“In the beginning God”—with
what simple, majestic language does the inspired Word of
God begin. It offers to us no arguments for the
existence of God—the creation is evidence enough. It
makes no attempt to describe the Being of God—His
essence cannot be comprehended. As His creatures, it is
enough to know that God is, and that He made all things.
“In the beginning”—in the beginning of what? God
had no beginning—He is the Eternal Self-Existent One.
Furthermore, Eternity, the dimension in which God
dwells, has no beginning or end. So these words can only
mean the beginning of time, the beginning of His
creative work to make the universe, the world, and man.
Time itself is a created concept, a measurement that did
not exist before in God’s eternal now; and so it is that
God’s Word begins to record for us all that He began to
1:1 In the
beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the
creation of the world are clearly seen, being
understood by the things that are made, even his eternal
power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Isa 40:18 To
whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye
compare unto him?
Psa 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or
ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world,
even from everlasting
to everlasting, thou art God.
Genesis is rightly called the book of beginnings.
From the accounts of this book the foundation was laid
for all of Scripture. In the first three chapters
particularly, we see the existence of the Triune God,
the account of His creative handiwork, the forming of
man out of the dust, the planting of the Garden, the
making of Eve from Adam’s rib, the temptation of the
Serpent, the fall of man, God’s curse upon the earth,
the promise of a Deliverer, and the expulsion from the
Garden. While much could be expounded upon each of these
topics, it is not our purpose to examine every detail
about each of them. What we are most concerned about are
those aspects of the Genesis account which deal directly
with the fall of Adam and the resulting consequences to
all of mankind.
1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness: and let them have dominion over
the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and
over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every
creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the
ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of
life; and man became a living soul.
8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden;
and there he put the man whom he had formed.
2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon
Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and
closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from
man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
people are somewhat familiar with the account of Adam
and Eve and the forbidden fruit in the Garden of
Eden—how God told them not to eat of a certain tree and
if they did, they were going to die. Nevertheless, Eve,
being tempted by the Serpent, took of the fruit and ate
it; then she handed it to her husband and he also ate.
As a result of Adam’s disobedience to God, he, and with
him the entire human race, became fallen creatures. This
resulted in man’s separation from God, the loss of
Paradise, and his death.
Gen 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of
every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But 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.
Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil 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?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the
fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But 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.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not
5 For 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.
6 And 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.
Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is
become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now,
lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of
life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the
garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of
the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which
turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Gen 5:5 And all the days that Adam lived were nine
hundred and thirty years:
and he died.
this simplified account may be a good generalization,
and fine to tell to small children and new or unlearned
believers, but we need a deeper explanation to
understand the full impact of all that took place there.
To begin with, of great importance to us is the purpose
of God’s prohibition against the eating the fruit of one
particular tree. While we will study what the trees of
the Garden represented in great detail, we must
understand God’s motives in giving such a command.
Again, we will say that most people have tried to
oversimplify this aspect—at the expense of understanding
the real truth. Let us, therefore, briefly look at some
Cor 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding:
howbeit in malice be ye children, but in
understanding be men.
of all, in regards to God’s command not to eat of this
one tree, this was not a test of man’s obedience or a
way to show his love for God—as is so often presented.
Also, many would say that it doesn’t matter what the
tree was or what it represented, it was Adam’s obedience
that was the real issue. However, God does not tempt man
to do evil or to disobey Him. Furthermore, His commands
are not meaningless restrictions to prove man’s love and
fidelity to Him. He already knows what is in our hearts,
whether we love Him or not; He does not need to resort
to schemes to try and obtain that knowledge; and He is
not insecure and need some outward evidence of our
devotion to Him. The commandment not to eat of the
forbidden fruit was actually an act of love by God, to
protect man from something that would cause him great
misery, and that would also bring about his death. As
parents, I would hope that we do not make unnecessary
demands upon our children merely to see if they will
mind us; but, that out of our love for them, and in
their best interests, we tell them what they should or
shouldn’t do in order to protect them and help them live
a long and happy life. Do we suppose that God, whose
love for us is infinite, would do anything less?
James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am
tempted of God:
for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he
Psa 139:1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou
understandest my thought afar off.
3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art
acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O
LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine
hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I
cannot attain unto it.
Matt 7:9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son
ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then,
being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your
children, how much more shall your Father which is in
heaven give good things to them that ask him?
there are who also think, even as Satan made the
suggestion, that God was trying to keep man from
experiencing complete fullness—which would make man
equal with God. There are others who would say that God
was trying to keep man from some joyous pleasure—as we
often think the commands of God are meant to do. To
answer these accusations we would say first, that God is
not insecure in who He is, nor is He worried that
someone may dispose Him from His throne. Furthermore, He
is not one who is out to keep us from enjoying life;
quite the contrary, He is only interested in what will
make us truly happy, and wants us to enjoy pleasures
Psa 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the
rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and
against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their
cords from us.
4 He that
sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have
them in derision.
Psa 16:11 Thou
wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is
fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures
Psa 35:27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that
favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say
continually, Let the LORD be magnified,
which hath pleasure in the
prosperity of his servant.
Psa 36:8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the
fatness of thy house;
and thou shalt make them
drink of the river of thy pleasures.
