Adam and Eve, our first parents, were created perfect. Yet, why did they sin?
In this article, discover 6 things that led to the fall of Adam and Eve.
But first, let’s define what this fall means?
Fall of Adam and Eve—What Does It Mean?
Let’s define ‘fall.’
When we say ‘fall,’ it’s not the literal action of jumping or being dropped from a high place downward, of course. In the context of our discussion, it means defeat or sin.
So, what exactly was this defeat or sinful act that characterized the fall of Adam and Eve?
Just a background story about Adam and Eve
God created Adam and Eve in His own image—perfect in all aspects of their personality (Genesis 1:27; 2:25).
Physically, they were created beautiful, graceful, symmetrical, and regular in form. And their faces were “glowing with the tint of health and the light of joy and hope” 1.
Mentally, they had “intelligence such as [God] had not given to any other creature” 2.
And spiritually, they were made “a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:5, NASB) so “they might not only discern the wonders of the visible universe” but also “comprehend moral responsibilities and obligations” 1.
How would you like to be in this perfect state Adam and Eve was in before their fall?
Along with this, they were innocent, not knowing evil. In fact, they didn’t feel ashamed even though they were naked (Genesis 2:25).
Can you believe that?
To continue, they lived in the Garden of Eden, a perfect paradise where there were different kinds of trees, fruits, gemstones, animals, and many more existing. The soil was fertile and the climate was temperate (chapter 2) 3 4.
Everything was simply beautiful in this perfect home that Adam and Eve had nothing more to ask 5.
How would you like to live in such a place like this?
Their sin that caused their fall
God instructed Adam and Eve never to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they did, they would sure die (Genesis 2:17).
One day, while exploring the garden alone, Eve reached that forbidden tree. There, Satan, in a form of a serpent (snake), was waiting to tempt her (verse 1 of chapter 3) 4.
When Satan asked her if God really prohibited them from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, Eve replied, “God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden…or you will die'” (verses 2-3, NIV).
But he insisted she and Adam wouldn’t die if they did, “for God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (verses 4-5, NIV).
Eventually, seeing that the fruit looked pleasant, good for food, and “desirable for gaining wisdom,” she took some and ate it. She even gave some to Adam (verse 6, NIV).
Oh no! What happened next?
The result of their disobedience
Suddenly, their eyes were opened to realize they were naked (Genesis 3:7).
Ashamed of themselves, they covered their bodies with leaves and hid from God. But God caught them and asked if they ate the forbidden fruit (verses 8-10).
Adam blamed Eve for giving him the fruit. Eve blamed the serpent for tempting her (verses 11-13).
Because of this, God cursed the serpent to walk on its belly and live in enmity with the woman. He also cursed the ground such that Adam would work hard to produce food from the earth. In the case of Eve, childbirth would be very painful (verses 14-19).
And since Adam and Eve now had a knowledge of evil, God banned their access to the tree of life and banished them from Eden (verses 21-24).
Why did God cut Adam and Eve’s access to the tree of life?
It was now “necessary to prevent [them] from continuing to partake of the fruit of the tree of life lest [they] become [immortal sinners].” Through sin, they “[have] fallen under the power of death” (Genesis 3:22) 6.
Because of this, “the fruit that produced immortality could now [harm them]. Immortality in a state of sin, and thus of endless misery, was not the life for which God designed man” 6.
As such, “denying [them] 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” 6.
Likewise, why did He drive them out of the garden?
“In sending [Adam and Eve] forth from Eden to earn a living by the sweat of his brow” (Genesis 3:23), God “performed what must have been to Him, as well as to Adam, a sad duty” 6.
“Even with the primeval forests cleared away, there would ever be a perpetual struggle against weeds, insects, and wild beasts” 6.
6 Things That Led to the Fall of Adam and Eve
1) Satan’s temptation
We’ve seen earlier an overview of Satan’s temptation on Eve through the serpent (Genesis 3:1-5). Now, let’s dive deeper into how his words and actions cunningly led her and Adam to sin.
He asked a question that seemed innocent but meant to incite doubt.
In opening the discourse with Eve, notice that Satan didn’t disprove God’s command right away.
Instead, he quoted it in a pretentiously curious and innocent manner: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1, NIV).
Behind this mocking innocence was a cunning intention to “sow doubt in the heart of the woman concerning the real phraseology and the exact meaning of the divine commandment, especially [its] reasonableness and justice” 7.
Starting their conversation this way, Satan would “draw Eve into a parley” 4. That is, she would be led to confusion enough to doubt God’s command.
Smart tactic, huh?
He quoted God’s command fallaciously.
Let’s review Satan’s opening statement one more time: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1, NIV).
