UNDERSTANDING GENESIS

The  Book  of Genesis contains the record of humanity's beginning and the foundation and basis of all  subsequent biblical revelation.

As  with all studies of the Bible,  there is truth for those who search for it. Likewise, a  thorough study of the third chapter of the Book of Genesis reveals truth that has  been hidden for centuries. Specifically, this study reveals what the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil symbolized, why God forbid Adam and Eve  to touch it or eat its  fruit, and  why Satan was so intent on deceiving Adam and Eve into disobeying God's instructions.

Additionally, this study shows the following:

THE GARDEN EXPERIENCE

Genesis 2:8-9 KJV

"And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put  the man whom he had formed.  And out of the ground made  the Lord  to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight,  and good for food;  the tree of life also in the midst of the garden , and the tree of knowledge of good and evil."

After finishing the creation process, the Lord God planted a garden for  the benefit of Adam and Eve that must have been truly awesome in  beauty and design. Moreover, Genesis chapter three describes this garden as a place with plenty of good food and  a  perfect  climate. All of this was designed for Adam and Eve's maximum comfort  and enjoyment.  In  the  middle of the garden there were  two  magnificent trees that were the focal point and central theme of the entire  garden. The fruit of each of these trees held the destiny of humanity.

Genesis 2:15-17 KJV

"And the Lord God took the man,  and put him in the garden  of Eden  to dress it and to keep it.  And the Lord God commanded the man saying,  Of every tree of the garden you may freely  eat;  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat  of  it,  for in the day that you eat thereof you  shall surely die."

Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge  of Good and Evil, but they could eat of the Tree of Life.  What was God's reason for forbidding them to eat the fruit of this tree and having the knowledge that it would impart?  

Genesis  3:1-9

"Now  the serpent [Satan] was more subtle than any beast  of  the field  which the Lord God had made.   And he said to the woman, " Is it true that God has said,  you shall not eat  from any tree of the garden?" (v1 Para.).

Satan who is the master of deception questions  Eve to see if she understood what the  Creator had said regarding the trees in the garden.  Notice how the Interlinear Bible translates this passage:

"And the woman said to the serpent,  We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:   But the fruit of the tree which is  in the midst of the garden,  God has said,  You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it,  lest you die;" (vs.2-3 KJV).  

Eve knew that God had not only forbidden them to eat fruit from this particular tree but also he had forbidden them to touch it. It seems that the Creator had made it very clear to Adam and  Eve  that this particular tree  was  something  very dangerous to their well-being; it was so dangerous that to even touch it would bring the death penalty.

"And  the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely  die: For God knows that in the day you eat thereof,  then your eyes shall  be  opened,  and you shall be as  gods,  knowing  good and evil" (vs.4-5 KJV).

Satan tells Eve a lie in order to deceive her into  a  false sense  of security; however, he tells her the absolute truth  about the understanding that would be gained from eating the fruit  of  this particular tree.  This  truth with the suggestion from Satan  that  the Creator  was trying to keep something from them that was  highly desirable was more than Eve could resist:

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it  was pleasant to look at,  and a tree to be desired to  make one wise, she took some of its fruit, and ate it, and also gave some of its fruit to her husband who was with her, and he also ate it" (v6 Para.).

The English word 'wise' in verse 6 is translated from the Hebrew word 'sakal', which means  'insight' or 'comprehension'.

Many people believe that, after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden  fruit,  they gained wisdom along with knowledge; however, this was not so, because wisdom is the ability to make the right choices. Obviously Eve did not  have  prior  wisdom  or she would have  never  touched  this forbidden tree, and if she had gained wisdom from partaking of its fruit, she would not have given it to her husband. Moreover, after Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they still did not have wisdom;  they only had knowledge.

Adam  and Eve were wise in that they gained the knowledge of good  and  evil.  Whether they had the wisdom  to  follow  the instructions that God gave them after their disobedience until their death is not known. However, if they did follow God's way until their death, they would be considered to have possessed true wisdom.    

When a  wise  person is confronted  with  a  decision about whether  or  not to obey God, they will make their decision based on  the law of God.

Verse 6 shows  Eve being overcome with the desire to have this  forbidden knowledge that would make her  equal with  her Creator in having insight and understanding  into good and evil.

"And their eyes were opened,  and they knew that  they were  naked;  and  they  sewed  fig leaves together,  and covered themselves. (v7 Para.).

WHY WERE THEY ASHAMED OF THEIR NAKEDNESS?

Why were Adam and Eve ashamed of being naked?  They were man and wife and there  was nothing wrong with being naked in front of each other. They  were not ashamed of this nakedness before eating the fruit from the tree of the  knowledge  of  good and evil (Gen.2:25). Therefore, what caused them to be ashamed after they had touched the tree and ate its fruit?

