The Fall of Mankind and The Beginning of Redemption
September 19, 1999 | Andrew Davis
Judgment, Temptation, Justice of God, Original Sin
The constant devastation of sin
This morning, I got up while it was still dark. And as I do every Sunday morning, I went out and got the Sunday newspaper. Usually I go right for the sports page. I hate to admit that, but that's what I do. The things that are truly important, right? But this morning I went for the front page. And I did it on purpose because I know what I'm going to preach on today. I'm preaching on Genesis chapter 3 — the entry of sin into the world. And I knew full well that all I had to do is look through the pages of the front page of the paper, and there'd be one evidence after another of the effects of what we see in Genesis chapter 3.
Funeral services were held yesterday in Fort Worth, Texas, for the victims from the Wedgwood Baptist Church shooting. Larry Gene Ashbrook killed seven people and then committed suicide. It described the victims, among the victims were a Sunday school teacher studying to be a youth minister, a seminary student whose smile lit up every room she walked into, a church soloist who tutored inner city youth, and a high school student whose life was just opening up for him. And I felt a sense of grief over those losses, as we all do.
Right below that story there was a story about a crack epidemic in New York City that's effect is waning, but they're still concerned about it. Also an article about the AIDS epidemic in Africa, and how 11 million people have died in the last 15 years from that disease. Another story on the front page, problem for social workers, deadbeat dads refusing to pay child support for children that they have fathered but have turned their backs on. And as I mentioned in my prayer this morning, a multinational fleet sailing from Australia to East Timor in Indonesia, trying to bring order out of chaos. There are roving bands of militia going from village to village. They've brought anarchy, and people have fled to the mountains for their lives. And so the United Nations is organizing an airlift for food for those folks. Also, I saw a story a couple of nights ago on Nightline about the earthquake in Turkey, and about a 13-year-old boy who lost his mother in that earthquake. And she was still alive for a number of hours under the rubble and about the conversation they had in the aftermath of that. And all of this is so discouraging to us.
As I'm talking this way, I'm thinking that I'm sounding just like a newscaster every night. Night after night, we see effects of sin in the world around us. And as we reach the end of the millennium, the end of this century, and look back in history, we realize that specifically this century, the 20th century, has been the most devastating century in the history of the world. The three greatest murderers of all time, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung, lived in this century. Together, collectively responsible for the lives of over 100 million people. Even more have suffered from diseases, which have only begun to rear their ugly heads in this 20th century. Certain forms of cancer and viral diseases, and heart disease that has come and taken millions of lives. And also more have died this century from natural disasters, from earthquakes and tornados and floods than in any other century.
And yet, as you look back at the 20th century, you realize that this century is not really all that different than any of the other 19 that preceded it. Just different in scope. There's more people alive today. There's more technology. If the Mongol hordes that swept across Asia and into Europe had had the weapons of destruction that we had, they would have exacted the exact same toll as we've seen in the 20th century. There's really no difference in the human heart over 20 centuries, is there? Nor is there a difference in the human condition. It's just a matter of the scope of it. And as we look at this and we listen to story after story, the question keeps coming. Especially with these shootings, we keep asking the same question, "Why?" "Why," is what the media asked about this man. "Why did he do it?" And there really is no other explanation than to come back and look at Genesis chapter 3 and see the origin of sin in this world.
The Apostle Paul says in Romans chapter 5, it says, "Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin. And in this way, all sinned," because Adam represented us at that tree. But it also says at the end of Romans chapter 5, "Where sin increased or even threatened to overwhelm us, grace increased all the more." And so we see in Genesis chapter 3 the origin of sin and also the origin of God's redemptive plan of grace. And in the end, God's grace will triumph over human sin. Amen? Amen.
And that is the word of encouragement that we come to hear today as we look at this. Genesis chapter 3, I believe, is the most devastating chapter in the entire Bible. It's not a cheerful chapter. It's not a happy chapter. You take this one little chapter, this one even little verse, verse 6, and out of this one verse comes all the ills and evils you have ever faced in your life. All the pain and suffering and distress you have ever faced has its origin and its root in this chapter. And so we need to understand sin, we need to understand temptation, and even more, we need to understand the redemption that God has made.
