LESSON 3 *October 11 - 17
The Fall Into Sin Lesson graphic

Read for This Week's Study:

Gen. 1-3, Rom. 3:9–18, 5:10-21, 6:16, 2 Pet. 2:19.

Memory Text:

“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24, NASB).

Key Thought: 

   To look at the Fall and the horrible results it brought to humanity.

When used to designate the loss of human freedom caused by Adam’s and Eve’s sin, the word fall implies that sin lowered us from one level to another—in this case from a high moral and spiritual condition to one of corruption, oppression, and enslavement.

Though much is not revealed about the Fall in Eden, we have enough biblical information to understand that something happened that damaged not only human nature but even the planet itself. The result of that Fall is not encouraging. In fact, it would be all but hopeless were it not for the promise of the atonement in our behalf through Christ. Yet, we still need to see what has happened to us, because only when we see ourselves as we really are will the glory of the Cross reach us in its saving beauty and power.  

*Study this week's lesson to prepare for Sabbath, October 18.

SUNDAY October 12

Rebellion in the Garden

What biblical evidence can you find in Genesis 1–3 to support the view that Adam and Eve rebelled against God? (See, for instance, Gen. 2:16, 17; 3:2, 3, 6.)  

The word rebellion is not used in Genesis 1–3 to describe the sin of Adam and Eve, but the idea is nevertheless present. Not only did they openly violate a divine command, but in the process of disobedience, they shifted loyalties. Eve listened to the reasoning of the enemy and thought it more reliable than the explicit word of God. She concluded that the divine command was too restrictive, and that in order to achieve her highest potential she had to claim independence from her Creator. This was rebellion. Adam listened to the voice of his wife instead of the voice of God and joined her in the rebellion.

What are some of the immediate results of sin, especially when understood as rebellion against God? Isa. 59:2; compare to Gen. 3:23, 24.   

Adam’s and Eve’s rebellion brought an end to the kind of intimate relationship that they had first enjoyed with God. The nature of their rebellion was such that it disrupted how they related not only to God but to each other. Instead of mutual love and commitment, their rebellion against God resulted in mutual shame (Gen. 3:7). Their interpersonal relationship was no longer harmonious (vs. 12). This rebellion resulted, above all, in their separation from God and the perception that God was someone to fear, someone from whom they needed to hide (vss. 8–10). God and humans were no longer united in love and harmony. What was needed was an act of reconciliation.

What has been your own experience with sin and how it impacts your relationship with God and with others? In what ways can you see the same principles in your own experience as seen here in Genesis?  

MONDAY October 13

Slaves of Sin

According to 2 Peter 2:19 and Romans 6:16, what does sin do to sinners?

In order to illustrate the devastating power of sin, Paul sometimes personifies it as a tyrant. It “entered the world through one man” (Rom. 5:12, NIV), reigns over humans in death (Rom. 5:21, 6:12), deceives (Rom. 7:11), dwells in humans (vs. 17), enslaves (Rom. 6:20), and produces death (Rom. 7:13). The sin of Adam and Eve was unique in that it resulted in the subjection of everything to its corrupting power. Satan became the prince of this world (John 12:31, 14:30). In their search for autonomy, Adam and Eve exchanged the Lordship of God for the enslaving and corrupting lordship of Satan. Sin became a universal power from which human beings have not been able to escape by themselves (Rom. 5:12).

According to Romans 3:9–18, what has been the situation of the human race under the reign of sin? 

Paul also teaches that the fall of Adam and Eve brought the natural world under the power of sin: “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it” (Rom. 8:20, NIV). The damaging and corrupting power of sin reached God's creation on this planet. The verb subjected indicates that nature is under the authority of some power that has robbed it of its true beauty and meaningfulness. This was the result not of its own doing but of something else: the entrance of sin (Rom. 5:12). Nature is now “subjected to frustration.” The word frustration designates here purposelessness and emptiness. Futility is used in Ephesians 4:17 to describe not nature but individuals who outside of Christ live “in the futility of their thinking” (NIV).

The point is that nature, as well as human beings, exist in a corrupted condition because of sin. What was needed was a manifestation of power from outside the sphere of human existence and outside of nature itself that could redeem the fallen world. This would happen through Christ.

Try to imagine what this world would be like were it not fallen. How different would it be? How different would our lives be? What should the difference tell you about just how devastating the power of sin really is?    

TUESDAY October 14

Spiritual Death

Sin damaged the inner life of human beings. The moral and spiritual values that ruled over God's universe no longer rule over the natural human heart. Humans know that there is something wrong with them, and they wish for something better. At times they try to do what is good and right only to discover that “the mind of sinful man is death. . . . The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so” (Rom. 8:6, 7, NIV).

