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What The Fall Teaches About Marriage

The Fall took place when God’s established roles for husbands and wives were swapped. Eve usurped Adam’s headship and Adam submitted to Eve.

The Fall took place when the devil attacked Adam’s headship. Genesis 3:1–4 says:

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.”

There’s an important contrast between the creation account in Genesis 2 and The Fall in Genesis 3:

  • In Genesis 2:16, “the Lord God commanded the man.”
  • In Genesis 3:1 and 4, “[the serpent] said to the woman.”

God spoke to Adam, but the devil spoke to Eve. Why? The devil knew Eve was “the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7). Part of the reason God placed Eve under Adam’s headship was for her own protection.

The Choices Adam and Eve Faced at The Fall

When the devil tempted Eve, she had two choices:

  • She could trust her husband who had given her God’s command, thereby submitting to him.
  • She could trust the devil, submitting instead to him.

Sadly, Genesis 3:6 reveals her choice: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”

At this point, Adam also had two choices:

  • He could obey God who gave him the command, thereby submitting to Him.
  • He could obey his wife, submitting instead to her.

Adam chose to obey his wife instead of obeying God. Genesis 3:9–12 gives us the outcome of that decision:

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

It’s significant that the conversation about The Fall took place between God and Adam. God didn’t address Eve until Genesis 3:16 when He explained how sin’s curse would affect women.

Who was Blamed for The Fall?

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Eve created from Adam: 4 fascinating points

Eve created from Adam

We are so familiar with the creation of Eve that it’s easy to miss the importance of some details. If we approach the account as though it’s our first time reading it, a number of significant points arise…

1. Eve wasn’t created “out of the ground”

One recurring theme has been God’s creation of living things from ordinary dirt:

  • Genesis 2:7—And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.
  • Genesis 2:9—And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow.
  • Genesis 2:19—Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air.

With this repetition, we would expect to read: “The Lord God formed woman of the dust of the ground, and breathed into her nostrils the breath of life; and woman became a living being.” Instead, Genesis 2:21–23 says:

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

In being fashioned from Adam, Eve has the unique distinction of being the only part of creation not created out of the ground. Since Adam was created in the image and likeness of God, Eve was just as wonderfully created in the image and likeness of God. Also, while God created woman from man, He brought forth every other human being since Eve from woman. 1 Corinthians 11:8–9, 11–12 records:

For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man . . . Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman.

2. Eve was created from Adam’s own DNA

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4 ways God established a husband’s headship at creation

God established husbands headship at creation

Twice the apostle Paul stated the headship of a husband:

  • 1 Corinthians 11:3—But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
  • Ephesians 5:23—For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

Although these verses are found in the New Testament, a husband’s headship didn’t have its beginning under the New Covenant. Neither does male headship have its beginning in the Old Testament under the Old Covenant. It doesn’t even have its beginning at the fall.

Male headship began at creation itself

Understanding this is important, because if we think headship began after the fall, then it becomes part of sin’s curse. If we see headship beginning at creation, we understand it is part of God’s natural, healthy, divine plan for husbands and wives.

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” and the rest of Genesis 1 gives an overview of all six days of creation. God created man and woman on the sixth day. Then, in Genesis 2:7–25, God zooms in on the creation of Adam and Eve since mankind is the pinnacle of God’s creation. It is in this account that God established man’s headship.

1. God established Adam’s headship by creating him first

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How Could SO Much Take Place on the 6th Day?

How could so much take place on the 6th dayOn February 8th I preached a sermon for our Marriage & Family Series on Genesis 2:16-24. I focused on the relationship between Adam and Eve and the implications for us, but I also discussed the other events that took place on the 6th day of creation.

Soon after I received the following question: “You said in your sermon that Eve was created on the 6th day, but Genesis 2 says that after God created Adam, He put him in the garden to work it. One of his tasks was to name all the animals and birds. If the creation days were a literal 24 hours in length, how could Adam do all of that in a single day?

My answer follows…

This question came to mind for me as I was studying Genesis 2. If we weren’t in our Marriage & Family Series – which is where the application and instruction was focused as a result – I probably would’ve discussed this in the sermon, because I think it’s a good question and one that would come to mind for many people.

