Yesterday I punctured the kid’s inflatable pool. In retrospect, it was a pretty dumb idea to drag it over the chain link fence to from the side yard to the backyard. Fortunately Jude and I were able to patch it with some T-Rex tape (as advertised, it is ferociously strong) to ensure the kids could party on, summer style. I could share dozens of examples of silly decisions I’ve made, and I’m sure you could as well.
That’s the most lighthearted intro I could come up with, seeing as today’s subject is the fall (and subsequent fallout) of mankind as recorded in Genesis 3 & 4. Comical mistakes aside, I’m well aware that there are the many sinful choices we’ve made that none of us want to share about, because those are anything but lighthearted.
As heavy as these chapters are, it’s hard to miss God’s incredible mercy towards our first parents and their children shown in His Words and actions to them.
Chapter three starts with Satan’s deception of Eve recorded. He isn’t even subtle in the way he twists God’s words, initially suggesting that every tree is off limits. Eve attempts to correct that, but he is able to deceive her into in disobeying God’s command, with Adam following suit.
Deceive: To cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid.
This first deception paved the way for Satan as the “father of lies” (John 8:44) – many have been and will be deceived by him all the way to their eternal death. So where is God’s mercy here? It’s immeasurable. He gave a life giving commandment to Adam and Eve. They were warned about the wages of sin being death. The same goes for us as their great (x a lot) grandchildren. He has plainly given us His Word, warning each person to flee the Deceiver’s falsehoods and to shelter in His Son for salvation (John 12:44-50).
After eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil Adam and Eve immediately felt shame about their nakedness and hid from God. He shows His kindness by seeking them out and speaking to and with them, rather than abandoning them to their deserved fate. For a really good sermon about this particular section, click here (thanks, Mom!)
As I’ve reviewed this passage, one thing that stands out to me is that once Adam and Eve have answered God’s questions (blame-shifting and all) that God curses Satan without asking him any questions. My son Jude sometimes asks me if Satan can be saved, and I try my best to answer him biblically and emphasize that God’s justice is perfect and beyond our full comprehension. There isn’t much focus on Satan here – his backstory, motives, etc – the emphasis is squarely placed on God’s words.
God’s cursing of Satan includes what theologians call the protevangelium – the first gospel:
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” – Genesis 3:15
How can we find mercy in enmity? As much as people seem to prefer peaceful resolutions, there will need to be war to restore what was lost in Eden. We see that Satan will have offspring and that they’ll be at war with the woman’s seed . A Promised One will come from the woman. There will be war and bruising, and the end result will be a crushed and defeated serpent!
After rightly pronouncing Satan’s judgment and proclaiming this great promise God declares the earned consequences for sin to Adam and Eve and their descendants. There will be pain in childbirth and strife enters the marriage relationship. The ground is cursed, resulting in grueling toil for mankind. All of this difficulty will proceed the certainty of the grave.
This life isn’t just hard because of random chance or because the world is governed by an apathetic higher power. Quite the opposite. God was and is just to punish sin – and He doesn’t punish us rebels as we deserve! He always has purposes in what He does. He delights to rescue and restore all Who will follow Him. Other Scripture gives us much insight into this reality:
“For the creation was subjected to futility — not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it — in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children.” – Romans 8:20-21
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. He will not always accuse us or be angry forever. He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him.” – Psalms 103:8-11
God’s mercy continues to blaze as He clothes Adam and Eve with animal skin. Then, in His divine wisdom He evicts Adam and Eve from the garden to ensure they won’t eat from the tree of life and therefore be doomed to live forever as fallen creatures.
Genesis four records the sad story of the first brothers’ lives – Cain opening the door to his sin and murdering Abel. God spares him from immediate death, banishing him further from His presence due to his evil works. Abel is the first martyr – and though he is recorded as finding favor with God, he isn’t the promised Headcrusher. I love having the whole Word to marvel over, and I often read this passage after reviewing Genesis 4:
“You have come….to Jesus (mediator of a new covenant ), and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel.” -Hebrews 12:22-24
So once again we’ve mainly zoomed in upon God’s mercy and the incredible hope found in Christ’s righteous life, death, and resurrection. I think I’m happy with that!
We can also continue to be warned that Satan is indeed a deceiver and a cunning serpent. We have to be watchful and ready to rebuke his overtures of “Did God really say…?” with the truth of what God really has said.
Stay alert, brothers and sisters. Keep yourselves in the love of the God Who clothes rebel children and crushes their enemies by sacrificing Himself for their sake.
P.S. Great song for your edification: