The Bite Heard Around the World

Posted: January 25, 2018 in Genesis, Uncategorized

Genesis 3, “The Bite Heard Around the World”

The first shot of the American Revolution is sometimes referred to as “the shot heard round the world,” quoting from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem, “Concord Hymn.” 

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,

Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,

Here once the embattled farmers stood,

And fired the shot heard round the world.

Emerson was on to something, when we consider the impact that the independent United States of America has had upon the world. The first shot fired at the Old North Bridge in Concord, MA, was certainly a shot that changed history.

Something similar could be said about the bite in the Garden of Eden, only to a far greater extent. If the United States of America has been influential over the last 200+ years, how much more influence have Adam and Eve had over the entirety of human history? As our first father and mother, what they did in the Garden affects us all today.

It would be easy to write off the events of Genesis 3 as mere myth – a scare-tactic story meant to warn kids away from sin, and somehow provide an explanation for why our world is the way it is. But that’s not how the Bible portrays it. What took place in the Garden of Eden is real history, and the Bible consistently refers to it that way, even in books written thousands of years after Genesis. (Romans 5 providing a classic example: death came to all through one man: Adam; likewise, life is available to all through one man: Jesus.) The events of Genesis 3 literally set up our understanding for the gospel, running all the way from Genesis to Revelation.

Remember how we got here: Genesis 1 showed God’s creation of the universe. Over the course of six days, God made everything that could be made, declaring all of it to be good. On the 7th Day, God ceased from His work & rested, setting up a promise and standard for all time that we are to find our rest in God. (Through Jesus Christ, our true Sabbath Rest!) In Genesis 2, we receive greater detail of what took place on Day 6 regarding the creation of man. The LORD God formed man from the dust, breathing life into him, and providing for him a perfect home (the Garden of Eden), a perfect calling (tending the Garden), and a perfect command. In that command was full freedom to enjoy everything given him by God, along with a warning to abstain from one tree which brought certain death.

God gave Adam one other thing: a perfect partner. From the side of the man, God built a woman. She was truly equivalent to him in every way, and in this God set forth His intent for marriage.

What now? Everything is good & right – it is exactly what God intended it to be. Sadly, things wouldn’t stay that way for long. Sin is introduced to the world, as Adam and Eve fall from perfection to their own temptations and flesh. Doubt was cast upon God’s word & God’s character, and that set the stage for all kind of evil to come.

God never leaves His beloved people without hope – but God’s people shouldn’t doubt Him in the first place. The very best way to beware temptation is to believe God. Trust Him, His character, and His gospel!

Genesis 3

  • Serpent & Sin (1-7)

1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

  1. When this all took place, we don’t know. How long did Adam & Eve live in perfection? It’s impossible to say. It could have been a day – a month – a year – perhaps as little as an hour. However long it was, at some point the devil reared his ugly head and started the whole chain of events to come.
  2. Serpent = Satan. Of course, a snake/serpent is a literal “beast of the field,” but this is more than a story about a talking animal. This is the first Biblical example of demonic possession, with Satan actually taking control of this animal, speaking through it. Some later Jewish (post-Christian) commentaries make this out to be only an animal, but there’s no question the Bible itself sees this as Satanic possession. Revelation 12:9, “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” What does a dragon look like in the ancient near east (and even modern far-east)? Like a long serpent. There’s no question that the Biblical writers all the way to the apostle John understood the serpent to be the embodiment of Satan, and it’s no wonder he posed such a danger to the first human couple!
  3. He was cunning – he was shrewd – he was “” Never forget this part. Satan, as powerful as he is, is just another one of the many creations of Almighty God. Satan is not the counterpart to God, nor is he in any way co-equal to God. Satan is a creation of God, and falls under the ultimate jurisdiction of God.
  4. Satan is a sower of doubt and confusion. He asks a question directly contradicting God’s clear word. Go back to the original command: Genesis 2:16–17, “(16) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; (17) but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.””  What the Hebrew text shows is that what God said at the end of verse 17, Satan directly reversed (negated). It’s the exact same wording as God’s, with a negation at the beginning (“not”).
    1. God had given freedom; Satan made it seem like restriction.
  5. The woman responds, vs. 2…

