Posts Tagged 'Genesis'

Panic Podcast: The Story of the Old Testament, Part 1

Good morning, folks!  It’s a glorious Friday here in my neck of the woods, and I hope today proves to be a great day for you.  It’s the end the week, but we’re beginning a brand new Bible study series today, The Story of the Old Testament.   Don’t fret, though, the second study in our series Daniel: Prophet of the End, will be on Monday, so hang tough.

But for now, open your Bibles to the book of beginnings, the Book of Genesis, as we begin this new series.  God bless you all as we study God’s amazing Word, together.

 

Some Messianic Prophecies, Part 1

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To be a Jew, living under the Law was, to say the least, burdensome. If you somehow managed to keep all the laws, the blessings would be wondrous. But many and varied were the curses that awaited those who broke any parts of the Law. In Deuteronomy 79 and 28, no less than 18 curses are listed. Of significance is this one in the New Testament:

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” (Galatians 3:13 TNIV)

Why is this verse so significant? Jesus Christ was “hung on a pole” or a cross, and He became a curse for us and He took upon Himself the curse and therefore the punishment for all our transgressions – for all our sins. He paid our sin debt; He redeemed us – saved us – from the curse of the Law and the wrath of God. Without the work of Christ, you and I would be hopelessly snared in labyrinth of laws no human being could hope to keep; we would be forever subjected to “curse of the law” for our entire lives.

God gave His people the Law, not make life hard for them, but to show them the impossibility of living a righteous life by simply trying to keep a set of rules and regulations. His people needed to acknowledge – to own up to the fact – that their means of salvation must exist outside of themselves. It’s not like God was keeping that means of salvation a secret. The coming of a Messiah had been prophesied for generations upon generations. In fact, a lot of Christians are astounded to find out that the very first prophecy concerning the coming of Christ is found back in the earliest chapters of the very first book of the Old Testament! God had barely finished creating the material universe when He gave the first hint that a Messiah would come.

Let’s take a look at that early Messianic prophecy, and some others. We’ll learn that God had been planning the redemption of mankind for a long, long time.

The Seed of the woman

In the Hebrew Bible, the very first word of the text is bereshit, which is translated, “in the beginning.” That phrase has become the title of the first book of the Hebrew Bible and our Old Testament, “Genesis,” or “origin,” or “source.” We can thank the translators of the Greek Old Testament for shortening the title down from “In the beginning” to “Genesis,” a much cooler title.

Genesis records the beginning or origin of many things, including the universe, our earth, human beings, the first cities and nations, and sin. It also records the very first prophecy.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. (Genesis 3:15 TNIV)

That’s God talking, and that’s the first prophecy. Let’s check out the context so it makes some sense.

You know the story well; the story of Adam and Eve’s fall from grace. The Devil, embodied as a snake or serpent, slithered into the Garden of Eden, tempted Eve to sin, she did, and in turn she tempted Adam, to sin. He did, and when God found out, here’s how He responded:

But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9 TNIV)

In fact, God asked the first human pair a series of four questions in all. When God asks questions, it’s usually not a good sign for the one being asked those questions. These are the questions:

• Where are you? (verse 9)
• Who told you that you were naked? (verse11)
• Have you eaten from the tree? (verse 11)
• What is this you have done? (verse 13)

Of course, as human beings are wont to do, both Adam and Eve blamed others for their sin. She blamed the serpent, Adam blamed Eve but ultimately he blamed God:

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” (Genesis 3:12 TNIV)

It doesn’t take a theologian to know that blaming God for anything is a terrible idea. Adam’s words drip with irony. Eve was God’s idea:

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18 TNIV)

Adam’s pathetic excuse for his sin shows just how far he had fallen in such a short span of time. Adam saw God’s good and compassionate gift as the source of all his trouble.

In passing judgment, God issued a series of curses that would effect all of creation. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the whole universe was spoiled simply because of Adam and Eve’s sin.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:20, 21 TNIV)

The curses on the snake, the woman, and the man are brief. We are told the briefest details with not a peep from Adam, Eve, or snake. We have no idea what they thought. Oddly enough, the two people and the snake are not depicted so much as individuals involved in a personal crises, but are seen more as representatives. In fact, Adam and Eve’s story is not so much their story but ours – the story of all mankind. These two people are seen as the head of human race and the snake as something else that will dog the steps of every human being down through the time until this first prophecy is fulfilled.

