Men, without exception, are inclined to repel evil and to pursue goodness. But men, unconsciously driven by an evil force, repel the goodness desired by their original minds and perform evil acts which they do not really want to do. In Christianity, this evil force is known as “Satan”. Because man does not know the real nature and origin of Satan, he has been unable to liquidate the force of Satan. In order to eradicate the source of evil, end the sinful history of mankind, and establish an era of goodness, we first must clarify the motivation of Satan and the nature of his being. In order to do this, we must study the “Fall of Man”.
Until the present era, not a single man has known the root of sin. Christians have believed that Adam and Eve, the first man and the first woman, ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and that this act was the root of sin. There are a number of believers who assume that the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is the fruit of an actual tree, while others believe that the fruit is a symbol. Such diverse opinions lead to differing interpretations and, hence, to confusion.
Many Christians to this day believe that the fruit which caused Adam and Eve to fall was literally the fruit of a tree. But how could God–the Parent of man–make a fruit so tempting (Gen. 3:6) that His children would risk falling in order to eat it? How could He have placed such a harmful fruit where His children could reach it so easily?
Jesus said, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” (Matt. 15:11). Then how could the food which man eats cause him to fall? The original sin of man has been inherited from the first man and the first woman. How could something edible be the source of that sin or the cause of transmitting that original sin to the children? That which is inherited is passed on through the blood lineage. What a man has eaten cannot be transmitted from one generation to the next.
There are many who believe that God created the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and commanded man not to eat of it in order to test man’s obedience to Him. We must ask: would a God of Love test man so mercilessly by a means that could cause his death? Adam and Eve knew they would die when they ate the fruit, for God had told them. Yet they ate it. We cannot understand why Adam and Eve, who were far from starvation, would disobey God’s command at the risk of their lives. The fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil must have been so extraordinarily stimulating and so ardently desired that fear of punishment–even death–could not deter them from eating it.
If the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not a material fruit, but a symbol, what does this symbol represent? To answer this question let us begin with an examination of the Tree of Life, which grew in the Garden of Eden along with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2:9). When we grasp the true character of the Tree of Life, we will also know the nature of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
According to the Bible, the hope of fallen man lies in the Tree of Life, that is, in becoming a Tree of Life. Israelites of the Old Testament looked toward the Tree of Life as their ultimate hope (Prov. 13:12). The hope of Christians from Jesus’ day to the present time has been directed toward the Tree of Life (Rev. 22:14). Since the ultimate hope of fallen man is the Tree of Life, we can conclude that the hope of Adam before his fall was also the Tree of Life.
Why can we conclude that the hope of Adam was to attain the Tree of Life? Genesis 3:24 says that after Adam committed sin, God placed cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the Tree of Life. Due to his fall, Adam was driven from the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:24) without having attained the Tree of Life. Ever since then, fallen man has set his hope upon attaining what Adam failed to attain–the Tree of Life.
What must Adam have hoped while he was in the process of growing to perfection? He hoped to reach perfect manhood without falling and thus fulfill God’s ideal of creation. So we can now understand the importance of the Tree of Life as “manhood fulfilling the ideal of creation”, as perfected Adam. The Tree of Life represents perfected Adam.
Had Adam attained the Tree of Life, all his descendants also could have attained the Tree of Life and thus they could have realized the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. But Adam fell and God placed the flaming sword at the entrance of the Garden to guard it. So the Tree of Life remains the hope of fallen man, who is trying to restore the ideal of creation.
Why is the quest to attain the Tree of Life so difficult that none have attained it? Fallen man, burdened with original sin, cannot achieve that goal by his own ability alone. A man who has fulfilled the ideal of creation on earth must come and draw all fallen men to himself in harmonious oneness (Rom. 11:17). Such a man must come to show fallen men the way. Jesus came as the Tree of Life to fulfill the hope of the Old Testament saints, who had waited for his advent (Prov. 13:12).
Acts 2:4 states that the saints, on the day of Pentecost, could receive the Holy Spirit, through whom all mankind might come to Jesus, the Tree of Life, and be joined with him. This would happen only after the distribution of the “tongues as of fire”, that is, the sword of fire, which guards the way to the Tree of Life. In this way only are Christians spiritually joined with Jesus. Thus, no matter how devout their faith in Jesus, parents cannot but give birth to sinful children, who are required to undergo the redemption of sins. We know that even the most pious saints have not been able to remove the original sin; therefore, even they must transmit this sin to their children (cf. Part I, Ch. 4, Sec. I–140).