Temptation, sin and guilt
Let's begin in verse 1, and we're going to look first at the first section, verses 1 through 7, the temptation and sin and then the guilt which came from that. Verse 1, it says, "Now, the serpent was more crafty than any of the other wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?' The woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' 'You will not surely die,' the serpent said to the woman, 'for God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'"
Verse 6, "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. And she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
Let's just stop there. The beginning of all the trouble comes with the tempter, the tempter comes. And he doesn't come plainly revealing himself to be what he is, the incarnation of evil on earth. He comes in disguise. And this is the same strategy, it's been this way throughout time, he comes to us in disguise. Now, here he takes on the disguise of a serpent. Other times, the Scripture says, he takes on the disguise of an angel of light. But he's wise in his approach, if you can call it wisdom. And he knows enough to know that if he's going to come plainly, openly, he would never have any success, so he comes in disguise.
Now I don't really know why he chose the serpent. It could be that God limited his choices, and he chose the serpent because it kind of was crafty in its motions and in its approach, and so it was fit and appropriate for what it was he was seeking to do. But there was a greater masquerade here, and the masquerade will come unfolded as we see the temptation. The masquerade is that, "I am your benefactor. I'm coming to help you. I'm coming to give you something that you need." And that's the greater masquerade, isn't it? But God's purpose in all of this... you may wonder, "Why did this happen? Why did God permit it to happen?" Well, understand that at this point, the devil had already fallen into sin. He had taken with him, according to Revelation chapter 12, one-third of all the angels that had been created, and they had been cast down to earth. They were not yet in hell. Hell is prepared for the devil and his angels, it's not yet come. When Jesus came to the demoniac of the Gadarenes, the demon said, "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?" So, there's going to be a time in which they'll be thrown into hell despite all the little cartoons you've seen. They're roaming around the earth causing trouble.
The temptation conquers
And in this particular time, he comes to the garden. Now, the question is, why did God permit him into that sacred place, the Garden of Eden? I believe that God brought him to be judged. I believe He brought him to that tree to be judged by Adam. For he had already sinned and the time had come for his judgment. It says in 1 Corinthians chapter 6, verse 3, "Do you not know that we will judge angels?" Have you ever wondered about that? How are we going to judge angels? Well, ask yourself this question, what angels are worthy of judgment? The devil's angels. And so I believe that that judgment should have occurred right there and right then. When the temptation came, Adam and Eve should have turned and said, "Get out of this holy place. With this sinful wicked insinuation against God, get out of this place." And who knows what history would have happened after that? So, I believe that God brought him for judgment.
It says in Matthew 25:41, "The King will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." Who knows, but that would have become their habitation that very day if Adam had done his job. Satan's strategy is not simply to passively accept his judgment at this point. No, he goes on the offensive, boldly, and he approaches the woman. He doesn't go to Adam, but he goes to her. And he begins to attack God's word, he begins to question it. "Did God really say such and such?" This is the way it's always been. Even in the 20th century, we see certain scholars beginning to question, "Is this really the Word of God? Is this really what God said to us?" It all starts with a questioning of this book. "Is this really the Word of God?" And so Satan has never changed his approach, it works. "Did God really say that you should do this Himself?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat from the fruit of the trees in the garden." But God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die."
Now, scholars have noted that there's nothing in God's prohibition about touching. It's just something that she added, she began to add to the Word of God. We are neither to take away from the Word of God, nor are we to add to it. It's the pure Word, it's perfect, it doesn't need anything more. So, it's already begun to work in her mind, and at this point, Satan goes very much on the attack, on the offensive. At this point, up to this point, he's just questioned, "Did God really say this?" Now, he said, "God, by the way, was lying to you." He openly insinuates that God was lying. He said, "Actually, you're not going to die. You will not surely die." And then the question could come, "Well, then why did God say it? Why did He say to not touch that tree in the center of the garden?" "Well, I'll tell you why He said it, because He knows. He knows that if you do, you'll be like God. And He doesn't want that. You see, God is holding out on you. And I am your benefactor, and I'm here now to give you something which you need, something which you lack. I really have your best interests at heart." Oh, the wiles of the devil, that you would just know how he comes to you.