2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”

  1. Although to us, the first clue of something being wrong might have been a talking serpent, we’ve got to put ourselves in Eve’s place. Everything was brand-new to her. We don’t know if any other animal spoke in a human language, but from her perspective, just because other creatures hadn’t done it in the past didn’t mean that they couldn’t do it at all. If this was the first time she heard a creature speak, an easy assumption would have been that the other animals simply hadn’t yet spoken up. Nor can we fault Eve for engaging with the serpent, being that this was her very first experience with deception. Considering that the only other beings she had spoken with in the past had been God & her husband, she had only ever heard the truth. She had no reason to expect deception.
    1. That being said, she still ought to have known something was wrong the moment Satan contradicted God’s word. 
  2. The woman corrected the serpent, at least to some extent. She understood part of the commandment, though she did not quote it directly. Notice the difference between the last part of 3:2, and the first part of God’s command in 2:16. Eve didn’t remember/quote “freely.” She missed God’s emphasis on “eating you may eat,” which demonstrates the vast freedom He gave to the human couple. … So what? So she neglected to see God’s grace.
    1. When we miss God’s grace, we open the door to trouble!
  3. The 2nd thing Eve got wrong was God’s warning. Although she was correct to say that God told them not to eat of the tree, she was incorrect in what came after. She added to God’s command by saying “nor shall you touch it.” Not only had she misunderstood God’s word, she added to it.
    1. Beware of legalism! We think legalism will keep us from sin, when it really keeps us from walking in God’s love & grace.
  4. The 3rd thing she got wrong is that she missed God’s emphasis on the consequence of death. She did the same thing in vs. 3 as she did in vs. 2, leaving out the repeated wording that demonstrates the emphasis (“dying you will die”). In fact, her wording actually leaves open the possibility that this was a consequence that might notLest you die,” could mean “in case you die,” or “you might die.” Even while adding legalism to God’s word, the woman dialed back its severity.
    1. How important it is to know the word of God! God’s word protects us from these things…but we have to know it! 2 Timothy 3:16–17, “(16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

  1. It’s another direct reversal of God’s word, but interestingly, the serpent quotes God better than Eve! He included the emphasis left out by Eve. (Satan knows the Bible better than many Christians!)
  2. Satan didn’t only lie about God’s word, he impugned God’s character. He implied that God was petty & jealous – as if the only reason God didn’t want the humans to eat the forbidden fruit was because He wanted to keep them stupid & ‘in their place.’ How false! God’s desire was to bless Adam & Eve, and protect them from certain death, but the Devil twisted this to his own devices. This is his specialty, and he even attempted it with Jesus during the wilderness temptation (and failed!).
    1. When in doubt about God’s character, look to Jesus. When we have seen Him, we have seen the Father (Jn 14:9). We know what God is like by looking at Jesus. The next time Satan gets you doubting God’s love, look to the cross!
  3. Question: Did the serpent lie? Yes, no question, in that he directly refuted God’s clear statement. Did the serpent also tell the truth? Perhaps, a bit. Satan knew that Adam and Eve would not strictly drop dead the moment they ate the fruit (or at least, he probably suspected as much), but he did know that the humans would gain knowledge that they previously did not have. They would know the difference between good and evil, if by nothing else, through their own experience. To this point, the man & woman had known only They experienced good fellowship with God, received His good word, received His good blessings, etc. They hadn’t yet known evil because they hadn’t engaged in it. They hadn’t yet known evil because they hadn’t had to fight off temptation. Case in point: Eve didn’t recognize the evil right in front of her eyes…she would, afterwards!
  4. What was the true temptation? To be like God. It’s not enough to be made in the image of God; we want to be God, with His knowledge and authority. We want to be able to determine what is right and wrong for ourselves in our own lives, not being accountable to anyone.

