How Did We Get In The Mess We're In? Paradise Lost Many have wondered why Satan should desire to destroy man. John Milton penned the most famous images of the conspiracies of Hell in his famous poem, Paradise Lost. In that great fictional work, Milton imagines Beelzebub, a prince of Hell, proposing revenge. Rather than assault Heaven, he proposes this plan: Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need With dangerous expedition to invade Heav'n, whose high walls fear no assault or Siege, Or ambush from the Deep. What if we find Some easier enterprise? There is a place…another World, the happy seat Of some new Race call'd Man,…here perhaps Some advantageous act may be achiev'd… Seduce them to our Party, that their God May prove their foe, and with repenting hand Abolish his own works. This would surpass Common revenge, and interrupt his joy In our Confusion, and our Joy upraise In his disturbance; when his darling Sons Hurl'd headlong to partake with us, shall curse Their frail Original, and faded bliss, Faded so soon. Advise if this be worth Attempting, or to sit in darkness here Hatching vain Empires [Spelling modernized].1 Milton takes what the Bible says and tries to fill-in-the-blanks. If Milton's poetry interests you, you could study the Bible and compare it with this poem to see how well he did. The Bible does tell us that Satan seeks to destroy humans, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" (I Peter 5:8). With this motive Satan enters the Garden of Eden. Satan Enters The Garden Some time after Adam and Eve were instructed, Satan entered and possessed the body of a serpent. Adam and Eve were new to God's creation. Apparently, they were not surprised to discover another creature that appeared to be able to think and speak. "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1). He begins by attacking the newest creation, Eve. Further, he begins by simply trying to plant doubt. In essence he asks, "Did God really tell you that?" At this point, we wish Eve had run for her life. Either she was oblivious to the danger or she ignored it. Instead, she answers: "And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 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" (Genesis 3:2-3). Satan attacks by claiming that what God said is not true. "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:4-5). He even offers a "reasonable" explanation for why God said what He said. Basically, Satan says, "God only told you that because He doesn't want you to be as wise as true spirit beings." One of Satan's attacks is to twist God's Word and try to paint God as some kind of ogre. People still fall for this line. In our society Satan's logic seems to say, "Is sex only for marriage? God really doesn't want you to feel all the joy you deserve." Or, "Is lying wrong? Well what if this and that and this and that? Now wouldn't lying be the right thing?" Watch out for anything that encourages you to disobey God and His Word! You can avoid Eve's mistake, and run! Humanity Falls Into Sin After considering the serpent's claims, Eve begins to take a new look at what God had forbidden. She sees that it does look good, and that it does look tasty. Then she considers the supposed benefits and decides to disobey God: "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat" (Genesis 3:6). What a foolish act! We all are in danger of disobeying God when we begin flirting with what God has forbidden. Apparently, Adam arrived as Eve broke God's law. Eve was the first human being to sin. Adam did not hear the serpent's lies. He simply sees Eve sinning and joins her. Notice that Eve was deceived, she believed the serpent's lies. Adam did not, but he willfully chose to rebel. Perhaps he was tempted by his attraction to his wife. I Timothy 2:14 says, "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." For whatever reason, Adam decides to disobey God. The perfect sinless state of humanity is shattered! Nothing will be the same. As soon as they ate the fruit they knew Good from Evil all right! They had only known Good, but now they have first-hand experience with Evil, their own deeds. "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." (Genesis 3:7-10). Because they disobeyed God, their shame and guilt tempts them to run from Him. God knew where Adam was hiding. But, He graciously gives Adam a chance to come forward and confess his rebellion. One of the results of sin is an unholy fear of God that causes the sinner to flee God's presence. This fear grips Adam and Eve. This is the first time humans ever experienced fear. The Curse Of Sin God is holy. He cannot allow sin in His presence. Furthermore, God is just. Disobedience must be punished. The first trial in history begins as God cross-examines Adam. "And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat" (Genesis 3:11-12). Can you imagine the heartbreak of God? His special creation, the focus of the wonderful Earth and universe He created, had rebelled. In spite of every gift, His loved ones refused Him. God knew what Adam had done. But, even in His grief He graciously gives him the opportunity to admit it. Instead, Adam becomes the first person to shift blame. God tenderly turns to Eve to hear her story and give her the opportunity to repent, but instead she passes the blame. "And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat" (Genesis 3:13). Now God turns to the serpent. Satan used the snake, but now left it to face the punishment. Because the serpent had allowed itself to be used of Satan, God pronounces its judgment first. "And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:" (Genesis 3:14). The serpent, once a beautiful creature, becomes hideous. No longer will it think or talk. Instead of walking upright, it and its descendants will forever slither on their bellies. Snake fossils seem to indicate that at one time snakes may have had legs. As a result of God's curse, snakes lost the genetic information to grow useful legs. Now God turns to the woman. She chose to believe the lies of Satan rather than obeying God. For her disobedience, God changes her body and her relationship with her husband. "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" (Genesis 3:17). From this point, childbirth would become more frequent and extremely painful. Also, instead of being the man's equal companion, she would submit to the man. Sin brings disorder. As a result of her sin, God made the man the leader, to impose order. Finally, God looks at Adam. Because Adam blatantly chose to disobey, God held him responsible. "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; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:17-19). Before his sin, Adam had an easy life tending a garden free from weeds, storms, disease, and death. No longer would the ground be so productive. Now, Adam must fight thorns and weeds as he plows the ground. Only in industrial nations has humanity somewhat overcome the curse of the ground through machinery and pesticides. Worldwide, most men still exhaust their lives struggling with soil and livestock. Adam no longer tended the perfect garden. Work became the reason for man's existence. Finally, God's Word is true. He told them they would die if they ate that fruit. Now death begins. Not just for them, but for all humanity. Why? We inherit from Adam a sinful nature bent on disobeying God. We die because we sin. Our corrupted nature desires and thirsts for sin. You see, we condemn ourselves. "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:...death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression," (Romans 5:12-14). "For as in Adam all die" (I Corinthians 15:22). There was no death in Eden before sin. Sin brings death. "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:22-24). Paradise is lost. Because Adam and Eve are the parents of the whole human race, we bear their curse. We die. We sorrow. We hurt and are injured. We sin. We work. We search for a way back to immortality. Do not blame God for the sad state of the world today. Do not blame God for suffering or sorrow. He created a perfect, sinless, deathless bliss for humanity. Our ancestors ruined it, and we continue ruining it for our descendants. All of the strife, deformity, disease, death, and destruction we face today is a result of sin. The Love of God God could have killed them right then and there. He could have created a desert and sent them there to slowly die. He could have punished them in a thousand horrible ways. But, God's love and mercy balances His holiness, justice, and righteousness. He loved Adam and Eve. He wanted to restore the fellowship with them He once had for the time they had left. When judging the serpent, He revealed a part of His plan in Genesis 3:15: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." He spoke of a seed of the woman. A child to come that would bruise the head of the serpent. With that vague hope, Adam and Eve wandered into the plains surrounding the garden and began trying to survive.

Lesson #5 Review

1.What steps did Satan take to trick Eve?

2.What does Genesis 3:6 tell us contributed to Eve’s choice?

3.How did Adam and Eve react after eating the forbidden fruit?

4.What do they say when God asks them what they had done?

5.What did their sin do to God?

6.What permanent results of their sin do we still face today?

7.What hope comforted Adam and Eve as they left Eden?

8.Give two examples of Satan’s logic in today’s society.