When we talk about ‘the fall’, immediately the story of the forbidden fruit comes to mind, and disobedience. But was eating the fruit the main issue here or was there something else.
Let’s go back to the very beginning, we have to go back before the creation itself as recorded in Genesis 1. Though we don’t have any recordings from before the creation, we know angels were there according to Job 38:4-7. They were called: sons of God and morning stars, singing together at the laying of the earth‘s foundation. With satan being the leader among angels. Then in Genesis 1:26: God said:”Let us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness”(NASB). You can imagine hearing the cry in Heaven, “NO, NO, NO, I (satan) have the main position. I am the favourite one”. That’s how satan’s rebellion started against God, trying to set up his throne above the stars of God (Is. 14:12-14), with the result of satan being banished to earth. Fallen from his position as the star of the morning. This is what we should really call the ‘Fall’, for as the saying declares, “pride goes before the fall”.
A critical ‘command’ from Genesis 1:26 was for humanity to “subdue your earth” and then dominion would be the result. From the blending of the essences of God and the earth, the creation of man, male and female, followed in chapter 2, with the mandate for cultivating and guarding (Gen 2:15 GNT) the garden. From Genesis 2:19-20 we see that humanity did have dominion over their earth, for Adam had the authority to name the animals. Thus, we can infer that his ‘earth’ was properly subdued. God charged man saying, “of every tree in the garden you can eat, but not from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You will not eat of that tree, for you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). To have knowledge of ‘good and evil’, or if you prefer ‘right and wrong’, allows one to be able to make decisions regarding them. One can now make informed judgements, and therefore we can perceive this tree as ‘The Tree of Judgement’.
But then we come to the third chapter. Here we find humanity in the midst of Creation, at the Judgement Tree, with satan. Having led the rebellion against God, satan is in the place of judgement. A courtroom scene can be envisioned where Adam is to pass judgement against satan regarding the rebellion. But being a most crafty creature, he turns his defence into offence and accuses God of lying. His argument is to cause humanity to doubt the word of God. Very cunningly he appeals to the ‘earth’ nature of humanity by showing them that the fruit of the Tree “was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate” (Gen 3:6).
In doing so they had passed judgement against God, effectively calling Him a liar, and in doing so were upholding satan’s claim to rulership. They had allowed their ‘earth’ to subdue them, and they lost their dominion over it. They were now in subjection to their ‘earthly’ senses, they had died in their awareness of their true nature, seeing that they were naked in a physical world. They had eaten of the fruit of judgement and were now constrained within its bounds, held captive by satan’s lie, blinded to the reality of their divinity as image bearers of God. They now, like satan, feared God.
The entire “Fall of Adam” therefore was, and still is, the falling away in our minds from our true identity as ‘image and likeness’ bearers of God. “We all like sheep have gone astray” (Is. 53:6). But God did not change. He did not become a vengeful God who would punish them for disobeying Him; instead God called out to Adam: “Where are You Adam?” God’s love did not change, His love for humanity is not compromised because of the fall. God declared it a ‘mistrial’, satan had perjured the court; He lied. And the good news is that God did not leave us in that state of mind. God associated us in Christ before the fall. “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).