Apparently,  the  immediate   result  of  their  disobedience  was instant knowledge; they understood what was right and what  was wrong. Their eyes were opened to know good and evil, just  as the serpent had said. And this knowledge showed them that they had become sinners and were naked before God.

The obvious implication of verse 7 is that the opening of Adam's and Eve's eyes  was linked to their newfound  knowledge  of  good  and evil.  Before they disobeyed God, they had no knowledge of good nor evil, because  one cannot recognize evil without having the knowledge  of good by which to measure evil. There is no short  without tall, no black without white, and no evil without good.  Likewise, one cannot recognize good without the knowledge of evil by which to make a comparison.

Therefore, when Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,  their  eyes were opened to know both good and evil.  They disobeyed God by touching the tree and eating its fruit and, as a result of this act, their eyes were  opened to  know both good and evil.  They then understood and recognized that they were in a condition of sin, which was in contrast to the condition of God who could not sin.

This  is  apparently  why  Adam and Eve  were  ashamed  of  their nakedness in front of each other, and why  they  attempted to hide themselves from God.  They were ashamed   because they knew that they  had  broken  their Creator's law  and their crime would  be known to him. Moreover, they knew their hearts were as an open book  before God—being condemned to death, as sinners under the law,  they stood naked both physically and spiritually before him:

"And  they heard the voice 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" (v8 KJV).

Eating the fruit brought the realization that they had become evil; they had disobeyed their Creator and realized they were completely naked before him, so they hid themselves, knowing that what they had done was evil.

WHAT GIVES HUMANS THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL?

There  is  only  one idea in the entire  Bible  that symbolically mirrors the description of the two trees which is given in Genesis  3:5-6.  The Tree of Knowledge is not symbolic of Satan nor is it symbolic of sex,  as  some people believe. Moreover, the Bible does not teach that either Satan or sex are the source of wisdom or  the knowledge of good  and evil. Actually, this tree represents the law of God!

One  of the most simple scriptural proofs that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represents God's law is Moses's explanation of what  God's law  is  and  what  it  would  do (Deut.30:15-19). In this account, Moses gives Israel all of the laws that God had given him including the 10 commandments. When one studies  the Book of  Deuteronomy it becomes clear that Moses gave his  discourse in one day  and what he related to Israel  was  the law of  God concerning what constitutes good and evil.

After  eating the fruit of the tree, Adam and Eve knew what was  good and what was evil. But what is good and what is evil?  According  to the Bible, to be good is to obey God's law, and to be  evil is to disobey his law.  So the fruit must have opened their minds to understand the law of  God,  which includes the law that the Creator gave  to Moses to give to national Israel. It is apparent that, after Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the law of God that defines good and evil was revealed to them.

GOD'S LAW REVEALS THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL

GOOD AND EVIL

For centuries people have tried to understand and  define what is good behavior and what is evil behavior in accordance with their personal philosophy, religious belief, or contemporary ethics. However, what does the Bible say is good or evil and how to understand and define what is good or evil?

Deuteronomy 30:15-19 KJV

After he had repeated the major points of the law of the covenant to Israel  Moses says,  "See,  I have set before you this day life and good,  and death and evil” (v15).

Blessings for Obedience to the Law

"In  that I command you this day to love the Lord  your  God,  to walk  in  his ways, and to keep his commandments and his  statutes and his judgments,  that you may live and multiply: and  the Lord your  God shall bless you in the land where you go  to possess it (v16).

Curses for Disobedience to the Law

"But  if your heart turn away,  so that you will not hear,  but shall be drawn away,  and worship other gods,  and serve them;  I denounce to you this day, that you shall surely perish, and that you shall not prolong your days upon the land, where you passed over  Jordan  to go to possess it.  I call heaven and  earth  to record this day against you,  that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing:  therefore choose life,  that  both you and your seed may live" (vs.17-19 KJV).

Moses clearly told Israel that obedience to God's  law would bring them tremendous  blessings (good) and that disobedience would bring horrible curses and death (evil).

THE LAW DEFINES WHAT SIN IS

For centuries there has been much debate and confusion as  to what constitutes sin. The apostles Paul and John give a clear and concise definition  of  what reveals the knowledge of sin and exactly what sin is.

"Now we know that the things the law says, it says to them that are under the law: that every mouth may be silenced, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore, no one can keep the law and be justified in God's sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom.3:19-20 Para.).

"What then shall we say, Is the law sin? No, But I did not understand sin except through the law. For also I did not understand lust except the law says, You shall not lust" (Rom.7:7 Para.).

"Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law:  for sin is the transgression of the law" (1.Jn.3:4 KJV).

"All unrighteousness is sin" (1.Jn.5:17 Para.).

Clearly, God's law  is the standard of good in the eyes of God and evil is the result of opposition to his law.  Sin is any deviation from God's  righteous laws, precepts, and principals that define how a person  should live  their life and worship God.

EATING THE WORD OF GOD

The physical act of eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil did not make Adam and Eve sinners; eating the fruit revealed to them what sin was. This same process is applied as an analogy in reference to eating the law and word of God as food.

"Your words were found,  and I did eat them; and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart . . ." (Jer.15:16).

Before  Ezekiel  was  sent to preach to the rebellious  House  of Israel,  he was told to 'eat' God's Word, which was said to  be like  honey in his mouth (Ezk.3:1-3).

The Book  of Hebrews calls God's teachings 'meat':

"But  strong  meat [solid  food] belongs to them that are of full age,  even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern  both good and evil" (Heb.5:14).

Symbolically eating the teaching of God gives one the ability to discern between good and evil (i.e., have the knowledge of good and evil).

Pleasant to the Eyes

Not only is God's law good for food  but also it is pleasant  to the  eyes.  It is  God's wisdom that enlightens the eyes:

"Open  you mine eyes,  that I may behold wondrous things out of your law" (Psa.119:18).

"The statutes of the Lord are  right, rejoicing  the  heart:  the  commandment  of the  Lord  is pure, enlightening the eyes" (Psa.19:8).

WHAT WAS THE FRUIT OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL?

The literal meaning of the Hebrew word 'periy' which is translated into the English word 'fruit' in Genesis 1:29  is 'fruit' or 'that which is produced to propagate its species'. Although the tree and its fruit were actually in the garden of Eden, the tree and fruit also have a symbolic meaning.

The scriptures show that the tree and fruit are symbolic of the end result of deeds, thoughts, or teachings:

"Therefore shall they eat of the fruit [result or end result]  of their own way,  and be filled with their own devices" (Pro.1:31). See also Hos.10:13.

"The fruit [end result] of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that wins souls is wise" (Pro.11:30).

"Say to the righteous, that all shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit [end result] of their doings" (Isa.3:10). See also Pro.31:3.

"A  man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit [end result]  of his mouth:  and the recompense of a man's hands shall be rendered to him" (Pro.12:14).

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit [end result] thereof" (Pro.18:21).

In the  New  Testament, the  word 'fruit'  (Greek: karpos) is also symbolic of an end result:

"But the fruit ( Greek: 'karpos', 'end result') of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,  longsuffering, gentleness,  goodness,  faith,  meekness, temperance. . ." (Gal.5:22-23).

Therefore, the symbolic meaning of 'fruit' always refers to the end result or the climax of some thought or effort.

WAS WISDOM THE 'FRUIT' OF EATING OF THE TREE OF GOOD AND EVIL?

God's law is our source of all wisdom.   Wisdom is, therefore, the fruit or end result of obedience to God's law.   Righteous wisdom is not derived from knowledge, but it is the result of making the right decisions based on the knowledge of God's truth. The apostle James says:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally,  and upbraids not; and it shall be given him"  (Jms.1:5 KJV).

Although God gives the knowledge of his truth and the ability to know what to do with it (wisdom) to those who diligently pursue knowledge and truth, he will not force a person to make a wise choice.

Eve made an unwise decision and ate  the fruit of the tree that contained the truth of God concerning the knowledge of good and evil.

After  Moses  led  Israel out of Egypt and presented  them  with God's law and his   statutes  and judgments,  he  tells  them:

"Keep therefore  and  do  them;  for  this  is  your  wisdom  and  your understanding in the sight of the nations,  which shall  hear all these statutes,  and say,  Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people" (Deut.4:6 KJV).

Solomon,  one of the wisest men that ever lived, showed the  connection between  God's law  and true wisdom:  "My son,  if you will receive my words,  and hide  my commandments with you; So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding" (Pro.2:1-2 KJV).

Biblical Wisdom

Biblically speaking, wisdom generally implies an ability to conform to the law of  God: The choice to do good instead of evil.  To  have such wisdom requires a knowledge of God's law. Wisdom is having knowledge, understanding, and the discernment  to make a right choice  in a given circumstance. The 'fruit'  eaten  by Adam and Eve contained the knowledge (wisdom) of God's law outside of the sacrificial law, which came after God discovered that they had eaten the forbidden fruit.

DID THE TREE CAUSE DEATH?

Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat of the tree under  penalty of  death.  But why?   Was there death in the tree itself or  was death  in  its fruit? No. The tree did not cause their  death; their death was the end result of what they had learned by eating the fruit.  By eating the fruit, two things happened that would cause them to die:

1. They  became  responsible to be wise (make righteous decisions) and keep and apply the law perfectly.

2. They were found in violation of that law, because the law demands perfect obedience to God.

In eating the fruit,  Adam and Eve violated the law and, at the same time, they became responsible to keep it. There was absolutely  nothing  inherently evil in either the  tree  or  its fruit. However, they were guilty of stealing something which did not  belong to them; therefore,  there was no possible way  that they  could  avoid  the death sentence for  their  transgression: "The wages of sin is death. . ." (Rom.6:23).

Adam  and  Eve were commanded to abstain from eating of  the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.   Once they had disobeyed,  they and their descendants were responsible  to  conform to the knowledge which  they  gained  by eating  the fruit of the tree and follow the standard of good  or be put to death.  Adam and Eve were made responsible to the law in the  same way that the nation of Israel was many years later at  Mount Sinai  where the people vowed:  "All that the Lord has spoken, we will do. . ." (Ex.19:8).

Therefore,  the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represented  the law  of  God,  and  the act of eating its  fruit placed Adam, Eve, and their descendants under an obligation to comply with the law. If they perfectly obeyed the law,  God would  bless and save them, because the law demands perfection and it promises blessings and life only to those who keep its precepts perfectly.  

THE LAW IS THE STANDARD FOR SINLESS  PERFECTION

Because God's law is the standard of  righteousness,  the law itself is unable to make anyone innocent before God:

"By  the deeds  of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom.3:20 KJV).

The perfect justice of the law demands the sentence of death upon all  law-breakers.   The law can only  proclaim  sinless  people to be innocent  and worthy of life.  Because no human has ever remained sinless, except Christ,  the law cannot proclaim any other person to be innocent and worthy of life.

The law was not given to be the basis for salvation.   It was given to convict the world of sin and pass the sentence of death upon all men.   Its righteous standard was placed far above our reach, so that we would not be able to attain eternal life by our own works,  but that we would instead receive life by the  grace and mercy of God. See Gal.3:22.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in  the Garden of Eden passed the sentence of death upon humanity,  but Christ took  that sentence upon himself and nailed it to the tree on which he was crucified.

THE TREE OF LIFE

"And the Lord God said,  Behold,  the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take  also  of  the tree of life,  and eat,  and  live  for ever" (Gen.3:22 KJV).

Remember,  both trees were in the garden and Adam  and Eve had been given permission to eat fruit from  the Tree of Life. But this permission was denied after they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Before eating from the  forbidden tree,  Adam and Eve could have eaten of the Tree of Life and lived  forever.  However,  when they disobeyed God,  they  and  their descendants lost access to the Tree of Life:

"Therefore,  the Lord God sent Adam from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from where he was taken" (Gen 3:23 Para.).

CHRIST—THE TREE OF LIFE

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is symbolic of  the perfect law of God, and eating from it brought   the sentence of a final and  eternal death upon all  humanity. However, the Tree of Life that was also in the garden held the remedy for the death sentence. It is clear from the Bible that both forgiveness for sin  and eternal life  are free gifts from God; therefore, it can be assumed that the Tree of Life  symbolizes God's grace through  the  perfect  sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

THE CANCELLATION OF THE DEATH PENALTY

In the Book of Romans, Paul  speaks  of  two  laws that are at constant war  within  the  Christian: Obedience to God's law and obedience to the law of sin (transgression of God's law).

"For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  But I see another  law in my members, warring against the law of my  mind, and  bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  O wretched man that I am!  who can deliver me from  the body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God;  but with the flesh the law of sin" (Rom.7:22-25).

Paul  goes  on to explain that to "walk in the spirit" is  to  be in obedience   to  God's law,  and to "walk after the  flesh"  is  to be in disobedience to God's law.   Paul explains that Jesus did not come to free us from the obligation to obey God's law, but to free us from the penalty of disobedience—death.

Romans 8:2-4, 6-8 KJV

"For  the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus [obedience to God's law] has made me free from the law of sin [violation of the law] and  death.  For what the law could not do,  in that it was  weak through the flesh [life as a human],  God sending his own Son in  the likeness  of sinful flesh,  and for sin,  condemned sin the flesh:  That  the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled  in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (vs.2-4).

"For  to  be carnally minded  is death;  but  to  be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity  against  God:  for it is not subject to the law  of  God, neither  can  it be.  So then they that are in the  flesh  cannot please God" (vs.6-8).

The grace that Christ brought to humanity did  not cancel the law of God; instead, the law's death sentence  was carried out against Christ—our substitute.

