The Fall of Man

Bible Story Summary

The Fall of Man
The Garden of Eden (1530). Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images

The Fall of Man explains why sin and misery exist in the world today.

Every act of violence, every illness, every tragedy that happens can be traced back to that fateful encounter between the first human beings and Satan.

Scripture Reference

Genesis 3; Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 45-47; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:13-14.

The Fall of Man: Bible Story Summary

God created Adam, the first man, and Eve, the first woman, and placed them in a perfect home, the Garden of Eden. In fact, everything about Earth was perfect at that moment in time.

Food, in the form of fruit and vegetables, was plentiful and free for the taking. The garden God created was spectacularly beautiful. Even the animals got along with one another, all of them eating plants at that early stage.

God put two important trees in the garden: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam's duties were clear. God told him to tend the garden and not eat the fruit of those two trees, or he would die. Adam passed that warning on to his wife.

Then Satan entered the garden, disguised as a serpent. He did what he is still doing today. He lied:

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5, NIV)

Instead of believing God, Eve believed Satan. She ate the fruit and gave some to her husband to eat. Scripture says "the eyes of both of them were opened." (Genesis 3:7, NIV) They realized they were naked and made hasty coverings from fig leaves. 

God invoked curses on Satan, Eve, and Adam. God could have destroyed Adam and Eve, but out of his gracious love, he killed animals to make clothes for them to cover their newly-discovered nakedness. He did, however, cast them out of the Garden of Eden.

From that time on, the Bible records a sad history of humanity disobeying God, but God had put his plan of salvation in place before the foundation of the world. He responded to the Fall of Man with a Savior and Redeemer, his Son Jesus Christ.

Points of Interest From the Fall of Man

The term "Fall of Man" is not used in the Bible. It is a theological expression for the descent from perfection to sin. "Man" is a generic biblical word for the human race, including both men and women.

Adam's and Eve's disobedience to God was the first human sin. They forever ruined human nature, passing on the desire to sin to every person born since.

God did not tempt Adam and Eve, nor did he create them as robot-like beings without free will. Out of love, he gave them the right to choose, the same right he gives people today. God forces no one to follow him.

Some Bible scholars blame Adam for being a bad husband. When Satan tempted Eve, Adam was with her (Genesis 3:6), but Adam did not remind her of God's warning and did nothing to stop her.

God's prophecy "he will crush your head and you will strike at his heel" (Genesis 3:15) is known as the Protoevangelium, the first mention of the gospel in the Bible. It is a veiled reference to Satan's influence in Jesus' crucifixion and death, and Christ's triumphant resurrection and the defeat of Satan.

Christianity teaches that human beings are unable to overcome their fallen nature on their own and must turn to Christ as their Savior. The doctrine of grace states that salvation is a free gift from God and cannot be earned, merely accepted through faith.

The contrast between the world before sin and the world today is frightening. Disease and suffering are rampant. Wars are always going on somewhere, and closer to home, people treat one another cruelly. Christ offered freedom from sin at his first coming and will close the "end times" at his second coming

Question for Reflection

The Fall of Man shows I have a flawed, sinful nature and can never earn my way into heaven by trying to be a good person. Have I put my faith in Jesus Christ to save me?

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Your Citation
Zavada, Jack. "The Fall of Man." Learn Religions, Dec. 6, 2021, Zavada, Jack. (2021, December 6). The Fall of Man. Retrieved from Zavada, Jack. "The Fall of Man." Learn Religions. (accessed March 30, 2023).

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