(A Fallen World – Sin, Suffering & Death Enter)
The Lord God commanded the man, saying,
“From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;
but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat,
for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” – Genesis 2:16-17
Man Disobeyed God. When God created man, He gave man free will to choose who to believe and obey, for without free will, there can be no love (i.e., a robot pre-programmed to perform a set of commands is not love). Satan, the devil, tempted Eve and thereby Adam in the Garden of Eden to disobey God by eating the fruit of the one forbidden “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” Satan tricked them by deliberately misquoting God’s Word, twisting it in a way that creates doubt or invites temptation through lust of the flesh; that is how he deceives – for he is described as “the father of lies.”
But it was a deliberate and willful choice by Eve, and then Adam, to disobey God’s rules and eat of the forbidden fruit. Scripture tells us that Eve saw that the fruit was a “delight” to her eyes – she wanted to have it despite God having forbidden it (she lusted after it). God gives us rules for our good, our protection, and our well-being so we can have life and have it abundantly. We don’t always fully understand why some rules are given but know they are for our good because God is a good and loving God.
The consequences of that act of disobedience were severe, as we see in the world today, for it is through this initial act of disobedience that sin, suffering, and death entered the world. Before they disobeyed God, they could be with God in the Garden of Eden; after sinning (disobeying), they were separated from God and cast out of the Garden – due to sin.
Now you may be wondering what or who this “Satan” is (also called the “devil” and the “serpent”). Please realize that we are not alone in this universe. God also created angels (spiritual beings). And while the Bible doesn’t tell us precisely when angels were created or how many there are, it does tell us they are created beings, and we can make some intelligent guesses about such matters. However, those details are not fundamental to the gospel message, and I don’t want to get sidetracked with them here; they also do not alter the reality that we find ourselves in, which is: Satan was a chief angel who rebelled against God, and some of the angels angels followed him in rebellion. So today, there are good angels who obeyed God (these are called “ministering spirits” and work for the good of God) and evil spirits (fallen angels and demons) who follow Satan.
Satan and his evil spirits stand against anything that is good and of God, and since humans were created in the image of God, Satan stands against us. Make no mistake; Satan is a real spiritual being who is described as your “adversary,” “tempter,” “accuser,” and your “enemy.” He wants you to have eternal death; he does everything he can to deceive you out of the path to eternal life with God. He is not some fanciful cartoon character in red tights with a pitchfork – that illusion is created to deceive many by causing them not to take him seriously!
So please don’t ignore Satan because you cannot see him, for he is very real. And he deceives people by obfuscating the truth of Scripture, by telling lies, half-truths, and distorting (misquoting) Scripture. Satan is “the father of lies,” deceptions, and illusions. Here’s an analogy to help you understand this: we don’t have to know where the Law of Gravity came from, or even need to understand it completely, to know that it is very real indeed, and there are dire consequences for ignoring it!
Consequently, the Earth and this world we live in is actually a spiritual battleground between the forces of good vs. evil. Do not mistake this all as just a myth or fable, for it is written in God’s Holy Word:
So, this initial act of deliberate, willful disobedience by Eve, and Adam, in choosing to believe Satan over God was the fall of humanity and this world – this is why we read in Scripture: “through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin” (Romans 5:12). Scripture also tells us that God banished man from the Garden of Eden and set a curse on this world as a result of this act of disobedience. As explained below, God did this out of love for us, not out of hate or malice. This curse was the result of disobedience, the result of sin, which introduced disease, suffering, and death into this world. It makes this world that we see today different from the one God initially created (“in the beginning”), which He described as “very good.” Therefore, we live in a fallen and sinful world, which is exactly what we see around us today. So, please don’t blame God for creating what we see in this fallen world today – the sin, suffering, and death we see all around us; this is the work of man, resulting from disobedience to God. God gave man: a) sovereignty over this world and b) free will. It is man, therefore, who is responsible.
God had clearly warned Adam and Eve that “in the day that you eat from it [the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil] you will surely die.” They did die spiritually that very day due to sin. Recall from a prior chapter that we were created in God’s image, which means every person is created with an immortal, eternal spirit. Scripture also tells us that sin results in (spiritual) death and separation from God. And while their physical death didn’t occur instantly, they did also physically die at a later time (we all do). So, it was this act of disobedience that introduced physical death and decay into the world.
