There were numerous conflicts created by the Fall of man. “The Fall of Man” can be misleading, since it sounds as though only man was affected. A better title would be “The Fall of Creation” because all of creation was affected.
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Life After the Fall
Before banishing Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, God outlined what life would be like in a fallen world. The following seven conflicts were replaced the previous peace and harmony:
1. Conflict between man and God
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.Genesis 3:8
The intimacy and close fellowship mankind had experienced with God was ruined.
2. Conflict between man and animal
God spoke to the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed.”Genesis 3:15
This points to the future conflict between the devil and Jesus, the Seed of the woman. But a surface reading also reveals the enmity and fear that exists between man and reptiles, insects, and other animals, many of which are now threatening and lethal.
3. Conflict between animal and animal
Prior to The Fall there was peace between animals. The wolf, lamb, leopard, goat, calf, and lion dwelt together, and the cow, bear, lion, and ox ate together (Isaiah 11:6-8). Animals were herbivorous, but the harmony that existed between them was destroyed, and they became a threat to each other.
4. Conflict between man and nature
Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you.Genesis 3:17b–18
Tending the Garden of Eden was a pleasant, enjoyable experience for Adam and Eve, but now nature poses a terrible threat.
Beyond the sheer labor needed to survive, millions have lost homes and lives in earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, floods, and other natural disasters. This is why:
- Paul described creation itself longing to be redeemed, struggling under the weight of sin (Romans 8:19-22).
- Jesus rebuked a storm: “He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water” (Luke 8:24). Rebuking a storm makes sense only when considering the way creation was affected by sin, and put in subjection to the devil (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; Ephesians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 5:19).
5. Conflict between man and man
Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.Genesis 4:8
Since Adam’s firstborn, Cain, killed his brother, there have been millions of people destroyed by wars, murder, or some other form of violence.
6. Conflict with death
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.Genesis 3:19
The worst conflict introduced by the Fall is death. 1 Corinthians 15:26 calls death mankind’s last enemy, whose defeat will come only when Jesus Christ returns to end sin’s curse and place all things under His rule.
The destruction of death is one part of Christ’s redemption. Isaiah 2:4 says men will turn their weapons into agricultural tools, describing the peace that will be created by Christ’s redemption.
Just as sin affected all aspects of creation, so too will Christ’s redemption affect all aspects of redemption. Jesus will reverse the affects of The Fall, destroying all of sin’s curse. The conflicts will be gone, and perfect peace and harmony will again exist.
7. Conflict between husband and wife
If the Fall hadn’t taken place, there would be perfect harmony and oneness between husbands and wives. As a result of the Fall, there is pain, conflict, and struggle.
Scott, it seems you have forgotten one aspect to the curse: Pain (Gen 3:16a). You commented on 3:16b but said nothing about the first part of the verse. Does pain, generally, put us in “conflict” with our bodies?
Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. You highlighted why I didn’t include the pain of Genesis 3:16 as one of the conflicts. I wanted to explain the different conflicts created by the fall of man, but I didn’t see women’s pain in childbirth as a conflict between her and her body or her and her baby. Similarly I didn’t discuss the “pain” Adam experienced working the ground after the fall as I didn’t see that as a conflict between Adam in the ground or Adam and his work.
Wow! Very insightful. I hadn’t really thought about the fall in quite the same way. Do you think Satan is bringing on storms and natural disasters, since he is the ruler of this world?
Yeah, that’s a tough question Mike, but obviously a logical one from what’s being considered.
Jonah 1:15 would seem to apply, but then it basically seems to be God authoring the storm: Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm.
Matt 14:32 describes the storm calming when Jesus gets in the boat. A number of verses, like Psa 65:7 describe God quieting the storm and calming the seas, but it’s hard to see any directly attributing the storms to the devil…at least not that I can find.
You have any thoughts Mike?
Hi Scott! I am currently working on a project for my Women in Ministry course and needed to evaluate two blogs- one complementarian and one egalitarian. In regard to your stance on marriage, with the man’s role to lead and the woman’s role to submit, how do you see this played out within your marriage? When making decisions for your family, do you find that larger decisions (perhaps changing jobs, moving, making a decision in your ministry, or even posting on the blog-sphere) are made collectively between you and your wife? Or do you find that as head of the household, the responsibility rests upon your shoulders? Do you ever find that taking on the leadership role is ever daunting or anxiety-provoking? Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! This is a question I am currently unloading within my own life, as I consider the ramifications of marriage and potential traits within a husband.
