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The Garden and the Gospel

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UNDERSTANDING THE GARDEN ACCOUNT—

THE LAW

“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal…” Rom 7:14

 

Let us now look at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, what did it represent, and why was man forbidden to eat of it? Before examining this tree, what else was present in the Garden? Genesis, as we have already said, is the book of beginnings. It is the book of first-mentioned things—concepts that will later be expounded and developed throughout the rest of the Scriptures. Everything that is of any significance is found here, particularly in the first three chapters. We know that in the Garden, God, man, and Satan were there; that sin and death entered into the world there; and the promised Savior was there. So what other major element might this tree represent? By its very name, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we can ascertain that this tree represented the Law of God, for that is what defines and determines what is good and what is evil. For something that plays such a prominent part in the whole of Scripture, it must have been present in the Garden, and it was, in this tree. However, we are not talking about the Ten Commandments, for those were only meant as a temporary measure to preserve the nation of Israel until the promised Messiah would come. They were given as a set of rules that would preserve the Jewish society, or any society that would base its laws upon them, and keep that nation from self-destructing. Even more important, the written law given to Moses was meant to convince and convict men of sin and to point them to Christ. Furthermore, even if we were to include all of the other ordinances that God gave to Israel through Moses, or all the commandments found in the whole of Scripture, this is not what this tree represented. Jesus Himself taught that the concepts behind the Old Testament law went far beyond what was seen in the written law. He spoke of obedience to a law that transcended even the most legalistic interpretations of the Law of Moses.

Deut 4:1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.
2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baal-peor: for all the men that followed Baal-peor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
4 But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.
5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

Gal 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Rom 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Matt 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

What this tree represents then, is the Law of God in all of its infinite aspects. It is the Absolute Law of which the revealed law of Scripture is only a comprehendible part. It is the scope of the law of which only God Himself can comprehend and keep. Now, this law does not transcend God, nor does God operate under its control, nor does He give obeisance to it, but He always fulfills it. God and His law might be understood using the natural law of electricity. When electrons move about and do their work, they do not consult some codex to see where they are permitted to move, or how fast they may go, or what work they are allowed to do. What electrons do, they do naturally, and the laws of electricity merely codify, or explain to us what they will do in various situations, time after time. The pattern of what they do is so predictable that man has been able to harness them to work for his advantage in everything from the tiniest electronic devises to gigantic motors that run huge machinery. In the same manner, whatever God does is according to His law, but not in obeisance to His law. His actions and motives are what define the law, because He, as the ultimate Lawgiver and Potentate, does whatever is good and right and holy; and the law merely codifies what He does. There is never even a shade of darkness or evil in what He does; and therefore, whatever God does is good, and whatever God will not do is evil. The law is so incomprehensible to man because it explains what God will do and what He will not do in every conceivable situation. Therefore, we can begin to realize the immeasurable scope of the law, because God’s ways are infinitely higher then our ways and His thoughts are infinitely more complex than our thoughts. His mind is unsearchable, and what, and why He does what He does are beyond man’s ability to reason—and therein lies man’s dilemma. This tree made available to man the knowledge of God’s ways—that which defines what is good and what is evil; and Man could, in disobedience, eat the fruit, but he could not digest it afterwards.

Psa 145:17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

Isa 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us

1 Tim 6:15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Rom 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller?

God therefore, is infinitely holy, and always acts as is defined by this infinite scope of His law. Man, however, was not created as another god like Jehovah. Adam was created in the image of God with a fundamental likeness to his Creator—having similar, but not equal attributes as his Maker. Man was created a living soul with a spirit and a body, and he was naturally good and perfect. He also did that which was naturally good in the environment that God created him in. The law contained in the fruit of the forbidden tree is infinitely spiritual, just as God is. The law that was to govern man was the law of nature, for man is of the earth and he was made to do what was naturally good. Man needed no other law but the natural law, and indeed, could fulfill no other law but the instinctive law that was created within him. Albeit, that was all that was necessary for man to live eternally in the bliss of God’s created world. Adam lived in ignorance of any higher law, and was therefore not accountable to it. He also lived in innocence, because Adam was not aware of his nakedness before God; that when compared to his Creator, he fell short of the glory of God; and that God was clothed in a righteousness that was infinitely beyond his own. The concepts that there was anything good or evil, better and inferior creatures, lower and higher realms, had not entered into his mind. Man could have a relationship with God, and God could walk and talk with man based on this lack of knowledge and innocence.

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.

1 Cor 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

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:

Rom 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:
for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Rom 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 (
For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Jon 4:11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle? ( Children, who in their innocence, cannot discern which hand is which, must less what is good and evil—like Adam in his innocence.)

