The Fall

The Fall

The sad truth is that today many men and women do not function according to this wonderful design. The reason for our malfunctioning is an event called the Fall.

We find the account of the Fall in Genesis 3. It is a very sad story indeed.

When God created the man, He placed him in a Garden as we can read in Genesis 2:15-17.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any Tree in the Garden, but you must not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

At that time God told the man that he could eat from any Tree, including the Tree of Life, but he was not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Genesis 3 starts with the serpent approaching the woman, saying to her in verse 1

“Did God really say, “You must not eat from any Tree in the Garden?”

Isn’t that interesting? Something evil had appeared on the scene, no doubt allowed by God, to test the man and the woman. We are not told how this evil being, using the serpent, came to be there.

And this serpent spoke to the woman. By his words: “Did God really say?” the serpent was trying to put doubt into the mind of the woman. This was very devious indeed. The woman, in her innocence, would not have recognised the evil hidden in these words. So far she had only encountered good things both through God and through the man. Therefore she was not at all prepared for this evil being to cross her path. Nothing in her anticipated for this serpent to have evil designs towards her and the man. Moreover, the serpent would have still looked beautiful for no curse had as yet been spoken over him.

The woman’s answer can be found in Genesis 3:2-3.

“The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the Trees in the Garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the Tree that is in the middle of the Garden, and you must not touch it or you will die.”

Her statement shows us that she did indeed know that they were not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. At the same time, she added certain things to her statement, which God had not said in His original command given to the man.

The serpent’s response is in Genesis 3:4-5.

“You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing Good and Evil.”

This statement is in blatant opposition to what God had said but it did make the woman look at the Tree which must have indeed look good for food and pleasing to their eyes. We can read this in Genesis 3:6

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the Tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate it.”

Please remember that the woman, while only looking, was still in a state of innocence, of sinlessness for God had not forbidden them to look at the Tree or even to touch it. They were not allowed to eat from it. It was after she had eaten from the Tree that things changed. Not just for her, but for the man who, incidentally, was with her. Very likely he had been with her throughout her conversation with the serpent and who ate of the fruit as well.

What happened next is recorded in Genesis 3:7

“Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realised that they were naked….”

Though physical death did not take place as yet, it did eventually happen, but what happened immediately was spiritual death, spiritual separation from God.

The man and the woman who had never been afraid of God, had become afraid of Him as we can see in Genesis 3:8

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the Garden in the cool of the day and they hid from the Lord God among the Trees of the Garden.”

The Consequences for the Man and the Woman

Did God know what had happened? Of course He did and yet He came to see the man and the woman. One of the reasons was that He needed to confront them with the consequences of their actions.

When God confronted the man with his sinful actions, the man’s initial response was to blame the woman whom God had given him as we can read in Genesis 3:12

“The man said, “The woman You (God) put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the Tree, and I ate it.”

This line of thinking seems to have been taken on by many of the Theologians of the past as we can see from the following examples:

St. Irenaeus of Lyon (2nd Century)

“It was the woman who cost the man his salvation…” [1]

Tertullian (c.a. 155 A.D. to 245 A.D.)

“You (woman) are she who persuaded him (Adam) whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You woman are the devil’s gateway…” [2]

St. John Chrysostom (c.a. 344 A.D. to 407 A.D.)

“He transgressed not captivated by appetite but by the persuasion of his wife.”[3]

John Calvin (1509 A.D. -1564 A.D.)

“…..Being drawn by her into fatal ambition, he became partaker of the same defection with her…”

“….The destruction of the whole human race was attributed to them (women)…” [4]

However, God never blamed the woman for the man’s sinful action but made the man responsible for his own sinful action as we can read in Genesis 3:17-19

“To Adam He said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the Tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat of it,”

“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.

It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

The consequences for the woman’s sinful action are recorded in Genesis 3:16

“I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing, with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband. And he will rule over you.”

This verse has caused much unnecessary suffering for women throughout the Centuries for many theologians have interpreted this verse to mean that it was God’s will for women to suffer in childbirth. Consequently, women were not allowed any medical relief during labour.

The sentence “Your desire will be for your husband” has often been interpreted to be of a sexual nature.