Notice he quoted it as if every tree was being prohibited by God to eat from when in fact it was only the tree of knowledge 4.
By aggravating the exception, Satan endeavored “to invalidate the concession” of that command 4.
What a liar!
He took advantage of Eve’s cautiousness.
In his same opening statement (Genesis 3:1), Satan seemed to be taunting Eve, especially she was feeling hesitant to meddle with the tree of knowledge 4.
He seemed to be saying, “You are so nice and cautious, and so…precise, because God has said, You shall not eat” 4.
By taking advantage of Eve’s cautiousness, Satan hoped to win her trust and confidence.
Such an opportunist!
He denied that there was danger in eating the forbidden fruit.
When Eve said she and Adam would die if they ate from the tree of knowledge, Satan insisted, “You will not certainly die…” (Genesis 3:4, NIV).
If you will notice, from misinterpreting God’s command earlier, Satan was now taking authority to claim there was no danger in eating the forbidden fruit 8.
Such a subtle deception!
But this assertion “contradicted God’s explicit command in the most emphatic manner” 7.
He promised a benefit in doing it.
After denying death, Satan told Eve, “God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5, NIV).
Here, Satan “proceeded to give a plausible reason for God’s prohibition.” He charged Him with “envy of His creatures’ happiness” as if He was afraid of having rivals of Himself 7.
By mixing truth with falsehood, Satan tried to “confuse the mind of Eve” to make it “difficult for her to distinguish between God’s words and his” 7.
How dare Satan do that!
2) Adam and Eve’s doubt in God’s word
In the case of Eve
In the previous section, we’ve seen how artistic and subtle Satan’s temptation on Eve (Genesis 3:1-5) was.
This led her to think that “perhaps the Lord did not mean just what He said.” She also felt jealous that He “[seemed to withhold] from them what was really for their good” 9.
True enough, “by deceptive reasoning, [Satan] led [Eve] to doubt God’s word,” supplying it “with a theory that led to disobedience” 10.
In the case of Adam
Unlike Eve, Adam was not deceived by the serpent for it was “inexcusable [for him] to rashly transgress God’s positive command.” He was just “presumptuous because his wife had sinned” (Genesis 3:1-7) 2.
If you were Adam, would you feel the same?
He could not see what would happen to Eve after eating the fruit, which made him “sad” and “troubled,” resulting in him being tempted as well. And by listening to her story of how the serpent tempted her, “his constancy and integrity began to waver” 2.
“Doubts arose in his mind in regard to whether God did mean just as He said.” As a result, he “rashly ate the tempting fruit” 2.
3) Eve’s lust
Eve “saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye,” prompting her to take some of the fruit and eat it (Genesis 3:6, NIV).
After doubting God’s word, Eve was now being attracted to the fruit as it “appealed to her taste” and “to her eye” 7 .
She should have turned away from this vanity. Yet, she “[entered] into temptation by looking with pleasure on the forbidden fruit” 8.
Indeed, “a great deal of sin comes in at the eyes. At these windows, Satan throws in those fiery darts which pierce and poison the heart” 8.
By the “lust of the flesh” and “of the eyes…the devil deceived Eve (1 Timothy 2:14) and led her to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” 11.
As you can see, Eve “could not resist Satan’s insinuations when he appealed to [her] appetite” 7.
4) Her desire for divine wisdom and knowledge like God’s
Aside from seeing that the fruit of the forbidden tree was “good for food and pleasing to the eye,” Eve also sensed that it would be “desirable for gaining wisdom” (Genesis 3:6, NIV).
Apparently, it appealed not only to Eve’s senses but also to “her longing for increased wisdom” 7.
In her mind, she was already “guilty…of transgressing the divine command, ‘Thou shalt not covet'” (Exodus 20:17). Yet, she took and ate the fruit as a “natural result of entering…the path of transgression” 7.
Indeed, the “desire of unnecessary knowledge under the mistaken notion of wisdom proves hurtful and destructive” 8.
5) Adam’s tolerance of Eve’s sin and submission to her
Take note of this.
At the beginning of this article, we’ve learned that Eve was away from Adam when she went to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and began conversing with the serpent (Genesis 3:1-5) 4.
He probably came only when she ate the fruit because the Bible tells us that she shared it with him (verse 6).
So, Adam was not the one deceived, right?
Certainly, “Adam was not the one deceived; it was the [Eve] who was deceived and became a sinner” (1 Timothy 2:14, NIV).
“But his wife’s power of persuasion, coupled with his own love for her, induced him to share the consequences of her fall, whatever they might be” 12.
How gentlemanly of Adam to show concern for Eve and bear her burden! Unfortunately, it was in vain because it was done for something that led both of them to sin (Genesis 3:7).