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

  1. The three things of the tree that were appealing to the woman are the three things about “forbidden fruits” that are still appealing to us today. For her, “the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise.” The apostle John sums up what it looks like for the rest of us: 1 John 2:15–16, “(15) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”
  2. So she was tempted. The serpent lied to her (which she didn’t recognize), and then presented the fruit in the best light possible. She’s gazing at it, dwelling upon it, considering whether or not to eat of it. What should she have done? Turn & run! She could have fled the temptation, trusting that God would have given her a way of escape (1 Cor 10:13). She could have changed the subject of her thoughts – instead of thinking upon the temptation in front of her, she could have thought upon the God who made her & loved her. She could have dwelt upon the good thins that she knew & experienced, rather than the questionable things she had never known. Paul wrote to the Philippians, telling them to think on the things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, etc. (Phil 4:8) When in doubt about things she didn’t know, she could have thought upon the things she did Failing all of this, she could have cried out for help. She had Adam standing with her – she could have asked him to help her think things through. Failing all of this, she could have cried out to God in prayer. Surely God would have made Himself immediately available to her, if she but asked. Options were available to Eve; she just didn’t take them. Instead, she gave into the temptation by taking of the fruit & eating.
    1. How many times have we done the same? We like to claim that we were trapped by temptation and that we were overwhelmed in the moment – but the reality is different. We have options; we just don’t take them.
  3. Not only did Eve eat of the fruit – she gave to Adam, and he ate. Right here is the far bigger sin, and it does not rest on the shoulders of the woman. Granted, it wasn’t good for Eve to pass along her temptation, but the fact that she could do so speaks volumes regarding the silence of her husband. Where was he when the serpent lied about God? Where was he when his wife was presented with the visual temptation? He was “with her,” and said nothing. He had been commissioned by God to “tend and keep” the Garden (Gen 2:15) – he had been entrusted by God with a glorious helpmate, of which he was one flesh (Gen 2:24) – yet Adam completely neglected his responsibility to protect his spouse and care for the integrity of the things God had given him. His was silence of the worst sort – a criminal negligence that has lasted through the ages.
  4. In addition to Adam’s silence regarding his wife, was his silence regarding God’s word. Remember that God had given His command before the woman was created. The command and warning was given in Genesis 2:16-17; the building of the woman occurred in 2:21-22. If Eve misquoted God, it could possibly be assumed that she had never heard the command directly from God. (Although it’s quite possible that God gave the command more than once.) No such assumption is possible for Adam. He had heard the original command directly from God Himself. At any time, Adam could have spoken up and corrected either the serpent or the woman (or both!), yet he said nothing. He allowed God’s character to be insulted, and God’s word to be abused. In so doing, Adam showed himself fully complicit in this sin. In fact, it could be argued that Adam sinned before ever sinking his teeth into the fruit. A sin of omission is no less a sin than a sin of commission.
    1. Of what have we been silent?

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

  1. Satan had promised that their eyes would be opened (vs. 5), and that much was true. All of sudden they recognized good & evil, with the understanding that they had engaged in evil. Something was wrong, and they blamed the symptom rather than the disease. Because they realized they were “naked,” they attempted (poorly!) to cover their nakedness. The reality was that the only reason their lack of clothing was a problem was because of their lack of obedience in the first place. Nudity wasn’t the issue; sin was. They had no way to cover their sin, so they tried covering their bodies instead.
  2. This is what happens when we try to deal with our sin apart from Christ. We come up with our own coverings, and find that each one is inadequate. Drinking, addictions, excuses, etc… All of those things are nothing but fig leaves, unable to do anything except make our sin problem worse. What we need is true covering – true atonement – true forgiveness. That only comes through Jesus.

