3.3.3 Man's fall into sin

Following their creation, God permitted human beings to have direct fellowship with Him. Through His commandment that they should not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, He identified Himself to mankind as their Lord and lawgiver, who expected obedience.

Through the influence of the evil one, mankind entered into temptation and succumbed to it by contravening the law given by God: sin thereby became part of mankind's existence. It is associated with separation from God, spiritual death. This became clear to the first human beings in the recognition of their nakedness before God, which caused them to be ashamed (Genesis 3: 7-10).

This shame is a sign that the trust which man had originally placed in the Creator was now destroyed. The disobedience of the first human beings led God to exclude them from the fellowship with Him which they had previously enjoyed.

The result of this separation was that man now had to lead a troubled existence on earth, which would end with the death of the body (Genesis 3: 16-19). The condition of separation from God cannot be bridged by man on his own.

Since the fall into sin, mankind has been sinful, that is to say enmeshed in sin and thus incapable of living without sin. He lives a life filled with pain and cares in a world burdened by the curse of God. Fear of death defines his life (see 4.2.1).

All of this brings to expression that mankind's original freedom has been decisively curtailed: although man can endeavour to lead a life in accordance with God's will, he will repeatedly fail because evil exercises power over him. He therefore remains a slave to sin throughout his life. In other words he is never free and is bound by sin.

However, even as a sinner, man does not remain without God's comfort and help. God does not leave him in death. In the presence of man, God addressed the following words to the serpent: "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Genesis 3: 15). This is the first reference to the sacrifice of Jesus, through which the Lord conquered evil.

See also