The Tree  of Life (grace through Christ) and the Tree of Knowledge  (law)  both existed  together in the garden. The  law  provided the righteous  standard, and grace through Jesus Christ provided the means by which one could be redeemed  from  the curse of the law, which is death.

The sons of the Father's new creation (the Father's elect children) live  in obedience  to the law of God, because the  law is written  in their hearts and minds:

"This  is  the covenant that I will make with them after those days,  says  the Lord,  I will put my laws into their hearts,  and in their minds will I write them;  And their sins and lawlessness will I remember no more" (Heb.10:16-17 KJV).

THE COVERING SACRIFICE

"For Adam  and his wife the Lord God made  coats  of skins, and clothed them" (Gen.3:21 Para.).

God clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins in order to initiate the sacrificial system: "Without  the shedding  of blood there is  no  remission  of  sin" (Heb.9:22; 11:4).  

God's  law  provided for an animal life to be given as a temporary substitute for life of the violator of the law.  God clothed Adam and Eve with  skins, which signified atonement for sin.  Their nakedness (sin) was covered by the sacrificial blood (life) of the animal.  The sacrificial animals foreshadowed the eventual sacrifice of Christ  who  would take our sin (nakedness) upon himself. Christ's sacrifice is not a temporary covering for sin like the sacrifice of animals was; Christ has redeemed humanity from sin and his sacrifice removes sin altogether:

"Behold  the  Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of  the  world" (Jn.1:29 KJV).

Adam and Eve's nakedness had nothing to do  with  sexual sin as some people believe; it was symbolic of the state of  being guilty of sin.

NO LAW, NO SIN!

"Wherefore,  as by one man sin entered into the world,  and death by  sin;  and  so  death passed upon all men,  so that  all  have sinned:  (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed  when there is no law.  Nevertheless death  reigned  from Adam  to  Moses, even  over them that had not sinned  after  the similitude of Adam’s transgression,. . ." (Rom.5:12-14 KJV).

Two  facts are stated by the apostle Paul.  First, through Adam's act of disobedience, the law of God, which brought the death penalty upon all of humanity, was revealed to humanity. Second, before Adam's disobedience, humanity had no understanding of the law; therefore, there could  be no violation of law or a penalty for breaking it. With these two facts in mind, it  should  be  obvious that the eating of  the  forbidden  fruit transferred the understanding of the law of  God and the penalty for its violation  to Adam and Eve.

Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ,  we  can now  stand before  God  clothed  in righteousness. See our studies concerning the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

THE PROMISE OF A SAVIOR

After God provided  Adam and Eve with the sacrifice of an animal  that covered  their  sins  and placed them  back  in  right-standing  with him, he promised that someday a savior would come and allow himself to die for them and remove their sins, and through this savior they could have eternal life. In order for Adam and Eve and their descendants to have the promise of forgiveness of sin and eternal life fulfilled, all they had to do was diligently practice the system of worship that God had shown to them.

The Promised Seed

After  God  had questioned Adam and Eve concerning what they  had done, God made the prophetic promise of a savior and the conflict  between Satan's and the Eve's seed:

"And I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your seed [Satan's seed] and her seed;  it [the  woman's seed]  shall bruise your head, and you [Satan] shall bruise his [Christ]  heel" (Gen.3:15 Para.). See Matt.13:38; Jn.8:38-44.

The English word 'seed' is a translation of a Hebrew word that is a collective noun which can be taken either  in the  singular or the plural sense.   Studying the context in which  the word 'seed' is used is the only way to know if its usage  is  singular  or plural.   In  Genesis  3:15 the word is obviously to be taken as both singular and masculine, because it's modifying pronouns are  he and his.

Contrast  the  context of this verse with  Genesis  17:7, which uses the word seed in the plural: "And I will establish my covenant  between me and you [Abraham]  and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant,   to be a  God to you, and to your seed after you."

Here, God speaks of Abraham's 'seed' and 'their generations'  (plural),  this  is  definitely not the case with Genesis  3:15,  which  defines  the 'seed' of the  woman  in  the singular (he and his) and the seed of the serpent as plural (your seed, Matt.13:8; Jn.8:44).  Who was prophesied to bruise the head of the serpent? "And the God of  peace  shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. . ." (Rom.16:20).

Although God the Father and Jesus Christ are both referred to as Gods of peace, it is Jesus Christ the seed of the woman who is referred to by Paul.  Women do not have 'seed', which is something that only men have.  Therefore, this  prophecy  could only be fulfilled in Christ  who  was  not fathered  by a descendant of Adam but was born of a virgin  after being impregnated with the Creator God (devoid of his divinity and immortality) through the power of God the Father's holy spirit. Therefore, Christ alone fulfills the  qualification entailed in the phrase  "seed of  the  woman." Moreover, Satan will  be bruised under the feet of Christ's brothers and sisters because they  are a part of his body—the church (Rom.12:4-5; 1.Cor.12:12-27).