I really believe you should study his techniques. And the Apostle Paul says, "We are not unaware of his schemes." Are you unaware of his schemes? You should be aware of what he does. If you fall into sin there is forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ. But don't just stop there, look back and unravel it, say, "What did he do? What did he do in me so that I fell, so that I sinned, so that I won't do it again?" But here, Satan is just lying flat out, he's saying that God will not... "He knows full well that you're not going to die, but rather you're gonna come up to another level. You're going to be like God, knowing good from evil. And He doesn't want that. He's threatened by you," says, Satan. And Jesus said of Satan in John chapter 8, verse 44, "When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." From the very start, Satan was a liar.
And, in effect, Satan was reversing positions here. He's saying, "I am truly God, and God is the devil. All right? He is the evil one, He is the one who desires to destroy you and hold back from you." The terrible reversal insinuated in this temptation. Well, up to this point, it's just temptation. There's nothing... There's no evil in temptation for us, is there? We can be tempted... Jesus was tempted. We can be tempted and be pure. But what happens is that temptation starts to insinuate, it starts to work its way in. It starts to be attractive. There's a pull, like gravity or like magnetism starting to pull. And so she begins to look at the tree and begins to ponder it and think about it. That's when you're in trouble. You're on a slippery slope when you start to look at the thing and say, "You know, that's something that I want."
It says in 1 John 2:15, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, the boastful pride of life, come not from the Father but from the world. Scholars have noted that there's a direct connection here, a direct connection between the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, the boastful pride of life, and what it is that motivate it. Look what it says in verse 6, the most devastating verse in the entire Bible, verse 6, oh, that it could have been cut out. What a different word, what a different world we would have if it hadn't been for Genesis 3:6. But she looks and she sees that the tree is good for food. There's an attraction there. She's not satisfied with what God's provided, all these beautiful trees, but she wants this one. It's good for food, and it's pleasing to the eye. It's attractive to her, but even more, it's desirable for gaining wisdom.
Now, let me stop right here. Was anything gained at the tree? Was there anything gained? Was there some benefit that came to them? It says it's the tree of knowledge, of good and evil. Let me ask you a question. Did Adam and Eve know good at that point? Oh, did they know good. They knew good better than you know good. They knew the whole world was good. God had created a good world. The trees that they were eating from every day were good. Their work was good. Their relationship was good. They had a deep knowledge of good.
Let me ask you another question, did they know evil at that point? They had no knowledge of evil. None. Do you realize what your life would be like if you get through one 24-hour period and experience life the way Adam and Eve did before that tree? To know what it would be like to go through 24 hours and not know evil at all. To have nothing but a pure mind, a pure walk with God, a service to him from a pure heart? They didn't know anything about evil.
It says in the Book of Romans, Paul says, "I want you to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil. I want you to be naive about evil things." I wish that they had never gotten this knowledge. So, what was gained? Oh, yes, there was something gained. The knowledge of evil was gained, and that's all. So, they gained this. They reached out, she reached out, she took this fruit, she ate it. She gave some also to her husband, who was with her, and he ate as well.
Now, I've gone too fast. At this moment, the woman had changed religions, you didn't even notice it. She suddenly had become polytheistic. She worshipped... Perhaps she worshipped God in some way, form or another. She was now kind of honoring the serpent, following his way. But even more, she had come up in her own estimation. She was like God in her own mind, and so she had a new religion. And now she turns to her husband as somewhat of a missionary for the new religion, begins to entice him and to tempt him. Satan doesn't ever approach Adam in this particular case, the woman comes. And it's so devastating and so tragic when we become instruments of the devil, to lure one another into sin. Each and every one of us has played that terrible role from time to time.
Two types of sin
2 Timothy 2:25, the Apostle Paul says, "Those who oppose the man of God, he must gently instruct in the hope that God will grant them repentance, leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will escape from the trap of the devil who has taken them captive to do his will." Well, that's a very good example of Eve at that point. She had been taken captive temporarily to do the will of Satan and to entice Adam into sin. Now, the key question at this point is, where had he been all this time? Was he there all along, or had he been away? We really can't tell. All we know is, at that key moment, he was there. Now, if he'd been there, shame on him. He should have stepped forward and he should have banished that serpent immediately. He should have spoken forcefully like a soldier. He should have been like the cherubim at the end of the story, with a sword flashing back and forth protecting that holy ground, protecting his family. Instead, he was just standing there quietly, just taking it all, just accepting it.