One example is the Roman Catholic Church Father Augustine who lived from 354 A.D. to 430 A.D.  He has written:

“What is the difference whether it is a wife or a mother; it is still Eve, the

temptress that we must be aware of in any woman.” [5]

Others have interpreted it to mean a usurping of the man’s authority. A recent example of such thinking is Wayne Grudem. He has written:

“The word “desire” would indicate a desire on Eve’s part to rebel against Adam’s authority.” [6]

The sentence “and he will rule over you” has often been interpreted as God’s command for the woman to be ruled by the man as a further form of punishment.

One example is the Protestant Reformer John Calvin. He has written:

“God assigned two reasons why women are to be subject to men. For not only did God enact it at the beginning, but God also inflicted it as a punishment on the woman...”  [7]

Their views are very much in line with those of Jewish Rabbis as found in the Babylonian Talmud, a commentary on the Torah which was written between the sixth Century B.C. and the third Century B.C.

The Talmud lists: “Ten Curses God uttered against Eve.”

"Greatly increase” deals with the woman’s menstrual curse.

“Your pains” is having children and bringing them up.

“Your conception” shall be by the husband’s choice and at his discretion.

“In pains you will give birth to children” is more punishment for women.”

“Your desire shall be for your husband” deals with the Rabbis’ private interpretation of sexuality.

“He shall rule over you”, the wife being in total subjection and subjugation, since the wife is the personal property of the husband.

She is wrapped up like a mourner.

She shall not appear in public with her head uncovered.

She is restricted to one husband while the husband may have many wives.

She is confined to the house.” [8]

 These views may well be because of a mistranslation of the original text. A more correct translation of Genesis 3:16 is:

“I will surely multiply your toil, your hard work and I will multiply your conception.

With effort you will bring forth children.

You will turn to your husband,

And he will rule over you.”

God thereby declared to the woman that from then on it would be difficult to work the soil because of the curse placed on it. She needed to know this because she was working alongside the man and the curse placed on the soil would therefore affect her in the same way as it would affect him.

At the same time God affirmed to her that she would conceive and give birth to children though from then on childbearing would be challenging work. [9]

God next forewarned her of a tendency which had developed out of her now sinful nature. This tendency would cause her to want to turn towards the man rather than turn towards God to have her needs met.

I believe women still display a tendency to turn towards  their husbands, pastors or elders to have their needs met rather than turning towards God to have their needs met.[10]

Consequently, women will be disappointed for God has not designed men, be they husbands, pastors or elders to meet the needs of women. He alone is to be their Source of Life as described in Deuteronomy 30:20

“And that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His Voice, hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your Life.”

Furthermore, God forewarned the woman that the man, because of his now sinful nature, would want to rule over her as His words “and he will rule over you” indicate.

An immediate example is the re-naming by the man of the woman in Genesis 3:20

Adam named his wife Eve because she would be the mother of all the living.”

The Hebrew text uses a naming formula which includes both the Hebrew verb “qarah”, which means “to call”, and the Hebrew noun “shem”, which means “name”. This indicates that the re-naming by the man of the woman was an authoritative naming to establish his authority over her and was an act of independence for it was not a task the Lord had given to the man.

Examples of rightful authoritative naming can be found in Genesis 2:19-20 and Genesis 5:2

Previously, God had given the man the task of naming the animals in  Genesis 2:19-20

“Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them. And whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave name to all the livestock, the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.”

This had been an act to establish his rightful authority over creation as initiated by God. But when God brought the woman to the man He did not require of the man that the man name the woman as we can see in Genesis 2:22

“Then the Lord God made the woman from the rib, He had taken out of the man and He brought her to the man.” Though man at that time recognised that she was the woman and he was the man as in Genesis 2:23 where the man said:

“She is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man,”

this was not an act of authoritative naming but a recognition that she was a human being like himself. The Hebrew text makes this clear for this time the naming formula “qarah” “to call”and “shem” “name” has not been used since the word “shem” has not been included in the text.[11]

Having first of all recognised her similarity, he then went on to speak of the difference between him and the woman for she was the female human and he was the male human.