SUMMARY

THE THREE CATEGORIES  OF PEOPLE

People who are called to salvation fall into three distinct categories: Those who are called,  but there is  uncertainly  as to whether or not they will obtain salvation, those who are called, but reject God and his  worship system, and those who are called and accept  God and his worship system. A close examination of  Genesis chapter 3  will reveal all three of these categories of people in the examples of Adam and Eve, Abel, and Cain.

ADAM AND EVE

Many Christian churches teach that  the reward of  the saved  will be a state similar to the state Adam and Eve were in before they disobeyed God by eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  This belief states that Adam and Eve were created as immortal beings,  and if they had not sinned, they would have lived  forever in the same state in which they were created.  In order to determine  if this popular belief is true or not, it is important to look at what Adam's and Eve's physical  and spiritual condition was before they sinned.

Before Disobedience                        

"And  the Lord God took the man,  and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man,  saying,  Of every tree of the garden you may eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for  in  the day that you eat thereof you shall surely  die" (Gen.2:15-17 KJV).

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise,   she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her;  and he did eat.  And the eyes of them both were opened,  and they knew that they were naked;  and  they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons" (Gen.3:6-7 KJV).

These scriptures show that Adam and  Eve  were  created without  the  knowledge of what was good and what was  evil, and that they were without wisdom. Moreover, after they ate of the tree,  they became like God;  in that,  they knew the difference between good and evil.

After their disobedience, Adam and Eve knew that  they stood naked  before  God  as sinners, which is why they tried to hide themselves from him. They knew that they had become cut off from him because of their disobedience to him. Moreover, they knew they were under the law and that any violation of the law would result in the death of the violator.

ADAM AND EVE CALLED TO SALVATION

We  do not know whether Adam and Eve will receive  salvation, because it is not revealed in the Bible; however,  we do know that they had their opportunity for salvation. The choice was theirs to make.  If they  continued to worship God through the sacrificial system and practiced his law to the best of their ability, they will  be  in the first resurrection along with  their  son Abel (Gen.4:4).

THE CALL TO SALVATION

The call of Adam and Eve to salvation, can be seen as an example of the process that the Father uses to call people to salvation.

This is  the condition that all  individuals are in before the Father calls them to salvation and reveals his truth to them.  This condition  is  very similar  to that of Adam and Eve before they ate the forbidden fruit.

Upon calling a person to salvation, the Father  reveals enough of his law to them in order to show them that they are in violation of  it  and need to change from  disobedience  to  obedience. Thereby, each person who is called stands naked before God, because they  know that they are a sinner:

"Well then, am I suggesting that these laws of God are evil?  Of course  not!   No,  the law is not sinful but it was the law that showed me my sin.  I would never have known the sin in my heart— the evil desires that are hidden there—if the law had not  said  "You must not have evil desires in your heart."  But sin used this law  against  evil  desire by reminding me that such  desires  are wrong  and arousing all kinds of forbidden  desires  within  me!  Only  if there were no laws to break would there be no  sinning. That is why I felt fine so long as I did not understand what the law really demanded.   But when I learned the truth,   I realized that I had broken the law and was a sinner,  doomed to die.   So as  far as I was concerned,  the good law which was  supposed  to show  me the way to life resulted instead in my being  given the death penalty.   Sin fooled me by taking the good laws of God and using them to make me guilty of death.   But still,  you see,  the law  itself  was wholly right and good.  But how  can that  be?  Didn't the law cause my doom?   How then can it be good?   No, it was sin,  devilish stuff that it is, that used what was good [the law]  to bring about my condemnation.  So you can see how cunning and deadly and damnable it [sin] is.  For it [sin] uses God's good law for its own evil purposes. The law is good, then,  and the  trouble is not there but with me, because I am sold into slavery with Sin as my owner"  (Rom.7:7-13 Living Bible).

Each  individual is right in his own eyes before the Father's call.  But after this call, the Father uses the law to show what  sin is.  Then, the person who is called comes to the realization that they are a sinner and will die forever unless God forgives them for violating his law .

ABEL, THE RIGHTEOUS

From the very beginning, the message to  mankind was to love one another.  Cain rebelled against this message, but Abel  did  not. Because  Abel was  willing  to  follow God's instructions concerning how he wanted to be worshiped, Abel was called  righteous:

"And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the Lord. And Abel,  he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and by the fat  thereof.   And  the  Lord had respect to Able and  to  his offering" (Gen.4:2-4 KJV).