In this prophecy, we read about “the bruised heel” of the coming Messiah. The promised Savior would be, and in fact was, the “Seed of the woman,” but He was also divine – the God-man. This Messiah, this Holy Seed, would bruise the serpent’s head – He would once and for all conquer sin. The serpent, Satan, would bruise the heel of the Savior, on the Cross, where He died, freeing all men from the curse of sin. John Borger:

God has defeated Satan through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That’s putting it simply, but truthfully. Jesus Christ would be the promised “Seed of the woman.”

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about : His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18 – 21 TNIV)

That’s the Christmas Story – the story we all know. It’s the story of the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew refers to Him as the Messiah, which would have been natural since Matthew wrote His Gospel to show Jesus was the legitimate Messiah – the long awaited Savior.

But Jesus was also the promised Seed of the woman. So what’s very interesting about Matthew’s Gospel is that, contrary to Jewish tradition, he includes four women in his genealogy. That was unheard of in this time. The men were important, not the women. But to Matthew, four women were so important they had to be mentioned by name. Tamar was an adulteress. Ruth wasn’t even a Jew, she was a Moabitess. Rahab was a prostitute. And Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, have been stolen from him by David. The two things that unite these four women are highly questionable sexual activities and childbearing.

But Jesus was the Seed of the woman. By mentioning these four women, Matthew shows us two things: First, God uses all kinds of people, in this case women, even those who are obviously imperfect, in carrying out His plans.  And second, we see the absolute solidarity of Jesus with sinful humanity. Jesus came to sinful man in order to break the hold sin had on their lives and to break down the walls between God and all human beings. But to do those things, Jesus had to be born “the Seed of the woman.”

The blessing of Abraham

Moses, in writing the book of Genesis, covered some 1600 years of human history in the first six chapters. But he took 14 chapters to go through the 175 years of Abraham’s family history. Why? It’s because with Abraham and his descendants, God’s plan of redemption is made known. It all started with one man, continuing through his family and the nation that descended from it. Ultimately, from this one man, from this one family, from this one nation, would come the Messiah, completing the plan of redemption begun back in Genesis 3.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. ” (Genesis 12:1 – 3 TNIV)

If we look at Abraham’s call within the context of the book of Genesis, we see something simply amazing. By placing his call after the scattering of the nations at Babylon in the previous chapter, we realize that Abraham’s call is God’s gift of salvation in the midst of judgment. Furthermore, the account of Abraham’s call and blessing is not unlike an earlier account of a similar gift of salvation in the midst of judgment: the conclusion of the Flood. Abraham, like Noah before him, marks a new beginning – another chance for mankind.

Abraham is one of the most outstanding men of the ancient world. So important is Abraham that he is honored by the three largest world religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Before his name changed to Abraham, he was known as Abram, which means “exalted father.”  The idea of a “new beginning” as God’s plan of blessing mankind is repeated over and over again throughout the story of Abraham and his family. But it’s also mentioned as far back as the days of creation:

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. ” (Genesis 1:28 TNIV)

And here:

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:1 TNIV)

The great promise given to Abraham and his descendants is just a restatement of God’s original promise back in Genesis 1. In a sense, Abraham is a new Adam, and the seed of Abraham is the “second Adam,” and new mankind. Those who bless Abraham, God will bless. Those who curse Abraham, God will curse. The way of life and blessing, once marked by two trees, is now marked by identification with Abraham and his seed.
But, who is Abraham’s seed, anyway? At the end of Genesis, we are given a clue:

“Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations be his. He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk. (Genesis 49:8 – 12 TNIV)

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of this prediction from Jacob. This little prophecy in Genesis meant that beyond the tribes of Israel, the people of the world would become obedient to the One who was come to come. He was the final Seed of the woman.

Genesis: Noah’s Flood

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Genesis 6—9

 

Even though the story of Noah and the flood occur early on in the book of Genesis, this event didn’t really take place until some 16 centuries after Adam and Eve.  The population of the earth must have been relatively great given the fact that during the antediluvian (pre-flood) era, man lived a long, long time.  Scholars think that the reasons for man’s longevity have to do with two things:  (1)  the full extent of sin had not yet been realized; (2)  the climate on earth before the flood may have been more healthy for man.

The Sumerian king lists indicate that early man lived an astonishing 43,000 years!  That may be an exaggeration, but Biblical and extra-Biblical sources seem to indicate that man’s lifespan was great before the Flood.