So the man & woman have a true predicament. They’ve sinned, and they fully understand that they have sinned. They’ve tried to cover up their problem, but have been unable to do so. At some point, they know they’re going to have to deal with God (because all sin will eventually be addressed by God). What to do? In His mercy, God takes the initiative and goes to them. Vs. 8…

  • Call & Confrontation (8-13)

8 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.

  1. Before getting to Adam & Eve, note the wonderfully casual nature of God. We think of Him as awesome, being seated on high (and He is!), but He also chooses to humbly and lovingly approach His own people, allowing us to respond to Him. The picture here is of God in incarnate human form, casually walking to & fro within the Garden of Eden in the afternoon (literally, “in the wind of the day,” potentially referring to an evening breeze). No doubt this is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, God the Son who is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15), strolling in His garden – not unlike how Jesus would later walk with His disciples throughout Galilee.
  2. Keep in mind that God knew that Adam & Eve had sinned. Being omniscient, there’s no way God was ignorant of this fact. Long before He ever created the man & woman, God knew they would sin against Him. He knew of the temptation that Satan would place before them, and their fall from grace that would result. This was that day. With that in mind, God could have come into the garden like a hurricane – He could have brought thunder, lightning, and firestorms – He could have called out with a booming voice, demanding the death of His beloved humans. He didn’t. Instead, God came casually walking. This is grace!
  3. Although God had come as lovingly as He possibly could, Adam and Eve still “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God.” Not only is this physically foolish (how is it possible to “hide” from a God who knows everything, sees everything, and is in all places all at once?), it’s spiritually foolish. This was the God who created them and loved them. The man and woman had just engaged in terrible sin, incurring for themselves the penalty of death. If there was any time they needed the help of God, it was now!
    1. What they did, we do. When we sin, what we need most is confession and forgiveness. Yet what is it we do? Hide & ignore the problem. We try to fix things ourselves and cover over the problem – we engage in our own version of fig aprons. What do we need to do? Confess! In confession is healing, forgiveness & cleansing. (1 Jn 1:9)
  4. Adam and Eve weren’t addressing the problem, so God attempted to coax it out of them. 9…

9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

  1. This isn’t a question of ignorance; it’s a question of compassion. The all-knowing God wasn’t seeking information by asking Adam where he was. God knew exactly where he & the woman were, what they had done, and with what they attempted to clothe themselves. What God was doing was giving Adam an opportunity to confess.
  2. Sadly, Adam didn’t do it. Adam answered, but he did so halfway, never addressing the real issue. He could have said, “I sinned against you, so I hid myself” – instead, he gives a partial truth: “I was afraid because I was naked.” As God will point out, the only reason Adam knew that he was naked was because he had sinned. Adam could have confessed it all right here, but didn’t. On the contrary, instead of taking responsibility for himself, he blames God. “I heard Your voice in the garden” – IOW, “God, You came into a place I wasn’t ready for You to come. I heard Your voice, and I didn’t want to confront You in my sin. If You had stayed put, I wouldn’t have had to hide.” (Sound familiar to your own life?)
  3. What was equally as sad as Adam’s excuse was his fear. Of whom was he afraid? Adam hadn’t feared the serpent, nor had he feared the consequence of sin (at least, not at first). Adam feared God. Only after Adam sinned, did he have any inkling of the fear of God. If Adam had feared God rightly, he might not have gotten into this predicament in the first place!
    1. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom! (Prov 9:10)

11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

  1. Once again, God gave Adam an opportunity to confess. He clearly points out the things Adam did wrong, giving him the chance to admit to it and seek forgiveness. Still, Adam refuses.