The reason that God did not ask the man to name the woman is because God had not given the man the responsibility to rule over the woman. Moreover, God Himself had already named her as we know from Genesis 5:2

“He created them male and female. And He blessed them. And when they were created He called them “man or human”.

The Hebrew text once again uses the naming formula “quarah”, “to call” and “shem”, “name” to indicate this naming was an authoritative naming.

So God named both the man and the woman “man”, “human” or “Adam”.

We could say they were Mr and Mrs Man, Mr and Mrs Human or Mr and Mrs Adam. [12]

Going back to the words God had spoken to the woman about the promise of her offspring, she would have remembered that God had already spoken of her offspring in His words to the serpent, which are recorded in Genesis 3:15

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head and you will strike His heel.”

These words contained the promise of the woman’s seed, the woman’s offspring and would have given her something to live for.

Though the woman did not know it, this was in fact the very first Messianic prophecy.

Did God fulfill the promise of the Seed? Yes, indeed He did. And when the Seed came, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ He restored what was lost and more….

                     THE PROMISED SEED OF THE WOMAN

It might perhaps be helpful to see what exactly Christ has done for us…

One of the issues we may want to consider is the rulership of men over women that God forewarned the woman about in Genesis 3:16. Sadly, we have seen the rulership of men over women happened throughout history and we still see it happen today.

Yet in the midst of this sad picture there has come a glimmer of hope in the form of a Cross with the broken body of a man hanging on it. Who was this Man? It was the Man/God Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.

He died so that men and women might have life as the Apostle John expressed it in

John 10:10

“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

Through Christ’s death on the Cross, the effects of the Fall were reversed. What had been lost: the relationship with God and the relationship with one another on equal terms have been restored. Furthermore, men and women who are in Christ have been given authority. This is a delegated authority for it flows out of the authority Christ has been given by His Father in Matthew 28:18-20

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We need to understand this authority does not give anyone the right to lord it over another, to rule another for Christ did not come to be served but to serve as Jesus said in Matthew 20:25-28

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them. Not so with you. Instead whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”   

Therefore, Christ’s followers, be they men or women, have only been given authority to serve others.



1. Source obtained from the Internet: Article Misogyny: the Origin of negative attitudes on

2. Source obtained from the Internet: De Cult Feminarum Book, Chapter 1, as cited on,

    Women can be Priests: the International Catholic online authority on women’s ministries.

3. Source obtained from the Internet: Homily 9, as cited on, Women can be Priests: the

     International Catholic online authority on women’s ministries. 

4. Source obtained from the Internet: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Calvin’s Commentary on Genesis 3:6.

    ibid., I Timothy 2:15.

5.  J. Lee Grady. 10 Lies the Church tells women. (Lake Mary, Florida 32746:Charisma House, 2000), p.18.

6. Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology; an Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Leicester, Great Britain,

    Intervarsity Press and Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, Zondervan Publishing House, 1994) p. 464.

7. Source obtained from the Internet: Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Commentary by John Calvin on I

    Timothy 2:13.

8. Gerald McCray. God’s Gals. A woman’s place in the ministry…case closed! (Mustang, OK 73064; Tate

    Publishing, LLC, 2004), pp. 206-207.

9. Charles Trombley, Who said women can’t teach? (South Plainfield, NJ 07080: Bridge Publishing, Inc., 1985),

    pp. 24-30.

10. Dr Joy Elasky Fleming with J.Robin Maxson. Man and woman in biblical unity. Theology from Genesis 2-3.

     (Minneapolis, MN 55404-2451: Christians for Biblical Equality, 1993), pp. 36-38.

11. Charles Trombley, Who said women can’t teach? (South  Plainfield, NJ 07080: Bridge Publishing Inc., 1985),

      pp. 109-112.

12. Bruce C.E. Fleming, Familiar “leadership” heresies uncovered by an inside look at the Bible.The Eden

      heresies (Gen 2-3, I Tim 1-3). The headship heresies (I Pet 3,Eph 5-6). The legalist heresies (I cor 11 & 14).

      (Eugene, OR 97401: Resource Publications, 2005), pp. 43-49.     

The Redeemed Woman