As we noted two Sundays ago Genesis 3 is critical to the Bible for it tackles two fundamental topics every philosophy and religious worldview must address:
First, the chapter provides an explanation for the human condition! Because of man’s rebellion against God (A) People are born broken, (B) Society fails to function as God intended, and (C) The world no longer operates according to God’s created order.
Secondly, the chapter provides a hope for the human condition! Because of man’s rebellion against God (A) God enacts a plan for the redemption of humanity, (B) God establishes gender roles so that marriage could function as He intended, and (C) God uses this chaotic world to serve as a constant reminder of the consequences of our rebellion.
As we get back to chapter 3 let’s get a running start… Genesis 3:7-11, “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. 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. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 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?”
Genesis 3:12-13, “Then the man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.’ And the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’”
Admittedly there are two ways to view Adam and Eve’s response: Traditionally, Bible scholars have cast their response into a negative light… That Adam blamed both God and the women he had been given, and that Eve then dodged by shifting blame to the serpent. Note: If you’ve ever heard this position articulated, most do so by inserting into the text their own tone in order to accentuate their point (re-read the passage).
While true that shifting blame for our sinful actions is a natural response of an unrepentant heart, may I ask… Did Adam and Eve possess such an attitude before God? Consider that while Adam and Eve initially “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord” the very moment “they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden,” upon hearing God’s voice cry out “Where are you?” they willingly make the brave decision to step out from their hiding place in order to stand naked in the presence of God!
This is why I don’t see their response in the traditional way… If you just read the substance of the text without inserting a preconceived tone, it’s interesting to point out every word they utter is 100% true! Adam acknowledges that he willingly ate the fruit because it had been given to him by the wife God had given. And the women is honest that she ate the fruit only because she had been “deceived” by the serpent. Neither response seems to me to be a dodge of responsibility, but rather a simple recounting of events!
Instead of shifting blame I see their response to God as really being nothing more than a continuation of their repentance and transparency. The fact they initially acknowledged their sinful state by standing before God in their nakedness only to then honestly recount what had happened demonstrated both a measure of repentance and faith!
Genesis 3:14-15, “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. 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.”
If you were not with us two weeks ago when we began working our way through Genesis 3, it’s important I reiterate the fact that we made the case this “serpent” was not necessarily a literal animal, but was rather the most majestic of all of the angelic host - Lucifer (also referenced in Scripture with the names Satan as well as the Devil).
Additionally, in the same study I also established my belief that the tempting of Eve was the ultimate manifestation of Lucifer’s pride and therefore God’s cursing of the “serpent” his judgment. Notice God’s judgment of Satan would play itself out in two distinct phases:
First… God said, “On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.” While I will admit it’s possible God may be cursing a pre-Fall version of a snake that before this edict could have possessed the ability to walk or maybe even fly like a dragon in addition to speaking, if I were to be honest, the truth is that this interpretation seems weird to me.
If you suppose, as many do, that Lucifer had in-dwelt an actual “serpent” then God’s cursing of the animal appears at a minimum to be misplaced and at its worst cruel. In this scenario the “serpent” would have been the only innocent party in the whole scene!
What is clear is that, as it pertains to this serpent, this curse seeks to “de-exalt” the creature! From whatever status the serpent previously enjoyed, because of his actions (“you have done this”) the serpent would now be stripped of his standing forever!
The reason I think this “de-exalting” pertains not to a literal serpent, but to Lucifer himself is the fact the same imagery is found in the two passages that describe his fall from heaven.
Isaiah 14:12-15, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God… I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.”
Ezekiel 28:12-17, “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God… You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you… Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.’”
Aside from loosing his position in heaven as a consequence of his actions, in verse 15 God makes a fascinating prophecy. He says, “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.”
In order to understand what God is saying, it’s critical we first identify who the “He” is that’s going to “bruise” Satan’s “head.” And note: This phrase “He shall bruise your head” spoke of a fatal blow as opposed to the less impactful “bruising” of “His heel.”
While we’re not given a ton of information as to this Man’s identity we are provided a few clues… First, Satan’s ultimate foe would be a “He!” Though a simple observation, it’s an important one nonetheless. God is clear right from the beginning that Satan’s death blow would come not from another angelic being, but from a human being - specifically a Man!
And yet, this would not be any normal Man… God tells Satan, in the presence of both Adam and Eve, that this Man would come from “her (speaking of the woman) Seed.” I don’t think I need to go into the biological significance of this statement other than to point out that in procreation it is the man who provides the seed and not the women!
