The Effects of Sin Upon Man
By Donald P. Moss
The following is an excerpt from Volume 1 - The Garden of Eden - Adam's Creation and His Spiritual and Physical Environments
The Natural Characteristic of the Sin Nature
First, I will define the word "sin" in the Hebrew -
"Sin" (Strong's Concordance / Hebrew Lexicon) - #2403 chatta'ah (khat-taw-aw'); or chatta'th (khat-tawth'); from #2398; an offence (sometimes habitual sinfulness), and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or expiation; also (concretely) an offender.
#2398 - chata' (khaw-taw'); a primitive root; properly, to miss; hence (figuratively and generally) to sin; by inference, to forfeit, lack, expiate, repent, (causatively) lead astray, condemn.
Sin is rooted in the word "chata'" which means to miss. To miss God's mark set for mankind's life in this dimension of time. Living life as a mortal forteits God's blessing of immortality. Mankind is led astray and condemned by his mortality. As a mortal, man's habits which causes him to miss the mark carries a penalty of death. Mortality is referred to as "a sin nature".
To understand the affectual impact of sin upon mankind, a study of the Bible verse describing sin's effect upon Adam and Eve is needed. A Hebrew study of key words in the following scripture presents the correct interpretation. This scripture speaks of Adam and Eve's immediate reaction to their disobedience to God.
Genesis 3:7 (KJV) - And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
"Eyes" - (Strong's Concordance - Hebrew) #5869 `ayin (ah'-yin); probably a primitive word; an eye (literally or figuratively); by analogy, a fountain (as the eye of the landscape):
"Eyes" in this scripture is not concerned with their physical eyes because they were open prior to their sin. Rather, by analogy these eyes are concerned with spiritual eyes, which changed after their disobedience. The same holds true for their nakedness. Prior to sin there were physically naked and felt no shame. After sin they became spiritually naked and shameful. In this light, the root word `ayin offers the proper insight into the effects of Adam's fall upon mankind.
In this analogy, the phrase "a fountain as the eye of the landscape", figuratively represents the first thing the eye focuses on when first looking at the landscape scene. The first thing he sees is the eye of the landscape or center of the landscape. In the picture above it's the fountain (water fall). By analogy, the landscape is life's elements as perceived by the individual. What does one perceive as the fountain when looking at the landscape of his life?
In the landscape scene of life all living things derive nourishment from the fountain. The fountain is the provisional source for life in the landscape. The word "eyes" in this verse figuratively represents Adam's perception of life and what he sees as the center of his life (as a fountain is the focal point or center of the landscape).
Prior to his disobedience Adam perceived God at the center of life and all of life revolved around God, including himself. God was the fountain that gives life. From God all living things derived life because He was the Creator. It was not possible that Adam perceived his life any other way. He had no other understanding. Having disobeyed God, Adam's perception of life was changed. Adam saw himself at the center of life with all things in life evolving around him. He became self-centered.
A person's perception of life determines what he believes to be true about life. One's perception of life becomes his spiritual eyes, through which he chooses his direction in life. In other words, if one believes that there is no life after death, then he will believe only in human secular values, as determined by worldly knowledge of good and evil. Moral values of right and wrong will be based on earthly human experiences and wordly knowledge. Worldly knowledge has some good information, but offers no knowledge of eternal life as ordained by God. Thus, the tree of knowledge of good and evil cannot produce the fruit of life. This tree can only produce the fruit of death when one relies on this knowledge for the real truth for his life. There's good information in this tree that we can use as we live through this dimension of life, but this knowledge cannot introduce us to eternal life available in the next dimension. Only the Bible can do this. This is God's purpose for the Bible - to open our eyes to Him and His wisdom and knowledge. Else, we remain blind to the things of God.
Why was our perception changed by Adam's fall? Because Adam's descendents were born as mortals and inherited the fallen nature. This is seen in the word "opened".
Genesis 3:7 (con't) - "Opened" - (Strong's Concordance - Hebrew) #6491 paqach (paw-kakh'); a primitive root; to open (the senses, especially the eyes); figuratively, to be observant.
