could choose to do right or wrong.
2. Man had a moral likeness to God (Gen. 1:26-27). We say he had a holy moral nature – an inherent tendency to do right.
3. How did God plan for man to grow morally? He had a holy moral nature by creation. He would attain a holy moral character by continually making the right choices.
4. The only way for man to develop holy moral character was by experience, that is, by experiencing the process of continual obedience to God's commands.
5. God's plan was for man to develop his holy moral character by experiencing good, not evil.
6. Is sinning necessary to obtain a good understanding of right and wrong? [No. If sinning is necessary for a good understanding of right and wrong, then God's knowledge is deficient!]
7. What if: You are a parent whose teenager wants to smoke cigarettes. Should you allow your child to smoke so that hopefully he will hate the taste, or should you forbid him from ever trying cigarettes? [There are some areas in which the consequences of disobedience, while painful, are not permanently damaging. Other consequences of disobedience are so destructive that a good parent will endeavor to prevent. It seems to me that the ideal situation in the home is for the parent to warn the child of the destructive consequences of disobedience and to illustrate those destructive consequences in the lives of real, live people.]
8. Does anyone ever benefit from having sinned? [No! Sin is always destructive.]
9. Discussion of Man’s Test.
a. Why did God permit a test? [He evidently prefers tested loyalty to untested loyalty. In a sense, untested loyalty proves nothing....]
b. From what source do I get information in order to pass God's tests? [The Bible is the best source I know.]
c. Why did God have only one test? [Because we, the human race, needed only one test to prove we would disobey.]
10. Conclusion: Holy Moral Character is attained the same way today that it was before the fall of man – the person who continually makes right choices acquires the tendency to do right. Romans 6:16-18
B. Lessons from the Test
1. About Temptation (See Allen P. Ross, Genesis, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 32)
a. Temptation comes in disguise. Who would have thought an animal would tempt a human? Gen. 3:1-5. (Incidentally, Genesis 3 is history, not mythology. Adam and Eve are historical people; the snake was a real snake and it had, at least for that moment, the ability to speak. The snake was used by Satan, the ultimate deceiver – John 8:44; Rev. 12:9.)
b. Temptation comes unexpectedly. There was no warning, no announcement by God to watch out.
c. Temptation often appears to come from a subordinate. God had given man authority and dominion over the animal kingdom (Gen. 1:26-29), yet it was an animal who tempted Eve (Gen. 3:1-5). God had created woman to be a companion and helper to man (Gen. 2:18-23), yet the woman offered the forbidden fruit to the man (Gen. 3:6).
2. About Satan's tactics
a. He raised doubts about what God had said (Gen. 3:1).
b. He flatly contradicted God (Gen. 3:4).
c. He raised doubts about God's character (Gen. 3:5). He implied that God was selfishly withholding from her a good that she had the right to enjoy, and that He was jealous, not wanting her to know as much as He did.
3. About Eve's Reaction to Temptation (See Ross, TBKC p. 32.)
a. She "disparaged the privileges" (Gen. 3:2; cf. 2:16)
b. She "added to the prohibition" (Gen. 3:3)
c. She "weakened the penalty" (Gen. 3:3; cf. 2:17)
d. By contrast, Christ gained victory over temptation by knowing and using Scripture precisely (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10).
4. From Man's Failure of the Test
a. Sin cannot be blamed on environment. Eden was a virtual Utopia (Gen. 2:8-15).
b. Sin cannot be blamed on heredity. Adam and Eve were created, not born.
c. Man does not wish to take responsibility for sinning! Adam blamed both Eve and God (Gen. 3:7-12). Eve blamed the serpent (Gen. 3:13).
d. I would have sinned, too!
e. God ultimately held Adam, not Eve, responsible for the entry of sin into the human race (Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:22) because he was her head (1 Cor. 11:3, 7-9) and, while she had been deceived by Satan, he had not (1 Tim. 2:11-14).
f. I am completely dependent on God's gracious forgiveness in Jesus! (Acts 10:43; Rom. 6:23)
Temptation and the Origin of Sin
by James T. Bartsch, WordExplain.com
Email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
2007; Updated February 16, 2022
Scriptures referenced are from the NASB 1995.
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Updated February 16, 2022