Therefore, to insure this continued relationship, God placed a boundary about this one tree, knowing the consequences of man partaking of its fruit. The children of Israel would experience much the same situation as did Adam and Eve. After coming out of Egypt, God came down upon Mount Sinai to reveal His presence to them. This mountain represented the awesomeness and terribleness of God and His law; and it was there that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses. The people were given boundaries as to how close they might come and view the Mount; but they were commanded not to go beyond those limits upon the sentence of death. It was here that it was revealed to them just how terrible and frightening it is to try and approach God based upon His law. Also, just as Adam and Eve could not hope to comprehend the glory of God’s law, so the children of Israel could not see the end, or the purpose, of the law given to Moses—a veil was upon his face, hiding the glory of what he had seen. Furthermore, they could not see the God of the Law, they only saw the Law of Moses.

Gen 3:2 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.

Exo 19:10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,
11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:
13 There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.
14 And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.
15 And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives.
16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
20
And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.

Exo 20:18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.

Heb 12:18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)

Exo 34:29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.
32 And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai.
33 And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.
34 But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.
35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

2 Cor 3:13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:
14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament
; which vail is done away in Christ.
15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away

John 8:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

For the sake of contrast to the Law of God, we might at this point look at the grace of God found in Jesus Christ. In Him God came to dwell among His people—walk with them, eat with them; and they touched Him, kissed Him, and leaned upon His bosom. Man could fellowship with God through the veil of His flesh. In Jesus Christ we are able to comprehend what God is like and to see the Law of God manifested. Jesus, as God the Son, perfectly fulfilled the Law in all of its infinite dimensions, because He, as God, only did that which was good and right and holy.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

John 13:23 Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.

John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?

Heb 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us,
through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Viewing the Law of God, we may look at and admire the qualities that are God’s, but we will never, by trying to do what He does, become like Him. I like to run, but my physical makeup is such that, for me, running a mile in ten minutes is a great feat. I look at and admire marathoners who can run over 26 miles averaging five to six minutes per mile. Now, I could follow their training rules—eat what they eat, sleep like they sleep, practice long hours like they do; but I will never run even one mile in five minutes because my body is not gifted in that way. Likewise, man was never suited to be what God is or to do what God does because of the nature in which he was created. Man had limitations, and it was the goodness of God that sought to protect him from going beyond those limitations.

Psa 103:13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
14
For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

* * * * *

Before going on, it would be helpful to examine the passage in Romans that we used earlier, as concerning the presence of sin in the world, When did sin enter the world, when was it judged to be sin, and when was the penalty for sin enacted? These questions must have a response if we are to clearly understand the whole significance of the Garden account.

 Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

What is important to discern here is, what “law” Paul is referring to in this passage? There are at least two possible ways to look at these verses and maybe more. The first is, that it is referring to the Mosaic Law which was not given until hundreds of years after Adam’s fall. This, because of verse fourteen, seems to be the strict interpretation of these verses. However, there must have been some basis on which to account men “sinners” before Moses Law—because “sin is the transgression of the law.” We could say that Adam’s sin was directly based upon his disobedience to God’s warning—although we would be in disagreement with that. However, even if that was the case, then there would have been no other law to transgress, other than that command, until Sinai; and even though all men were “made sinners” in Adam, there would have been nothing to account as sin—because no other man would have “sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression.”  Furthermore, even though all are accounted sinners in Adam, none could be judged as sinners—one who sins—without the Mosaic Law; nor could it be later written that “all have sinned” if there was nothing that was accounted sin.

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Rom 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Moreover, in Scripture, we are taught that the Gentiles, which did not have the written law, were still accounted sinners because of “the law written in their hearts.” Therefore, we conclude, that there must have been some standard or measure by which men’s actions were judged sin, and man counted as a sinner before Sinai; and though man in his innocence obeyed a natural law, that was a law they were not conscious of obeying. However, what even the Gentiles are condemned for is a law of which they now have an awareness—it is “written in their hearts.”  This law gives them a sense of right and wrong and is the basis for “accusing or else excusing one another.”

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;)

Rom 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

Furthermore, in what sense may we say that “sin is not imputed,” or counted against men before the Mosaic Law? God judged Adam and Eve for their disobedience, Cain for the murder of his brother, the world was judged by the flood because of its wickedness, and God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their depravity.

Gen 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And 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;

Gen 4:9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.
11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;
12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Gen 18:20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

Gen 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD:
28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

We cannot deny therefore, that God used some law before the Mosaic Law by which He judged the actions of men and brought upon them Divine retribution. We could, however, say that although men suffer in this present world because of their sins, that the eternal consequences of men’s sins are not imputed without the written law. Howbeit, if that is the case, then where will unbelieving, ungodly men, who died before the written law, or who are ignorant of the law of Moses, be sent to as their eternal home; and also, for what reasons could they be sent to a Hell or the Lake of Fire if their sin is not imputed to them? How also, could their sins ever be settled on the books of Heaven if they never claimed God’s provision for sin’s atonement, and yet committed acts which could be called nothing other than sin? Because of these and other considerations, the “Law” referred to in these verses cannot mean strictly the Mosaic Law—the Ten Commandments. We have already seen that this written law was only a small aspect of the eternal Law of God; and by the words of Jesus we know that men are beholden to a much higher standard than the Mosaic Law.

