Copyright Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. 1992



Man was placed in the garden to serve God and to fellowship with God. He was given the run of things, with only one exception. Do not eat of the fruit of the tree of life.

He decided that this was an option rather than a command, and ate of the forbidden fruit. There was a drastic change in his relationship with God and we call that change of relationship the fall of man.

Before we move on, I might mention that there is an appendix that you might find of interest. I have toyed with the question of where the Garden of Eden was for many years. I think I mentioned in a previous section that the tabloids feel that it is south of Denver, Colorado, but I believe that there may be some evidence that might strongly indicate that it was in the area of Jerusalem. I have included this study for your interest and thought.


UNDER HIS BLINDING: II Cor. 4:3-4, "But if our gospel be hidden it is hidden to them that are lost, in whom the god of this age hath blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Lost man has no power or understanding to come to God. God is a stranger to lost man. Satan has no desire for the lost person to learn of God nor for him to understand God.

UNDER HIS CONTROL AND LIFE STYLE: Eph. 2:1-2, "And you hath he made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins; In which in times past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience;" The normal life style of the lost is patterned after Satan's ways and means. Lost man seldom desires to live morally, nor properly, though there are those exceptions that desire to come to God under the power of their own works.

UNDER HIS POWER: Col 1:13, "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son;" The verse shows the power of darkness which is the lost man's plight, yet gives the hope of something far better!

UNDER HIS WICKEDNESS: I Jn 5:19, "And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness." This should help us understand why the lost are the way they are. They are in wickedness, so they will NATURALLY lie to you about the quality of the product that they desire to sell you. They will NATURALLY try to beat you at the stop signs. Understand them, and they should anger you less.

The condition of lost or fallen man is often termed the Total Depravity of man. It is the thought that man is totally corrupt and that he can do nothing to reach God.

Theissen mentions of total depravity, "By depravity we mean man's want of original righteousness and of holy affections toward God, and also the corruption of his moral nature and his bias toward evil."

He continues, " does mean, that every sinner is totally destitute of that love to God which is the fundamental requirement of the law...; that he is supremely given to a preference of himself to God (II Tim. 3:4); that he has an aversion to God which on occasion becomes active enmity to Him (Rom. 8:7); that his every faculty is disordered and corrupted (Eph. 4:18); that he has no thought, feeling, or deed of which God can fully approve (Rom. 7:18)." (Thiessen, Henry C.; "LECTURES IN SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY"; Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1949, pp, 267-268)

Now that is a real statement of a condition that is not desirable, yet is the state of all lost people. Is it any wonder that they try to cheat us? Indeed, it is a wonder that the world is as it is, and not much worse in the area of morals. I personally feel that the decline of the Church in this country is the direct cause of the increase in moral problems in the lost people. We, the Church have not been the restraint that we ought to be.

God placed before Adam and Eve a simple moral test. In this test was the potential for complete obedience, or complete depravity. This test was composed of two parts. The command not to eat the fruit in Gen. 2:17, and the temptation by Satan in Gen. 3:1.

God placed this test before Adam and Eve so that they could have the choice between good and evil, and to give them moral experience (James 1:12; I Pet 1:6-7). God does not create beings that must follow Him blindly, but beings that have the moral choice to follow or reject. He gave this choice to the angelic host, and some followed while others rejected.

The Devil used several tactics in his temptation:

1. He planted a question (Gen. 3:1). He asked Eve if God said, "Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"

2. He denied God's word (3:4). "Ye shall not surely die;" This might relate to the fact that he is called the father of lies in John 8:44.

3. He attributed evil motives to God (3:5). He indicated that God was covering up something, to keep them from being like God.

4. He promised personal benefit will come with their disobedience (3:5). They would be as God.

They bought the same lie and deception as the fallen angels. He placed himself as knowing as God knows, and proceeded to tell them that they could be like their Creator. What a falsehood. How can a created being be as the creator. How can a Ford car become the same as Henry Ford? Impossible.

He used different avenues to approach them in the temptation. He appealed to the aesthetic, or beauty of things. He also touched their intellect by promising things that were desirable.

There was nothing magical in the fruit, nor were there powers in the juices to give them the knowledge of good and evil. They knew of good and evil when they ate. It was the act of disobedience, rather than the fruit itself.

