Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Genesis Chapter 3 ~ The Fall & Covenant of Grace/Redemption

Genesis Chapter 3

We have come to one of the saddest parts of the entire Bible. It is the beginning of sin in the human race, suffering, pain, sorrow, difficulty, and the influence of Satan on the hearts and minds of men. It is the beginning of the estrangement between mankind and God. Yet, there is hope.

The chapter begins, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.” He spoke to the woman first simply asking what God “actually” said. She told him how they could eat of all the fruit in the Garden of Eden, except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. She misspoke, however, saying they would die if they touched it, when in fact God said they would die if they ate of it’s fruit. The Serpent responded, “You will not surely die.” (Gen. 3:4) This is shocking in how utter unashamed he is in telling this lie. He plants the idea of rebellion in her mind. He plants the idea that disobeying God would be better than obedience.

She considered the Serpent’s words and saw that the tree was (1) good for food, (2) a delight to the eyes, and (3) fulfilled the desire to make one wise. So she took fruit and ate it, she also gave some to Adam. Their eyes both opened and they knew they were naked, so they made coverings. They heard God walking in the garden in the cool of the day and they hid themselves. God called, “where are you?” They told Him they hid because they were naked. God asked, “who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I commanded you not to eat?” Then Adam blamed the woman. When God asked the woman she blamed it on the Serpent. God then gave out punishments to all three:
(1) The Serpent was cursed, and had enmity put between him and the woman her offspring, he will bruise the Serpent’s head and the Serpent will bruise her offspring’s heel.

(2) The woman would experience multiplied pain in childbearing, and her desire would be for her husband, and her husband would rule over her.

(3) The man’s punishment was that the ground was cursed because of him, and in pain he would eat of it his entire life. Further, working the ground would be difficult. Lastly, all mankind would die and turn to dust just like before God created men.
Then Adam named his wife Eve, because she is the mother of all mankind (Gen. 3:20). God then clothed Adam and Eve by killing the first animals that are recorded in the Bible. God made garments for them out of the skins.

God speaks saying that Adam and Eve have become like Him knowing good from evil. God then took the Tree of Life away from them lest they also live forever. God then banished them from the Garden.

A few things to note about this passage.

First, it is through sin that all sorts of evil, suffering, and death entered the world. Conflict entered the world here through the Serpent’s influence on Adam and Eve. God’s punishment has now come upon Adam and Eve, and all who would be born into the human race. This is referred to as "The Fall" because in the disobedience of Adam and Eve the entire human race was plunged into sin and death. Satan and the ground were cursed, not Adam and Eve; however, Adam and Eve and their offspring will experience something of a cursed life in this fallen world unless God does something to redeem them. Cut off from God's pleasure humanity has no hope unless God intervenes. Now it is not possible for any human being not to sin. We also see that at death we return to the dust and earth. It seems that while alive humanity is not completely cursed, but at death returning to the dust of the ground humanity can be cursed, something must now be done to redeem all of us!

Second, and related to the first point, we see that mankind is in desperate need of a Savior, and indeed the Savior is prefigured here in Genesis 3:15. Some folks call this the "proto evangelium" which means "first gospel". Satan would bruise the heel of this Savior. Eve's offspring is the one who would come bruise or crush the head of Satan. As you read the rest of Scripture it is clear to see that this Savior is perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity. The seed of the woman who would crush Satan and the power of death is Jesus Christ. Praise God that through the perfect life, penal substitutionary death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that redemption has been accomplished for those who will turn from their sin in repentance and believe in the good news of the gospel! Without this good news we would face God's eternal wrath in hell.

Third, God again refers to Himself in the plural, “Us,” pointing at His triune nature existing as one God in three persons. (Gen. 3:22)

Fourth, we see God's mercy and grace to Adam and Eve to not finally curse them here and now, His gracious act of sacrificing animals in order to clothe them, and His giving a promise of a Savior through their seed is thought to be the super-structure of the second covenant in Scripture (since God is all-knowing of all things both past present and future some have said this was the first covenant). This is often understood as the (1) covenant of grace, or (2) redemption. This covenant seems to be between the "Us", between the three persons of the one true and living God, because God makes promises, but the terms or the obligations that each party must undertake to fulfill the covenant doesn't include any obedience by Adam and Eve, but rather God Himself! This again is a forward looking to Jesus Christ.

The grand scene is set for the gospel to come. When all seemed to be lost, and there was no hope, God gave a glimmer of hope in this first glimpse of the gospel in Genesis 3:15. The story will now intensify and play out of how God will bring redemption to this fallen race through the lineage of Adam and Eve, then Abraham and Sarah, then all the way down to Jesus Christ.


Luvmyart said...

Noah, thank you so much for your excellent writings here. You explain these Bible verses and chapters so clearly. I know you are very busy and this takes time. If you don't mind, I Am going to share this on my Facebook page today. I am hoping it will be read by someone needing this. Keep it up!!

Noah Braymen said...

Thanks Momma Newman! :)