The account of the fall of man is one of the saddest stories in the Bible, if not the worst. Stop and think about it. Had Adam and Eve not sinned, nothing else bad in the Bible would have occurred. We could still be enjoying the Garden of Eden, meeting and walking with the Lord in the evenings.
Let’s read the account:
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 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 2:15-17 (NIV)
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 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.’” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 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, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:1-6 (NIV)
God told Adam they were not to eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but if they did, they would die. Then when the serpent tempted Eve, she said they were to not even touch it. Did Eve embellish that fact by saying they couldn’t even touch it or did Adam tell her to leave it alone? I would like to think that Adam was so afraid of the judgment of God that he told Eve they were not to eat it, but that he also wanted Eve to just stay away from it altogether. But when the serpent told her they would not die, she took some and ate.
One detail that stands out in verse 6 is that Eve wasn’t there facing the serpent by herself when she gave in to the temptation. It says, “She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” So if Adam was there beside her, it made me wonder two things. First, if Adam was there, why did the serpent address his question to Eve? And second, if Adam was there when Eve decided to take the fruit and eat it, why didn’t he stop her?
We can’t know for sure the answer to these questions but we can see how Satan works. He knows our weaknesses and how best to attack us. He speaks using deceptive words to cause us to doubt the truth. And he just outright lies. He told Eve that they would not die, but by Adam and Eve giving in to the temptation, death did enter the world hand in hand with sin.
Read the next section that reveals the consequences of their sin.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:8-13 (NIV)
23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:23-24 (NIV)
It seems God had made a habit of meeting with Adam and Eve in the evenings. I’ve often wondered how much time had passed from Adam’s creation until his fall and then ultimate separation from God and the Garden of Eden. Days, months, years?
I suppose we can assume that Adam’s age began the day God created him, but I have also wondered (sometimes I overthink things) that perhaps the counting of his years began the moment he was sent out of the Garden. After all, it was after sin entered the world that God cursed the earth and our bodies, telling Adam in Genesis 3:19, “..Till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” Anyway, we know Adam did not have children until they left the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 4:1).
In Genesis chapter 5, we learn that Adam was 130 years old when his third son, Seth, was born. From Genesis chapter 4, it says that Seth was born after Cain killed Abel. Since it doesn’t tell us the age of Adam when he was expelled from the Garden or when he had his firstborn son, we can’t know how long he was in the Garden.
But whether it was a short time or years, what a shame to have had that opportunity of spending time with God and then for it to end because of one moment of weakness. This teaches us that we all are vulnerable to the lies of Satan. He seeks out opportunities to tempt us and once we think we are too spiritual to fall, that is the moment when the full attack of the evil one occurs. When we think to ourselves that we would never commit the sin we see someone else commit, that is many times the area in which we find ourselves being tempted.
God wasn’t taken by surprise, though. He knew we would need a Savior, so Christ came into the world so that our sin could be taken care of. The saddest of stories then became the crucifixion of Christ. But unlike the story of the fall of Adam and Eve, the story of Christ has a happy ending. We are not forever banned from the presence of God. Although we still have to suffer the consequences of living in a sinful world, we know our future will be spent eternally in the presence of our God.
As Christians we have an advantage over Adam. Adam met with the Lord, but we have the Lord living within us. Adam and Eve sinned when they were out of the presence of God. Since we carry the presence of God with us everywhere we go, we are never separated from Him. If we deliberately tune out the voice of the Spirit to listen to the lies of Satan; if we allow the desires of our flesh to grow stronger than the power of God within us; if we fail to commune with the Lord through Bible study and prayer, then we are just as susceptible to sin as Adam was when he was away from the Lord. May we never get away from the habit of spending time with the Lord.