1.  Days of evil, Genesis 6

When the Lord God saw the extent of human wickedness, and that the trend and direction of men’s lives were only towards evil, he was sorry he had made them. It broke his heart.  And he said, “I will blot out from the face of the earth all mankind that I created. Yes, and the animals too, and the reptiles and the birds. For I am sorry I made them.”  (Genesis 6:5—8  TLB)

Between the Fall of man and the days of Noah, man on earth got more and more sinful.  Remember, there were no laws, no police forces, and no governments; there were no restraints placed on man.  Scholars believe the population of the earth at this time was between one and three billion people.  That’s a lot of people with no moral and ethical restraints placed on them.  No wonder God’s heart was grieved!  Jesus taught that conditions preceding His Second Coming would be almost as bad as the days of Noah.

The world will be at ease—banquets and parties and weddings—just as it was in Noah’s time before the sudden coming of the Flood; people wouldn’t believe what was going to happen until the Flood actually arrived and took them all away. So shall my coming be.  (Matthew 24:37—39  TLB)

Bible scholars further note that the “days of Noah” had these characteristics:

  • A tendency to deism;
  • An unnatural prominence of women and a total disregard of the laws of marriage;
  • Progress in building and mechanical arts;
  • A fellowship or union of believers and unbelievers;
  • A disregard for the Word of the Lord through prophets or preachers (like Noah);
  • The appearance on earth of evil, angelic beings.

How bad were conditions on the earth at this time?  Directly preceding the Flood, we read about the intermarriage of the daughters of men and the sons of God.

Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.  (Genesis 6:1, 2  NKJV)

Exactly who these two groups were is up to debate.  Some think the “daughters of men” refers to the godly descendants of Seth and the other group, the “sons of God” were demonic angels.  The Living Bible takes this position.  It may well be that these two groups simply represented believers and unbelievers.  Whoever these people were, their intermarrying greatly displeased God and seemed to have been the catalyst that pushed the Lord toward judgment.

Here, we get an insight into the grieving heart of God.

Then Jehovah said, “My Spirit must not forever be disgraced in man, wholly evil as he is. I will give him 120 years to mend his ways.”  (Genesis 6:3  TLB)

This verse gives us a clue that there may come a time when God sees man, or a man, so engulfed in his sin that the Holy Spirit will simply stop trying to deal with him.  Here, God gave the human race 120 years to repent.

…he was sorry he had made them. It broke his heart.  (Genesis 6:6  TLB)

The KJV says that the Lord “repented” that He had made man.  This in no way means that God changed His mind, but rather, it means that man had grown apart from His Creator; that their relationship had changed.  Man’s wickedness—his sliding from innocence to sinfulness—brought about a brand new kind of relationship between himself and God.  Once God sought to care for and protect man.  Now man must be punished.  No wonder God’s heart broke.

But not all men were wicked and beyond help.  Noah was a good man.

But Noah was a pleasure to the Lord. Here is the story of Noah: He was the only truly righteous man living on the earth at that time. He tried always to conduct his affairs according to God’s will. And he had three sons—Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  (Genesis 6:8—10,  TLB)

Noah, Enoch, and Abraham all had this in common:  they were friends with the Lord.  As with Abraham, being God’s friend let Noah in on God’s plans of destruction.  Abraham learned about the coming destruction of Sodom and the other wicked cities, and here Noah found out about the coming flood.

All the intermarrying resulted in a total corruption of the human race from which there could be no recovery.  Corruption, violence, and anarchy ruled the world of man.  In His grace, God moved to protect and save Noah and his family.  The ark, the method by which the Lord would save Noah and his family, is really a type of Christ; what the ark did for them, Jesus does for us.Ark of Jesus

Noah took the 120 years to build his ark, something that took considerable faith.  Think about this:

  • He built a massive boat on dry land.
  • He predicted something that had never happened before:  rain.
  • He preached 120 years and never won a single convert.

Noah was another who trusted God. When he heard God’s warning about the future, Noah believed him even though there was then no sign of a flood, and wasting no time, he built the ark and saved his family. Noah’s belief in God was in direct contrast to the sin and disbelief of the rest of the world—which refused to obey—and because of his faith he became one of those whom God has accepted.  (Hebrews 11:7  TLB)

Based on Scripture, the ark Noah built must have been mind boggling. No wonder it took over a century to do it.  The total square footage of the ark was almost 1.5 million.  Each animal had about 10 square feet of living space.  Each insect and reptile had approximately 24 square inches of floor space and about 216 square inches of floor space for each bird.  There were probably (this is an educated guess) 1,700 animal species on the ark, 100,000 species of insects, 987 species of reptiles, and some 10,000 species of birds.  The ceilings of the ark were over 14 feet high, which left plenty of room for food storage and cages for smaller animals.  Many of the animals were small, like the size of dog or a cat.  And, keep in mind, whales and large sea animals, and in fact all fish and sea creatures were not on board the ark. Considering the world-wide devastation caused by the torrential rains, the eruption of springs and geysers, and the mixing of salt and fresh water must have killed many sea creatures.  Some, obviously survived, since we have fish today.

2.  Entering the ark, Genesis 7

A week before the waters came, the animals found their way into the ark.  Finally Noah’s family entered the ark and there they waited for the rain.

One week later, when Noah was 600 years, two months, and seventeen days old, the rain came down in mighty torrents from the sky, and the subterranean waters burst forth upon the earth for forty days and nights.  (Genesis 7:10—12 TLB)

The rain came down from the sky and came up from the ground.  How horrific it must have been for those on the outside of the ark.  With that much water, there was nowhere to hide.

As the water rose higher and higher above the ground, the boat floated safely upon it; until finally the water covered all the high mountains under the whole heaven, standing twenty-two feet and more above the highest peaks.  (Genesis 7:18—20  TLB)

The water did exactly what God wanted it to do:  destroyed all life on earth.  The destruction was so complete, it is stated twice.

And all living things upon the earth perished—birds, domestic and wild animals, and reptiles and all mankind—everything that breathed and lived upon dry land.  All existence on the earth was blotted out—man and animals alike, and reptiles and birds. God destroyed them all, leaving only Noah alive, and those with him in the boat.  (Genesis 7:21—23  TLB)

3.  God remembered, Genesis 8

God didn’t forget about Noah and all the animals in the boat! He sent a wind to blow across the waters, and the floods began to disappear…  (Genesis 8:1  TLB)

It took a long time for all that water to subside.  Those in the big boat waited almost a month after land appeared just to be on the safe side.  All in all, Noah and his family were in that ark one year and ten days.  Upon disembarking, the first thing this man of God did was to build an altar and make a sacrifice to God.  Wrote Von Rad:

The first human work that the liberate earth, which is again restored to man, sees is an altar for God the Lord.

The destruction of the world by flood is not just recorded for us in the Bible.  The Sumerians (relatives of the Babylonians) have their heroic righteous man, Gilgamesh.  The Sumerian epic is, of course, very polytheistic, yet it is eerily similar to the story of Noah.

The story of Gileamesh and his flood epic

The story of Gilgamesh and his flood epic

4.  The covenant, Genesis 8:21—9:29

Our God is a covenant-making God, and the Noahic Covenant outlines the promises God made to Noah after the flood.  The provisions of this often overlooked covenant include:

  • God will maintain the regular sequence of seasons forever.
  • Man’s supremacy over animal life is stated.
  • God will allow man to eat animals as long as the blood has been drained.
  • Man’s authority over his fellow man is stated so that he might now administer judgment upon a murderer.

And so, the human race and all sentient life of on earth was given a second chance by God.  Studying Noah’s Flood is important because of the deep and profound theological overtones implicit in it.

  • All of man’s problems lay in his rebellion against God—his wicked imagination and bent toward harming himself, his fellow man, and even the world around him.
  • We learn that there is a point at which God will not tolerate man’s sinfulness.
  • God made special provision for the few who were faithful to Him.  He led them and protected them, making a way for them to escape His judgment.  This is a common theme throughout Scripture.
  • Those who suffered judgment brought it on themselves.  God gave all men a lengthy period of time to repent.
  • In the events of the Flood, we see that God is total control of OUR environment.  Man, in spite of current so-called scientific trends, does not control his environment on a world-wide basis.
  • God uses the world around us for salvation or judgment.
  • There is no mystery in serving God.  God establishes the rules by which He expects man to abide by.  The choice to live in obedience to God, as it has always been from the very beginning, is man’s to make.