What this tells us is that a future Man (who destroys Satan and saves mankind) would be born of “the woman” without the involvement of a man! Instead of the woman conceiving a child with the seed of a fallen male descending from Adam, this conception would take place using a supernatural “Seed” presumably provided by God Himself!
Not only does this text tell us this coming Man would be divine and therefore sinless because He received none of His masculine genetics from Adam (Romans 5:12, “Through Adam sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men…”), but God makes it known this Man’s coming would be easily identifiable… The Virgin Birth! Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (meaning God with us).”
Now why is any of this important? For starters, God is communicating a message to man… While Satan may indeed masquerade himself around as an angel of light, he does not possess the glory he projects. He is a fallen creature who’s been stripped of his status.
Secondly, no seed of man would ever be able to possess the ability to stand alone against the enemy nor the power to ultimately save humanity! The only One who would possess both would be this “Seed of the woman” - Whom we’d come to know as Christ Jesus!
Finally, while Satan may roam this world as a roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy, we know he was, in the end, declawed by the Lion of the Tribe of Judah! On Calvary Satan may have “bruised His heel,” but on that same cross Jesus effectively “crushed His head!”
Take courage that Satan has been forever dealt a crushing blow. His fate eternally sealed! While we mortal men may have been no match for Satan, this masquerading fool was no challenge for the heavenly man - Christ Jesus! Today, we can stand against the enemy’s attacks victorious for (1 John 4:4) “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world!”
Genesis 3:16, “To the woman God 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.’”
As a consequence of the woman’s rebellion we see two things result:
First, God says in “bringing forth children” there would be “sorrow” and “pain.” It’s interesting that in Genesis 1, after creating man and women, God told them to “be fruitful and multiply.” As God had designed it procreation was supposed to be a glorious command humanity was to enjoy and have fun doing presumably without pain. And yet, because of sin and it’s consequences, this command would now carry with it certain difficulties for the woman. Not only would the entire process of “conception” become labor, but raising children would also be filled with “sorrow.”
Though childrearing is incredibly rewarding I think every mom will attest it also comes with deep pain and sorrow that not only begins at birth, but can last a lifetime. Barbara Walters said, “Motherhood is tough. If you want a wonderful little creature to love, go get a puppy!”
Secondly, God says, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” The way this is presented in the Hebrew sets up a struggle. In essence God is saying, “Your desire will be to rule over your husband, but it will be his job to rule over you.” Please keep in mind, God “created man male and female” so that while positionally equal with one another and uniquely distinct from each other compete oneness could be found in marriage unity. Note: Marriage was instituted before sin entered the human condition.
Before the Fall, while gender differences had always been necessary for marital oneness, now that sin has awakened self within the hearts of both the man and the women gender roles and responsibilities within this marriage unit have also become essential… The man is to lead and the women is to submit to his leadership.
Understand, this concept of a man leading and a wife submitting is not only first introduced here in Genesis 3, but the concept itself is reiterated all throughout Scripture because, as with gender distinctions, gender roles also present a picture of much larger Spiritual reality!
Ephesians 5:22-24, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church… Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
Colossians 3:18-19, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.”
1 Peter 3:1, 7, “Wives, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won by the conduct of their wives... Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
What is critical to your understanding of these roles is the reality that, because the Fall resulted from the actions of Adam submitting to Eve and Eve leading Adam, God commands them both to fill the opposite role for marital oneness. Why you might ask?
Because self, awakened by sin in the man and woman, must be supplanted by the enthronement of and submission to God’s Spirit for oneness to be achieved in marriage… God created responsibilities that would force both the man and the women to deny self and submit to God’s Spirit for the strength to do what does not come naturally.
In addressing the importance of these gender roles Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:3, 7-9, “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God... For a man… is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.”
In his Manly Revolution series Pastor Sandy Adams said, “Here is God’s chain of command: The Father leads the Son, the Son leads the man, and the man leads his wife. And recognize, the truth that God the Father is head over God the Son does not diminish Jesus in anyway, or make him inferior… Likewise a man’s headship in the home and in the church doesn’t diminish a woman… The first woman, Eve, was from and for her husband, Adam. She was taken from his side, and her role in their relationship was to stand by his side. The fact the male came first and the female followed reflected God's governing principle - male headship and female partnership. This doesn’t mean women are inferior, or should be dominated by men. Instead, it calls on men to lovingly lead, and women to willingly let them.”
Genesis 3:17-19, “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.’”
Let’s look at what came as a result of Adam’s sin… We’re told God “cursed the ground!” Keep in mind, the earth and everything that God had made had been given to man to “have dominion over.” As man submitted to God his work was fruitful; and yet, now that man rebelled against God, the earth would rebelled against him and his work turn into labor!