The curse and banishment from the Garden of Eden were done to prevent Adam and Eve (and others after them) from eating of the “Tree of Life,” which was also in the Garden, as doing so would have given them eternal life – but remember after they had disobeyed God, they were now in a sinful state (spiritually separated from God), so they would have been eternally separated from God (eternal death). That is why God acted for our protection, out of love – so we would not be condemned to eternal death, for God wants us, each of us, all of us, to be with Him forever in eternal life. Please do not make the mistake of underestimating the importance of your spirit and your spiritual state, for it is what is eternal! It is even more important than our current fleshly, corruptible (mortal) bodies!
But it gets even worse. For when Adam (after Eve) deliberately chose to believe Satan over God and eat from the one forbidden tree, the dominion of the Earth was in effect legally deeded over to Satan. Satan became “the ruler of this [fallen] world,” “the god of this age,” and the “prince of the power of the air” (until Christ defeated him on the cross):
So great was the consequence of disobedience to God and the sin that resulted that God actually had to redeem (buy back, purchase) man from sin and from ownership by Satan and death, so we could once again enter paradise (heaven) with Him. God in His mercy, love, grace, and kindness has provided a way for man to become “righteous,” which means to be without sin (i.e., spiritually reconciled with God); He has provided a way for our sins to be forgiven, so we can again have eternal life with Him. That is the essence of the gospel message which this book is presenting to you. Each of us will choose eternal life (with God) or eternal death (separation from God). Those who end up in hell will do so as a result of their own choosing; God doesn’t “send” anyone to hell – man sends himself there, and man chooses that destiny out of free will. Hell was not even created for man! Scripture tells us that hell was “prepared for the devil and his angels.” The Bible also clearly tells us that hell is a very real place of “eternal punishment” and “torment” – it is not a myth. This is covered in more detail later in this book.
The following excerpt by H.M. Riggle from The Christian Church, Its Rise and Progress is helpful: 
It’s also helpful at this point to look at the full exchange between Satan and Eve as recorded in Genesis 3:
Notice how Satan deliberately tries to deceive Eve, hoping to spiritually and eternally kill all of the human race which was just being born. He was trying to trick Eve into doubting God, doubting that God was good, and also trick her into disobeying God. This is one reason we are admonished strongly to really, deeply know “the word of God” which is “the message [word] of truth” as it is actually given in Scripture, free from the false teachings of man (and Satan)! God gave us His Word so we can have life, not death. But we must know His Word; we must treasure it, and we must read, study, and pray (meditate) on it. This reinforces why I’m so adamant about pointing out all the false teachings of man so you can avoid them – they are all distortions of Scripture. They are designed to trick you out of eternal life, just like Satan tricked Eve.
And finally, understand that we each choose our own destiny, for we each choose who to follow – either God or Satan. There are no other choices. Even when you deliberately make no choice, you have thereby chosen Satan, for unless you have chosen God and eternal life (through His Son Jesus Christ), you have rejected Him and will suffer eternal death, which is separation from God with Satan and his evil spirits (fallen angels and demons) in hell forever.
In the next chapter, we will see that we are each individually responsible for our own choices – God gave each of us free will. We cannot blame Adam and Eve (or Satan) for our own free will actions and resulting disobedience and sin. We will also see that God plans to judge all sin and restore His creation to a state of paradise – that happens on the great Day of Judgment. That is why we need a Savior, for we are all dead (spiritually) in sin, eternally separated from God due to our own sinful actions unless something (or Someone) cleanses us from that sin. That also is the hope of the gospel message!
FALSE TEACHING(S) YOU WILL ENCOUNTER:
- Atheism (there is no God)
- The “Theory” of Evolution (and millions of years for earth history)
- Satan (the devil) is just a myth
- Science disproves the Bible
- Annihilation after death
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. – Romans 5:12
Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” – Genesis 2:15-17
For the wages [payment, penalty] of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility [the curse – sin suffering, disease, death], not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. – Romans 8:19-23
We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. – 1 John 5:19
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. – Ephesians 2:1-2
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. – Galatians 5:19-21
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.’” – Matthew 25:41
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 11:3