Chapter 6: Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof (Parts One & Two)
God graciously created man upright and sinless. God gave man His righteous law, which at that point contained only one prohibition: “Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:16-17) Had man keep, instead of broken that law, he would have continued to live forever in perfect harmony with God in the garden. But God was so serious about man’s obedience that He wrapped the law in a threat. “In the day you eat of it [the fruit from the forbidden tree] you shall surely die.”
Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44) and the master of subtlety (Genesis 3:1), used a serpent to tempt and overcome Eve, who then tempted and overcame her husband, Adam.
“Life or death?” Our first father Adam, without compulsion, willingly broke God’s law, choosing disobedience and the promised subsequent death over obedience and life.
None of this was beyond God’s sovereign control. God permissively decreed it in order to show His grace to mankind for His greater glory. (Ephesians 2:7)
When Adam and Eve sinned, they not only fell from their original state of righteous communion with God, their sin became “spiritually genetic.” Because they are the original parents of the entire human race, all of their posterity are also ruined by their sin (Romans 5:12). When Adam and Eve died spiritually, all of us who were “in them” and would ever come from them, also died spiritually. All human beings since are born in sin and are spiritually slaves to sin (John 8:34, Romans 6:16-17).
People usually do not think this is fair and therefore often reject this biblical teaching. Yet we have no problem accepting (even if we do not like it) that we genetically inherit from our parents everything else we are. We have nothing to say about our height, or our hair and eye color, do we? Neither do we have any say in the fact that we are natural born sinners—like it or not!
Application? This is why Jesus said “unless a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Our first birth is in sin and leads to judgment. It is the second birth of which Jesus spoke that leads to righteousness and entrance into the kingdom of God (Romans 5:15-19).