Genesis: The Fall of Man

Eve 

Genesis 3

 

Chapter 3 of the first book of the Bible answers another question man has asked:  How did sin and evil enter the world?  Scholars have called this one chapter the “pivot on which the whole Bible turns.”  It’s certainly an important chapter because it makes clear that sin was not part of God’s original creation.  It also confirms what we all know:  we were created with a free will and the first human pair freely chose to rebel against God.

One noted Bible scholar has described the fall of man like this:

By accepting Satan’s word and Satan’s system in preference to God’s Word and God’s order, they handed over the deed of trust to Satan and enthroned him as the legal ruler.  They transferred their allegiance from the Father of lights to the father of lies.

1.  Steps in the fall of man, Genesis 3:1—6

Bible scholars and students wonder about the temptation.  Why was man allowed to be tempted in the first place?  In reading the creation accounts of the previous two chapters, we discover some interesting facts about man:  he was created innocent; he was created to be an intelligent, rational, and reasoning being; he was created with a free will.  So, man was created innocent, but he was NOT created righteous.  Righteousness is not the same thing as innocence.  Righteousness is innocence that stands up to temptation.

In reading the creation accounts, we discover an interesting thing about temptation:  it will either develop a godly person’s character or it will destroy it.  The Garden of Eden was a real place and it was occupied by two real people:  Adam and Eve.  They were real people in every sense of the word; real people just like we are.  They had emotions and desires and strengths and weaknesses just like we have.  Just as our character is developed over the years, so was theirs.  Our character develops in the face of temptation sometimes, and so did theirs.  Adam and Eve were created to be responsible people; responsible to obey God, to serve God, and to glorify Him in how they lived.

God created man and He gave man a single admonition:

But the Lord God gave the man this warning: “You may eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the Tree of Conscience—for its fruit will open your eyes to make you aware of right and wrong, good and bad. If you eat its fruit, you will be doomed to die.”  (Genesis 2:17  TLB)

There were all kinds of trees in the Garden of Eden and man had access to all of them, save these two.  Why?  Adam and Eve needed to grow and mature and learn.  They needed to learn about themselves; they needed to learn about God; they needed to understand that while they were given dominion over the earth, God had ultimate dominion over all life.  And they needed to develop character.  Their free wills needed to be tested so that Adam and Eve would willingly acknowledge their subordinate position to God.

The serpent was the craftiest of all the creatures the Lord God had made. So the serpent came to the woman. “Really?” he asked. “None of the fruit in the garden? God says you mustn’t eat any of it?”  (Genesis 3:1  TLB)

The entrance of the serpent into the Garden of Eden brought discord into what had been a harmonious world up until now.  Satan chose as his instrument of temptation a serpent.  As originally created, it must have been different from the serpents (snakes) we have today.  Eve wasn’t afraid of it and wasn’t surprised that it spoke to her!  So it’s likely the snakes in Eden were not like they would become after this serpent was cursed.

The serpent approached Eve, not Adam, for reasons not given.  Perhaps it was because she had heard God’s admonition second-hand that Satan reasoned she could be duped more easily.  Whatever the reason, he approached her, pretending to be ignorant and pretending to ask a legitimate question.

Eve’s first mistake was paying attention to the serpent.  Had she followed the admonition of Scripture, the encounter would have gone no further.

So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  (James 4:7  TLB)

“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “The Scriptures say, ‘Worship only the Lord God. Obey only him.’ ”  (Matthew 4:10  TLB)

Instead of doing this, Eve actually engaged in a conversation with the serpent, revealing her ignorance.

“Of course we may eat it,” the woman told him. “It’s only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not to eat. God says we mustn’t eat it or even touch it, or we will die.”  (Genesis 3:2, 3  TLB)

She both added to and took away from God’s Word.

Eve’s second mistake was in looking at the fruit way too long.  In doing so, she was allowing the temptation to take root.  It’s one thing to be tempted with fleeting thoughts and images of sin, but it’s another thing to linger on those thoughts and images too long.

The woman was convinced. How lovely and fresh looking it was! And it would make her so wise!   (Genesis 3:6a  TLB)

Eve’s temptation proved to be such a winning strategy that Satan has stuck to it ever since!  He appeals to the flesh and to the mind.

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.  (1 John 2:16  NKJV)

Both Eve and Adam ate of the forbidden fruit and they discovered the serpent was right:  their eyes were indeed opened.  But like all of Satan’s promises, it wasn’t quite the enlightening experience they had hoped it would be.  Their eyes were opened, but only to their nakedness—all they saw was their shame and guilt.