Abel's  offering was symbolic of Christ, the Lamb of God, is consistent with the sacrificial system recorded elsewhere in the Bible:

"By  faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice  than Cain,  by which he obtained witness that he was  righteous,  God testifying  of his gifts:  and by it being dead yet he speaks" (Heb.11:4).

Abel is the first person mentioned in the Bible to receive salvation and is a type of many who would follow his example and be saved.

How Did Abel Receive Salvation?

"For this is the message that you have heard from  the beginning,  that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of  that wicked one,  and killed his brother.  And why killed he him?   Because his own  works  were  evil,   and  his  brother's righteous"  (1.Jn.3:11-12).

We can conclude from what John records about Able that he lived a righteous life according to God's standards and is an example of all who are called of God  and  remain faithful to the  end of their life.

CAIN, THE WICKED

Cain seems to be the first incorrigibly wicked person  sentenced to the Lake of Fire which is the second and final death. Although Cain  acknowledged  God as the source of all  good, he rejected God's worship system:

"Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the Lord. And  Abel,  he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and by the fat  thereof.   And  the  Lord had respect to Able  and  to  his offering: But to Cain and to his offering he had not respect. . ." (Gen.4:2-5 KJV).

Notice that Cain brought a bloodless  offering of the fruit of the ground in contrast to Abel's sacrifice of a lamb from his flock of sheep. Abel's offering addresses a major truth of God's law that proclaims, "without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin" (Heb.9:22; 11:4).

In conformity to God's system of worship, Able brought  a  blood  offering;  therefore, he acknowledged that he was a sinner and in need of forgiveness. Cain's offering shows  rebellion against God's system of worship and the beginning of all false religious systems that attempt to worship God through their own methods, which are in opposition to God's methods.

After Cain made his offering, and understood that God had not accepted it, he became angry at God; therefore, the Creator says to him: "If you do well,  shall you not be accepted?  and if you do not do well,  sin [a sin offering] lies at the door.  And to you shall be his desire, and you shall rule over him" (Gen.4:7).

The English word 'sin' in Genesis 4:7 is translated from a  Hebrew word that means 'sin' and 'sin offering'; therefore, the use of the word emphasizes the complete identification of the believer's sin with his sin offering.   In this scripture,  both meanings are brought together: "sin lies at the door" and "a sin offering  crouches at  the door." Cain's bloodless offering was a denial of his guilt and a rejection of  God's method of atonement for sin. The Creator appeals to Cain to bring the required offering (Gen 4:7) by saying  "If you do well [make the correct offering],  shall you not be accepted?. . .  and you shall rule over him [sin]" (Gen.4:7).

The Living Bible Paraphrased translates this account as follows:

"And Abel brought the fatty cuts of meat from his best lambs, and presented  them  to  the Lord.  And the  Lord  accepted  Abel's offering  [because  Abel's  offering represented Christ],  but not Cain's.  This made Cain both dejected and very angry, and his face  grew dark with fury  [Cain was angry at God]. Why  are  you angry?"   the  Lord asked him  Why is your face so  dark  with rage?" (vs.4-6).

God tells Cain that if he would repent  and  bring the  proper sacrifice as Able had done, he could be very happy.

"It can be bright with joy if you will do what you should! But  if  you  refuse  to  obey   [God's previous  instructions concerning the proper offering]. Watch out [Here is a  warning from God]. Sin  is waiting to attack you,  longing to destroy you [Sin  will eventually destroy you if you do not bring the  proper offering  and have it forgiven and covered.].  But you can conquer it!" (v7).

God gave Cain an opportunity to repent and  follow the right system of worship through which he could  have his sin atoned for and hidden from his Creator's sight.  Cain  could have conquered sin through having a proper attitude and bringing the proper sacrifice.  But,  Cain  refused to do what he knew the Creator wanted him to do, which makes Cain the first example of an incorrigibly wicked person.  Therefore, Cain is  an example of all who are called by God and  reject that calling.  Cain refused to worship God in  the  manner in which God wanted to be worshiped. Cain decided to worship God in his own way, which was the wrong way;  therefore, Cain will die the second death in the Lake of Fire.

THE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST

The Father  reveals the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ to each person that he calls to salvation and shows  that, through his sacrificial blood, a person's sins are forgiven and removed forever. After Jesus Christ's sacrificial blood is applied to a person, that person is clothed in righteousness and placed in right-standing with the Father.

A person can remain in harmony with the Father  forever through Christ's sacrificial blood and his position as our High Priest. The decision to remain righteous belongs only to the one who has been made righteous. A person can either  use  the tools that God gives through his holy spirit and  have eternal life, or reject God's way that leads to eternal life and choose the way that leads to eternal death. This is exactly  the  same decision  Adam, Eve, Abel, and Cain  had to make.

