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Doctrine of Sin: The Occasion of the First Sin

May 30, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Scripture: Genesis 3

Scripture: Genesis 3


Last week we began our introduction into the Doctrine of Sin.

We began by defining the term sin.

The late Dr. Gordon Clark, a noted Reformed Presbyterian was noted to have said that every book should begin with the author’s list of terms and definitions so the reader would not have to spend most of the book trying to figure what he was meaning to say.

It was in that vein in whichwe began with the definition of sin:

What is sin?

Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.

Notice the key word: ANY.

We then spent the remainder of our time discussing alternate and opposing views of sin –developed by people attempting to minimize the impact of sin.

In other words, they were developing a low view of sin.

We also spent some time looking at the origin of sin – not the origin of sin in man but rather the origin of sin in the angelic realm.

We learned that sin first existed in Satan, being an angel, not content with their first habitation but were filled with desire and sought to become “like” God.

But what we saw, in its very essence, was pride.

  • Not being content to remain within the full sovereignty of God.
  • Not being content to simply obey God in all things.
  • But desiring to set their own rules, limitations, and interpretations.


Today we are going to continue this discussion – looking at the nature of sin – this time by looking at the fall of man.

Turn with me to Genesis 3:1-5.

Pride is still a large problem in God’s people today...and we’ll see the origination and continuation of this as a controlling influence.

Sin is the root of all evil in the world.

  • Lies in the first sin of Adam.
  • Lies in the natural and the representative head of the human race.

But before we can discuss and understand the true nature of sin, we must first understand the occasion and events surrounding the man’s original sin.

Let’s read Genesis 3:1-5 again.

The Occasion of the First Sin: The Serpent

We’ll see how this tempation leads to

  • the seeds of distrust and unbelief in the mind of man (Eve)
  • Eve acting upon her own antonymous thought.

Let’s go through these verses: v.1 -> The serpent was more subtil than any beast

  • Many equate the serpent as being Satan.

But this is not reasonable.

  • The serpent is described/ likened to the other beasts of beast of the field
  • The beasts of the field do not posses the reasoning ability of man
  • It would be unnecessary to referencd the subtly of Satan above the beasts

No, it is more reasonable and logical to understand that serpent was simply a tool used by Satan in this endeavor.

This should not cause great concern as there is another instance in Scripture of a talking animail: Numbers 22:28-20.

There are also instances in the New Testament of demon possesions whereby the demons used the mouths of men to speak. Mattew 8:30-31

In the words of Calvin:

....the testimonies of Scripture are sufficiently numerous, in which it is plainly asserted that the serpent was only the mouth of the devil; for not the serpent but the devil is declared to be ‘the father of lies,’ the fabricator of imposture, and the author of death.

Now, to the discourse between the serpent and Eve.

The Occasion of the First Sin: Questioning

“Yea, hath God said...”

  • The serpent attempts to get Eve to question the very first statement.

“Has God really said not to eat of every tree of the garden”?

  • This is said to Even as more of a statement rather than as a question...

And Eve responds, initially very well.

Being presented with a false charge against God

  • rather than keeping silent,
  • she speaks up – perhaps almost interrupting the serpent...
  • and responds:

”We may eat of the fruit of the tree of the garden.”

Now, caught up in her knowledge and having corrected the misunerstanding, we can see that she goes a bit too far...

The Occasion of the First Sin: Responding

She correctly states the prohibition:

  • then expands it;
  • then reduces it.

 She says that they are not allowed even to touch it.

 And then, she uses the phrase “..lest you die”

 That word, “lest” can be translated and understood as “perhaps” or “possibly.”

  • As if God had given His command as a warning to be evaluated and reviewed based upon the creature’s current circumstances.

The Occasion of the First Sin: Caution

The true rule of obedience is:

  • we must be content with the bare command of God.
  • we must believe that whatever He commans is just and right.

But Eve has strayed from this.

