The doctrine of the fall of man
God commands but can man respond?

Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Romans 11:32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

In the study of the fall of man, we must be ever conscious of God’s Holy majesty and His inscrutable will. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." (Romans 11:33-36).

We must trust in God’s Word, when it declares that God seeks His own glory through everything that He has created (Revelation 4:11). When God created man, He created man in His own image (Genesis 1:27). What is the meaning of the word image, in the context of Genesis 1:27? God’s Word tells us, that above all His other Divine attributes, He is first and foremostly, Holy and without sin (Leviticus 19:2; Isaiah 6:3).

His love, mercy, jealousy, wrath, goodness, kindness, patience etc…are all rooted in His Holiness. It is truthful, to describe God’s love, as a Holy love, His jealousy, as a Holy jealousy and even His wrath is Holy. In other words, everything about God is Holy. In fact, it is His very Name. Our Father, who art in heaven, Holy is your name.

Therefore, Adam at his creation only mirrored the very Being of God, which is Holiness and without sin. Adam is not divine. He is a creature of God. As for God Himself, He is a Divine Being, eternal and unchanging. No event or events in His creation can change His Being. Therefore, His Holiness and sinless Being is permanent and eternal. God remains eternally, the Holy One (Hebrews 13:8).

Not so for Adam, for he is a creature, who is not eternal and is certainly changeable. External situations, like his surroundings and temptation, can affect him. Therefore, his state of Holiness and being created without sin can be changed into a state of un-holiness and sinfulness. The knowledge, of who God is, and what man was at his creation before the fall, helps in understanding the fall of man.

The fall of man, is a very important and crucial part of God’s plan. Perhaps, this is why the Spirit of Truth places the account of the fall so early in the Book of Beginnings - Genesis chapter 3. The fall of man must take place, in order for God’s glory to be completely and perfectly manifested. Consider, if the fall had not taken place, then there would have been no need for salvation and no need for Jesus to be given (John 3:16).

Then, this great aspect of God’s Glory, mercy and love in saving sinners, will forever be hidden and never manifested. How can this be? God has perfect wisdom and His perfect wisdom must have its way. Therefore, the fall of man, the salvation of sinners and the giving of the Son of God, is the complete and perfect way of God, to express His perfect wisdom and to manifest His Glory.

The fall of man is an everlasting reminder that man before and after the fall, is only a creature and certainly fallible. Therefore, man’s eternal enjoyment of God’s fellowship, lies not in man’s abilities, but in God’s Grace. In this perfect way and wisdom of God, God seeks His own Glory and is completely and perfectly glorified.

Not for one single moment, was God surprised when Adam fell. Nor was He ever deceived into thinking that Adam, of himself, without the secret workings of the Holy Spirit, could have obeyed His Holy commandment. Remember, God knows all things, past, present and future. His omniscience is such that, He cannot be deceived.

All who claim that Adam, of himself, without the Spirit, could have obeyed that one commandment, if he had chosen to, do not know who God is and what Adam, the creature was. They do not know the true purpose of God. According to His most unsearchable Judgments, God, by giving the very first command, did not do so to prove man’s ability, but to show man’s disability.

Therefore, by that first command, the Good Lord slew the very man that He had created in His own image. In this act of Almighty Sovereignty, God has bound all man over to disobedience, so that he might have mercy on them all.” (Romans 11:32). No one can stay His hand, or say unto Him what doest thou? (Daniel 4:35)

GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND ADAM’S OBLIGATION AND RESPONSIBILITY IN EDEN. DID HE HAVE A FAITHFUL RESPONSIBILITY OR A FAITHLESS RESPONSIBILITY?

The workings of God in His creatures, is a great mystery, known only to God Himself. We acknowledge the workings of His Almighty Spirit, in the events that led to the fall of man and we stand in awe. Matthew 4:1 reveals openly and clearly, that it was The Holy Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. It was the devil that tempted Jesus, not God (James 1:13).

Therefore, besides acknowledging that God gave Adam a command, we must believe, that the meeting of the serpent with the woman and the man, who was with her, the temptation that proceeded the fall (Genesis 3:1-6), all are the secret workings of God’s Holy Spirit. None of this, assuredly, was taking place behind God’s back. This then, is the Sovereignty of God in the fall of man.

Now we proceed to investigate Adam’s obligation and responsibility in Eden. God placed Adam in Eden, a most beautiful and perfect place. He was under a spiritual obligation to obey his Creator. The gift needed in order to obey and therefore please God, was a spiritual gift and one of special grace. We know that without faith, no one can please God (Hebrews 11:6) and this faith is a spiritual gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Therefore, for Adam to please God, he needed to be given this special gift of faith, which through the secret workings of The Holy Spirit, will create in Adam, the very Faithful response and ability needed to believe in God and obey Him, thus fulfilling his spiritual obligation to his Creator. This response and ability, which is imputed with Faith by the Holy Spirit is known as a Faithful responsibility.

It is not imputed to all men. God gives Faith to only His elect people (Hebrews 11:1-31) so that they may please Him. The opposite response and ability, is known as a faithless responsibility. This God gives to the non-elect, to do evil i.e. denying God of His rightful worship, as in the case of Adam (Genesis 3:1-6) and Pontius Pilate (John 19:10-11).

If any should object, to the truth that both a Faithful and a faithless responsibility are of the secret workings of God in men, the rebuttal is this. Just as God is the sole giver of a brilliant mind, He is also the sole Giver of a dull one. Therefore, just as the brilliant and the dull, will do God’s purposes and glorify Him. So also, will the Faithful and the faithless, with their God given opposing responsibilities fulfill God’s purposes and glorify Him.

The fact that we read that Adam had the response and ability to commit the unbelief and disobedience, proved that he was given a faithless responsibility to fulfill God’s eternal purpose in the fall of man. Through him all men fell (Romans 5:12). This then was Adam’s responsibility, a faithless one. His faithless responsibility could not fulfill his spiritual obligation to his Creator. His inability to obey God’s command, does not absolve him, from his faithless responsibility for committing his sin of disobedience.

 

Who hath ears to hear, let him hear:

REVELATION 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

LEVITICUS 19:2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.

ISAIAH 6:3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

HEBREWS 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

DANIEL 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

HEBREWS 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

EPHESIANS 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 

     
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." Proverbs 9:10