Rom 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God,
but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Matt 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Paul also alludes to a different law when he transposes himself within Adam and says, “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” Paul, who was born a Jew, born under the Mosaic law, was never “alive without the law.” We could possibly say that he was “alive” as a young innocent child, before they reach an understanding of sin— before being taught the law; but that also belies Scripture. He, as all men, “was shapen in iniquity; and in sin” was he conceived. Paul, as all men are, was “estranged from the womb” going “astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Paul was never “alive” in the sense of knowing God and having a vital relationship with God until his conversion to Christ. He, as all men, was born “dead in trespasses and sins,” having never known the life that Adam had before the fall. Therefore, the law of these verses cannot be interpreted to mean the Ten Commandments. If it is the Mosaic Law that makes men sinners, then all babies are born innocent and good until they are taught the law, but we know that is not the case. If it is the Mosaic law that makes men sinners, then all the heathen who were ever born and lived without the knowledge of the law, are just as good as Adam before his disobedience. However, we know that Scripture does not support that conclusion either.

Rom 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psa 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

Eph 1:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Gal 2:15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,

The second view of those verses we are considering (Rom 5:12-14), that provides an alternative to the Mosaic Law, provides us with a better understanding. It is that what these verses are alluding to, is the law that became a part Adam’s being in eating of the forbidden tree. However, this conclusion presents to us another dilemma—in what sense could it be said that “sin was in the world” before man’s fall? We might say that, because Satan was present in the Garden, sin was therefore present in the world in a spiritual sense; but, that does not give us the full satisfaction about these verses—because it was “by one man sin entered into the world.” The closest answer to be found is that Adam, although good, was not holy in the sense that God is holy. Adam fell short of God’s glory even in his state of innocence. He might be looked upon as an innocent young toddler who ignorantly commits many infractions against adult society. In discovering and learning to live in this grown up world, they make many mistakes. They may brake things, make messes, slobber their food, and slaughter the King’s English.  However, in spite of their immaturity, they are not accountable, they are not judged responsible for their trespasses; and are not corrected for anything but those actions which would bring them great harm. It would be grossly inhuman to punish them for their mistakes because they have not the maturity, the mentality, nor the understanding for harsh discipline to be effective. Even so, Adam was created innocent and good, but not perfect as God is perfect. We must remember that one aspect of sin is falling short or missing the mark[1]. When God does something it is always perfect the first time and every time. However, for men, it is part of discovering that we make mistakes. We find ten ways not to do something before we find something that works. So Adam probably made many mistakes that “God winked at”; but because of his ignorance and innocence, his missteps were not accounted to him before the law. He was to God a young child who was growing and maturing, but certainly not perfect or holy.

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.

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Acts 17: 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

There is also another verse in the book of Romans that leads us to say that sin was already present in Adam. Whereas God is holy and cannot sin, man was made “subject to vanity”— susceptible to temptation, with a proclivity to being able to sin. There was, as it were, a crack in the armor of man’s created goodness. While not going into great detail here, it could be argued that for the sake of God’s eternal purposes, man was created not only with the proclivity to sin, but with the very intent and purpose that he would sin; and that God, in His providence, would use man to forever and completely do away with sin and rebellion against His will.[2] Thus the vehicle through which sin would enter the world was Adam himself; and Adam’s weakness was in itself sin, because in this area also, he fell short of the One who could not sin.

Rom 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
27
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

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 any man:

In conclusion therefore, we must say that although Adam fell short in his created goodness—as compared to God—his shortcomings were not accounted as sin. Accountable sin did not enter the world until he partook of the fruit that made him aware of, and held responsible to, the Law of God. Sin was not imputed until after man’s fall from innocence; and the penalty for sin—which is death—then came upon the entire human race.

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 (
For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Although some may disagree with me on the following point, I believe that it is an important one—Adam’s disobedience did not make him a sinner, however, it was through his disobedience that the law judged him a sinner. He was already a sinner in the sense that he fell short of the glory of God. However, he was neither aware, nor could he be held accountable for his shortcomings. Scripturally, this viewpoint is substantiated by the fact that “they were both naked, the man and his wife.” Partaking of the fruit did not make them naked, they were already naked, but they “were not ashamed.” At this point, let us expand a little about what their nakedness represented. To be naked is to be without a covering, it is to be seen as we really are, with all of our imperfections. Now, Adam and Eve were, by any standards, perfect specimens of the human form, and would have had nothing to be ashamed about in the World Nude Beauty Pageant—in fact they would have both won first place. However, their natural beauty did not hold a candle to the light of God’s brilliance. He who is “clothed with majesty…strength…honor…light,” outshines the brightest star, and cannot even be looked upon with mortal eyes. God’s holiness is His covering, but Adam, as good as he was, had no such garment.

Gen 2:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Psa 93:1 The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

Psa 104:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.
2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

 

[1] Hamartia, translated as “offence” or “sin” in the New Testament, means to “miss the mark,” “ to “err,” to “be mistaken.” The New Testament Greek Lexicon.

[2] See The Purpose of  God Concerning Sin, the chapter The Law and Sin, at this website.

 

 

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