The Fall in Eden
The account is very familiar:
1. Adam and Eve were created by God (Genesis 2:7, 21-22).
Many people believe this account to be nothing more than an allegorical story. Others believe that Satan became a real snake who spoke to Eve and deceived her. When looking through the Bible, what do the Scriptures tell us?
The Bible reveals that Satan was originally named "Lucifer" or "Morning Star" (Isaiah 14:12) (Darby Translation, Douay-Rheims, King James Version, Wycliffe, etc.); he was the angelic guardian of Eden who had fallen due to his excessive pride (Ezekiel 28:12-19). Since he was the Guardian of Eden, Adam and Eve would have been familiar with his presence. Since there was no sin or evil yet in the world they had no reason to be wary of the Guardian.
Lucifer wasn't a common angel. He was of high rank, beautiful, and highly intelligent . Due to these attributes Lucifer became prideful (Ezekiel 28:12-19) and sought to replace God (Isaiah 14:13-14). Considering that it was God Almighty who created all things through His Son (Ephesians 3:9), and Lucifer was among these creations (Ezekiel 28:13), it was not Lucifer's right to seek the position as Almighty God. The servant cannot rank higher than the master (John 13:16, 15:20).
To become a god, Lucifer needed to draw people away from the worship of God Almighty (James 4:7-8). Since the surest way to draw people away from God would be to create a rift between them and God he wasted no time in accomplishing this: He targeted the younger human -- Eve -- first. Instead of approaching her as the strong, angelic Guardian that he was, he chose instead to disguise himself as a serpent (Genesis 3:1). Scripture does not say whether the serpent was in the tree, or on a rock, or in the grass -- however, we do know that it was on location with Eve.
It is known that Lucifer / Satan is a master of disguise (2 Corinthians 11:14, 2 Thessalonians 2:9) and can enter into those who are willing, as he did with Judas Iscariot (John 13:27). Since Lucifer needed to be cautious about this deception, it is fitting that he would masquerade as a serpent since it was considered to be the most cunning animal in the garden (Genesis 3:1). Also, a humble low-to-the-ground snake is less intimidating than a lumbering elephant or muscular horse. Intimidation would only cause Eve to run to God for protection -- not the effect Lucifer was looking for; this was no time to scare her.
Many people question the thought of Eve accepting a speaking snake. However, this was no ordinary snake: This was the Guardian Lucifer speaking to her. It is not known whether he entered an already living snake, or if he only made himself look like a snake. Either way, it is likely that she recognized the snake as Lucifer; after all, she was already familiar with him as the Guardian of Eden. Since she had no experience with sin, deception, or other such nonsense, she would have no clue what was really happening -- Lucifer exploited her naivete.
Lucifer began the deception by casting doubt on the command to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge by asking her an incorrect question:“Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’”(Genesis 3:1). Eve corrected his erroneous question, stating: “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” (Genesis 3:2-3).
We know that God gave this particular command directly to Adam (Genesis 2:16-17). However, nothing in Scripture states that God directly told Eve. Although her reply to the serpent shows that she was aware of this command (Genesis 3:2-3), it doesn't not say that God Himself told her, therefore it is possible that Adam was the one who relayed the information to her. It seems that, if God Himself gave her the command then she would have been firm in her surety, there would be no doubts. However, if she received the information via Adam instead, then Lucifer's question could cause her to question Adam's accuracy of information. After all, if the Lucifer Snake didn't quite have the correct information about which tree to avoid, perhaps Adam also didn't have the most accurate information as well. This is possibly where the deception began to take root.
Lucifer then informs her: “You won’t surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5).
Now Eve is confused: Lucifer, a trusted guardian, seems to be correcting some information for her. Had Adam told her something wrong by mistake, especially since Lucifer –
God's chosen guardian – was giving her different information?...
