Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What happened after?
In this article, discover 8 consequences of this act of disobedience to God.
Let’s dive in!
The Story Behind Adam and Eve’s Disobedience to God
God allowed Adam and Eve to eat from any tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17).
Because if they did, they would surely die (verse 17).
One day, Eve happened to drop by the forbidden tree where Satan, in a form of a serpent (snake), tempted her to eat its fruit (verse 1 of chapter 3).
At first, she was hesitant to eat it, knowing that “God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden…or you will die'” (verse 3, NIV).
But Satan insisted, “You will not certainly die, for God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like [Him], knowing good and evil” (verses 4-5, NIV).
Convinced by this temptation, and seeing that the fruit was good for food, pleasing to the eye, and “desirable for gaining wisdom,” she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband (verse 6, NIV).
What happened next?
8 Consequences of That Disobedience
1) Adam and Eve realized their sinfulness.
After Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge, “[their eyes] were opened” (Genesis 3:6, NIV).
What does it mean?
“The eyes of their intellect were [opened to realize] that they were no longer innocent.” And “their physical eyes were [opened to see] that they were naked” (Genesis 3:7, NIV) 1.
But they were naked from the beginning, weren’t they?
Yes, Adam and Eve were created naked, and they never felt ashamed of it (verse 25 of chapter 2). But it was only now that they realized they were actually naked and felt ashamed of it 2.
The thought of sin filled them with terror. And “the love and peace which had been theirs was gone, and in its place they felt a sense of sin, a dread of the future, a nakedness of soul” 2.
Besides, “the robe of light which had enshrouded them disappeared.” And they “could not, while unclothed, meet the eye of God and holy angels” 2.
So, feeling ashamed of themselves, they covered their naked bodies with fig leaves and hid from God (verses 7-8).
This fig-leaf covering became a “substitute for the radiant garments of innocence they had forfeited.”
And by hiding from God, their “feeling of shame had its root not in sensuality but in the consciousness of guilt before [Him]” 1.
What a sad fate for Adam and Eve!
2) God cursed the ground.
Adam and Eve tried to hide from God. But He called them and asked if they ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:8-11).
Instead of feeling sorry for their sin, they played a blame game. Adam blamed Eve for enticing him to eat the fruit. And she blamed the serpent for tempting her (verses 12-13).
Funny, no one wanted to take responsibility for their wrongdoing. But there were still consequences to their disobedience.
God told Adam, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree…which I commanded you [not to eat from], cursed is the ground because of you” (Genesis 3:17, NIV).
What is this curse?
The ground “will produce thorns and thistles for [him], and [he] will eat the plants of the field” (verse 18, NIV).
Before the fall of Adam and Eve, “only plants that were either useful for food or beautiful to the eye grew from the earth.” It was only now that the ground would “produce ‘thorns and thistles’ as well” 3.
How would this curse affect them? Continue reading.
3) Eve would experience painful childbirth.
Turning to Eve, God said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16, ESV).
Sounds like childbirth would now be a curse, huh?
Well, childbearing was “intended to be a blessing, not a curse.” But because of the entry of sin, “pregnancy would [now] be accompanied [with] pain” 3.
And this wouldn’t be just any usual pain. It would be “so intense” as if it were “the most severe anguish of [the] body and mind” 3.
If you already had a child, you’ve probably experienced this pain yourself?
4) Adam had to work hard all his life.
In connection to God’s curse on the ground, which we’ve discussed earlier, He told Adam, “Through painful toil, you will eat food from it all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17, NIV).
In verse 19 (NIV), He continued, “By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you will return.”
Imagine the difficulty Adam would encounter in “eking out a meager living from the cursed ground.” He “must live by forcing from a reluctant earth food for himself and his family” 3.
And as the verse indicates, he had to endure this work until death (verse 19). Worse, “there would be no hope of relief from this condition” 3.
Why did Adam have to go through this?
Well, he had to “learn by bitter experience that life independent of God can at best be one of sorrow and affliction” 3.
But on a positive note, he “was only sent to till the ground out of which he was taken. He was sent to a place of toil, not to a place of torment. He was sent to the ground, not to the grave” 4.
This tilling of the ground “would be recompensed by his eating of its fruits; and his converse with the earth whence he was taken was improvable to good purposes—to keep him humble, and to remind him of his latter end” 4.
Therefore, it “should be recognized that this punishment was indeed a blessing,” not a curse. “Toil and labor [would develop Adam’s] character and teach [him] humility and cooperation with God” 3.
5) Access to the tree of life was cut.
Because of their sin, Adam and Eve have now “become like one of Us [God], knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:22, NIV).
They have learned the difference between these two things, whereas “God had intended [them] to gain this knowledge through voluntary cooperation with the divine will” 3.
In a sense, Satan’s promise that they would become “like God” (verse 5, NIV) was “fulfilled only in that [they] now knew something of the results of sin” 3.
Because of this, God decided that Adam and Eve should no longer be allowed to access the tree of life and eat from it (verse 22).
It was now “necessary to prevent [them] from continuing to partake of the fruit of the tree of life lest [they] become [immortal sinners]” 3.