Eve was duped, but Adam sinned knowingly.  We may speculate as to why.  It has been suggested that Adam sinned so that he could stand by his wife, and in doing so he was essentially choosing his wife over God.  No wonder Paul taught that Adam’s sin was greater.

When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. His sin spread death throughout all the world, so everything began to grow old and die, for all sinned…  (Romans 5:12  TLB)

2.  Results of the fall, Genesis 3:7—24

An immediate result of the fall was that both Adam and Eve realized they had done something very wrong and they tried to cover it up.

So they strung fig leaves together to cover themselves around the hips.  (Genesis 3:7b  TLB)

Shame inevitably stands as the corollary of sin.  Before the Fall, man did not have a conscience; he was innocent in every sense of the word.  Sin put a conscience in members of the human race.  You can thank Adam for that little voice inside your head that nags you and accuses you all day and all night long.

Covering up their shame didn’t work, so Adam and Eve tried to hide themselves from God’s sight.

That evening they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden; and they hid themselves among the trees.  (Genesis 3:8  TLB)

Disobedience to God always—always—results in estrangement from God.  But then Adam did an astonishing thing that proves all people have inherited his tendency to sin:

“…it was the woman you gave me who brought me some, and I ate it.”  (Genesis 3:12  TLB)

He did what all children do:  blame somebody else!  But it’s not just children who try their best to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.  It seems like Adam tried to blame Eve for his fall, but really he tried to blame God.  Adam’s reason was that if God hadn’t created and given Eve to him, he never would have sinned.   Eve, learning the ropes from Adam, quickly blamed the serpent.

How foolish did these two think God was?  Naturally God completely disregarded those lame attempts at self-justification and proceeded to pronounce a series of curses upon His perfect creation.

God confronted Adam and Eve, and at last He confronted the Serpent.  But He didn’t ask any questions of it.  The serpent, Satan, was ultimately responsible; therefore he would pay the ultimate price.  From a perfect creation, the serpent was devolved into a nasty, loathsome, pitiful creature that would forever crawl along in the dirt.  God spoke to Satan what theologians like to call the protevangelium, or “the first gospel”:

“From now on you and the woman will be enemies, as will your offspring and hers. You will strike his heel, but he will crush your head.”  (Genesis 3:15  TLB)

The first prophecy in Scripture:  the promise of redemption.  It was an indication of the incredible mercy of God that He promised deliverance for man even before He passed sentence on him.

God punished Eve by essentially breaking her heart.

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.  (Genesis 3:16  NKJV)

A mother cannot bring a child into the world without pain and sorrow of some kind.  And, note this, her affections will always be toward her husband but her husband will not return that affection.  Instead, he would rule over her.

God punished Adam by breaking his spirit.

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’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.  Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.  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.”  (Genesis 3:17—19  NKJV)

Man would now have to work and work hard.  What should have been a pleasure would now be drudgery.  The world around him was degraded because of what he had done.  Adam would live with that knowledge all the days of his life.  Of note is that while Eve’s affections would always be directed toward Adam, Adam had no such judgment placed on him.  This explains why, even down to this very day, men (husbands especially) exclaim, “I just don’t understand women!” and why women (wives especially) get so frustrated when their husband or boyfriend just doesn’t want to spend as much time with them as they think they should, or they are not as thoughtful as she thinks he should be.   A harmonious life between men and women would now be difficult thanks to the introduction of sin.

God helped Adam and Eve out by replacing the pitiful fig leaf coverings with clothing made from animal skins.  In helping man, animals had to die.  And so man learned that his covering before God would have to come from an atoning sacrifice; that his own efforts would never be good enough.  Just as God provided a sacrifice for Adam and Eve, so He provided One at Calvary for all men.

The final result of the Fall of man was the expulsion of the first couple from the Garden of Eden.  This act may seem mean or harsh, but it was actually an act of supreme mercy.  Had Adam and Eve remained in the Garden, eventually they would have eaten fruit from the Tree of Life, and they would have spent an eternity as sinners with no hope of ever breaking free from that awful enslavement.  Old Testament scholars Keil and Delitzsch make a powerful observation on this point:

In follows that man had not yet eaten of the tree of life.  Had he continued in fellowship with God, by obedience to the command of God, he might have eaten it, for he was created for eternal life.  But after he had fallen through sin into the power of death, the fruit which produced immortality could only do him harm.


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