Now, it says in 1 Timothy 2 that Eve was deceived, but Adam was not. Eve was tricked. She didn't fully understand what she was doing. Adam was not. He fully understood. And so, in both Eve and Adam, we see the two types of sin that there are. There is ignorant sin, sin in which you didn't know what you were doing was sin. And then there is willful, knowing sin, that God would protect us from both. It says in Psalm 19:12, "Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins, may they not rule over me." You see this both there in Psalm 19. There are hidden faults, we don't understand what we're doing, and then there is that willful rebellion, which we know full well what we're doing. Adam and Eve represent both.
Now, there's immediate consequences, they have shame with one another. That beauty in that relationship at the end of chapter 2 is gone, it's gone forever. They're ashamed in front of one another, they take these fig leaves and sew them up. But even worse, they are soon going to demonstrate shame before God, their Creator. They're going to have to hide behind some trees when He comes. So much has already been lost. So much had been lost at this moment. Their marriage would never be the same again, neither would marriage on earth be the same. Parenting would never be the same, society would never... We all sinned in Adam. Sin entered the world at this point. And now what's God going to do?
People have asked before about this whole problem of evil, and where did it come from. At this point, if you're God, you have a choice. You can either destroy them and start again, or you can work a redemption plan. You can begin to work salvation out of this. And God chose the second, the grace of God, which overwhelms sin. And so He comes in. But first comes judgment day. In verse 8 through 19, that's what we get. In verse 8, it says, "Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?' And he answered, 'I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and so I hid.' And He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?' The man said, 'The woman you put here with me, she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.' Then the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent deceived me and I ate.’" Stop right there.
Judgment day comes, and it comes first with a sound, there's a sound that comes. Now, they've got these fig coverings, could... To some degree, their physical coverings, I think, but they also represent our self-righteousness. Our desire to cover over our own sin. To kind of work it out ourselves, kind of fix it our own way. And the only thing that's going to cut through self-righteousness is the sound of God's voice, the Word of God cuts through all that, the point of conviction. And so He comes. And it says that God spoke as he was walking through the garden. I've heard all kinds of liberals ridicule this. "God walking through the garden? What kind of anthropomorphism is this, acting like God is some kind of a person." But this is actually common in Scripture. It's frequent that we see human things ascribed to God. We speak about the hand of the Lord, the hand of the Lord was against him, or the hand of the Lord was on him, etcetera. Or the arm of the Lord, mighty and powerful. The eyes of the Lord roam forth to and fro in the earth.
I think the real issue is that God created us in his image. And so, if anything, we're the borrowers from God. He gave us a physical body to represent His capabilities. But God doesn't need a physical hand to act and be energetic and work. He doesn't need a physical eye to see or a physical ear to hear. It's just that we do. It says in Psalm 94:9, "Does not he who implanted the ear hear? And does not he who formed the eye see?" He's fully capable of doing these things. But Scripture usually, or sometimes, uses this language so that we can understand the motions and the movements of God.
Now, God had probably used this sound, the walking in the garden, before, but now it sounded different to Adam and Eve. It sounded terrifying to them. They were scared by it. And it says that he came in the cool of the day. I'd like to suggest a different translation today. Other versions say that he came in the evening, etc., but actually the Hebrew just says that he came in the “ruach” of the day, the wind or the spirit of the day. And people think, "What does that mean? What does it mean that God came in the wind of the day?" So, they think it's like later in the day when the wind comes and it's cool. But I think there's a different interpretation here. I think that wind throughout Scripture is usually frequently associated with judgment or the coming in power of God.
If you think about Daniel chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream, and all the statue represents all the kingdoms of the world, the wicked kingdoms that are set up against God, against the power of God. And then comes a stone cut out but not by human hands, and it strikes the clay feet of that, and the whole... All the kingdoms are reduced to rubble, to chaff. And then what happens? What's the next thing that happened? A wind comes and blows them all the way. Judgment of God. All men are like grass. All their glory is like the flower of the field, the grass withers. When the breath of the Lord blows on them, the wind of God associated with judgment.