12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

  1. Instead of taking responsibility, Adam shifts the blame. First, is to the woman. It was the woman’s fault that Adam ate. She forced open his mouth, shoved in the fruit & made him chew it. Obviously not. Had Eve given him the fruit? Had Eve listened to Satan? Yes. Was it Eve’s fault that Adam ate? Not in the slightest. He remained silent and passive as his wife engaged in spiritual battle, and he willingly went along behind her. This was Adam’s fault, and Adam knew it…which is why he shifted the blame.
  2. Worse yet, Adam ultimately blamed God. “The woman whom You gave to be with me…” The same woman over whom Adam earlier sang a song of wonder & praise – the same gift of which he longed from God – this gift he now despised, and blamed God for giving in the first place. If God hadn’t given him the woman, Adam would have never fallen into sin. Right? Adam showed himself terribly weak in the face of the Tempter. At least Eve spoke up and said something; Adam didn’t say anything at all! Adam’s sin was terrible enough, but he made it far worse by blaming God.
    1. God is never to blame for our sin. God will test us, but He never tempts us (Jas 1:13). God is sovereign, but He never forces us to act against our own freewill. We sin because we want to sin. (He doesn’t make us sin, but thankfully He provides a solution!)

13 And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

  1. The woman did a bit of blame-shifting of her own, but at least she told the truth. This was exactly what happened.
  • Curse & Consequence (14-24)

14 So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.

  1. Notice God didn’t give the serpent an opportunity to confess. The serpent was demonically possessed by Satan, who at this point was a sworn enemy of God. There’s no indication in the Bible whatsoever that Satan (or any other demon) has any access to forgiveness – the grace of Jesus Christ is available to humans alone, demonstrated in the fact that Jesus came incarnate as a human (not an animal, nor an angel, etc.). When He died upon the cross, He became a sacrifice for mankind.
  2. Question: Why does God curse all serpents for the actions of this one Satanically-possessed serpent? Is this an indication that this is all some sort of Hebraic myth, not intended to be taken literally? No. God pronounced the curse on “the serpent,” but it never says that God pronounced a curse on all snakes/serpents. The picture here isn’t of a mythological explanation of why snakes don’t have legs (neither do worms, but they aren’t cursed) – it’s a picture of Satan being cursed to a lower position than the animal kingdom. Keep in mind that Satan believed himself to be a contender to Almighty God, thinking himself more glorious than anything else in creation. Now, he’s cast to the lowest point on the totem pole, beneath even the insects that crawl on the ground. If Satan wanted to impersonate or possess a serpent, then it is a serpent’s existence he shall receive, crawling in the dust of the earth. Satan was pronounced to be eternally humiliated, destined from the Garden of Eden to face eternal defeat.
  3. When would that defeat be most pronounced? At the arrival of the future Messiah. 15…