And why was this the case… “Cursed is the ground for your sake… for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” God created man to “be fruitful and multiply” as well as to “subdue and have dominion over the earth” with both activities designed to be enjoyable and satisfying; and yet, because of sin, these pursuits will now only prove to be frustrating and empty since God specifically cursed them. You see the purpose of God cursing man’s work… The purpose of the earth’s rebellion against man… The purpose of neither providing satisfaction… Was for man’s sake, his benefit - to remind him of the consequences of rebellion and set his eyes back on heaven!
For man God cursed the earth and for the women He cursed childbearing so that when either a child was born or a harvest reaped it would serve to be a reminder to man as to the fact that all life manifests as a result of God’s grace… It’s a gift of God!
Friend… The only way to find fruitfulness and satisfaction in either your work in this world or your work at home is when these activities flow from a restored relationship with God! Apart from that you will only find them to be labor, toil, frustrating, joyless, and unsatisfying.
Genesis 3:20, “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”
WOW! I know that in our travels through the last two chapters I have referred to “the woman” who’d been taken from “Adam’s side” and given to him to be his wife by the name we all know her by - “Eve”; and yet, her name up until this point had literally been “Women.” It is now, following the Fall and the administering of God’s judgments, that Adam intentionally renames his wife (the woman) “Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”
Don’t overlook how incredibly significant this development is… If you consider that before the Fall the woman would still be the bearer of all human life, the purpose in Adam renaming her was designed to communicate a much deeper reality. You see, in light of the fact death had now entered the human condition, in an act of faith in God’s promise that through the woman a Savior would be born (the restorer of life) Adam intentionally changes his wife’s name to reflect this hope - He renames her “Eve!”
Genesis 3:21-24, “Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. (We’ll discuss this next Sunday) 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’— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 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.”
Did you notice that we’re told “the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden” and then just a few verses later we see God “driving out the man” before “placing this cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the way to the tree of life?” Not only does this indicate man’s resistance to leave the Garden (he was forced), but it shows how determined God really was to make sure no mortal man would ever have access to the “Tree of life.”
How difficult this must have been for both God and man as the full weight of his rebellious actions came crashing upon him? “God drove out the man” from the Garden into an empty and barren world where he would have “to till the ground from which he was taken!” And yet, while man now begins a new existence that would be characterized by toil and suffering, don’t forget man had been given a promise… God had a plan to redeem!
Note the first step in God’s plan… Death! Because of man’s fallen condition not only could he no longer remain in the Garden of Eden (he had forfeited the life and world God had created for him), but God also found it prudent and one might even say gracious to eliminate his access to “the tree of life” thereby ushering in death to the human existence. In His mercy God would not allow man to live forever in his fallenness.
It really is a fascinating thought that man would want to stay in the garden of life in his sinful state and had to be forced by God into this world of death. While on the surface I understand man’s reasoning (living is more appealing than dying), his perspective was short-sighted… Eternal life lived in a fallen state separated by God is the very definition of hell!
Honestly, it would have been just for God to have allowed man to live eternally in his sinful condition! Man deserved such an existence, because he had chosen such an existence. And yet, God graciously eliminated our access to the Tree and instituted human death in order to separate our lives into two basic sections: the temporal and the eternal.
In a sense God allows every man a taste of hell… We are all born into a fallen condition and into a fallen world. Every man knows first hand what life separated from God is like; and yet, because of the sweet mercy of death such a state does not have to last forever!
If you choose to reject this fallen world and are reconciled to God through His Savior, death ends your torment as you instantly enter His glory. However, if you choose this fallen world and reject God’s Savior, death continues your torment as you are cast forever from His glory.
The incredible reality of death is that it affords man the choice he would never have been given if he’d remained in the Garden and retained access to the Tree of life: Continue forever in this hell or choose a new life to be lived eternally in God’s presence! Death allows the temporal man an opportunity to choose a different existence in his eternal state.
It’s kind of like God has given all men a test drive so you’d know what hell is like… This world is the best that life apart from God will ever be able to afford! It’s a world with man at the helm. If you like what you see and would prefer an existence apart from God, then He will honor your choice when you die by allowing you to live for the rest of eternity apart from Him. However, if you do long for something better not only did God send His Son Jesus to make a way, but the eternal life He offers is even available even before you breath your last!
It’s been said, “For the believer this life is the closest to hell some are ever going to get. And yet, for the unbeliever this life is the closest to heaven some are ever going to get!” In Christ the lowest point of this earthly life will be the lowest it’ll ever be for you; and yet, apart from Christ the highest point of this life will be the best it’s ever going to get for you! You decide!
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