Also in Psalm 1:4, speaking of the wicked, it says, "They're like chaff that the wind blows away." And so God comes in that sound, a terrifying sound of wind blowing, I think, coming to judge. And I think that's what scared Adam and Eve. It wasn't a gentle sound at all, it was the sound of the coming of God for judgment. And so they hid. In verse 8, they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Seeking a better covering at this point than their fig leaves, they're looking to hide from God.
God’s four questions
And so God begins to ask some questions, and God asks four questions. The first question, so tragic, "Where are you? Adam, where are you? In the past, you've come and stood before me and said, 'Here I am, you've wanted fellowship with me, and now you're hiding. Where are you?'" verse 10, "He answered, 'I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, and so I hid.'" We note the fear of coming judgment. Hebrews 10:27 says that there is "a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God." I drive around here locally. Have you ever seen that bumper sticker, "No fear"? No fear. Gen X-ers, they have no fear. They'll jump out of... They'll jump out of planes without parachutes. They'll do bungee-jumping. They'll do anything. No fear. We've conquered fear. God knows how to make you afraid. He knows how to do it.
Moses, when he was at the foot of the mountain, when he got the 10 Commandments, he said, "I'm trembling with fear." Moses did not lack courage. Do you think you'd have the guts to stand before Pharaoh and say, "Let my people go"? Moses was a courageous man, but God knew how to make him afraid. He can make all of us afraid, He has power to do so. And in this case, it's a fear of judgment, the fear of judgment. And that's the very fear that Jesus Christ releases us from. In Romans 8:15, it says, "You did not receive a Spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by which we cry out," what? "Abba, Father." The redemption of Jesus Christ. He brings us past the fear of judgement. But at this point, Adam and Eve, they're immersed, they're just covered in fear because of judgment. God is able to make those “no fear” people afraid. Oh, that they would repent while there's still time.
And then He asked a second question, verse 11, "Who told you that you were naked?" This question never gets answered, God doesn't wait. But in a way, He's saying, "I already know what's happened. You were naked and unashamed before, and now you're wondering about nakedness. Who told you that you were naked?" And then He asked the next question, verse 11, "Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" Now, don't you think it's interesting that God is asking them questions? Isn't He omnipresent? Wasn't He there when they did it? Of course. He knows everything. But this is a principle of stewardship here. When God gives you something, He holds you accountable for it, and He will come and ask you questions about it. He'll ask you what you did with it. He gives you a day every day. And He's going to ask you, "What did you do with Sunday, September 19th, 1999? What did you do with it? I gave it to you. It was a gift. You're a steward of it. What did you do with it?" He asked questions. He asks Adam to answer for himself.
Now, God knows fully well what he's done. It says in Hebrews 4:13, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account." But a steward has to prove faithful and He must answer. Now, notice that God reverses the order here. Satan had come to the woman. You see, you've got the animal leading the woman, the woman leading the man. And so God seeks to reverse that and He goes to the head. He goes to the man who He has put in federal headship over the whole human race. In Adam, all of us sinned, and He asks him, "What did you do?"
And here He does what we call in our family blame-shifting. Do you know what blame-shifting is? "She made me do it. It's not my fault." How many of you have ever done blame-shifting? When you were kids, you did it all the time. If you have a brother or sister, "Well, it's his fault, he said something to me. It's his fault." Or, "It's her fault." It's blame-shifting, you see. And who's on the other end of his blame here? Well, the woman, for one, but really it's God's fault. "You put a circumstance here that I couldn't handle, it's really your fault. I hold you responsible for my sin." Do you see how much they'd become like Satan so quickly? Already they're starting to lie, to shift, to move around, just be like the serpent. And so God asked in verse 13, He says, "What is this you have done?" He asks Eve to give an account as well, both male and female accountable. Because they're both in the image of God, they're accountable, they have to answer for themselves. And so she shifts the blame as well, "This serpent came and tempted me, and I ate." And now it comes time for the curses of God.
And what a tragedy this is, how everything has been perverted, how everything has been ruined. And so God curses them in verse 14. It says, "So the Lord God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals. You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I'll put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.'" Verse 16, "To the woman, He said, 'I will greatly increase your pains in child-bearing. With pain, you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.'" Verse 17, "To Adam, He said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you you must not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you. Through painful toil, you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken, for dust you are, and to dust, you will return.'" The curses.