15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

  1. Genesis 3:15 is one of the most important prophecies in all the Scripture! Often called the “Protoevangelium,” it is the first gospel prophecy in the Bible. (Proto = first; evangelium = gospel.) Even for those who believe that God speaks to the singular serpent on behalf of all future serpent/snakes in vs. 14, there’s no question that God speaks to Satan at this point, as God declares Satan’s future doom.
  2. The prophecy can be centered around two main thoughts: enmity, and bruising. “Enmity” is actually the first word of the verse, being a bit unusual considering it’s an adjective & not a verb. The placement implies emphasis, and this is the first indication of the spiritual war that takes place between mankind and Satan – a war still being fought today, and one that will continue until Jesus’ return. Although the victory has been won, the battles continue, as the Scriptures acknowledge when Peter writes that the devil roams about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Pt 5:8). There will always be this enmity between Satan and mankind (specifically between Satan and the woman), the good news being that Satan will never be so successful in his fight that he is able to claim victory.
  3. More than between the serpent and the woman, the enmity exists between the serpent’s “seed and her Seed.” Much hangs on that tiny word! The Hebrew זֶ֫רַע could technically be translated “descendant/offspring,” (as does the NIV & ESV) which perhaps opens the door for the idea of a general war between the generations of humans and demons. But there seems to be something far bigger at work here:
    1. This is a unique wording in Scripture. The word זֶ֫רַע hardly ever refers to women, but to men, which makes sense considering that biologically speaking, men have “seed” and women have eggs. In the four total uses of the term in the Bible that do refer to women, two are 2nd-person statements in which God promises something to a specific female about her specific offspring, and the other two examples are here – both 3rd-person references (“her offspring/seed”).
    2. All of the references are singular. If this was a reference to humanity as a whole, we would expect a plural “seeds.” Even if the term could be thought of as a singular plural (like the English “offspring” instead of “offsprings”), all of the accompanying verbs are still singular. “He shall bruise,” etc.
    3. Even the promise of the future bruising is emphatic. Technically, it could be translated “He himself shall bruise your head.” Although this could be an “it,” it’s more naturally translated as “He.”
  4. The point? This is a reference to specific Someone. When God pronounces enmity and bruising, it’s not just between Satan and the woman in the Garden of Eden, it is between Satan and Someone who will be born of the woman in the Garden of Eden. This is a prophecy of Someone who will come from the lineage of humans who will bring ultimate defeat to the devil. The fact that this “Seed” is so tied in with the “woman” indicates something special about this future Person. He won’t be just another seed of a man, but a Seed of a woman. Right here, in the Garden of Eden, God lays the groundwork for the virgin birth of Christ. And exactly as God pronounced, Satan would ‘snap at’ the heel of Jesus, bruising Him, and Jesus would ‘strike/crush’ the head of the serpent. It’s so visual: the way the heel of the Seed is bruised is when the Seed’s foot comes down on the head of the snake, crushing him forever.
  5. What makes this so great? Consider the timing! This is the very moment of the initial sin of mankind. Adam and Eve have not yet left the garden, when God gives a promise of future redemption. The sentence due for their sin has not yet been carried out, when God speaks of an ultimate victory over their enemy. Sin has just happened, and God already has a plan. God had always had a plan. This was God’s plan from before the foundation of the world.
    1. If God had a plan from eternity past for the sin of Adam and Eve, surely He has a plan for you & for me. 
  6. The good news is that God promises victory over the devil. The bad news is that there are still consequences for the man and woman. They had each sinned against God, and they had their own punishments to receive. First, the woman in vs. 16…

16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”

  1. Eve receives two basic punishments: physically painful childbirth, and emotionally painful struggles. One of the very reasons for her creation was so that she and Adam could have children together, and the event which should cause some of the grandest joy in the life of a mother is now a moment that is most physically painful. Today, we live in a day & culture with access to nerve blocks and other treatments, but for much of history (and still most places around the world), every human is born through physical pain. To be sure, almost every mother affirms the child is worth it, but it exists, nonetheless. It wasn’t originally meant to be that way. God’s original intent was for painless childbirth, but that is an ever-existent reminder of our fall from grace.
  2. The second half of her curse was to be her emotionally painful struggle in marriage. Instead of natural partnership between husband & wife, there would be division. The two individuals had originally been intended to be one flesh (speaking of both body and mind), but this would no longer be the case. The bottom line is that every marital argument finds its root in the Fall. Every act of male chauvinism goes back to the curse, as does every attempt for a wife to subvert her husband. Painful? Yes, but just. After all, if Adam and Eve had truly acted in humble unity at the temptation – if Eve had sought out the counsel of her husband, and if Adam had spoken up as he was meant to do – none of this would have happened. What they struggled with in the temptation, they would struggle with for the rest of their lives (as do all marriages around the world).
    1. The good news here is that although we can’t do much about painful childbirth, there’s much that can be solved in marriages among two people who are fully committed to Jesus Christ!

17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: …

  1. Notice that to the woman, God did not describe to her how she sinned. After all, she had freely confessed it. The serpent deceived her, and she ate. To Adam, however, God lays it out. To this point, Adam hadn’t taken responsibility for what he had done, so God told him. Instead of heeding the voice of his God, Adam heeded the voice of his wife. Instead of abstaining from the tree, which he was clearly warned of, Adam ate. Adam had disobeyed God at a fundamental level, and he would surely bear his punishment.

… “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 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.”

