IV. MAN’S FALL—3:1—11:9
According to Genesis 3 through 11 mankind had four falls. In this message we shall consider the first of them.
A. The First Fall
Most people have at least some knowledge of the Bible. Even some non-Christians know about Adam and Eve’s eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. However, not many people, including Christians, know the significance of man’s first fall. Hence, we must approach this subject from three directions. First, we must determine the cause of the fall. What was the cause, the basic factor, of man’s first fall? Second, we must learn the process, the way in which the first fall transpired. Third, we need to discover the result of man’s first fall. This is my burden in this message. I realize that it is a difficult message to give because of the battle that is raging. The enemy is within us. Even the knowledge that we already have of Genesis 3 may frustrate us from penetrating into the depths of this chapter. We must probe into the depths of the significance of man’s first fall and not look at it superficially.
1. The Cause
a. The Serpent’s Temptation
If I were to ask you the cause of man’s first fall, you would undoubtedly reply that the cause was Satan. This is correct. However, we should not place the entire blame upon Satan. As we shall see, the cause of man’s first fall was not primarily on Satan’s side, but on man’s side. We may use the illustration of catching a cold. In order to catch a cold you must have cold air. However, cold air itself is insufficient to cause a cold. You need to have the cold germs. A chair cannot catch a cold even if it is exposed to a chilly draft because it is unaffected by cold germs. It is easy for people to catch a cold because we have cold germs. We should not put all the blame on the cold air, for most of the blame belongs to the cold germs. Likewise, we should not blame Satan for the fall, since much of the responsibility rests with man. Nevertheless, I have put Satan as the first cause of man’s fall. Satan was the initial factor in this fall. Satan is simply Satan. We should never expect him to be better or different.
1) "The Tempter"
Satan has a specific name, "the tempter" (Matt. 4:3). Wherever he goes he acts like a tempter, for he is such by disposition and make-up. The Lord Jesus spoke of him as a liar saying, "When he speaks a lie, he speaks out of his own self; for he is a liar and the father of it" (John 8:44). Whatever comes out of Satan is a lie. We should never expect him to be improved. We must stay away from him.
a) "The Devil" Himself
In the Bible Satan is called "the Devil" (Rev. 12:9; 20:2) which means "the slanderer." He slanders God to man and also slanders man to God. His talk with Eve implies some slandering of God (v. 5). His slander is always a lie. It is by slanderous lies that he tempts man, and in this way he tempted Eve.
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)