There were a number of consequences that came with the fall. Man was condemned by his own conscience. He hid in shame and guilt. Not unlike a small child that knows that they have done wrong. Even some of the animal world reacts to the simple, disobedience/penalty/hide activity. Our little dog began leaving food on the carpet. We began forcing him to eat it. He became very stubborn about eating the SINGLE piece of food. After a few rounds of this confrontation, he would leave the piece on the carpet and go to the bathroom, where we put him for punishment. He knew he had done wrong - he knew we would punish him - so why not get the punishment over with. We as believers, when we sin often attempt to hide from God by failing to have devotions, or quit going to church, etc.

God set penalties for all that were concerned. The serpent was to crawl on the belly and eat dust (3:14,15). Satan was to fall by the seed of the woman (3:15). The woman was to have pain in travail, and she was to be subject to her husband (3:16). The man was to find that the environment would be against him (3:17-19). The man and woman together were to suffer from spiritual and physical death, while being expelled from the garden. Mankind to come also was to suffer, not that they did anything wrong, but that they sinned in Adam. All of mankind would have sinned had we all been in the garden. Mankind

is guilty before God (Rom. 5:12,18), and he is totally depraved (Ps. 5:9; Rom. 5:190.

Sin resulted in three types of death. MY HOW SIN MULTIPLIES! There came upon man physical, spiritual and eternal death in one act of disobedience. Physical death is the separation of the soul and spirit from the body. Spiritual death is the separation of the soul and spirit from God. Eternal death is the separation of the soul and spirit from God eternally. Indeed, it is more than just separation. It involves eternal torment as well!

This eternal separation and torment are also called the second death in Rev. 20:14; 21:8.

Some might wonder what the difference is between spiritual death and eternal death? The basic difference is the length of time. The spiritual death is in this life (a period of years), while eternal death is for all of eternity. The spiritual death becomes eternal death at the point of physical death. There is little difference between spiritual and eternal, for spiritual becomes eternal. The distinction is that spiritual death may be overcome in this life via salvation, while eternal death is permanent and cannot be overcome in the next life. Spiritual death would portray the person's condition in this life while eternal death would picture his condition in the next life.

The difference is in Adam and Eve. They at the point of sin suffered three deaths. Physical in that they began to die, spiritual in that they became dead spiritually, and eternal, in that, at that point they were facing eternity without God.

What is physical death to the body? A slow process of disintegration that begins at conception. Everything is downhill from that point on. We tend to think of aging as beginning at the point of birth, but actually we are dying from the moment of conception. It is all part of the maturing, and aging process.

Part of the post-fall condition is the conflict between what God wants and what man wants. I Jn. 2:16 shows an overview of the life of man in his natural habitat so to speak.

Chafer relates the Genesis text to John's exposition on evil. This is a very good comparison. Take time to relate Gen. 2:15-17 to the three points of I Jn 2:16.

LUST OF THE FLESH would cover such things as physical appetites and desires that we allow to rule our lives. This is a real problem to the believer in this day. We are bombarded by sex and its by-products on a daily basis. A number of years ago the family and I were driving in the mountains west of Denver. We had been gone from the city for most of the day. We were just coming down out of the foothills and a huge billboard of a young woman in a skimpy bathing suit was right in front of us. It dawned on me that we had gone all day with nothing of this sort to deal with. I was shocked to realize how much of this sort of thing we saw every day.

How can we combat this sort of thing? Avoid sources of enticing pictures and thoughts. If you watch some of the television today you will be constantly exposed to it. Shut it off. Keep your mind on spiritual things and pursuits. Have other believers over for fellowship. Do I dare suggest you have lost people over for witnessing?

Believers have been hardened to the trash and sleese that has been given to us on the Television screen. I talk with believers that allow Satan to fill their minds with this slime on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. How can you fill your mind with sex, immorality, lying, cheating and the like several hours a day and expect to overcome the effect in a couple of hours in church on Sunday? You are asking the impossible.

LUST OF THE EYE would cover all that we see that we covet and desire. This may lead to lust of the flesh in some areas. We are constantly confronted with this as well. If you go to the mall to walk around you can find all sorts of things that "I WANT!"

While shopping with my wife, I spotted a real neat portable stereo. I called her over by saying that I wanted her to see something I needed. As she inspected the stereo she commented, "You need!" I said, Yes, I NEED it to satisfy my coveteousness!"

