so where did sin come from?

This one has been having me going for quite a while. Thought it might be good to get some initial thoughts on paper (pixel?) and see what you all think.
Here’s the dillema.

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man,

Sin entered the world through one man, Adam (as the context of Romans 5 makes clear) and yet when we go to the account of that first sin it’s not Adam that seems to be making the running:

Genesis 3:1-3  Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”  2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,  3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'”

Now, I’ve no problem with the fact that it was the woman, not Adam, who had this encounter. Adam was responsible for the woman and so he takes the blame. That’s not an issue.
It’s the serpent that causes us the dilemma. Sin entered the world through one man and yet Gen 3 seems to indicate that sin entered the world through the Serpent.

Now, given that scripture interprets scripture and that Rom 5:12 is pretty clear, what do we make of this?

Well, the first thing is to gather up the evidence about that serpent. Here’s what I think we need to know. First of all, looking for serpents….

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

seems to place the blame at the serpent’s feet (so to speak…)

Revelation 12:7-9 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back,  8 but he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.  9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Now that’s interesting. There is a war in heaven and Michael and his angels fight the dragon/serpent. Some things to note:
1. The serpent is Satan – that should widen our search for evidence.
2. It’s hard to know when this refers to. Is it a battle at the beginning of time? I don’t think so. It comes after the birth of the child in Rev 12, which I think is understood to be the church. So this happens after the birth of the church. That seems to make sense of this:

Revelation 12:14-15 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.  15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood.

The church is given respite from the serpent who is after her, i.e. he will not destroy the church. The same theme is repeated later on:

Revelation 20:1-3 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit(1 )and a great chain.  2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,  3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

Now, some may get excited about 1000 years but I think an amillenial position is most consistent. Not just providing a sensible reading of Revelation but also very similar to this:

Luke 10:17-20 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”  18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.  20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

and, I have to say, gives me new perspective. Is Jesus speaking of the ongoing defeat of Satan, not an original defeat? The 72 are out and about and demons are obeying them. Jesus affirms this and tells them of something greater, their names are written in heaven; their salvation is secure. Which is exactly the same message as Rev 12.

So Satan being cast out of heaven may not be a prehistoric event but an ongoing view at the heavenlies.
Where shall we turn? I think we turn here:

Ezekiel 28:12-17 “Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

Having spoken about the “prince of Tyre” God now turns to the power behind the throne – the King of Tyre, Satan himself.

13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared.

Satan started out as a good guy. Much like Adam in fact…

14 You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.

Just in passing, note that the Garden of Eden is on the holy mountain of God…

  15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.  16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.  17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor….

Sadly, no details of what actually happened. Unrighteousness was found in him, he sinned, so he was cast from the mountain…

or are there details? Look at that again. He sinned. He was cast from the mountain (which is Eden). We know when that was!! Same time as Adam fell.

So, here’s my speculation and it’s a bit bizarre but work with me.

Satan fell at the same time as Adam.

Yes, you heard me right, Satan fell at the same time as Adam. It was through Adam that sin entered and yet Ezekiel 28 places the scene of Satan’s sin at Eden too. Now, as to the mechanics of that I don’t know. Perhaps Eve and Satan got each other into a mess. You all fill in the gaps.

Right, fire away. Burn me for my heresy….

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8 comments on “so where did sin come from?

  1. Hmmmmm…..

    If sin brings about death, then entropy is our perception of time. Anything pre-fall can then be said to lie outside our temporal constructions and is more in the realm of the eternity that is heaven.

    The short answer (which is actually longer) – Genesis 1-3 tells us what is true, but does so outside of the normal understanding of time we have. Events could happen in Eden as they happen in Heaven – so Lucifer is cast out as he tempts Eve and Adam. From our (entropy / time limited) perspective the two things happen at different times; from a heavenly perspective they are the same event.

      • Re: Good Insight

        in the beginning God created time. as He seperated the day and the night.

        and satan is cast down to earth.

        so sin must have entered the world somewhere in between the creation and adam.

    • That’s kind of you.

      He’s obviously not really interested in coming under scripture but he’s around and he’s polite so I’m going to stick at it.

      Can’t ever do harm to keep opening up the Bible.

  2. Comment from Lionel

    Hi David,

    I wonder if your problem might spring, not from your argument, but your premise. When you use Romans 5:12, you seem to be assuming that “The world” means everything in the entire [created?] universe, including Satan. But “the world” (ho kosmos) in the Bible has a range of meanings, and the meaning is usually clear in the context. My dictionary lists the following meanings:

    1. that which serves to beautify through decoration, adornment, adorning
    2. condition of orderliness, orderly arrangement, order
    3. the sum total of everything here and now, the world, the (orderly) universe
    4. the sum total of all beings above the level of the animals
    5. planet earth as a place of inhabitation
    6. humanity in general
    7. the system of human existence in its many aspects
    8. collective aspect of an entity, totality, sum total

    In the context of Romans 5, it seems that “the world” in Paul’s mind is closest to definitions 6 or 7: because he is speaking about old humanity and new humanity. Neither Satan, nor any angelic being, nor any non-human being, is on view in this passage.

    So I don’t think that Romans 5:12 creates a problem with the view that ‘evil’ (or Satan’s sin) was prior temporally to the sin of Adam.

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