Was the fall initiated by a transgression of faith, because man trusted the word of the serpent more than the word of God or was it a transgression of God’s law (an act of disobedience)?
Are there denominational variances on this?
Eve was deceived by the serpent about the nature of God and the results of the sin. God was basically called a liar by satan because he said that God didn't want them to eat of the tree because they would be like Him (Gen 3:5).
Once satan broke the trust that Eve had for God (she now believed that God had deceived her), it allowed her to disobey. So the broken trust she had for God started the process. However, it was the disobedience that finished it.
Had she for instance waited till God came back to the garden and asked a few questions like "who is this serpent" she would have found out the truth and as long as she (and Adam) didn't disobey she would've been fine.
I'd say her problem was she didn't have enough faith and patience to wait for God's answer, she also started to desire the fruit, which obviously also clouded her judgement, so just plain old temptation in effect there.
When you combine lack of faith and temptation, you will most likely get disobedience and sin as a result.
I am not sure about any denominational variances.
It is a common understanding among Christians that Adam and Eve disobeyed God but different groups have different ways of understanding it's role spiritually.
According to this verse, it suggests that Eve was the one who was deceived by the serpent. Here is an explanation from "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible".
Adam decided to die along with his wife, this makes him the greater sinner.
Answer: The fall of mankind was initiated by the serpent's deception, followed by Eve who believed it, and finally by Adam who sacrificed his own life to share the same fate of his beloved wife.
This could be a symbol of God's love, who was ready to share our punishment for our sins, who gave His one and only Son, who died on the cross in our stead, bearing all our sins and suffered it's consequences even though He was without sin. Symbolically, Christians are the bride of Jesus Christ, who is also called the Last Adam. Adam gave his life for his wife Eve, and in the same manner, Jesus Christ gave his life for his bride, the Church. The only difference is, while Adam died with his wife but could not save her, Christ saved us through His death.
I think you could also make a case that the very first thing that went wrong was that Adam and Eve didn't keep the serpent out of the garden. They were to tend and keep the garden. Surely they knew who Satan was and what he was up to. They should have thrown him out of it.
There are some interesting points in this thread. I would agree that not trusting in God or having faith in God is disobedience. The basic and ultimate proof is Jesus proclaims that you must put your faith in him to inherit salvation. Now not putting your faith in your only Lord and Savior is the greatest disobedience there is.
Another point I was interested in commenting on though was the subject about Adam eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge after Eve because of his love for Eve. More specifically putting this "love" comparable to Jesus' love for us, (his bride) I think is interesting but also a bit dangerous. There are several scriptures that come to mind that makes me feel that it is dangerous to conclude that way.
1 John 5 (ESV) 5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
Here in John we can read clearly that the Holy Spirit defines Love from the greatest context. Obeying God is Love and therefore in order to truly love yourself or others, especially a spouse, your love is weighed through the filter of obedience or the lack of obedience to God. We see this in many scriptures like the one well know verse in Proverbs below.
Proverbs 13:24 (ESV)24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
We see that loving yourself or any other person with the love measured at it's ultimate definition takes acting in righteousness. Not our own but God's righteousness. That's why we counsel singles to commit to abstinence until they marry because if you find someone you love and want to marry you wouldn't want to do anything to harm them or them to harm themselves. We know that sinning is harmful.
I think that it is inaccurate to logically conclude that Adam ate the fruit because of his love for Eve and even further more conclude that the Bible teaches that Adam eating the fruit was a greater sin than when Eve ate the fruit. (I think there are some logical conclusions that we make because the scriptures highly pulls them together but in other areas it is dangerous to logically conclude something that the Bible didn't speak on) Now there is some truth to the statement about Adam eating the fruit because of his love for Eve. The bible does speak of another kind of love that has a different premise and therefore a different consequence. Here are a couple of scriptures that highlight this point.
1 Kings 11:1-3 (ESV) 11 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. 3 He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. Proverbs 17:19 (ESV) 19 Whoever loves transgression loves strife; he who makes his door high seeks destruction
You can see that there can be sin in our hearts that drives a type of love for our selves and towards others. The Holy Spirit teaches in 1 Kings that God warned Solomon not to marry foreign pagan women because they would turn his heart away from God but Solomon disobeyed because he loved his sin. This kind of love is not the same kind of love that God the Holy Spirit teaches about how God the Son loved us by dying for us in order for us to be saved. He became sin even though he knew no sin but unlike the logical conclusion submitted about Adam disobeying God and eating the fruit (sinning) but not being able to save Eve, Jesus volunteering to die for mankind was an act of obedience to God the Father not disobeying Him. Therefore expressing the Love in it's ultimate context.
Lastly I will end by sharing an example from another person in the bible other than Jesus that shows a love that is endorsed by God. Job 2:8-10 (ESV) 8 And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. 9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 42:12-13 12 And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.
Job rebuked his wife and did not join in her sin just as a head of a house should. (Adam was the head of his household) It does not mean that Job rebuked her and no longer loved her. Job's obedience to God and rebuking his wife's disobedience was truly loving her. Later we see that God blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. The scriptures mention that Job had seven sons and three daughters, now a logical conclusion that I think isn't dangerous and the scriptures seem to pull together, is that Job had these children with the same wife he rebuked years earlier. Job was enjoying his "more blessed" life right along side his wife that he loved.
Great questions and comment, may God's peace be with you all.