Adult Sunday School - Part 5 - The first sin

Adult Sunday School - Part 5 - The first sin - by P.K.Odendaal - August 2012

And so the world was new again and there was no sin and no law and no evil, only a serious warning by God that they should not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, because they would then die (spiritually).
Gen 2:17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
It is clear from this that when there is no law and no knowledge of evil then there cannot be any sin. This verse says that once you know what is good and evil, then you will know what is sin and then you will die of your sin.
But man knew better than God - he ate of the fruit of that tree. At first he did not know what the consequences were, because he did not die as God said he would, but he was soon to find out that the knowledge of evil and the knowledge of sin was planted in his heart. Not that God said he was now a sinner - but, because of the knowledge he now had, he knew that he had sinned.

God was still very friendly and understanding with him and tried to let him talk about what he had done, to realise that he had sinned and ask for forgiveness.
So, God used His usual method by asking Adam certain questions, the first being: 'Where are you?'. Of course, God knew where Adam was, but he wanted Adam himself to realise where he was and what he has done. Talk of the Socratic method - here it is illustrated one thousand years before Socrates. What God does here is assisting Adam in searching his soul, because, as Adam answers, God opens the next step of inquiry.
It is very enlightening to follow the process, because it is the same process God used with countless people in the Bible, and it is the same process we should follow in our own lives, to get to the lowest level of abstraction of where our sin comes from. We normally sin according to thoughts, words and deeds. Our sins start in our thoughts, not in our deeds.
In fact God used it with: (apart from those discussed below)
1.     Balaam : What men are these with thee?
2.     Elijah: What doest thou here, Elijah?
3.     Gehazi: Whence comest thou, Gehazi? 

Here is the whole soul searching duel with Adam:
God:        Where art thou?
Adam:     I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
God:               Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree?
Adam:     The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 

In none of these replies Adam is able to admit his fault, always blaming someone else like his wife and God ... and this is exactly what we do all the time since Adam. God wants us to see our folly and repent and change our ways, but God is not going to force it upon us. He wants us to do that soul searching and acceptance of blame and responsibility ourselves.
Adam comes to the rude awakening that he had sinned and he was naked. Previously his nakedness did not bother him, but now it does, because he knows something now that he did not know before he ate of the forbidden fruit. And that is exactly the origin of sin - in man's own mind. God does not care what sin is in this context, for there is no sin in God's world. It is man's knowledge of sin that makes it a sin to do certain things.
Let us look at Cain, the second sin.
Cain kills his brother.
God:               Where is Abel thy brother?
Cain:       I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
God:               What hast thou done?
Cain:       My punishment is greater than I can bear.
God:               And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? v:7  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Cain, in his turn, was also loathe to acknowledge his sin and his responsibility. God only wanted him to realise that he should rule over sin and not let sin rule over him. God wanted him to be free, and not in bondage.
And all this time, after they were expelled from Paradise, there was no law. Each person could do as he liked ... and what did they do? They started to kill and revenge each other until God had to put a stop to it again. Soon after the murder of Abel, we find mankind falling into gross sin again, with the result that God had to destroy the earth again. The vessel had again to be remade:
Gen 6:5  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. v:6  And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. v:7  And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
Jer. 18:4  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter:
And so the Flood followed, killing everyone, but a few (Noah and family) survived ... and God started again. Jer. 18:4  ... so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
It would not be the last time that God shook the earth.

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