The Hebrew word "paqach" is a key word to understanding what happened in the fall of Adam. When Adam's eyes were opened his perception of life changed. Having sinned (disobeyed God), he then perceived life through his senses, especially the eyes. He became observant of the physical and tangible things in his environment, which trumped his awareness of the spiritual things. He was ruled by the things which could be sensed through his five senses. Remember satan's temptation of Eve. The heart desires of Adam and Eve was to "be as gods" because of what they heard satan speak.
Genesis 3:5-6 (KJV) - For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.(6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
"For God doth know " - satan spoke a word to Eve that contrasts what God spoke to Adam to "not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil". Eve believed what satan spoke and thought God was withholding something from her. By eating the fruit of the tree she believe her life would be better. She desired in her heart to reach beyond the boundary God established and obtain a higher place in life.
The desires of her heart (the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise) fueled her imagination and her rational thinking process. She rationally considered her disobedience to God's command and compared it to being "as god". She reasoned being as a god was the better way. Rationally, she justified her disobedience by what she sensed in her earthly environment (physical landscape) - "the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise."
Adam and Eve became sense-oriented creatures because the imaginations of their hearts became self-oriented as they observed life through self-centered perceptions. They perceived and believed themselves to be a creatures of flesh rather than a creations of the Spirit. Their flesh could feel, smell, hear and taste elements of their environment which fed their reasoning faculties. But, their flesh could not sensed spiritual elements, so all their physical experiences became a powerful influence upon their perception of life and ultimately formed the desires of their hearts.
Man's perception of life becomes his eyes through which he will form his understanding of truth concerning life's issues. If his perception of life is blinded by his senses, he will live as a natural mortal creature of the senses and seek to gratify selfish desires and cravings of the flesh.
Therefore, it is required that fallen man must be reborn and transformed by the renewing of his mind - Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) - Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Note: Adam and Eve's self perception changed when they saw life through their senses. Their focus on life and their involvement in life changed. They saw themselves as physical beings rather than spiritual beings. Even though they could remember what it was like prior to their sin, which gave them an experiential measure of their spiritual loss in the fall, they will have to wait for God to provide a way to restore them to their former glory. However, their descendants will not have this measured sense of spiritual loss because their inherited sin nature will be self-centered from the time of their birth. They will be mortals and mortality will be their default method of thinking. Meaning, they will not choose to be mortals, it will be their natural way of thinking because they wil be ruled by their five senses. They will never experience being spiritual beings again until God provides a new life in Christ. Therefore, apart from hearing the truth of the gospel, they will not realize they are lost and need God to live eternally.
So, God will have to reach them and teach them the real truth about life so their eyes will be opened again to their spiritual condition. Their minds will have to be renewed so spiritual restoration can occur. God must establish His Word in order to teach real truth. The only hope fallen man has is to learn God's truth and the only source of God's truth is the Bible.
Author's comments on Door to Transformation (click here)
After sin was birth in Adam and Eve, they were banished from the Garden of Eden and did not see God again.
Even though they hid from God because they were fearful, God did not abandon them. Although they could not see God again face to face, God strove to communicate with them by the Holy Spirit throughout their descent into mortality .
Their descendants would also be ruled by self-centered desires and they would have great difficulty in hearing God or spiritually sensing direction in life from the Holy Spirit. Relying on their mortal self-centered perceptions of life became the greatest obstacle to knowing God relationally. They would have great difficulty believing life was centered on God because He can't be physically sensed. They will be born with a mortal nature to sin; living life through selfish perceptions and desires. Consequentially, they will miss the life God prepared for them unless their eyes are opened to God's truth.
Genesis 6:3 (KJV) - And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
After the fall, the Holy Spirit worked with the righteous descendants of Seth (Adam's third son) attempting to keep them from a total descent into depravity and decay (mortality and death). Being ruled by his senses, these men eventually drifted totally away from God. When this occurred, approximately 1650 years after the fall of Adam, God brought an end to life on the planet through the flood. Except for Noah, men were ruled by their physical senses, which desensitized spiritual communion with God by the Holy Spirit.