As she considered all of this she saw that the fruit from the Tree looked delicious – and perhaps it could give her better knowledge as well; she didn't need to remain confused so she ate some of the fruit. Afterward, she also gave some of the fruit to Adam (Genesis 3:6). Perhaps she shared it with him to ensure she would never have to doubt his information again. Regardless, her intentions backfired miserably.
Now, Eve may have had her doubts about the command from God, but Adam did not – after all, Adam was told directly from God Himself – he shouldn't have had any doubts! If this was the case, then why did he eat the fruit anyway? It could be any number of reasons: Maybe he saw that Eve wasn't dead immediately after eating the fruit. Perhaps he thought God wasn't watching (since Eve ate the fruit without punishment) and thought he could sneak in a bite or two as well. Maybe he was a little envious that she had some of it and wanted a taste as well. Whatever the reason, we do know one thing: Scripture tells us that only Eve was deceived, Adam was not (1 Timothy 2:14). Since Adam was not deceived (after all, he got the commandment directly from God, the instruction couldn't be any clearer), the Scripture places the fall of mankind squarely on him (Romans 5:14, 1 Corinthians 15:22).
As soon as they had both eaten the forbidden fruit they did know something new: They knew they had done something wrong, and were ashamed. They felt naked so they clothed themselves. Then they tried to hide from God, which of course didn't work (Genesis 3:7-10)
When confronted with what they had done Adam didn't apologize or show any sign of remorse – instead he immediately put the blame on his wife, indirectly blaming God for giving him the wife in the process (Genesis 3:12). This put Eve on the spot so that when God questioned her she passed the blame on to the serpent (Genesis 3:13). In other words, neither Adam nor Eve expressed repentance or offered an apology.
Because of this incident the serpent would forever become a reminder of sin and mankind's fall. This incident also caused the snake to become a symbol of Satan (Genesis 3:15, Revelation 12:9, Revelation 20:2). Due to these unfortunate associations the animal was cursed (Genesis 3:14).
Should an animal be found guilty when another being uses it for selfish means? Absolutely: In Scripture, animals were considered to be accessories to crimes (Leviticus 20:15-16). The Bible shows that animals are aware of spiritual beings and being instructed by them (1 Kings 17:4, Numbers 22:22-33, 1 Samuel 6:7-13). Since it would be unfair for God to punish an ignorant being (Acts 17:30), and God is fair (Deuteronomy 32:4), we know animals do have a measure of understanding when it comes to being instructed by spirits.
As for Eve, although she was deceived she wasn't excused for her crime: After all, she really should have gone to God -- or at the very least, Adam -- to confirm the information that Lucifer was feeding her (especially since the penalty could be death!). On top of that, she opted to pass the blame to the snake instead of apologizing for her actions. On account of these things she was cursed to experience labour pains when giving birth (Genesis 3:16).
Lastly, God turned his attention to Adam: He reprimanded Adam for listening to Eve instead of Him and cursed Adam to a life of hard agriculture for his part in the crime (Genesis 3:17-19).
After these reprimands God made clothing for the couple and banished them from the Garden of Eden. Because they were sentenced to die for their sin He didn't want them to eat from the Tree of Life (which would have caused them to continue living) (Genesis 3:21-22). Because they were warned ahead of time that they would die if they disobeyed, this was fair. Therefore, God cast them out of the Garden in order to keep them away from the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:23). Although the Scripture in many Bible versions refers only to the man as being banished (Genesis 3:23), we know that Eve went with him because they raised children together after this banishment (Genesis 4:1-2, 25, Genesis 5:4). Therefore, Adam and Even were banished together from the Garden of Eden. As an extra measure to protect the Tree of Life God Almighty stationed two angels to guard the way to the Tree of Life with a continually rotating sword (Genesis 3:24).
Ever since the fall of man life for humans hasn't been the same. The biggest lesson we can take away from this incident is this: Always run to God when you are confronted with contradictory information. Always trust God to give you the correct information. And always think of the consequences before acting.