Here’s a list of the events that are recorded as taking place on the 6th Day:

  1. God created Adam (Gen 2:7).
  2. God planted the Garden (Gen 2:8).
  3. God put Adam in the Garden “to tend and keep it” (Gen 2:8, 15). I discussed this in my sermon on 1/11/15: “Work and Laziness”
  4. God gave Adam the command not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen 2:16, 17).
  5. God created “every beast of the field and every bird of the air” (Gen 2:19).
  6. God brought the animals to Adam and had him name them (Gen 2:19-20)
  7. God created Eve (Gen 2:22).

A number of these events might have taken little to no time at all: creating Adam, planting the Garden, giving Adam the command, creating the animals, etc. Let’s deal with the areas you mentioned that look to have taken longer and relate to whether the 6th day was a literal 24-hour day…

First, you mentioned God putting Adam “in the garden to work it.” Yes, God did that and it’s mentioned in two verses:

  • Genesis 2:8 The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.
  • Genesis 2:15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

In both verses there’s no indication anything more happened than God placing Adam in the Garden; we’re told WHY God placed him there, but we’re not told He had him do any work yet. It’s possible from the Garden is where God had Adam name the animals; perhaps that was Adam’s first bit of “work.”

Second, naming the animals…

Understanding the two purposes God had for Adam in naming the animals is crucial to understanding how long this might have taken. As I shared in the sermon the two purposes were:

  1. Establishing Adam’s headship over creation according to God’s words in Genesis 1:28 that Adam should “have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
  2. Revealing to Adam that he didn’t have a companion like they did. In Genesis 2:18 God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Instead of immediately making Adam a companion, He decided to show Adam his need for one by bringing the animals to him in pairs at which time he recognized he didn’t have a companion like they did: Genesis 2:19-20 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

If one purpose was to create in Adam a desire for a spouse, since Adam was created in God’s image – a God who loves and is relational – it’s doubtful Adam would’ve needed years, months, weeks or even days to come to this recognition.

But the obviously bigger question is how could Adam name all these animals in one day?

First, Adam’s mind was at a place unaffected by sin, The Fall, genetic defect, etc.; basically it was operating at full capacity. We can assume his extreme intellect would allow him to do this much quicker than we would imagine it taking.

Second, the modern term “species” doesn’t exist in the Bible: Genesis 1:25 God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind.” There were probably far fewer “kinds” at the moment of creation than there are “species” today. God would’ve created the major types of animals and over time developed the great variety we see today.

Finally, verse 20 says Adam named three types of animals: cattle, birds of the air and every beast of the field; however, verse 19 only mentions the latter two, and it’s those animals that were not tame and which man can handle only through hunting, trapping, etc. In order to accomplish the two purposes mentioned above, God provided representatives of the non-tame (bird and wild land-animal) categories to be named along with the tame animals. One of the ways I think this is made obvious is with Eve:

  1. First, in Genesis 2:23 Adam said, “She shall be called Woman.”
  2. Then, Genesis 2:20 says “Adam called his wife’s name Eve.”

The Moody Bible Commentary says, “The argument that this naming of the animals would have taken more than a single day is not valid. The primary purpose of bringing the animals before Adam was not to give them names, but rather to highlight his need for a woman, which a relatively small number of animals would suffice to establish. Indeed the Hebrew word names (shemot) is perfectly consistent with the understanding that Adam simply gave general designations to each general category or class of animal (e.g. “equine,” “serpentine,” “canine,” etc.) rather than precise labels such as ‘Equus ferus caballus,’ ‘Crotalus horridus,’ ‘Canis lupus familiaris,’ let alone ‘Spot’ or ‘Rex.'”

There’s no reason to doubt these events could have taken place as part of a literal 24-hour day, but even if there was reason to doubt that happening the question shouldn’t be, “What do we think could or couldn’t have happened?” The question should be, “What does Scripture say happened?”

I’m limiting my response to the question of whether these events could take place on one literal 24-hour day, but obviously the larger question this relates to is whether the days of creation should be viewed as literal 24-hour days or indefinite periods of time. Let me say this:

  1. I know Progressive Creationists generally hold to the Day-Age Theory that the days are not to be taken literally, but are representative of long periods of time, perhaps even millions of years.
  2. I know the Hebrew word for day (yowm) can refer to indefinite lengths of time.