Genesis 6:5-6 (KJV) - 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.(6) And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
At the time of the flood God saw that every man's desire of the heart was about himself and not about God. Mankind separated himself from God by errant desires and imaginations of his heart.
Note: Every person born on this earth is a mortal, with a nature to sin (miss the mark God has set in place). Therefore, mortality is man's default nature. He does not have to choose to be a mortal. When man chooses to obey God and begin his journey to become an immortal, he must make choices daily to follow Christ. Daily he must be aware of Christ's presence and focused on following Him. When his eyes are opened by faith in God's Word, then he walks by faith and not by sight (senses). His state of mind must be continually in prayer (recognition of Christ presence), else he risks defaulting back into mortality and worldly beliefs. To keep the light of truth burning bright in his mind, he must be diligent and intentional about obeying the Word of Truth and seeking a closer relaltionshiop with Christ. This is the battleground of the mind. Sooner or later, he will create a new default way of thinking as an immortal child of God.
Self-centerness affects the emotional behavior of man as he desires to have his own way in life. An example is seen in - Genesis 4:6-8 (NIV) - Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? (7) If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." (8) Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Cain knew the Holy Spirit did not desire him to be downcast, as God favored Abel's offering over his own offering. Cain knew God would restore favor with him if he would only do what is right in God's eyes. Cain knew God would be gracious to him and God was warning him to make the right decision. Cain knew he could master his emotional anger. However, even knowing he was going against God, his emotional jealousy and anger was strong and ruled his behavior and he killed his brother.
When man is ruled by his senses, unwittingly he sees himself at the center of life. Meaning, all things in life revolve around him because life is about what he can tangibly sense. His sense of direction for his life depends on his own strength and intellect to acquire what he needs in life. He will be driven by his senses to maintain control of his life and create his own destiny. His sense of welfare will depend on his intellect, self confidence, possessions and wealth. His consciousness and understanding of life are fed by what he senses. His faith and belief system are based on what is tangible through the senses. If he can't sense it, he can't believe it.
The senses form a boundary for his faith. His faith cannot reach beyond the natural earthly realm of the senses. John 20:29 (KJV) - Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. Jesus knew Thomas was ruled by his senses and his faith did not reach beyond the physical or natural realm. Jesus' comment is an indictment against sense faith. For as long as Thomas' faith was limited by his senses, he could not access the grace of God in the spiritual realm of the unseen. Eternal blessings from God could not take place in Thomas' life if he could not believe in things unseen. Faith in the unseen things of God reaches into the throne room of God and accesses grace - Romans 5:2 (KJV) - By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Man has always had great difficulty in overcoming the powerful influences of the senses or flesh. The fall of Adam places man in a sense-oriented world and only by the teaching of God through the ministry of the gospel will man's eyes be open again to the light of truth. This is the truth that feeds his faith and leads him back to a life of immortality in the kingdom of God. Faith in God's Word is today's hope for mankind. Man cannot be renewed in his mind apart from faith in God's Word. Faith accesses grace and man is progressively transformed into the likeness of Christ, as he willfully appropriates God's Word in his life. The Word of God is purposed for opening man's eyes to life's reality, as created by God.
To this point in the study of the fall, we can see Adam's change in his perception of life and of himself in his environment was due to the influence of his five senses upon his reasoning faculties. His thinking became corrupt and he was binded to God's reality. So, how did that change his spiritual and physical being? Theanswer is seen in the word "knew".
Genesis 3:7 (con't) - "Knew" (Brown's/Driver/Briggs' - Hebrew) #3045 yada` (yaw-dah'); to know, to perceive and to see, to find out and to discern; to distinguish, to know by experience, to have knowledge.
Knowledge can be gained by perception, by seeing, by discernment or by experience. To know by perception, by sight or by discernment is to become aware of something in the mind. Mental awareness does not change the inner man until he employs and experiences what he has accepted as truth. To know by experience is a much deeper level of revelation knowledge. Experience changes the inner man. Experience is the threshold to the soul or heart of man.