Therefore, Christ must come again on earth as the Tree of Life to carry out the providence of the redemption of mankind from original sin by grafting men to himself. This is the reason that the saints of the New Testament Age wait for the Tree of Life recorded in Revelation 22:14, which is, in fact, the Lord of the Second Advent.
We can understand that the purpose of God’s providence of salvation is to restore the Tree of life which was lost in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:9), to the Tree of Life mentioned in Revelation 22:14. Because of the fall, Adam could not attain the first Tree of Life. Therefore, Christ must come again as the last Adam (Rev. 22:13) in order to save fallen man. It is for this reason that Christ is called the “last Adam” (I Cor. 15:45).
God created Adam, and He also created Eve as Adam’s spouse. Thus, when we find in the Garden of Eden a tree symbolizing manhood, we know there must be another tree symbolizing womanhood. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which was described as standing with the Tree of Life (Gen. 2:9), was thus the symbol of Eve.
The Bible refers to Jesus as the vine (John 15:5), or the olive tree (Rom. 11:17). Likewise, Adam and Eve are represented by two trees.
In the Bible we read that the serpent tempted Eve to sin (Gen. 3:4-5). What does this serpent signify? The answer is found by studying the true character of the serpent in the third chapter of Genesis.
The serpent described in the Bible could converse with man. Moreover, he caused the fall of man, who is a spiritual being. Therefore, the serpent also must have been a spiritual being. He knew God’s intention to prohibit man from eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This tells us decisively that the serpent was spiritual.
In Revelation 12:9 we read further that the “great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent”, who is called the devil by some, and Satan by others. This “ancient serpent” was the same one which tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. This serpent is called the devil and Satan who, as we know, has constantly directed the human mind toward evil. Therefore, Satan must be a spiritual being. If the devil is spiritual, the serpent symbolizing the devil also must be spiritual. So we are assured that the serpent which tempted the first man and the first woman was not an animal but was a spiritual being.
A question we must resolve, then, is whether the serpent existed before the time of the creation or was formed at the creation. If this serpent was a being in existence before creation with a purpose contrary to that of God, the struggle between good and evil in the world would be inevitable and eternal. God’s providence of restoration, then, would come to naught; and monism, the belief that all things were created by one God, would be disproven. We cannot avoid the conclusion, therefore, that the spiritual being, likened to a serpent, was a being originally created for the purpose of goodness who later fell and was degraded to become Satan.
What kind of spiritual being could have conversed with man, known God’s will, lived in heaven (the world of spirit), and could dominate the human soul, transcendent of time and space, even after this being’s fall and degradation? There is no being endowed with such characteristics except an angel. The serpent, then, must have been a figurative term for an angel. We read in II Peter 2:4 that God did not spare the angels when they sinned but cast them into hell. So we must conclude that the true nature of the serpent, which tempted man to sin, was that of an angel.
The serpent’s tongue is split in two. This symbolizes a man or being which utters two different things with one tongue, a being which lives a double life with one heart. The serpent is also the symbol of one who induces others to sacrifice themselves for his own benefit. The serpent twists its body around the prey, and then devours it. For these reasons, the Bible likened the angel which tempted man to a serpent.
Now we know that the serpent which tempted man to fall was an angel, and that this angel, having fallen into sin, became Satan. Let us further investigate what kind of sin the angel and (the) man committed.
Jude 1:6-7 reads:
And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day; just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally [committed fornication] and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
From this we can reason that the angel fell as the result of an immoral act of unnatural lust, and that act was fornication.
Fornication is a crime which cannot be committed by one person alone. Therefore, we must know with whom the angel committed fornication in the Garden of Eden. In order to know that, let us first investigate what kind of crime was committed by man.
In Genesis 2:25 we read that Adam and Eve were naked, and were not ashamed of their nakedness. But, after the fall, they became ashamed of their nakedness and sewed fig leaves together into aprons to cover their lower parts (Gen. 3:7). If they had committed sin by eating an actual fruit of a “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”, they would have concealed their hands and mouths instead. It is the nature of man to conceal an area of transgression. They covered their sexual parts, clearly indicating that they were ashamed of the sexual areas of their bodies because they had sinned through them. From this we know that they committed sin through the sexual parts of their bodies.