Now, notice in verse 14, He does not ask the serpent a question. Satan will have no recourse on Judgment Day. Satan can't find a lawyer. There's no way for him to answer. God will ask him no questions. His judgment is secure, he knows his time is short, and there is nothing that can change it. And so He asks the serpent no questions. Instead, He brings the curse. Now, the question is, why did God curse the snake? What did the snake do? But you have to understand that we, male and female, we were to have dominion over the earth. And this is the very same reason we have to ask, "Why did God curse the earth? Why did He curse creation? Why did He curse the ground?" Why does it say in Romans chapter 8 that the creation is groaning, waiting, and that it's been subjected to futility? That's not fair to the creation. What did it do? But you have to understand that we were in authority over it, and so everything under our authority has been cursed as well. And so the serpent was cursed, and so it's got to crawl on the ground.
But it's so interesting because Satan takes on this guise, this disguise. And so He's saying, "You're going to exalt yourself to the heavens, you're gonna crawl on your belly and eat dust all the rest of your days." And God is very clearly speaking to the devil here. In verse 15, He says, "I will put enmity," that's hatred, "between you and the woman." That is actually good news, do you realize that? Because Satan sought to form some kind of an alliance between he and the woman, a kind of a permanent bond. They'd be in fellowship together, and the man, too, as well. They're going to be cooperating in rebellion against God. And God said, "I'm going to create a divorce immediately between the two of you." There's not going to be any permanent relationship between the devil and the woman. "I'm going to create hatred between... "
This verse, by the way, does not mean, "Oh, this is why a woman would say, 'This is why I hate snakes.' I've always hated snakes, and I always wondered why it was I hate snakes, and here it is." But this is not what it's saying. I don't think it's talking about why women hate... I hate snakes. There are probably a lot of men in here that would hate snakes. But that's not what this is talking about. This is talking about the ending of the alliance between the woman and the devil. It's over. There's going to be actually hatred between them. "I'm going to put enmity between you and the woman, and even more significantly, between your seed or offspring and hers." Now, this is so significant. This one verse describes all of redemptive history, because there is a controversy between the children of darkness and the children of light, is there not? This world is full of weeds and wheat at the same time, and much of our trouble in this world comes from Satan's seed.
Now you say, "What is Satan's seed? Are they the demons?" No, I don't think so. It's those who will not accept the grace of God, those who rebel against Him and who seek to persecute the righteous. We're going to see evidence of it in the next chapter, when Cain kills Abel. There's going to be two tracks here, the seed of the devil and then there's the seed of the woman. And the culmination of the seed of the woman, it says, "He will crush your head and you will strike his heel." He comes and focuses on one individual, one man, born of a woman, who will crush the devil who'll crush the serpent. And this is, as you well know, the first prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ. He's born of a woman, it says in Galatians chapter 4, verse 4, "born under the law, born of a woman."
And so Eve would have this significant role in the redemption of the world through child-bearing. And ultimately Jesus Christ would come, and He would be the serpent slayer. He would be the one who would crush the devil. But He would do it at a cost. It says, "You will strike his heel." A picture of the pain and the suffering that Jesus went through in order to affect that crushing of Satan. Satan would mobilize his seed. He would mobilize all those in rebellion against God, that Jesus said in his lifetime to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, He said, "You're of your Father," who? "The devil." They were serpent's seed, and they were seeking to kill Jesus. But Jesus would ultimately gain the victory.
In verse 16, we have the curse on the " woman. It says, “I will greatly increase your pains and child-bearing with pain. You'll give birth to your children, and your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you." This curse touches every aspect of her special ministry on earth. She was given a special role through biology, through the way she's physically constructed, but also through the plan of God. She was to bear children, to raise them, to train them, and to fill the earth with the image of God. She was to be the glory of her husband. She was to have a wonderful relationship with him. They were to be co-laborers, as we talked about last time, but instead, she's going to be giving birth in pain.