He should have waited until he got an opportunity to discuss the matter with God. But he “took his fate into his own hands” 12. With this, he also sinned.
Now, knowing that both Adam and Eve sinned anyway, whose fault was more tragic?
If you come to think of it, Eve was the first sinner because she was the one who was tempted first and eventually gave in to the temptation. Adam was just influenced (Genesis 3:1-6).
So, perhaps, her transgression had more impact for the human family.
But, “her choice did not necessarily involve the [human] race in the penalty” for such transgression. It was “the deliberate choice of Adam…that made sin and death the inevitable lot of mankind” 12.
Well, Adam “did not doubt God nor was he deceived like Eve” 12. And he knew that eating the forbidden fruit would surely bring him harm as well. Yet, he deliberately chose to give in to her prompting.
If only Adam remained loyal to God in spite of Eve’s disloyalty, “divine wisdom would yet have solved the dilemma for him and averted disaster for the [human] race” 12.
Now, we answered the question. That is, it was therefore Adam’s sin that endangered the future of the human family more.
Knowing this, how different do you think life would have been if he didn’t choose to sin like Eve?
6) Their disobedience to God
Seeing that the fruit of the tree of knowledge looked “good for food” and “desirable for gaining wisdom,” Eve finally “took some and ate it” (Genesis 3:6, NIV).
And she gave some to Adam as well, who also ate it (verse 6).
If you were Eve, would you give in to the temptation of the serpent? And if you were Adam, would you tolerate your wife?
Breaking the eighth commandment
Previously, Eve coveted the fruit to which she had no right. Now, she stole it as God’s property, thus violating the eighth commandment: “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15, NIV) 12.
Notice that the devil did not take the fruit and put it into Eve’s mouth. Instead, Eve took it herself (Genesis 3:6).
Satan may tempt but he “cannot force.” He may persuade us to cast ourselves down but he “cannot cast us down” 8.
Back to our point, Eve’s taking of the fruit was a form of stealing. Perhaps, she did it “with a trembling hand” like she “did not intend” it. But the result was that she still took it, which was sin anyway 8.
And Adam, by giving in to Eve’s invitation, also committed the same sin (Genesis 3:6).
Breaking the sixth commandment
Not only did Eve violate the eighth commandment. By eating the fruit and sharing it with Adam, she also transgressed the sixth commandment: “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13, NIV) 12.
Murder by just eating the fruit and sharing it with Adam? How?
Well, murder in the sixth commandment doesn’t only imply literal killing. It also involves doing “violence to the body” and inflicting “injury to the soul” 6.
Though Eve didn’t die right away, eating the forbidden fruit inflicted her soul because she lost her innocence, gained a knowledge of evil, and realized her nakedness (Genesis 3:7).
Aside from that, murder in the sixth commandment also involves “[leading others] into sin by…example and action, and thus [contributing] to the destruction of their souls” 6.
By sharing the fruit with Adam, Eve led him to sin and destroyed his soul too as he reaped the same consequences she experienced as a result of sin (verses 6-19).
Breaking the first commandment
Eve also broke the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3, NIV).
By placing Satan before God in her esteem and obeying him rather than her Creator, which Adam also did, knowing he accepted Eve’s invitation to eat the fruit (Genesis 3:6) 12.
Eve should have stayed firm in obeying God’s command not to eat from the tree of knowledge despite Satan’s temptation. But she chose to believe the devil and surrender to his control (Genesis 3:1-5).
If Eve didn’t let herself be deceived by the serpent, how different do you think things would be now?
Let’s Sum It Up!
The 6 things that led to the fall of Adam and Eve were the following:
- Satan’s temptation
- Adam and Eve’s doubt in God’s word
- Eve’s lust
- Her desire for divine wisdom and knowledge like God’s
- Adam’s tolerance of Eve’s sin and submission to her
- Their disobedience to God
Want to Share Your Thoughts?
What have you learned from this article? Share them all in the comments below.
Aside from what we mentioned, what else do you think led to the fall of Adam and Eve?
See you in the next article!REFERENCES
- Ellen White, Education 20.2
- Ellen White, Confrontation 10.4; 33.6; 86.1
- Matthew Henry’s Complete Bible Commentary 3.13
- Matthew Henry’s Complete Bible Commentary 4.6–4.9
- Ellen White, Fundamentals of Christian Education 512.5
- Francis Nichol, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 1, page 236
- Francis Nichol, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 1, pages 228–230
- Matthew Henry’s Complete Bible Commentary 4.11–4.17
- Ellen White, Early Writings 147.2
- Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons 108.1
- Ellen White, A Prophet Among You 14.2
- Francis Nichol, The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 1, pages 230–232