PRIDE OF LIFE would relate to the thought of being proud of our way of life, or who we are, or what we are. I believe that Chafer refers this to an unholy love of pre-eminence. That sums it up well. We desire to be at the pentacle of focus, all eyes upon us, and what we are. This is not a good attitude to say the least.

We might see this in many ways in our lives. In being proud of whose church we go to, in being proud of our education. In being proud of what school we went to. In who designed our clothes (Halston, Calvin Klien etc.).

How do we as Christian leaders live our lives so that these things are not a hindrance to our lives and testimonies? Beware of our off time activities. Don't do anything that will endanger our testimony. Attempt to be satisfied with what God has given us. He promises to provide our needs - not our wants (Matt. 6:33). Control all of lifes situations so that you are never placed in a position where lust can take root in your life as action. Be aware that you may be lonely in this type of life.

We met a woman in Nebraska that was trying her best to live by faith and as she was doing it she was observing that no body in the church was living the way she was. Indeed, the church tended to not associate with her because of her frugality in life style. Her living by faith extended into all areas of her life and she was very frustrated that no one else was living as the scripture commands us. BE SURE YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE AS UNTO THE LORD AND DON'T SWEAT THE OTHER GUYS!

The walk in these three areas, is typical of mankind's natural bent toward evil and away from God.

It is of interest that Humanism is perpetuating these thoughts in the philosophy that it teaches. Humanism tells us that man is all there is, and what man can do is all that can be done. We as man can make our own way - we can do as we feel we want to do. There is no authority except that which you are to yourself. If you desire a woman it is okay. If you desire to steal it is okay. You can do no wrong because you make the rules.

The ultimate to this thought is that each one has whatever rights he determines himself to have.


James 1:14-15, "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."

Let's chart that and consider it.
INTELLECT      the soul knowing     TEMPTATION
SENSIBILITY    the soul feeling     LUST
WILL           the soul choosing    SIN
CONSCIENCE     the soul judging     GUILT
MEMORY         the soul reflecting  SORROW
That could just as easily be a chart that looks like this:
INTELLECT      the soul knowing     TEMPTATION
SENSIBILITY    the soul feeling     LUST
WILL           the soul choosing    PROPER ACTION
CONSCIENCE     the soul judging     PEACE
MEMORY         the soul reflecting  JOY
 This is the same process that all of mankind has gone through in their sin. Adam was tempted - he desired - he sinned. The way to holiness is the same for that to sin. The will is the determinate factor.

Adam and Eve become sinners by sinning, while we become sinners by conception, but we all go through the same process of look, desire, lust, and action.

Some feel that man, in his lost state can present some holiness, however the total depravity of man contradicts that thought. The lost man has no hope of finding help for himself and is totally reliant upon the Lord to intervene. He is not depraved because he thinks so, but because God says so. It is the estimation of God that total depravity is based on. I'm sure that our estimation of ourselves would not be that low!

We need to understand that spiritual death is universal in man. Ps. 51:5, "Behold, I was shaped in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." (See also Rom. 3:9-18; Mk 7:15, 20-23)

All death will come to a final end during the end times. Rev. 21:4 mentions, "...there shall be no more death....". I Cor. 15:26 also mentions something about death being no more.


1. The total depravity of man does not surprise us, but do we understand and live as if we do. Lost man is totally depraved. He can act no other way than he does, so we shouldn't get upset with him when he acts the way he does. Lost man is naturally going to be obnoxious and filthy by nature. This should move us to compassion not anger. This should move us to witness not reviling. This should move us to concern not contempt.

2. I Tim. 5:6 mentions of a widow, "She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth...." The widow in question is living in pleasures. We as believers are alive - SO HOW COME SOME CHRISTIANS CAN LIVE AS IF THEY ARE DEAD? When we continue to sin our conscience becomes dull and we go further into sin. We don't know sin quite as well as we should. There is the possibility that many "Christians" are not really Christians.

I believe that many put on a spiritual front so that they can operate in the "church" realm, and not be seen as an outsider.

When in Bible college a preacher preached a plain old salvation message and received a very large shock. An invitation was given and over 1/2 of the student body came forward for salvation. One was a senior and the student body president. They had put on a facade as children, and had never exercised a personal faith in Christ.

