Adam and Eve were created perfect by God, without a sin nature. They had perfect environment, perfect bodies, perfect minds and a perfect relationship with one another. They also had volition (free will). Therefore, they had the ability to make a choice for or against God. God had placed the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the midst of the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve lived. It was this one tree from which God had forbidden them to eat.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was there as a test with regard to the Angelic Conflict. Just as angels possessed volition and made a choice in eternity past to either follow God or to follow Satan, mankind also possesses a free will. It was this free will and the potential to disobey God that Satan exploited in the Garden of Eden.
Disguised as one of God’s creatures (a snake), Satan approached Eve obviously thinking she would be the easiest target for his deception. Satan, being a genius, was of course right in selecting Eve as his victim. Prior to the fall, Adam and Eve had enjoyed the personal teaching of Jesus Christ as He walked and talked with them in the cool of the evening each day.
As perfect human beings, Adam and Eve did not have the capacity to know about human good and evil, which is a part of Satan’s policy for the human race. Satan deceived Eve by convincing her that God was holding something important back from her and Adam. Adam and Eve did not need to know about human good and evil, they were perfect. The tree was only there for a test. Remember that there was also the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. Eve chose the wrong tree because Satan convinced her that she could be as wise as God by eating from the forbidden tree. Eve seemed to be a bit confused as to the consequences of her actions, but Adam knew exactly what the result would be (he was not deceived). (I Timothy 2:14)
Notice the response of Eve to Satan’s temptation. Eve began the pattern for all human beings when they succumb to temptation: 1) the lust of the flesh 2) the lust of the eyes 3) the pride of life. (I John 2:16) Eve saw that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was good for food, she also saw that it was pleasing to the eyes and finally she thought that it would make her wise (a false assumption on the part of Eve). All temptation to sin falls into to one or more of these categories.
After Eve ate of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and Adam joined her, they suddenly had a problem with being unclothed. Somehow they assumed that they were now evil in the sight of God and made aprons to hide their nakedness. This tells us that Adam and Eve knew that they were now in violation of God’s commandments and God was not going to be happy with them. Notice that when they were confronted by the Lord Jesus Christ that Adam passed the blame to God and Eve passed the blame to Satan.
Having already made a covenant with Adam and Eve, God now made a new covenant with them.
This covenant was conditional, based on man’s response to God’s promise. Adam and Eve, before the Fall, were to subdue the earth by taking rulership over it, replenish the earth and were to refrain from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve failed to obey God and died spiritually, lost the rulership of the earth to Satan, brought the curse of sin upon mankind and eventually died physically. This covenant coincided with the Age of Innocence in the Dispensation of the Gentiles.
This unconditional covenant was the curse that came upon mankind as the result of sin. The man was condemned to work by “the sweat of his face,” the woman was cursed with great pain in childbirth and the man was given authority over her. But more importantly was the promise of the coming Redeemer in verse 15 that will “bruise the head of the serpent,” an obvious reference to the fact that Christ will conquer Satan in the end. The Adamic Covenant coincided with the Age of Conscience in the Dispensation of the Gentiles.
After the fall of Adam and Eve, Jehovah (Jesus Christ) continued to teach them about the coming redemption of the Messiah by making clothing for them from animal skins. This was an obvious illustration of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross, as the payment for their sin. In Genesis 3:22 God explained that Adam and Eve must of their own free will partake of the other tree, the Tree of Life (a reference to the coming Messiah Jesus Christ), and live forever. Adam and Eve were then expelled from the garden to begin the perpetuation of human life on the earth.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represented Satan’s plan. The Tree of Life (literal Tree of Lives) represented God’s plan. Satan wanted to be seen as good as God. Prior to the fall of man, Satan was not the ruler of this world system, but Adam was the ruler. Of course, it was Satan’s ambition to be the ruler. He got his wish as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin. He was then free to perpetuate his policy of good and evil upon the human race. The concept of evil seems obvious, but includes much more subtle forms of evil than most of us think. Satan’s policy of good is human good designed to counterfeit the divine good of God.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were protected from Satan’s influence as long as they used their positive volition toward God and the Bible doctrine they were being taught. Once Eve went negative and believed the lies that the serpent (Satan) told her, it was a short step to the first sin in human history. Like Satan when he revolted against God because of his arrogance, Adam and Eve also became arrogant and followed Satan’s pattern.
Satan operates under the idea that the end justifies the means and therefore uses any and all means to accomplish his evil goals. He even stoops to appearing as an “angel of light” and a “minister of righteousness.” However, he also uses violence when it will accomplish his goal. Satan wants to prove God a liar and unjust and to promote himself in God’s place, desiring worship from all beings. If mankind’s problems can be solved by means of human good and evil apart from God’s plan and design, Satan will win the victory. However, we know from God’s Word and from observation that man’s problems cannot be solved by satanic policies.
The world became enemy territory when Adam lost his rulership to Satan. As members of the royal family of God, the believer’s citizenship is in Heaven. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, man not only fell spiritually, he also gave up the rulership of this world. The result was that Satan became the new ruler. From eternity past Satan and his followers (fallen angels) have been attempting to confuse, distract and destroy God and His followers. We must never forget that Satan is a much more powerful being than mankind and we therefore must be aware of his cunning devices. We must also remember the tactics Satan uses to get us off track. Satan is not omnipresent, omniscient or omnipotent, but he is a genius and has been observing mankind from the beginning. He uses direct attacks, demon influence and the world system to influence the sin nature to do both human good and evil.
God’s policy for divine good is always based on God’s grace. Divine good is never produced by human works or human effort on the part of mankind. Only believers in Jesus Christ who are filled with the Holy Spirit can produce divine good. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are created unto good works in Christ Jesus. Good in this verse is the Greek word “agathos” and means good of lasting value. The only good that has lasting value is good produced by God. This good can be produce with or without the involvement of believers. When there is involvement by the believer it is still God the Holy Spirit Who is producing the divine good as the believer makes himself available to be used as God’s instrument.
The Christian Way of Life can be lived only by a power greater than ourselves. We need God’s supernatural power in order to be effective in the execution of His plan, purpose and will. This power has been given to each of us in the Person of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus prophesied the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, He said He would send the Comforter. The word in Greek for Comforter is “parakletos” which means “someone called to the aid of another,” particularly in the legal process. The “parakletos” would have therefore been an advisor, intercessor, mediator or advocate in a courtroom setting. In English we would use the word “lawyer.”
We can see from the etymology of the word that “comforter” is a poor translation of “parakletos.” The word more correctly connotes ability, aid, and assistance, rather than comfort from pain or distress. God the Holy Spirit was not sent to “pat us on the head” and tell us that all will be okay. The Holy Spirit was given to us to empower us, to guide us and to teach us. (John 14:26, 15:26) Jesus said, “You shall receive power (“dunamis” in Greek) after the Holy Spirit is come upon you….” (Acts 1:8)
After salvation, the Holy Spirit provides the spiritual I.Q. for learning and applying Bible doctrine. (I Corinthians 2:9-14) The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation for the unbeliever, and God’s Word (Bible doctrine) is powerful in the life of the believer when he is learning and applying it. (Romans 1:16; II Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12) John 4:24 tells us to worship God in Spirit (the filling of the Holy Spirit) and in truth (Bible doctrine). Without the power of the Holy Spirit the believer has no spiritual life.