Human nature is morally and spiritually weak. Humans cannot resist the power of sin, and consequently, wherever there is a human being there is sin and wickedness. The phenomenon is so universal that “ ‘there is no one righteous, not even one’ ” (Rom. 3:10, NIV). Sin is a condition of the human nature in its alienation from God. Because of the Fall, the human “heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9, NIV). The “heart,” considered in the Bible to be the volitional and intellectual center of a human being, is now defined as essentially deceitful, insidious, and in itself unreliable.

Humans are almost incapable of fully comprehending the intricacies of their inner being and are unable by themselves to live a dignified life (Eccles. 9:3). They live in conflict with the depth of their beings in fear and loneliness, struggling in themselves to do what is right but often finding that they can’t (Gal. 5:17). They are unable to fully comprehend themselves and the world in which they exist; thus, they live in darkness with respect to God (Rom. 1:21–25). This inner corruption and stupefaction expresses itself in sinful acts against oneself, against others, and against God (Matt. 15:19).

The corrupting power of sin knows no boundaries. Only God can set limits to its corrupting influence and ultimately eradicate it from the universe. If, after the Fall, there was something good left on the planet, it was because God did not allow Satan to take full control. He said to the woman, representing the human race, and to the serpent, the expression of evil powers, “ ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman’ ” (Gen. 3:15, NIV). They were not to coexist peacefully, one totally controlling the other. An element of freedom was preserved for humans that would allow them, if they so wished, to hate evil and choose life. God's decision to intervene in the human predicament made it possible for Him to limit the corrupting power of sin.

Humans need a way out of the terrible situation brought about by sin.  

Look up the verses listed in today’s lesson. How should these texts help you better understand your need of a Savior?  

WEDNESDAY October 15

Physical and Eternal Death

God's words to Adam—“ ‘When you eat of it you will surely die’ ” (Gen. 2:17, NIV)—indicate that death is the result of rebellion against God. Death and sin cannot be separated. This death is not only spiritual; it also designates the physical and eternal death of sinners. Because of its connection with sin, death is not a simple biological phenomenon but a fearful awareness of our eternal separation from the Source of life—a separation that leads to eternal extinction. In all of its expressions, death is like sin, universal and inevitable (Rom. 5:12, Heb. 9:27). With the entrance of sin into the world, the human race was an endangered species about to disappear from the universe. God's creation on Planet Earth, human and nonhuman, was on its way to annihilation.

Read Romans 5:10–21. How did death enter? What caused it? What’s our only way out?  

Death and suffering came together into the world as a result of sin. No one born and raised on this planet escapes pain and suffering. We may not be able to express in words what suffering is, but we have a deep experiential knowledge of it. In the Bible there appears to be a connection between our condition as mortal sinners and pain and suffering. Death is so powerful that even before we die it makes its presence felt among us through the physical, emotional, and psychological pain produced by sickness, uncertainty, and fear. As a result, the quality of life is weakened, and depression sets in.

The phenomenon of sickness, another result of sin, is described as coming “near the grave,” as being “counted among those who go down to the pit” (Ps. 88:3, 4, NIV). The incursion of death in daily human existence is part of the human predicament directly associated with the phenomenon of sin. Humans needed Someone who could give them life by dying in their place, freeing them not only from sin but from pain, suffering, and death.

What have you learned from your own experience with death, either facing your own or seeing others die? What is it about death that should show us our own utter helplessness? How can we use the reality of death to draw ourselves closer to the Lord?  

THURSDAY October 16

God's Reaction to Human Sin

Read Genesis 3:8–13. How did the Lord approach Adam and Eve after they sinned? What was the purpose of the questions He asked them?  

The Lord approached them in order to evaluate—with them—the crime they had committed and to pass judgment on it. Through a process of judgment, in which questions were asked and answers given, God was leading them to recognize that they were indeed guilty and that their rebellion was unjustified. The result was separation from the Lord, represented by their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

What is God’s reaction to sin? Eph. 5:6. How are we to understand the idea of God’s wrath?    

We should keep several things in mind when we talk about God's wrath. First, human anger is not a model for understanding His wrath. Our anger is often irrational and damaging. God's wrath is untouched by sin and is primarily intended for healing (Heb. 12:6, Rev. 20:15–21:1). Second, God's wrath against human sin testifies that He takes us seriously, that He does not ignore us—even in our rebellion. Ignoring people can reveal disrespect, even unconcern. He reacts to our sin, and in so doing God tells us that we are important to Him. Third, God's wrath is not a permanent attribute of God but His reaction to the irrational presence of sin and evil. There is always a reason for it; sin provokes it (Deut. 4:24, 25). Therefore His wrath is momentary, while His love endures forever (Isa. 54:8).