Through his disobedience Adam experienced sin and became a friend of sin. Meaning, sin was no longer something external to Adam. Sin was now in him through the experience. The experience of sin brought death into his being. Experience is the key for his fall. If Adam had not yielded to the temptation to sin, he would not have fallen. The soul of man is changed by what he experiences, good or bad. Experience takes temptation out of the mental realm and manifests it in his soul.
Likewise, a Christian must have an experience with Christ, in the form of an on-going relationship built on faith and love, in order to change his soul. Knowledge of God's Word apart from experience yields no change in his nature. James 2:14, 17 (NIV) - (14) What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? (17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. To have a faith and knowledge of God and yet never experience faith by standing in faith and love through life's circumstances will profit man nothing.
Each Christian must take a stand against the knowledge of the world (realm of the senses) and trust in the provisional promises of God. Then when perseverance (a time of experiencing faith) has finished its work, the Christian experiences God's handiwork in his life and he is changed. His faith abounds and his relationship with God is magnified.
Love: Love is paramount for empowering faith and accessing the grace of God. Works or deeds apart from love will profit the Christian nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV) - If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (2) If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (3) If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is the most meaningful word in the Bible. Love places one "in Christ" and he looses his sense of self. Love is never about self, it is always about other(s). One is not next to Christ, but "in" Christ because he loves God. One is not waiting to become an adopted son of God some day, one is an adopted son of God now! If so, then all the blessings of God are his because he is "in Christ" who has already received the fullness of God. And that's the truth!! Colossians 2:9-10 (NIV) - For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, (10) and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
Author's comments to help grasp this wonderful truth Door to Transformation (click here)
James 2:21-24 (NIV) - (21) Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? (22) You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (23) And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend.(24) You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
Faith and experience through perseverance results in a knowledge of God not attainable by any other way. The Way to know God is to know Him experientially through serving others - Matthew 25:40 (NIV) - "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Genesis 3:7 (con't) - "Naked" - (Strong's Concordance - Hebrew) #6191 `aram (aw-ram'); a primitive root; properly, to be (or make) bare; to be cunning (usually in a bad sense).
Use in KJV-- beware, take crafty [counsel], be prudent, deal subtly.
As previously mentioned, prior to sin Adam and Eve were naked, so this verse of scripture does not speak of physical nakedness. The root word `aram speaks of spiritual nakedness. Prior to his fall, Adam was righteous in God's sight and thought not of himself, but only of God. Adam was not spiritually naked or bare. He was covered by the glory of God
The result of sin for Adam and his descendants was self-centerness. Perceiving life through the senses gave birth to self-awareness and self-indulgence. Motivation for his decision making processes would be for the profit and good of self. His reasoning would be crafty, prudent and subtle as he strives to take control of his life by selfish motivation.
Apart from faith in Christ, man is left bare or naked (without the covering of God).
What does it mean to be without the coveing of God? The answer is seen in the word "leaves".
Genesis 3:7 (con't) - "Leaves" - (Brown/Driver/Briggs' - Hebrew) #5929 `aleh (aw-leh'); from #5927; a leaf (as coming up on a tree); collectively, foliage.
#5927 `alah (aw-law'); a primitive root; to ascend, to climb, to take oneself away, to be exalted, to exalt, to lift oneself.
The root word `alah reveals Adam's self-centerness as he perceived himself at the center of life with all things revolving around him rather than around God. Adam sought spiritual ascension by exalting himself to be wise like God, equal to God.
Apart from God, man sees himself at the center of life. He unwittingly sets himself up as god. By his own strength and wit he believes he is in control of improving his standing in this life (to ascend) intellectually, socially, economically, physically and spiritually (to lift oneself).
Adam's self reliance became a leaf, covering over his need and reliance on God. From that moment forward Adam's descendants hide from God behind self reliance and self sufficiency, which is spiritual nakedness.
