Origin of Sin: Genesis 1:26-31
Most of us are familiar with the events recorded in Genesis 3, the account of when our first parents Adam and Eve rebelled against God by eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. From a biblical point of view, this act was not an isolated event. It caused the entire human race to become guilty of sin, and to be corrupted by sin. Theologians commonly refer to this event as humanity’s fall into sin, or simply the Fall.
Genesis 1:26-31 tells us that when God created humanity, we were very good. In this case, the word “good” means that we were precisely what God wanted us to be. Our first parents were morally pure images of God, perfectly suited to serve him by filling and ruling over the world God had created.
As Paul indicated in Romans 5:12, sin had not entered humanity before the Fall. We had never committed sin, we were not inclined toward sin, we were not corrupted by sin, and we were not indwelt by sin.
But even in this sinless state, we did have both the ability and the opportunity to sin. When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, he revealed many things to them. But one command quickly moved to the foreground as a test of their willingness to serve God. In Genesis 2:16-17, we read that God permitted Adam and Eve to eat from any tree in the garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And the possibility of breaking this law presented an opportunity for Adam and Eve to sin.
Tragically, as we know from Genesis 3:1-6, the serpent deceived Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. Then Eve offered some of the fruit to Adam, and he ate it too. Adam and Eve violated God’s righteous law and willfully chose to sin. Revelation 12:9 indicates that the serpent was actually Satan, and 1 Timothy 2:14 indicates that Eve was deceived. But neither Satan’s temptations nor Eve’s foolishness excused the sin of our first parents. They both were guilty of choosing evil instead of good.
In these events we see once again that sin is fundamentally a matter of violating God’s law, his revealed will. Whenever we think, speak or act in ways that differ from God’s revealed law, we are choosing evil instead of good. And even if we’re deceived or tricked into sinning, God still holds us accountable for what we’ve done. That’s why it’s so helpful to hide God’s word in our hearts — not just so that we know it, but also so that we love it. When we know God’s law, it helps us recognize sin so that won’t be deceived. And when we love God’s law, it makes it easier to choose to obey him.
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