Now, this pain, I think, is not just labor pains. I think it's just pain connected with child-bearing in general. There's barrenness, for example, many people wrestle with that. They wish they could have children, they're just physically unable to. Is there not pain in that? Barrenness was part of the fall, I believe. And then there's infant mortality rates. You bring a child through nine months and give birth to it, and then two weeks later it dies. And why? Because of disease or other reasons. There's all kinds of pain here, not just the pain of labor, but just the pain of raising children. I think Eve is going to feel a different kind of pain when she sees how Cain turns out. She's so hopeful in chapter 4, maybe he is the serpent slayer. He ends up being a son slayer. He kills Abel. Is there not pain in that as well? All kinds of pain in the raising of children.
But also it touches the relationship with her husband. They were to be co-laborers in God's vineyard, working together, but now there's controversy, there's a power struggle. Look over in Genesis 4:7, it says here... in verse 16 of chapter 3, "Your desire will be for your husband." What does that mean? That you are going to yearn for him and want him, but He's going to rule over you? No, it's not that. In chapter 4, verse 7, we see the other use of this word, it's only used twice. But it says, God giving a warning to Cain, we'll talk about this next week, "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to have you, but you must master it." There's a desire there on sin's part to dominate Cain, to take him over so that he will kill his brother. It's the exact same Hebrew word used here in verse 16 of chapter 3. "You desire to dominate your husband, he's going to dominate you." It's a whole different relationship. A whole different thing than God had intended in marriage.
You want to know what God intends in marriage? Look at Ephesians 5, look at the relationship between Jesus Christ and the church, servant leadership, glad submission, the beauty of the two of them working together. And instead, we have this power struggle, and it's been played out time and time and time again, ruining marriages. In verse 17, the curse on Adam, it says, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, you should have listened to me, Adam You should have obeyed My word." Heaven forbid that anyone should come into your life so that you disobey the Word of God.
Life after the curse
And then He curses the ground, as we have mentioned, "Cursed is the ground because of you,” it's your fault, Adam, “Through painful toil, you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles.” You're gonna sweat, you're gonna wrestle. Rather than working side by side with God, doing that beautiful agricultural work that we talked about last week, the father teaching the son, the son learning, bring forth fruit from the earth. Instead, it's going to be a wrestling match, and in the end the ground is going to win. In the end, you're going to sink down into the dust from which you were taken, you're going to die. It's so tragic. Rather than being like God, they're going to be cast down to the dust.
And God is faithful to His promises, isn't He? In chapter 2, He said, "If you eat that tree, you're going to die.” You're going to die. Now, we make promises. We don't keep them. God makes His promises and He keeps them. Now, It took another 900 years, or some odd, for Adam and he died. But he did die, and so did Eve, and so will we all, if the Lord does not return. Death entered the world at that moment. Original sin happened at that time. Now, you can say, "This somehow seems unfair. Why am I held accountable? Why am I held accountable for the death of... Or for the sin of somebody who sinned long before I was born?" That doesn't seem fair, does it?
I had someone ask that of me recently, a child. A child said, "It doesn't seem fair. Why should I be held accountable for Adam's sin? He lived and died long before I was born." I said, "Do you hope to go to heaven? Do you intend... Do you think you're going to go to heaven?" "Of course." I said, "Well, why? Aren't you a sinner?" "Well, yeah." I said, "Well, how are you going to get to heaven?" "Well, Jesus died for me." I said, "Didn't He do that long before you were born?" Jesus died on the cross representing us. God is faithful. It's the exact same principle. One man represents us at the first tree, one man represents us at the second tree. And just as sin enters the world through one man, and in this all of us sinned and death came to all of us, so life comes to all of us through one man, Jesus Christ, and through the obedience that he rendered at the second tree. He did it properly. He did it the right way. He submitted to the will of His Father, though it cost Him His life. And so just as death entered through one man, so also life comes through the one man, Jesus Christ.
In verses 20 through 24, we have life after the curse. And by the way, that's what all of us are living. Every one of us are living life after the curse. We're living in a sin-cursed world, and we're struggling with it. In verse 20, it says, "Adam named his wife Eve because she would become the mother of all the living. So, the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. And the Lord God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever.' So, the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life."