3. Can you imagine for a moment what Adam and Eve went through when they sinned and realized what was up? When I was eight or ten, I was somewhat into shoplifting. Only little things that I wanted - YOU KNOW THE LUST OF THE EYE! - I picked up candy and little rings - one had a compass on top and a secret compartment underneath. One day I decided to lift a fat book. They were about two inches thick, and four by five in size. I hadn't contemplated the size of my pockets opening, nor its relative size to the book. As I struggled to get that fat thing into my tiny pocket the saleslady called my name. I KNEW SOMETHING WAS UP! I HAD HAD IT!!! She didn't turn me in, but I did not steal again. Yes, I put the book back VERY quickly.

When working in retail sales, my wife recounted to me the story of two teenage girls that had been caught shoplifting. They were being very flip about the whole thing. They were joking and laughing and having a fun time, until the police officer mentioned that she had called their parents to come and get them. The serious side of life reared its ugly head quickly.

4. The fall required God to cover Adam and Eve's nakedness. He killed animals for skins to cover them. He also provided the sacrifice needed when Abraham went to offer Isaac. It is neat that He sent Christ to be our sacrifice. He set the requirements, and then He sent the required sacrifice!

5. Adam's bent toward evil is evident in his posterity. Cain killed and there have been murderers, thieves, and immoral people ever since. The positive of this is that Adam through Seth also produced a posterity via following God's ways and means toward salvation.

6. We need to remember that we are no different than any other lost person except that the grace of God moved someone across our path to share the Gospel with us. We should be sensitive to the Lord's leading in witnessing. We may be the instruments through which God will lead others to Him.

7. One further step in looking at total depravity would be in the idea of pride. The New Testament is not really for the person being proud. Let's look at depravity and pride for a moment.

Pride is something that we are to have in our work. Pride is something that we have in relation to our children. RIGHT? Pride is an over high opinion of oneself and letting everyone know it.

The Old Testament mentions a little about pride. Let me share a few of those with you. Prov. 11:2 mentions that wisdom is the result of no pride. Prov. 13:10 tells us that pride brings contention. Prov. 16:18 tells us that pride goes before destruction. Prov. 29:23 mentions that pride will bring a man low.

The New Testament mentions pride only three times. Mk 7:21-23 - It is from within and is very evil. It is listed with murder. These are defiled men in the text. I Tim. 3:6 tells us that pride is not a trait of a mature Christian. I Jn 2:16 lists pride of life with the lust of the flesh and of the eye. Pride of life may come into our personal lives, or in our church lives.

Personal life: In who we are - heritage - family etc. In what we are - educated - job - position etc. In what we have. In what we know. In what we are not - I'm not poor etc. In what we have not.

Church life: In accomplishments of individuals. In accomplishments of the church. In positions in the church. In giving. In dress and appearance. In most trouble. In dictatorships. In non-involvement of members.

Total Depravity explains all this. MAN CAN'T LOVE GOD. MAN LOVES SELF MORE THAN GOD. MAN KEEPS AWAY FROM GOD. MAN IS CORRUPT. MAN CAN'T PLEASE GOD. In short, he is absolutely no good. We can do nothing good of ourselves. We are clay - dirt - and as such, no good to God. (Some references to consider, Isa. 64:6; Jer. 17:99; Rom. 3:23.)

If there is nothing good about man then he should not be proud. Pride is inconsistent with our nature logically, yet is a very intertwined part of our beings.

I think if you realize that pride is at the root of most of our problems with other people we might be able to begin to deal with our interpersonal relationships and win.

I would like to close with a quote.


"The church is not an organization of good people, it is an organization of sinners. It is the only organization in human society that takes sinners into its membership just because they are sinners. It is the only organization that keeps on saying week after week, year after year, age after age, 'We have done those things that we ought not to have done and left undone those things that we ought to have done.' No other organized body bears it its group consciousness the weight not only of its own members sins but the sins of the whole social order. This is the glory of the church, its uniqueness in human society, that it lives perpetually on the vitality and realism of its own repentance, its contrition, and its plea for God's help and forgiveness. Let us not claim moral virtue for church members or for the church. Let us rather glory in the fact that the church is a society of sinners, who claim no virtue, but humbly rest their broken and burdened lives upon the grace which God has eternally revealed in Christ Jesus." Charles Clayton Morrison. (Stuber, Stanley I. and Clark, Thomas Curtis; "TREASURY OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH"; New York: Association Press, 1949, p 170-171)