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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Did the Fall of Humanity Literally Occur?

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Don Stewart
One of the major interpretive issues in Scripture concerns how we should interpret the third chapter of Genesis. What actually happened in the Garden of Eden? Did the Fall actually occur, or is this event to be understood symbolically?

Historical Event

As we examine the Bible we find the Fall is treated as a historical event. More than that, the Fall of humanity is the basis of all subsequent doctrines of Scripture. Without the Fall the rest of the Bible is meaningless for the following reasons:

1.Explanation Of Sin

For example, without the Fall there is no explanation of sin entering into the universe. If we assume that God created the heavens, the earth, and humankind in their present state, then we must assume that God is a bad God. Only by understanding the biblical account of the Fall in a literal manner do we have an explanation of the entrance of sin and the reason the world is in its present condition.

2.Need For A Savior

In addition, without the Fall and the entrance of sin there would be no need for a Savior. The sacrifice of Christ was necessary because of the original sin of Adam and Eve. Apart from the explanation of the Fall, Christ's coming into the world and His sacrifice on Calvary's cross has no meaning.

3.Reliability Of Bible

Another important aspect of the Fall concerns the reliability of God's Word. The Bible consistently treats the Fall as a historical event that affects every major theme of Scripture. From Genesis to Revelation, the entire flow and meaning of biblical history is based upon the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. If the Fall did not actually occur, then the purpose of biblical history makes no sense.


The Fall marked a crucial event in biblical history. The Fall explains the entrance of sin into the world as well as the need for a Savior. It also explains why the world is in the state that it is. Furthermore, the Fall is a main theme throughout Scripture. The major biblical doctrines are based upon the literal occurrence of the Fall in Genesis. Without the Fall, the entire story of the Bible is meaningless.

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