“Through sin, [they have] fallen under the power of death.” Thus, “the fruit that produced immortality could now do [them] only harm. Immortality in a state of sin, and thus of endless misery, was not the life for which God designed man” 3.
Denying Adam and Eve access to this life-giving tree “was an act of divine mercy which [they] may not have fully appreciated at that time, but for which [they] will be grateful in the world to come” 3.
As you can see, though it seems like a punishment, it just shows how God was still concerned about their welfare, after all. Right?
6) They were banished from the Garden of Eden.
After cutting their access to the tree of life, God “banished [Adam and Eve] from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which [they have] been taken” (Genesis 3:23, NIV).
Well, their sin resulted in their “exclusion…from that communion with God which was the bliss and glory of paradise.” His tokens of favor to them, which they had in their innocent state, “were now suspended” 4.
Also, “the communications of His grace were withheld.” Their “acquaintance with God was lessened and lost, and that correspondence which had been settled between [them and their] Maker was interrupted and broken off” 4.
Adam and Eve were “driven out as [mortals] unworthy of this honor and incapable of this service” 4.
And outside Eden, as we’ve learned earlier, they had to work hard to produce food from the ground (verses 17-19) 3.
That must have been so difficult for them.
7) The garden was closed.
After driving Adam and Eve out of Eden, God placed on the east side of the garden “cherubims and a flaming sword which turned every way” (Genesis 3:24, KJV).
What is a cherubim?
Cherubim is associated with the Assyrian word karâbu, which means “to bless” or “to pray” 4.
With this, it refers to a class of beings called “angels,” especially “those close to God and His throne” (Ezekiel 9:3, 10:4; Psalm 99:1) 4.
Is that flaming sword a literal one?
The phrase “flaming sword” is rather an inexact translation of its original term in Hebrew, which literally reads “a glittering of the sword” 4.
There was “no literal sword guarding the gate of Paradise.” Instead, there was only a “reflection of light from a sword ‘turned every way’ with great rapidity—flashing shafts of light radiating from an intensely brilliant center” 4.
And this radiant light was “none other than the Shekinah glory, the manifestation of the divine presence” of God 4.
So, why did God place cherubims at the entrance of the garden?
It is to “keep the way that led to the tree of life, so that [man] could neither steal nor force an entry” (Genesis 3:24) 4.
Now, knowing that the garden was just closed, does it still exist today?
The Garden of Eden “remained upon the earth” long after Adam and Eve were banished (Genesis 3:23) 5.
Their descendants were even “long permitted to gaze upon the home of innocence.” But “their entrance [was barred] by the watching angels” 5.
Now, when the world turned so wicked, God needed to destroy it with a flood in Noah’s time (Genesis 6).
Because of this, “the hand that had planted Eden withdrew it from the earth” 5. Meaning to say, the Garden of Eden no longer exists in the world today.
But here’s the good news: “In the final restitution, when there shall be ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ [Eden] is to be restored more gloriously adorned than at the beginning” (Revelation 21:1, NIV) 5.
How would you like to see this new Eden when that time comes?
8) Humanity inherited sin.
As Adam and Eve’s descendants, we inherited their sinful nature.
“Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin…death came to all people” (Romans 5:12, NIV).
Who was that man?
Apparently, it was no other than Adam himself, from whom we all came, “for if any had been before him, they would have been free” 6.
Though sin began in heaven with Lucifer, it “never entered into the world of mankind [until] Adam sinned.” So, it was through him that sin officially entered the world 6.
This sin has separated all of us from God and hid His face from us (Isaiah 59:2).
It “hinders God’s mercies from coming down upon us.” It is “a partition wall that separates between us and God” 7.
It also “hinders our prayers from coming up unto God,” provoking Him to “hide His face, that He will not hear” 7.
A Message of Hope
Those consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God might have left you discouraged or fearful of the future.
But did you know what? “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, [Jesus Christ].” As such, “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV).
Yes, Jesus died on the cross for the penalty of the sin we were supposed to pay.
Through His death, He has justified us to become worthy of His gift of eternal life. All we have to do is have faith in Him that we can attain salvation.
This sacrificial death partially fulfilled the prophecy we’ve learned from Genesis 3:15, that God defeated Satan on the cross. The final destruction of the enemy and sin will take place after the millennium 1.
What a blessed hope!
We have learned 8 consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God, enumerated as follows:
- They realized their sinfulness.
- God cursed the serpent and the ground.
- Eve’s childbirth would be painful.
- Adam had to work hard all his life.
- Access to the tree of life was cut.
- They were banished from the Garden of Eden.
- The garden was closed.
- Humanity inherited sin.
But Jesus has justified us from sin through His death on the cross. And by putting our faith in Him, we can have eternal life in heaven with Him.
Can We Hear From You?
Did you enjoy this article? What have you learned?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
See you in the next article!REFERENCES
- Francis Nichol, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 1, pages 230–233
- Ellen White, From Eternity Past 26.1
- Francis Nichol, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 1, pages 234–236
- Matthew Henry’s Complete Bible Commentary 4.53–4.57
- Ellen White, Heaven 77.1
- Matthew Henry’s Complete Bible Commentary 1052.18–1052.19
- Matthew Henry’s Complete Bible Commentary 739.5–739.6