WHAT IS SALVATION?

It is very clear that Adam and Eve were offered salvation. Moreover, the Bible records many individuals who have been offered salvation since that time,  and  it is God's plan to offer salvation to all of  humanity.  But, exactly what is salvation?

Although there are many scriptures that tell us that salvation is the saving of one from the penalty of eternal death, which comes as a result of breaking the law of God, the crowning achievement and end result of God's plan for the salvation of humanity is expressed by the apostle John:

"But as many as received him,  to them  gave he power to become the children of God,   even to them that  believe  on his name" (Jn.1:12 KJV).

If a person will avail themselves of the opportunity that the  Father offers through the sacrificial blood of his Son Jesus Christ and diligently practice God's worship system, that person is promised to be saved from eternal death and have eternal life in the Family and Kingdom of God. See our studies concerning the gospel message, and the sons of the new creation.

JESUS CHRIST, THE FIRST TO RECEIVE SALVATION

CHRIST THE GOD

"Your attitude should be the kind that was show by Jesus Christ,  who,  though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God  but  laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like a man.   And he humbled himself even further,  going  so far as actually to die a criminal's death  on the cross" (Phil. 2:5-8  Living Bible).

Jesus Christ who was the Creator God gave up his position in  the God family to become a man for the purpose of dying  for all who would accept his sacrifice in their stead. See our studies concerning who God the Father and Jesus Christ are.

CHRIST TODAY

Before his death, Jesus asked his heavenly Father to return him to the position and glory that he had before he came to earth as a human:

"And now,  O Father,  glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was" (Jn.17:5 KJV).

After his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ returned to his Father's spirit-kingdom, and he now sits on a throne at his Father's right hand and has the same glory and power that he once had as the Creator God:

"And  declared to be the Son of God with power,  according to the spirit of holiness,  by the resurrection from the dead" (Rom.1:4 KJV).

God and High Priest

Jesus Christ is now the High Priest who sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. And because of his sacrifice and the new agreement, there is now  a new life-giving way to gain access into the very presence of God the Father.

"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God" (Heb.10:19-21 KJV).

"But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better agreement, which was established upon better promises" (Heb.8:6 KJV).

Jesus Christ now holds the position as our high priest, which is vital to our salvation. It is because he lives, that he is able to be our high priest and intercede on our behalf before the Father:

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin"  (Heb.4:14-15 KJV). See also Heb.2:14-18; 9:7-28.

CHRIST'S SACRIFICE IS RETROACTIVE

The scriptures plainly show that Able will be in the first  resurrection, which is possible because Christ's  sacrifice is  retroactive  and reaches  back to the beginning of humanity  to forgive Abel's sins.

Romans 3:20-26 KJV

"Therefore  by  the  deeds of the law there shall  no  flesh  be justified  in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of  sin" (v20).

Paul  says that no one can be  justified  by the performance of the law.  He also says that  it is through the  law that  we learn what sin is:

"But  now  the  righteousness  of God without the  law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets" (v21).

Now there is  a way to be declared  righteous and maintain a harmonious relationship with God  that does not require the perfect keeping of the law.

"Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus  Christ to  all  and  upon  all them that believe:  for  there  is  no difference: For all have sinned, and come short  of the Glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is  in Christ Jesus" (vs.22-24).

Because the  way  of  justification under the law failed for all but Jesus Christ, justification now comes through true  belief  in the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ. Because all humans except Christ have missed the mark of perfection set forth in God's law, the price to deliver humanity from the death penalty and to justify them before the Father was the righteous life of Jesus Christ who died for our sins.  

"Whom  God has set forth to be a propitiation [offered for reconciliation] through  faith  in his blood,  to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past,  through the forbearance of God" (v25).

The prophetic symbolism of the sacrifices for moral and spiritual sin was fulfilled in the life and death of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ completely  satisfied the  demands  of  the  law through his life and death. In anticipation of  the  sacrifice  of  Christ, God the Father declared everyone who diligently practiced his sacrificial system from the time of Adam until his Sons sacrifice righteous individuals. Moreover, those who now accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and diligently practice God's ways are declared righteous as well.

Because of Abel's faith in the system of worship that God had  provided for  him  to follow (i.e.,the sacrificial system, which  pictured  the  ultimate sacrifice of  Christ), he  is  an example of all those who are called by God the Father throughout the  ages and  remain faithful and willing to follow his way of worship. These  are  the ones who will participate in the first resurrection.  See our studies about the various resurrections and the various covenants.

SUMMARY

By Vernon O. Jones, file b4w1