Satan hoped to destroy God's plan for covering the world with his image and with his glory, but he will fail. For as the gospel goes forth now to the ends of the earth, as we go out in the name of Jesus Christ filled with His Holy Spirit, we are covering the world with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Satan has been defeated, and he was defeated by Jesus Christ at the cross. Life after the curse comes by contemplating the redemptive plan of God. Look at the very first thing that Adam says here in verse 20, "Adam named his wife Eve." Do you know what Eve means? It means “alive or living life.” He calls her life. And why? Because he believes the promise that was spoken, that she would give birth to a serpent slayer some day who would reverse the curse of death and would bring life. And so he elevates her by giving her this name. "Some day, some day you're gonna give birth to a serpent slayer." And so, in hope, he gives her this name.
And that God provides sacrifice at that point, verse 21, "God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them." Where do you think the garments came from? They came from animals who had been wandering around at that point, maybe some of the animals that Adam named. God called them over and slayed them, He killed them right in front of them. And this brings in the great principle of substitutionary atonement. The guilty ones stay alive, the sacrifice is killed, and then the covering comes from the sacrifice. But there is a better sacrifice yet to come. "For the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin," but only the blood of the Son of God shed on the cross. The sacrificial system also provided by God, life after the curse.
But then God banishes them from the garden, they are not to come back. And this is the tragedy of it all. Sin has consequences. They're not going to continue on the way it had always been in Eden, they need to go out and they need to begin wrestling with the ground. And so they are cast out, banished from Eden. "And cherubim sat guard with a flashing sword." And what is this flashing sword? By the way, what's a cherubim? I think half of you are studying about angels, aren't you? Cherubim is just an order of angel. And so there was an angel, or perhaps two angels, the "I-M" ending in Hebrew is plural, so maybe there was more than one, it's hard to tell. But at any rate, the key thing there is the sword. And what is the sword saying? By the way, have you ever seen pictures of cherubs? They're little fat babies with the wings and the little arrow? No way. We're talking about powerful warriors standing here with swords, saying, "Do you think you're gonna get back into Eden? Well, you're not." And so that's it. It's a powerful, a powerful guard. And in effect saying, "If you want to get back and eat from the tree of life, you need to die. You need to die. It's the only way you're gonna get through."
And so, Jesus Christ, He paid the first penalty. And then all of us are crucified in Christ, are we not? "I've been crucified with Christ," Paul says, “and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." Jesus said, "If you want to save your life, you lose it. But if you lose your life, you'll get to eat from the tree of life forever." So, that's the flaming sword. It's a clear message. Life comes after death, there is life after death. But we are to wrestle with the earth until then. Salvation is still possible. And this is the whole beautiful thing, the word of prophecy spoken here, verbally predictive prophecy in verse 15, that the serpent slayer would come and crush the head of the serpent, and a picture of salvation given through sacrifice. And in all of this, the grace of God comes.
Now, by way of application, look at your own life. You could look at your own self, all that God has provided, all that He has given to you. Like your own Garden of Eden, look at your marriage, look at your family, look at the gifts that God has given you, and protect them the way that Adam should have done.
Be on your guard against temptation. Pray the Lord's Prayer and said, "Lead me not into temptation today, Lord. Open my eyes that I may see the wiles of the devil and not sin." There is no pain in your life, there is no suffering or grief that has not been brought on through sin, either your sin or somebody else's. Fight against sin with everything you have. But even more than that, understand that God has provided a way of reconciliation between you and God.
As you look at your life, has there ever been a time that you have come to faith in Jesus Christ? Are you still wrestling with your sin? Do you feel that sin is threatening to overwhelm you? There is only one provision, and that is the sacrifice that God gave through Jesus Christ. Let today be for you the day of salvation. Don't leave this place without giving your life to Jesus Christ.
And if I’m speaking now to brothers and sisters in Christ. If I were to have you just stop and think, and I were to ask you this question, "Is there some sin that has hold of you? Is there some temptation that you're wrestling with?" I'm going to give you an opportunity to come up here, or in your pews, and just kneel and just give that thing over to God. Just give it to Him and say, "I am determined, I am committed to fight against this sin for the rest of my life. I'm not going to give in any more. Sin will not bring the devastation to my life that it has brought to the world.” More than anything, you need to understand both the devastation of sin and the triumph of God's grace through Jesus Christ.