First, I’d like to recommend you download my book, Marriage God’s Way. It’s free on Kindle through Friday, December 15th. Then look at:
Part V: Understanding Submission 117
12. Equal Opportunity Submission 119
13. What Submission Does Not Mean 131
14. Putting Your Husband in a Position to Lead 141
If you read these chapters, you will get a much better answer to your questions.
To answer shortly though, Katie is the helper God has given me. Part of that is her wisdom and counsel when making decisions. The final decision rests with me, but I’d be foolish to ignore her counsel. Please read those chapters and let me know your thoughts!
Hey Scott, one of my favorite posts you’ve done. Love the way you draw parallels between Adam/Eve, Abraham/Sarah, Ahab/Jezebel. Good to see that Adam’s passivity isn’t a one-off event or problem.
It’s also helpful to see that we’re always submitting to someone, and deeply challenging to let that be the Lord. In my marriage – and life, really – I find that intentionally choosing to follow the Lord takes much more effort, and is much ‘scarier’, than sitting back and letting my wife take the lead. I’m so thankful for Christ’s forgiveness and the power of the gospel that’s slowly helping me live out the pattern God established at creation.
Thanks again, brother.
Great to hear from you. Thank you very much for the feedback.
No, Adam’s passivity isn’t an isolated event for men. I’d go so far as to say it’s a pattern in Scripture (since there are at least three examples…but probably more).
Yes, submission is commanded throughout Scripture in all areas of life. People who have problems with submission in marriage will generally have problems with the Christian life in general.
I appreciate your humility Brother. Yes, I’m thankful for the Gospel’s work in my life too. A very needed work!
This is a familiar story about the fall of Adam and Eve. You brought out the point that Eve was the one to sin first yet Adam was the one who God held most accountable. It is a good reminder to be submissive to my husband. In our society today we constantly have voices coming at us telling us that submission isn’t important.
Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, of all the marriage topics I discuss, submission is easily the one that draws the most criticisms from liberals and egalitarians.
A couple of supporting thoughts: 1) The relationship between Abraham and Sarah in regard to the expulsion of Ishmael is also instructive when it comes to the flow of authority in a marriage, how the feedback and counsel of the woman should work properly in regard to the man’s responsibility and authority as husband. When Sarah implored Abraham to drive Ismael out of the camp, Abraham didn’t just follow her advice directly, like he did when he bedded Hagar, but took her counsel to him before God. Abraham respected Sarah’s counsel enough to take it to God and of course respected God enough to seek God’s counsel. Sarah respected Abraham’s position enough to take her counsel to Abraham for him to make the final decision for the camp. God respected Abraham’s position by revealing his direction to Abraham for him to listen to Sarah on the matter. 2) In the Garden the Serpent tempted Eve that if she ate of the Tree she could be “like God”. The Serpent speaking through Feminism of our time offers the daughters of Eve the same basic temptation with a twist. Instead of specifically tempting them that they can be “like God”, they are tempted that they can be “like men” to have the power associated with certain aspects of God’s image that have been more specifically encoded into men, and men’s nature and men’s role, to not be fully satisfied being unique as a woman. Wanting to be more “like men” than they are designed to be is the same basic drive to want to be “like God” in the Garden. Modern sons of Adam who defend and accept Feminism are co-eaters of this fruit. This leads to three attitudinal spirits that are at war in a woman — the spirit of Eve, Lilith and Jezebel. The Eve spirit is the noble, nurturing feminine spirit that women are naturally designed and ordained by God to have. Lilith is the angry warrior spirit that declares independence from men. Jezebel is the temptress spirit that uses sexual power to try to achieve the power of men. Lilith rebels against Eve and Jezebel follows Lilith.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right that the situation with Abraham, Sarah, and Ishmael does provide a very good example. This was definitely the way it was supposed to take place and makes a great contrast with the previous account when Sarah commanded Abraham and he submitted to her…and it caused plenty of problems.
Yes, you’re right about the temptation. The real offer made Eve susceptible to the same sin the devil himself succumbed to: having no authority.