But with that said I still believe Scripture says these were literal 24-hour days: Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

While there are other reasons I could provide to view the days of creation as six literal, 24-hour days, I’ll leave it at providing these verses from Exodus because I believe they make it so clear. The pattern for the Hebrews of working six days and resting the seventh was taken from creation and patterned after what God did. If the days of creation were indefinite periods of time this would have no application for the Hebrews, and the command regarding the Sabbath would be meaningless…

“The institution of the sabbath on the seventh day, which if understood as an indefinite period would have no meaning for man, and the constant usage of this expression in Scripture to denote an ordinary day, with the few exceptions of poetical or oratorical diction, and the literal meaning which all commentators and Bible readers have assigned to it till within the last century, are additional proofs that the primitive record purports to intimate the expression yom as a natural day” (C.D. Ginsburg, cited by P. J. Wiseman, Clues To Creation In Genesis, London, Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1977, p. 122,123).

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7 Conflicts Created by the Fall

The Fall created conflicts throughout creation.
The Fall created conflicts throughout creation.

At Creation, there was perfect peace and harmony, but as a result of The Fall, seven conflicts were created. We say, “The Fall of Man,” but this can be misleading, since it sounds as though only man was affected. A better title would be “The Fall of Creation” because sin affected all of God’s creation.

Before banishing Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, God outlined what life would be like in a fallen world (Gen 3:16–19). The following conflicts were created:

1. Conflict between man and God.

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden” (Gen 3:8). The intimacy and close fellowship mankind had experienced with God was ruined.

2. Conflict between man and animal.

“God spoke to the serpent: ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed’” (Gen 3:15). This points to the future conflict between the devil and Jesus, the Seed of the woman. But a surface reading also reveals the enmity and fear that exists between man and reptiles, insects, and other animals, many of which are now threatening and lethal.

3. Conflict between animal and animal.

Prior to The Fall there was peace between animals. The wolf, lamb, leopard, goat, calf, and lion dwelt together, and the cow, bear, lion, and ox ate together (Isa 11:6-8). Animals were herbivorous, but the harmony that existed between them was destroyed, and they became a threat to each other.

4. Conflict between man and nature.

“Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you” (Gen 3:17b–18). Tending the Garden of Eden was a pleasant, enjoyable experience for Adam and Eve, but now nature poses a terrible threat.

Beyond the sheer labor needed to survive, millions have lost homes and lives in earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, floods, and other natural disasters. This is why:

  • Paul described creation itself longing to be redeemed, struggling under the weight of sin (Rom 8:19-22).
  • Jesus rebuked a storm: “He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water” (Luke 8:24). Rebuking a storm makes sense only when considering the way creation was affected by sin, and put in subjection to the devil (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; Eph 2:2; 2 Cor 4:4; 1 John 5:19).

5. Conflict between man and man.

“Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him” (Gen 4:8). Since Adam’s firstborn, Cain, killed his brother, there have been millions of people destroyed by wars, murder, or some other form of violence.

6. Conflict between husband and wife.

This consequence is the topic of my book, Marriage God’s Way. If the Fall hadn’t taken place, there would be perfect harmony between husbands and wives. Perfect oneness. As a result of the Fall, there is pain, conflict, and struggle.

7. Conflict with death.

“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19). The worst conflict introduced by the Fall is death. 1 Corinthians 15:26 calls death mankind’s last enemy, whose defeat will come only when Jesus Christ returns to end sin’s curse and place all things under His rule.

The destruction of death is one part of Christ’s redemption. Isaiah 2:4 says men will turn their weapons into agricultural tools, describing the peace that will be created by Christ’s redemption.

Just as sin affected all aspects of creation, so too will Christ’s redemption affect all aspects of redemption. Jesus will reverse the affects of The Fall, destroying all of sin’s curse. The conflicts will be gone, and perfect peace and harmony will again exist.

Are there any aspects of The Fall that you see as worse than others? Any part of sin’s curse that you particularly long to see it reversed by Christ’s redemption? Share your thoughts below!