Therefore, if we are to understand the purpose of God’s
prohibition, we must have some understanding of the
nature of Adam and what God was trying to protect him
from. Adam was, as the Scripture says, created in the
image of God. Just as God is a Trinity, with the Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit making up the Godhead, even so man
is a triune being, consisting of a body, soul, and
spirit. However, as God is an innately spiritual being
who inhabits eternity, man was made a natural being to
live upon this earth, and in the realm of what we call
time. Furthermore, though Adam was created in the image
of God, he was not another god as Jehovah. He was
created to serve God, even though he was made the lord
over God’s creation—the earth. Also, in the day that
Adam was created, he was good in the sense that he was
naturally good—he was a perfect man. He was not good in
the sense that God, who is absolute holiness, is good;
but he did that which was, by his nature, acceptable to
God; and Adam lived according to the natural laws that
God put into his heart.
Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness: and let them have dominion
over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air,
and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over
every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God
created man in his own image, in the image of God
created he him; male and female created he them.
Gen 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made,
and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and
the morning were the sixth day.
The 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;
and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body
be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord
John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship
him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Isa 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that
inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the
high and holy place, with him also that is of a
contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the
humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Cor 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a
spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is
a spiritual body.
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was
made a living soul; the last Adam was made a
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but
that which is natural; and afterward that which is
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the
second man is the Lord from heaven.
Rom 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law,
do by nature the things contained in the law, these,
having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in
their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness,
and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else
excusing one another;)
Creation account in Genesis relates that it was the
regular occurrence for God to walk in the Garden and to
have fellowship with Adam. However, what may we say was
Adam’s relationship with God, and, if he was not holy as
God is, how was that relationship sustained? In other
words, how could an infinitely Holy God have fellowship
with this earthly creature who was made “lower than
the angels”; and how could Adam stand in the
presence of the One who is terrible in holiness, and
before whom, the angels hide their faces?
Psa 8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and
the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the
angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
Isa 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also
the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up,
and his train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings;
with twain he covered his face, and with twain he
covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy,
holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full
of his glory.
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him
that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 Then said I,
Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of
unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of
unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD
because he was the direct creation of God, was a son of
God. He was not “the Son of the living God”, as
is Jesus, and he was not an angel, who are also sons of
God, but he did a have a father-son relationship with
Jehovah. However, Adam’s unique relationship with the
Father was not based upon holiness, but rather
innocence. The newly created couple were naked, but they
did not know it; and even though there was a vast
difference between their righteousness and God’s, they
did not perceive it. Therefore, because there was no
standard or law that told them they fell short of the
glory of God, they were not condemned by being in God’s
presence. God also, because they were not under any law
that condemned them, could freely fellowship with them
based upon their innocence. His holiness was not
offended because they merely acted in the realm in which
He created them.
Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son
of Seth, which was the son of Adam,
which was the son of God.
Matt 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea
Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men
say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the
Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the
Christ, the Son
of the living God.
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God
came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan
came also among them.
Rom 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath:
for where no law is, there
is no transgression.
were however, two things which presented the possibility
of an anomaly in this idyllic relationship, and which
threatened this heaven on earth. The first is found in
the nature of Adam himself—“the creature was made
subject to vanity”. Now again, without going into
the philosophical reasons of why God created man with
this weakness at this time, this was the chink in the
armor through which Satan would have access to man’s
psychic. This was the Achilles heel that would
allow him to tempt man to sin and become a part of his
Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature
waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity,
not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected
the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered
from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty
of the children of God.
this being an important point to consider, what does it
mean to be “subject to vanity”? While the words
vain and vanity refer to something that is empty or
without purpose, they also refer to being excessively
overtaken by one’s own appearance or accomplishments.
Vanity, or pride in himself, was Lucifer’s downfall
because he became obsessed with his own beauty and
wisdom; and he forgot that what he possessed came from
God. His thoughts were vain, empty, because they were
without substance—they had no real basis of fact or
truth. He became the father of lies because he
rejected truth and turned to falsehoods. Adam and Eve
were created with the proclivity to be “subject to
vanity”. Again, they were not holy as God who
cannot sin, who cannot be tempted to sin, and who cannot
be charged with either pride or vanity—all honor and
glory are rightfully and truthfully do to Him because of
who He is and what He has done. God deserves to be
honored and praised by all creatures, even by His own
Word. However, such is not the case with either angels
or men, because all we are, or have, or have done, came
Psa 62:9 Surely
men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are
a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether
lighter than vanity.
Eze 28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy
beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy
brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will
lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
(Satan personified in
the king of Tyrus)
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts
of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the
beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is
no truth in him.
When he speaketh a lie, he
speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of
Rom 11:36 For of
him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to
whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Rev 4:11 Thou
art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and
power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy
pleasure they are and were created.
Cor 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and
what hast thou that thou didst not receive?
now if thou didst receive
it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received
Howbeit, although this inclination toward vanity was
present in Adam, it had not as yet blossomed into sin,
but would nevertheless be Satan’s avenue of temptation.
This weakness required a catalyst before it could be
exploited. Now the catalyst that was present in this
newly created world, which Satan would use to bring
about mankind’s rebellion, was
“the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil”.