Question 18 – What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?
“The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.'” – Gen 3:12 ESV
And the man said, Not being able any longer to conceal the truth, though he shifts off the blame as much as possible from himself:
the woman whom thou gavest to be with me: to be his wife and his companion, to be an help meet unto him, and share with him in the blessings of paradise, to assist in civil and domestic affairs, and join with him in acts of religion and devotion:
she gave me of the tree, and I did eat; she first ate of it herself, through the solicitations of the serpent, and then she persuaded me to eat of it; and accordingly I did, I own it. By this answer Adam endeavours to cast the blame partly upon his wife, and partly upon God; though in what he said he told the truth, and what was matter of fact, yet it carries this innuendo, that if it had not been for his wife he had never ate of it, which was a foolish excuse; for he, being her head and husband, should have taught her better, and been more careful to have prevented her eating of this fruit, and should have dissuaded her from it, and have reproved her for it, instead of following her example, and taking it from her hands: and more than this he tacitly reflects upon God, that he had given him a woman, who, instead of being an help meet to him, had helped to ruin him; and that if he had not given him this woman, he had never done what he had: but at this rate a man may find fault with God for the greatest blessings and mercies of life bestowed on him, which are abused by him, and so aggravate his condemnation. [Gill]
“To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;” – Gen 3:16-17 ESV
Unto the woman he said, The woman receives her sentence next to the serpent, and before the man, because she was first and more deeply in the transgression, and was the means of drawing her husband into it.
I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception, or “thy sorrow of thy conception”, or rather “of thy pregnancy”; since not pain but pleasure is perceived in conception, and besides is a blessing; but this takes in all griefs and sorrows, disorders and pains, from the time of conception or pregnancy, unto the birth; such as a nausea, a loathing of food, dizziness, pains in the head and teeth, faintings and swoonings, danger of miscarriage, and many distresses in such a case; besides the trouble of bearing such a burden, especially when it grows heavy: and when it is said, “I will greatly multiply”, or “multiplying I will multiply”, it not only denotes the certainty of it, but the many and great sorrows endured, and the frequent repetitions of them, by often conceiving, bearing, and bringing forth:
in sorrow shall thou bring forth children, sons and daughters, with many severe pangs and sharp pains, which are so very acute, that great tribulations and afflictions are often in Scripture set forth by them: and it is remarked by naturalists, that women bring forth their young with more pain than any other creature:
and thy desire shall be to thy husband, which some understand of her desire to the use of the marriage bed, as Jarchi, and even notwithstanding her sorrows and pains in child bearing; but rather this is to be understood of her being solely at the will and pleasure of her husband; that whatever she desired should be referred to him, whether she should have her desire or not, or the thing she desired; it should be liable to be controlled by his will, which must determine it, and to which she must be subject, as follows:
and he shall rule over thee, with less kindness and gentleness, with more rigour and strictness: it looks as if before the transgression there was a greater equality between the man and the woman, or man did not exercise the authority over the woman he afterwards did, or the subjection of her to him was more pleasant and agreeable than now it would be; and this was her chastisement, because she did not ask advice of her husband about eating the fruit, but did it of herself, without his will and consent, and tempted him to do the same.
And unto Adam he said, Last of all, being the last that sinned, but not to be excused:
because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife; which was not only mean but sinful, since it was opposite to the voice of God, which he ought to have hearkened to God is to be hearkened to and obeyed rather than man, and much rather than a woman; to regard the persuasion of a woman, and neglect the command of God, is a great aggravation of such neglect; see Acts 4:19.
and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee; saying, thou shall not eat of it; that is, had eat of the fruit of the tree which God had plainly pointed unto him, and concerning which he had given a clear and an express command not to eat of it; and had delivered it to him in the strongest manner, and had most peremptorily and strictly enjoined it, adding the threatening of death unto it; so that he could by no means plead ignorance in himself, or any obscurity in the law, or pretend he did not understand the sense of the legislator. The righteous sentence therefore follows:
cursed is the ground for thy sake; the whole earth, which was made for man, and all things in it, of which he had the possession and dominion, and might have enjoyed the use of everything in it, with comfort and pleasure; that which was man’s greatest earthly blessing is now turned into a curse by sin, which is a proof of the exceeding sinfulness of it, and its just demerit: so in later instances, a “fruitful land” is turned “into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein”, Ps 107:34 hence, whenever there is sterility in a country, a want of provisions, a famine, it should always be imputed to sin; and this should put us in mind of the sin of the first man, and the consequence of that:
in sorrow shall thou eat of it all the days of thy life, meaning that with much toil and trouble, in manuring and cultivating the earth, he should get his living out of the produce of it, though with great difficulty; and this would be his case as long as he was in it. [Gill]
Answer – The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created was their eating the forbidden fruit.
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