A most difficult part of putting the initial pieces of the puzzle of God’s Word together, in my way of thinking, is a correct understanding of sin. Being born physically alive but spiritually dead is very difficult to comprehend. The fact is we do not become sinners if, when, or because we sin, but we will all choose to sin because we are sinners. We are born into this world as sinners. We are born as slaves into a slave market of sinners. This slave market began with the first man, Adam.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come” (Rom. 5:12-14).
Through a simple act of disobedience, sin and death entered this world. God gave Adam and Eve all that their hearts could ever desire. He gave the man just one simple “don’t,” just one simple “but this tree is forbidden.” It was not an ugly tree with slimy fruit hanging from it. It was really no different than any other tree. It was probably very beautiful, and its fruit looked delicious. But this was true of all the other trees. The only difference was the fact that God said “No.” God said, “You eat, you die” (Gen. 2:17). It appears that Eve was mystifyingly drawn to that tree. She may have found herself often standing by it – pondering! Adam may have walked up and stood beside her as she gazed at it – observing her and then the tree.
Satan did not just appear from nowhere. This was happening in his back yard. He had already failed God and had been cast into the fallen, cursed earth (Gen. 1:2). God had said to him, “You were perfect in your ways [you were innocent] until iniquity was found to be in you” (Ezek. 28:15). This sin was in the form of simple, silent, private thoughts. “I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit upon the mountain of God. I will ascend above the height of the clouds. I will be like the Most High God” (Isa. 14:12-14). Hard to miss the repeated phrase “I will.” That is the beginning of sin: pride. Pride became mixed with power: ascend into heaven; exalt my throne; sit upon God’s mountain; ascend above the clouds; be like god. Pride mixed with power is a lethal combination – the measure of sin.
Satan knew that God had created Adam and Eve for a righteous purpose. He realized that if they succeeded, it would further seal his doom. Adam must fail and, like Satan himself, fail of his own free will – no deceit, no enticement, and no excuse before God. He probably observed the couple staring at the tree and conceived his evil plan. Satan’s plan was simple: deceive the woman and let her do the rest. It was masterfully wise!
Satan slithered up to the woman as she looked longingly at the forbidden tree and said: “Has God told you that you cannot eat or every tree in the garden?” Eve responded, “Every tree but this one. God said that if we eat from this tree, or even touch it, we will die.” God did not use the word “touch.” She added to God’s word; she lied! Satan seized the moment. “You will not die!” It is impossible to know what the creature was thinking or the woman. But he realized that she lied. He seized on this and called God a liar. In fact, he said that God knows the moment you eat from this tree you will receive true understanding. You will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil.
Satan used the phrase “you will” three times. This was very similar to Satan’s sin. The woman then saw; she really saw for the first time. Her sight was then mixed with the lust of the flesh; she desired the fruit. It was pleasing to look at and appeared delicious. Here is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life running amuck. She finally gave in. She ate from the fruit and handed it to her husband, and he ate. The difference is clear. She was deceived; he was not! The woman was legitimately deceived, allowing her womb to remain sterile. No corrupt seed invaded it. This left God a toe in the door to come into a fallen world at a later date.
But Adam’s sin became a conduit to bring Satan’s sin/death mixture into this present world. At the moment of Adam’s sin, death passed from Satan to the man, and then to the woman, and into the world. The result is that they instantly knew that they were naked. They had been naked all along, but there was no negative thought about it. Suddenly, nakedness became bad – something wrong. Sin entered the world and along with sin came death. Sin and death always go together. Shame slammed into their heart, and they stitched themselves clothing from fig leaves to hide this strange sensation from their eyes.
The couple instantly died twice! Twice? This truth was couched in the command from God when He told them, “If you eat of this fruit, dying, you will surely most positively die” (Gen. 2:17). Two deaths were in view. The couple would first die spiritually. They would become separated from God. They would also begin to die physically. In time, their bodies would be separated from their soul and spirit and would go back to dust. How do we absolutely know this is the case?