  1. As with the serpent and with the woman, the punishment for the man was also poetically just. Adam had been formed from the ground (the two Hebrew words are closely related), and Adam would return to the ground. Adam had been given the responsibility of tending the garden; he would now toil over the dust. The warning of God would prove absolutely true: “dying you shall die,” and that’s what would happen. Instead of living forever in God’s grace, Adam would one day have life leave him, and his body would decay. Even in the present day, Adam would face the continuous nature of death. Though no one in history was ever more physically healthy than Adam, even he would get to a point that his body would fail him, as it began to break down before he died.
  2. More than that was the spiritual death that resulted immediately. From that point forward, there was death in the spirit of mankind, which is exactly why we need to be born of the Spirit before we can enter the kingdom of God (Jn 3).
  3. FYI: there’s an aspect of the curse for man & woman that is parallel. “Toil” עִצָּבוֹן (3:17) is closely related to “pain” עֶ֫צֶב (3:16). Both man and woman suffer in similar ways. The woman experiences pain in a joyous event she was created to do – likewise with the man. The man was created to work, and now experiences hardship in doing so.
    1. That said, there is good news for the man as well: there is hope in Christ! For those who are born-again, the horror of death is taken away & the hardship of life is relieved!
  4. Even Adam recognized his hope, vs. 20…

20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

  1. At first glance, this may seem to be a randomly inserted thought, put here for lack of a better place. Yet considering the curse he just received, this is the perfect place for Eve’s naming. Consider it: Adam was just told by God of the surety of his death, yet what does he name his wife? “Life.” Adam holds out hope for the promise of God in Genesis 3:15. Death is upon him, but he understands life is coming. Not just life, as in the future children Eve will bear, but the true life that will come from the future Seed. For all of Adam’s flaws, he had hope and faith in God’s gospel – no doubt he (like us) was saved by grace through faith in the hope of Jesus Christ!

21 Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.

  1. There is both practical and spiritual provision in this. Not only were the “tunics of skin” far more effective than the fig-leaf aprons, but for tunics of skin to be available, animals had to be slain. The first sacrifices took place that day, as God provided for the sins of His beloved humans. The wages of sin is death, and death came – that day to a pair of animals, in an act of atonement for the sins of Adam and Eve.
  2. For all that was laid upon the humans in the curse, there is no doubt that God still loved them!
    1. Just like God still loves us!

22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—23 therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

  1. Not petty jealousy; true parental/Godly concern. This too, is protection & provision – God protects Adam and Eve from eternal separation from Him as sinful creatures. Imagine living eternally in an ever-decaying body. Imagine living eternally in physical torment separated from the God who loves you & created you. That’s the fate from which God spared Adam & Eve. By forcing them from the garden, God allowed them to experience physical death, which in turn would lead to spiritual life.
  2. Sadly, many multitudes experience exactly this same fate. None in hell have eaten from the tree of life, but they do spend an eternity in physical and spiritual torment, always dying, but never falling out of existence – never again able to reconcile in peace with their Creator God.
    1. God didn’t want that for Adam & Eve, and He doesn’t want it for us! God wants all people, everywhere to be saved!

Conclusion:

When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, everything changed. Sin entered humanity, along with death, and all of creation fell with the humans. Every single bit of suffering seen around the world traces its origins back to that moment. Every natural disaster – every act of violence – every heartache and shed tear has come as a result of that bite. No act done among men has influenced more things…save one.

The singular act that eclipses the Fall is the act that was prophesied immediately afterward: the cross and resurrection of Jesus. He is the promised Seed of the woman who crushes the head of the serpent. He is the One who brings life out of death, and reconciles not only mankind, but all of the created universe with God. When Jesus comes back at the end of the age, He will begin the consummation of all things, and what was once lost will be restored…and it will be glorious!

What do we do in the meantime?

  1. We don’t doubt God’s word or God’s character. Temptation begins with this, and it continues the longer we dwell upon it.
  2. We do trust the work of Jesus! What was promised in the Garden has been completed today, and although we still live in a fallen world, we exist as redeemed men & women of God. 
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