In Job 31:33 it is written: “If I have concealed my transgressions from men, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom…”. Adam concealed his transgression by covering the sexual part of his body after the fall. This again indicates that the sexual part of Adam’s body was the area of transgression. Thus we must conclude that Adam’s sexual part became the place of transgression, because Adam committed sin through that part.
In the world before the fall of man, what act could man have performed at the risk of his life? It could be nothing else but an improper act of love. From the viewpoint of God’s creation, love should be the most precious and holy act in the world. Nevertheless, men since the fall have often regarded the act of love as despicable, because love was the very cause of the human fall. This further demonstrates that man fell because of fornication.
Thus far, we have clarified the fact that man was tempted by an angel and fell. Both man and the angel fell because of fornication. In the world of creation, men and angels are the only spiritual beings capable of having a relationship of love. From the above, we can conclude that there must have been some act of adultery between man and the angel.
John 8:44 says, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.”. Again, Revelation 12:9 clarifies that the devil is Satan, and that Satan is the “ancient serpent” which tempted man. From these Biblical verses we can assert that man is the descendant of the devil and, naturally, the descendant of Satan; and thus, he is the descendant of the serpent. What were the circumstances surrounding the affair which made man the descendant of the fallen angel, Satan? These circumstances are related to the fact that adultery was committed between the first human ancestors and the angel. From this act, all men came to be born of Satanic lineage, apart from God’s. In Romans 8:23, it says: …we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
In Matthew 3:7, John the Baptist reproached the faithless people, calling them a “brood of vipers”–sons of Satan. Again, in Matthew 23:33 Jesus rebuked the Jews, saying, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?”.
From these Biblical references we can ascertain that there was an adulterous relationship between the angel and man, and this became the cause of the fall of man.
We have previously clarified the fact that the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is Eve. What then does the fruit of the tree symbolize? It symbolizes Eve’s love. Just as a fruit tree multiplies by the fruit which contains its seed, Eve should have multiplied children of goodness through her love centered on God. But instead, Eve multiplied children of evil through her love centered on Satan. Eve was created to become perfect through the period of growth she could bear either good fruit or bad fruit through her love. Consequently, her love was called “the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”, while she herself was called “the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”.
Then, what did the act of eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil signify? When we say we eat something, it means that we make it into our blood and flesh. Eve should have multiplied children of good lineage through her blood and flesh of goodness derived from the good “fruit” she ate in her love centered on God. Instead, she produced a sinful world by multiplying children of bad lineage through her blood and flesh of evil derived from the evil “fruit” she ate in her love centered on Satan. Accordingly, Eve’s having eaten the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil signifies that she had a blood relationship with the angel (Satan) through her evil love centered on him.
Genesis 3:14 states that God cursed the fallen angel, saying he should go upon his belly and should eat dust all the days of his life. “Upon your belly you shall go” means that the angel becomes a miserable being, unable to function properly according to the original way of creation. To have to “eat dust” means that he has to live by receiving evil vitality elements from the sinful world, deprived of the right to have elements of life from God, since he was thrown down from heaven (Is. 14:12, Rev. 12:9).
According to what has been elucidated by the Bible, we have come to understand that the root of sin is not that the first human ancestors ate a fruit, but that they had an illicit blood relationship with an angel symbolized by a serpent. Consequently, they could not multiply the good lineage of God, but rather multiplied the evil lineage of Satan.
Furthermore, there is another fact which demonstrates clearly that the root of man’s sin stems from adultery. It is because the root of sin began by a blood relationship that the original sin is transmitted from generation to generation. Every religion which teaches how to eliminate sin has called adultery the greatest sin, and has emphasized an ascetic life in order to prevent it. This also demonstrates that the root of sin lies in adultery. The Israelites were circumcised as a condition of redemption to become God’s elect, because the root of sin lay in having received evil blood because of adultery, and they wanted to sanctify themselves to make a condition that the evil blood be removed from their flesh as fallen men.
The principal cause of the downfall of numerous nations, national heroes and patriots, was adultery, because the urge to commit adultery, the root of sin, was always at work in the mind of man without his being conscious of it. We may be able to eradicate all other sins by elevating the ethics and the morality of man through religion, education, and improvement of the economic and social system. But in present conditions no one can prevent the crime of adultery, which has become increasingly prevalent as the development of civilization makes human life easier and more indolent. Therefore, we can never expect the ideal world to be established unless we can eradicate the source of this crime. Accordingly, the Lord of the Second Advent must be able to solve this problem completely. All these facts prove that the root of sin lies in adultery.