Another example of man covering himself with leaves -
Revelation 3:17 (NIV) - You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
Man's acquired wealth may cover over his fear of poverty. His wealth may provide him with an exalted social standing. His wealth may provide him with an exalted sense of power over his fellow man. His wealth may be his provisional source for responding to life's issues. His wealth may allow him to do philanthropic good works for a sense of spiritual ascension (exaltation). His good deeds will provide him with a sense of self-righteousness. Man's wealth can be a fig leaf covering his separation from God and his spiritual blindness and nakedness. He does not realize God is the provisional source of all eternal things of life.
Apart of faith in God, man will seek to acquire "leaves" from his environment to cover over his reliance on God's provision - to be self-reliant.
When man is self-reliant, he is attempting to cover over his fear of failure through his own wit and cunning behavior. This is seen in the word "aprons".
Genesis 3:7 (con't) - "Aprons" - (Brown/Driver/Briggs' - Hebrew) #2290 chagowr or chagor and (feminine) chagowrah or chagorah - a girdle, a belt, a loin-covering, a belt, a loincloth, armor; derived from #2296.
#2296 chagar (khaw-gar'); - a primitive root; to gird, to gird on, to gird oneself, to put on a belt (as a belt, armor, etc.).
Use in KJV-- be able to put on, be afraid, appointed, gird, restrain.
The root word chagar reveals Adam's fear. Out of fear Adam governs his responses to life's issues on a daily basis. Adam has girded (clothed) himself in fear, because his sin separated him from the life he had in God. Fear has clothed Adam because he sensed his aloneness in the earth. Self reliance always opens the door to a fear of failure. Remember Adam's first words to God when God called out "Adam where are you?" Adam replied, "I was afraid".
Genesis 3:10 (KJV) - And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Fear will motivate Adam and his descendants when rationalizing their direction in life.
Man's armor against fear is to take the helm, so to speak. Fear will cause Adam to be defensive in his rational thinking and reasoning in order to protect and preserve self, to profit self and remain in control of his life. Defensive reasoning is his armor against fear. Man's need to be in control of his life causes him to respond to life's circumstances in a defensive manner, as he seeks to protect and preserve his life. His defense against fear is self reliance. Without self reliance he sees himself as being inferior and helpless. Due to his fear, man will first react to life's opportunities by looking for the things that threaten him. He begins to "judge the book by it's cover", so to speak. He may never reach a place of seeing the inner good or beauty that lies within. Sometimes the good things in life are missed, because of fear. The better way is to first look for the good and then look for the bad. In this manner, the good that is seen tones down the perspective of bad.
For example, relations are based on love for another person. But, if man fears rejection, he may pass on the opportunity to get to know someone else socially or intimately. Because of fear, he will not risk being rejected and he will fail to expand his horizon for love - 1 John 4:18 (KJV) - There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Another example -
As parents in a fallen world, we seek to obtain the best education for our children, so they will be self-reliant and successfully prepared to compete in the world of business and also to be favored by others. This is a good endeavor because they will be self-reliant and not reliant upon any man. We feed our children with worldly knowledge and wisdom, hoping they will be worldly good and not worldly evil. But, this worldly knowledge is not sufficient information to introduce them to eternal life after this dimension of time.
As parents we must also teach our children with the knowledge and wisdom of God, so they will obtain the favor of God. We must give a greater priority to teaching them the Bible, so their eyes will be open to know God and have the faith to ascend above worldly knowledge and wisdom. Only then will their faith in God overcome the fear of failure, which they see in their perception of the world. Through faith in God, self-reliance will become a reliance on the love God has for them.
The perception of self rule is a binding element to his spiritual nature and growth. He relies on his own strength and ability to provide all that he needs, rather than relying on God. His perception of life is skewed. This bondage will keep him in a lower state of life until the day God opens his eyes again to eternal life through faith in Him, as provider of all things in life. Psalms 24:1a (NIV) - The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it....
The descendants of Adam will never be able to receive the provisional breath of life from God apart from faith in Christ - Galatians 3:14 - That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith
Romans 8:11 (NIV) - And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.