A Beginner-friendly exegesis of the Fall of Man bible story

The Fall of Man bible story is a representation of the advent of Sin in this world. Mankind's sin can…
Achinike Amadi

on May 7, 2024

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    story of man's sin
  • The Fall of Man bible story is a representation of the advent of Sin in this world.

    Mankind’s sin can be traced to an infamous story accounted in the book of Genesis where Adam and Eve, legal representatives of mankind, acted in Disobedience to God and ate the forbidden fruit.

    It’s a 24-verse-long account that is referenced directly or in allusions all throughout the biblical texts.

    This story is one that affects us directly as humans and gives due relevance to the Gospel and to Christians by extension.

    I’d rightly put, that it is also a story that stirs up mixed feelings and a lot of questions all of which will be experienced and hopefully addressed.

    Components of the fall of man bible story

    The story of Adam and Eve’s disobedience has so many moving parts. Some colligate naturally while others will take a bit of effort: spiritual revelation and conceptual understanding to connect.

    Nonetheless, they give us an access point to grasp this simple yet confoundable story.

    The components of the story of Man’s disobedience we touch on are;

    • The law
    • The knowledge of good and evil
    • The punishment
    • The Evil nature
    • the Good nature
    • Adam and Eve

    Component 1: The law

    The Mosaic Law

    Source text: Genesis 2:15-17.

    This is where we can agree that it all began. The instruction. (Rm 7:11)

    Some call it the first command given to man, others call it a law. It is safe to say they are alike meaning.

    “He said to him, you may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden, except the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad.”You must not eat the fruit of that tree, if you do you will die that same day.”

    Genesis 2:16-17, GNBUK

    The above statement operates on the ‘cause and effect‘ principle. ‘If-then’ operators are being used and it forces one to ask;

    Did Adam and Eve ‘die’ because they ate the fruit or because they disobeyed God’s instruction?

    Both, but there’s more. The death God referred to isn’t the type most people are familiar with.

    From The Scriptures, we know our first parents didn’t die physically when they ate the forbidden fruit but until God pronounced judgment(Gen 3:7, Gen 3:19).

    Just as it is with the Mosaic law, the instruction given to Adam was to prevent him from going down a path that ultimately leads to an undesirable consequence; spiritual death as a result of separation from the one that gives life and is Spirit.

    The Law, also known as the Mosaic law, is a clever addendum to the covenant between God and Abraham, the father of Israel(God’s chosen people)

    It was given not that it would save Mankind (Rm 8:3) but that it would achieve a few of these things.

    • to surge our willpower, and show us that we can’t do it on our own.
    • make us realize just how sinful we are.
    • draw finer lines for what is sin and what isn’t
    • to appreciate the coming Messiah who has now come and see him as ‘necessary.’

    God was simply saying that If you eat of the tree you will die at that very moment.

    You’d open a door and usher in a foreign malicious agent. It’ll overrun you and push you into a path that you can’t return from even if you tried hard enough. A slippery slope with only one possible end. A door you can’t close.

    So for clarity, God referred to spiritual death, not a physical one.

    Component 2: The knowledge of good and evil.

    The forbidden fruit in the fall of man bible story
    Illustration by John Paul Stanley

    It’s a special fruit that harnesses the power to grant a supernatural ability: an intelligence that was only reserved for gods (Gen 3:22).

    This tree was grown alongside the tree of life by God himself at the center of Garden Eden.

    In itself was power. As it turns out, a power too great for man to handle. (John 8:34)

    The serpent knew this. Eve didn’t. She missed a core governing principle. There had to be a spiritual transformation within her to make her a worthy recipient and holder of such power.

    Keywords used by different bible versions to explain this cognitive ability are recognition, knowing good and bad, and knowing everything.

    But in my understanding, it gives the artful ability to discern the occurrence of evil and good, and deal with one or the other accordingly.

    At the basic level, it made them become aware, that there are two natures. Good and evil. To put plainly black and white.

    The impact of this was that it exposed them to nature beyond their comprehension and spiritual ability.

    Component 3: The punishment

    Picture of Adam and Eve
    Illustration by Aya & Nicole Velasquez

    God is taking a stroll along the garden paths in a cool evening breeze hoping to meet the greetings of his best creation only to meet their absence. He calls them and finds out that they are hiding away in fear from Him.

    I’m sure that if you’re a parent and your children are hiding away from you, you’d ask questions.

    Where are you? Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten the forbidden fruit?

    The rest is history and our present reality.

    There is, however, something to note that may be inconspicuous to many.

    In His judgment, God doesn’t condemn the spirit of Man which would be a fitting punishment for rebellion. He, in fact, shows mercy by cursing only the flesh; the cause of man’s separation from Him.

    That’s when the physical death took effect. Adam and Eve were already experiencing death before this.

    He cursed the weakness of man and only drove him out of the garden because he was now a threat to himself and the redemptive plan he already initiated (Gen 3:15).

    Imagine this. Added to the many current problems of this world is the knowledge that it would be forever.

    That’s likely to have happened if Adam or Eve laid their hands on the tree of life.

    Component 4: The evil nature

    The serpent in the fall of man
    Illustration by Aya & Nicole Velasquez

    Evil, a viral nature, seeks to spread, metastasize and conquer its host via the exploration of their weaknesses at their spiritual detriment — where it matters most. (Rm 7:13)

    When our first parents ate the fruit, they accessed a database of knowledge. They were endued with knowledge of both spiritual forces (their experiences, natures, and effects). With so much data, predictive analyses could be carried out with a high degree of accuracy.