She is starting to waver

  • instead of hiding the Word of God deep within heart,
  • failing to recall the prohition of Genesis 2:17 – “thou shalt surely die”
  • she casts a little shadow of doubt on the true penalty

 This is all Satan needs...

 This is all Satan needs for any of us...

The moment we begin to think we are able to sit in judgment of God’s word...

 The moment we begin to think we are allowed to detemine what commands of God we will follow and which ones we will not follow...

 We are walking in the footsteps of Eve.

 We are setting ourselves up to embrace sin and we may not even realize it.

 Satan, instead of questioning or simply stating commands incorrectly...he now proceeds to directly defy, misrepresent, and cast doubt upon God.

The Occasion of the First Sin: Challenging

“Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know...”

In other words, ...

“You can’t believe what He says.”

“You won’t die.... God is only keeping you from what you deserve.”

“God is holding you back.”

“You are allowed to make up your own mind.”

“You can decide what is best for at this time.”

“If you eat this.... you will like God”

  • similar motive of the angels
  • Satan wanted to be like the Most High, elevated above the stars...

The Occasion of the First Sin: Sinning

Instead of defending God’s honor, Eve listened to the serpent.

She listened to and took instruction from the beast of the field.

  • The beast that man was given to have dominion over.
  • The beast that they were supposed to rule and control and oversee.

Ins’t that like us today.

  • We’d rather follow someone else instead of God.
  • We’d rather decide what fruit to eat or sit in judgment/ excusement of ourselves.

Almost anything than submit to the Authorrity of God or the authorities He has set up for our good...on this earth.

Eve has now moved from being a servant of God, under His sovereignty, to autonomy, to be her own judge.

She reaches and takes the fruit.

Realizeing that she isn’t dead from touching the fruit, she now fully believes the words of Satan, fully doubts the Word of God, and eats.

Notice v.6: Adam was with her during all of this.

Where was Adam during all of this? Right there with her.

Why was he not defending God’s honor?

Whe was he not protecting His wife?

Why was he not keeping her from flirting with sin?

Why was he not doing everything he could to remain obedience to God?

Why did he go along with his wife and willingly and freely sin along with her?

The Occasion of the First Sin: Practical Sidebar

Men -> if I make take a slight sidebar...

You are called to protect your wives and your families.

You are never allowed to aquiesce or give in to them if it results in sin.

You are the head of the household – you might be able to abdicate authority, but you can never abdicate reposnibility.

If you are allowing your wife or your sons or your daughters to sin, to remain in sin, to seek out sin, to court sin.... you will be held accountable, and their sins will be charged against you.

In this story, we see:

  • Even was plainly deceived by the serpent.
  • But Adam consciously, knowingly, and willingly trangressed against God.


In Review:

  • Eve was subdued by the serpent.

But Adam....we hear no account of his involvement until the sin has already been committed.

  • It could be that he was already willing to eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
  • Adam must have already started to doubt God, in his own mind prior to taking the fruit.
  • Because he willingly took the fruit and ate

Here we see:

  • Man acting on his own autonomy from God.
  • Man acting on his own independence from God.
  • Man communicating that he will not conform to the thoughts of God, to the commands of God.

God responds in Genesis 3:22

“And the LORD God said Behold the man is become as one of us.”

  • Man was already created in the image of God.
  • This is not referring to the image of God or man as the image of God.
  • This is rather referring to man seeking to be independent.
  • This is rather referring to man seeking to be autonomous.
  • This is rather referring to man determining between good and evil.

“And now lest he put forth his hand and take also the Tree of Life and eat and live forever.”

  • Therefore, God withdrew him from the garden and placed a cherubim to keep him from ever coming back and eating the tree of life.

This is the occasion of the first sin.

It is an act according to Genesis 3:22 of autonomy act of sovereignty man declaring himself to be equal to God.

We must keep ourselves on guard lest we too, end up being cast out of the banquet into the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth...

Lest the Lord God looks at us as says ‘Depart from me, I never knew you.”

Who is your God? Is it the gov’t? Is it your spouse? Your Child?    Is it you?

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