Because of sin, what was needed was Someone who could deliver us from “the coming wrath” (1 Thess. 1:10, NIV).

If you love someone and see him or her hurt, would you not feel anger about what was happening? How can this parallel help us understand the meaning of God’s wrath?  

FRIDAY October 17

Further Study:  

  Sin and Separation from God: “Christ knew that Adam in Eden, with his superior advantages, might have withstood the temptations of Satan, and conquered him. He also knew that it was not possible for man, out of Eden, separated from the light and love of God since the Fall, to resist the temptations of Satan in his own strength.”—Ellen G. White, Maranatha, p. 224.

Sin and Lack of Harmony: “In transgression Adam became a law to himself. By disobedience he was brought under bondage. Thus a discordant element, born of selfishness, entered man's life. Man's will and God's will no longer harmonized. Adam had united with the disloyal forces, and self-will took the field.”—Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, June 13, 1900.

Sin and Rebellion in Nature: “Among the lower creatures Adam had stood as king . . . ; but when he transgressed, this dominion was forfeited. The spirit of rebellion, to which he himself had given entrance, extended throughout the animal creation. Thus not only the life of man, but the nature of the beasts, the trees of the forest, the grass of the field, the very air he breathed, all told the sad lesson of the knowledge of evil.”—Ellen G. White, God’s Amazing Grace, p. 41.  

Discussion Questions:

     It’s obvious to almost anyone that things are not right in our world. As Christians, we believe things are this way because of sin and the Fall. Some folk, however, don’t believe in the idea of sin or the Fall. How do they explain the state of the world? What are some other explanations that people give? How, for example, would an evolutionist explain our present condition? What are these other views, and how would you answer them?  

   No doubt, all around you the terrible impact of sin can be seen. Though we can never eradicate sin or its consequences in this world now, what practical steps can we take to try to help alleviate as much of the damage as possible? What are things you can do, both as an individual and as a church, to try to relieve some of the suffering?  

   What is a “spiritual death”? How can someone know if they are spiritually dead? Would someone spiritually dead even know it? What can you do to help someone who feels that he or she is, indeed, spiritually dead?  


The Fall was an act of rebellion against God, and it resulted in the spiritual, physical, and eternal death of sinners. Because the results were so bad, something drastic had to be done; otherwise, we would have no hope. As we shall see, the Cross was that drastic answer to the problem caused by the Fall.

I N S I D E Story    
"I'm Free Behind Bars"

Wolfgang was a successful businessman-a banker in fact. But before long, money and success meant more to him than family and friends. Soon it seemed that he never had enough.

He had a dream in which he saw two paths-one filled with riches but ending in a dark valley, and the other a path of service leading eventually to a bright place-he chose the route of riches and eventual darkness. He would remain on the path of self-gratification, no matter where it led.

Six months later Wolfgang was arrested and convicted of embezzlement. He was sent to prison. While behind bars he felt sorry-sorry for himself and sorry that he had been caught. He was transferred to another prison, and there he met a pastor he had known years earlier. The two spent many hours talking together about life and religious matters. He began taking part in the prison's religious services, including discussion groups and Bible studies. Little by little he grew closer to God.

One day while reading the newspaper, he saw an advertisement for a Bible study course and sent away for it. When lessons arrived, he began studying them in earnest. Through the Bible course, Wolfgang met Friedhelm, a Bible instructor. Wolfgang asked many questions about what the Bible says on certain topics, and Friedhelm answered each question. Wolfgang's journey to God was speeding up.

He was transferred to another prison where he began suffering bouts of depression. One evening while he battled despair, he prayed, "Lord Jesus, please take over in my life. I surrender to You." Almost immediately he was confronted with the enormity of his sins, the trouble he had brought upon himself, his family, and his victims. He cried bitterly and long. Then he opened his Bible and found Jeremiah 30, in which he read, " "I am with you and will save you," declares the LORD. . . . "I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice" ' " (verse 11, NIV).

He felt a deep peace he had never known before, and he knew that God had granted his prayer and had replaced his despair with trust and hope in Jesus. He began spending hours with God, reading the Bible, praying, and worshiping. His desires and his goals in life have completely changed. "I am so happy and thankful, for even in prison I am free in Christ."

Wolfgang was baptized and has made new friends in Christ. He has turned from his old life and faces a new life in Jesus. He is thankful that he found Christ through the Voice of Hope Bible correspondence school, which is sponsored in part by mission offerings. Thank you for helping one more prisoner of sin find freedom in Christ.

HEIDEMARIE KLINGEBERG works with Stimme der Hoffnung, the Voice of Hope Adventist Media Center in Darmstadt, Germany.
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