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God created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and told Adam that if he ate of the tree he would surely die.

Genesis 2:9 and 17

9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Then when I read:

Gen 3:1 KJV

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.

And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Several people have told me that the Serpent was actually Satan in disguise, but I find no scripture to back up that assertion.

Whether or not that is true actually doesn't matter since Satan is evil.

Since the Serpent beguiled Eve, would that mean that evil was already present or not?

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I assume you're asking from a Young-Earth Creationist view, since most of the other views regard the Genesis account as allegorical (or at least not exactly literal in the details) to one degree or another, is that correct? –  David Stratton Nov 11 '13 at 2:05
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@ David Stratton you are correct I do not believe that any of the Bible is allegorical. It is my belief that an all knowing and powerful God would have his word unaltered. –  Bye Nov 11 '13 at 14:00
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You should qualify questions like this with what doctrinal tradition you would like an answer for. That way you avoid getting a lot of answers that assume/reflect doctrines and traditions that you do not necessarily accept or agree with. –  RBarryYoung Nov 11 '13 at 19:45
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5 Answers 5

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According to St. Paul:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Romans 5:12)

Regardless of your belief as to whether or not the creation account is allegorical, scripture clearly teaches that before Adam and Eve had taken the "forbidden fruit" the created "world" as we know it (or know of its fallen nature) was perfectly sinless.

As for the existence of "evil," we know from St. Jude that :

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (Jude 1:6)

Did evil exist before the created universe? Yes.

Did sin exist in our world after our world was created? Not until the serpent seduced Adam and Eve.

Note: the definition of both evil and sin must be distinguished in that the two have slightly different meanings. Sin is any choice made by any creature that goes directly against God's will, whereas evil is simply byproduct of sin.

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Mod Notice: The comment tool is not the place to carry on a theological discussion. Please take that to Christianity Chat. Comments containing only theological rambles without being either a request for clarification or suggestion for improving this post have been removed. –  Caleb Jan 31 at 20:31
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Sin wasn't inherently in the world. Sin in disobeying God is what caused us to lose perfection. Since man was created perfect, we know that sin had to come through man.

The topic of Satan as it is involved in inherit sin is tricky. Satan may have had the desire for worship even before man was created. Man was a way of fulfilling that desire, so Satan took advantage of them. It is said in the bible that even having a thought or desire that is wrong can be sinful all in itself. That is if angels/demons count with that verse. They are perfect and should know better or what I should say is that demons where perfect. Even Satan was at one time perfect.

“That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him.” (John 8:44; 1 Jo 3:8)

So even Satan was in the truth for a short time.

I would say both to those questions and here's why:

I would say that sin was already in the world before man knew it. If mans disobeying was sin, then Satan's disobeying and lies where the original sin. If Satan hadn't of lied to eve, then man may not have disobeyed God.

To answer the second part, sin would have spread through the world, but Satan did not have children (then, who knows about later in Noah's day). So Satan tricked Adam and Eve into sinning. Satay may have deceived them, but instead of asking God about it they disobeyed him. So we see that sin entered into the world from man.

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totally should quote eziekel –  caseyr547 Feb 2 at 9:32
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It seems as if your question is due to definitions. The Oxford English Dictionary define sin as: 'A transgression against divine law or principles of morality.' Until there was a prohibition against eating from the 'tree', there was no divine law and therefore logically, no sin.

Only humans can sin - not nature. Nature is however capable of evil. A vulcano can cause evil by the definition of the word. (A far broader word meaning, 'bad, harmful.) Nature was present before humans. Evil was therefore present before Adam and Eve. (This answer is only applicable if we agree that English is the medium of communication on this site.)

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If a volcano is evil, God is also evil by causing the deluge to kill mankind on earth at the time of Noah. Is that what you mean? –  Mawia Nov 11 '13 at 8:34
    
I knew this was coming. It is a matter of language. Sin and evil have different definitions in the dictionary. Due to the definition anything bad or harmful can be described as evil. A vulcano causes harm so it can be said to be evil. Animals can be evil. Plants can be evil. Humans can do evil that is either a sin or not. (War is always evil but not always a sin.) Only humans can sin. Two different words - two different meanings. I try to refrain from defining God in any way. He is a bit above me but I do not impose my view on others. –  gideon marx Nov 11 '13 at 14:25
    
@Gideon all evil in this world including natural disasters are the result or consequence of the original sin. C s Lewis explains evil as corruption of something good. "Evil"nature us a result of corruption imposed from man's fallen nature. Also humans aren't the only creatures that can sin...Lucifer and his demonic army aimed against God to get kicked outta heaven. –  Charles Alsobrook Nov 11 '13 at 22:34
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And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

Revelation 20:2

The serpent was the Devil as Scripture tells us. Evil existed before the creation. Satan had already fallen and been banished from heaven along with the angels he deceived. So yes sin did exist previous to the fall of Adam and Eve.

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....But Satan wasn't inherently evil. Only after man was created did say say in his heart "I want their worship for myself". –  Jeremy Nov 22 '13 at 13:47
    
@Jeremy No it was before. Lucifer's aim was to be "like the Most High." He rebelled against the law of God and out of love for him and the other angels, God did not strike him, even knowing the outcome. Instead God cast him out of heaven into the space. Then he saw the creation of God take place and purpose to tempt them to disobey, as he had rebelled. –  jlaverde Dec 13 '13 at 14:10
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God created evil (Isaiah 45:7). God also created Hell (Matthew 25:41).

It will be unwise to believe otherwise. What will "free will" mean in the absence of evil?

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Welcome to the site. As you're a new visitor, I'd like to recommend the following posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": help page, How we are different than other sites? and What makes a good supported answer? –  David Stratton Dec 25 '13 at 2:58
    
You're going to have to specify exactly what you mean by 'created' for this to work. Most Christian creeds include a note about Him not being the author of evil. Unless you can pin down the distinction this is contrary to most Christian interpretation. –  Caleb Jan 31 at 20:36
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