    For example, a moving car whose brakes have failed will contact a wall a few meters ahead if nothing is done to avert it.

    A mathematical instance will be the concept of arithmetic progression. If 2 is being added to a series of numbers, the last term will be 2 more than the previous.

    Think of this, why did Adam and Eve recognize that they were naked only after taking the fruit?

    They were able to recognize their state as being improper when it was queried in that database.

    I would be overstretching my imagination to think that they tapped into the feed of previous lifetimes in heavenly realms (or even other galaxies) and saw their similar state fall below par. This might suggest the theory that the Milky Way isn’t the only galaxy that there is. And man isn’t the first living physical being.

    However, it is likely that they knew the progression of good and that of evil. The trends they form will definitely be displaced from each other.

    This reality naturally creates standards and values which are reflected in notions such as propriety and impropriety, excellence and mediocrity, etc.

    Perhaps, that’s how they were able to judge that it was improper to be naked. They knew the possible degenerate acts that could be perpetuated in such a state.

    The resulting emotion, shame, is certainly apt.

    That’s a fruit of sin. A smear of dark paint on a white canvas.

    Sin, inequity, and transgressions are all multiforms of evil nature.

    Component 5: The Holy nature

    Holy nature in the fall of man bible story

    The Holy nature is the stark antithesis of evil. They oppose one another aggressively that it’s either one or the other (Gal 5:17)

    The Holy nature can be represented in white (keeping with our previous analogy). The law helps to define this better, giving us finer details of what is good.

    Thoughts, desires, actions, and qualities that are good, distinguished, and honorable are common constituents found in a holy nature

    Love, righteousness, sound mind, discipline, and power are some of the characteristics of the Holy nature.

    We see them display as God plans a rebuttal, a comeback to bring Mankind back into his presence in a thriving relationship. Gen 3:15, Gen 18:18, Is 7:14)

    The one thing that was missing in order to conform with God’s nature was power.

    So God in his infinite mercies does for us what we couldn’t for ourselves nor could the law do for us.

    He sent his Son, Jesus, to reconcile man to Himself, and in him, God releases His Holy Spirit upon all flesh that believes in Jesus.

    Component 6: Adam and Eve (human beings)

    God created the universe and everything in it from nothing. That’s what the Greek word Bara translates as, out of nothing.

    Although to be more precise, adam was created out of waste(void, formless state of the earth). He took clay from the earth to form man. Then He breathes life into him making him a complete living thing(having spirit and body).

    The Bible says that God created Adam in his likeness. Bible scholars believe it is more of a spiritual semblance than a physical one.

    Surely there was a fault in the design right?

    A key to understanding the biblical story of the advent of sin is to see Adam and Even as children. Because they were.

    They had the look of what we now call Adults but spiritually, they were children. Likened to new believers.

    God set them up to reflect his nature and spiritual personality. Qualities that researchers now term ‘desirable and good’ comes from the likeness of God.

    The Trinity actually affirmed that the Human build met the requirements and satisfied the reason for which they were built.- Gen 1:26, Gen 1:31, Rev 4:11.

    So No, project Man wasn’t a trial and error experiment. There was no fault in the design and a lot of thought and intentionality went into it.

    Mankind though created initially to be immortal required spiritual maturity that could come only through a thriving relationship with the Father. It is the same in the physical world; every child is bound to mature and live a reflection of the doctrines he or she grew up with.

    Lacking spiritual maturity, the human build stood no chance against spiritual forces.

    Did God neglect our weakness and propensity for harm?

    God was aware that Adam and Eve were far from the consummation of His plan. But the growth and refinement could only come under His tutelage. It is a process that requires time and has no shortcuts.

    And we see from Genesis 3:3, that God sought to protect our fragile, mouldable state from the one thing that could harm us.

    You’d see His caring heart when you read Eve’s reply to the Serpent. It shows that God reiterated his instruction and even took it a notch higher by saying, ‘Do not even touch it.’

    As I read the verse, I can’t help but hear,

    ”Let there be no form of contact. Don’t go near it!”

    It is not a 50-50 chance. It’s 100% certain you will die.

    It was so. Mankind was weak to resist the invasion of sin and through him, sin made its way into this world and spread to generations.

    Human power couldn’t run and operate the system that was set up after God’s.

    Human beings couldn’t live out His nature. They fell short of the standards God held and expected of us.

    He didn’t fail us, we failed him.

    Adam and Eve story summary and lessons

    A perspective change is intended for authoring this piece. God isn’t a tyrannical master and a bad parent. It’ll comfort you to know He’s a loving father looking to spend eternity with you in a blissful relationship.

    A few things I learned from my time studying and writing this piece are;

    • We couldn’t be God even if we tried.
    • Secondly, the only way to live above sin is through his help.
    • Willpower isn’t enough to save you.
    • The salvation of mankind isn’t given to those who are righteous, it’s graciously given to mankind through faith so that we can be righteous.

    I am learning more each day and also unlearning false conclusions. I could learn from you as well. Let’s discuss down below.

    Achinike Amadi
    Hello there, I am Archie. I share and curate digital resources to help you practice self-leadership.

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