Genesis 2011 - Lesson 3D

Chapter 3:17-24

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  • God has responded to the sin of the Garden by punishing Satan and then dealing to the Woman

    • We saw last week that God never curses woman

      • And the three decrees given to Woman is actually grace

      • She goes largely unpunished, except that she will share in the punishments handed out to Adam

      • And those punishments are severe

        • But yet there is a measure of grace for him as well

Gen. 3:17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; 
Cursed is the ground because of you; 
In  toil you will eat of it 
All the days of your life. 
Gen. 3:18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; 
And you will eat the  plants of the field; 
Gen. 3:19 By the sweat of your face 
You will eat bread, 
Till you  return to the ground, 
Because  from it you were taken; 
For you are dust, 
And to dust you shall return.” 
  • God reserves the longest statement for Adam

    • He listened to his wife’s voice…was this wrong?

      • No, except by comparison

      • Who’s voice should he have listen to? God’s

      • And notice, Adam didn’t listen to the serpent’s voice – only the Woman’s voice

        • This suggests to us that man wasn’t eaves dropping on the conversation between the woman and Satan

    • Man was culpable for his decisions and is therefore the one who brought sin into the world

  • So God issues His second curse

    • Notice, He curses not Adam but the ground

      • God has deemed the earth to be irreparable

        • A curse means that the object of the curse will cease to be

        • By this curse, God declared that the earth must be replaced

        • Earth no longer considered suitable for eternity

      • Adam’s sin has become a contaminant

        • Remember that Adam was made from the earth, so when Adam fell, the “earth” itself became contaminated by sin as well

        • God has now declared that the earth will deteriorate and eventually be replaced

        • We can see in play the second law of thermodynamics – all matter and energy go from a higher state to a lower state, never the reverse

Is. 34:4 And  all the host of heaven will wear away, 
And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; 
All their hosts will also wither away 
As a leaf withers from the vine, 
Or as one withers from the fig tree. 
2Pet. 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which  the heavens  will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be  burned up. 
2Pet. 3:11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 
2Pet. 3:12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which  the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 
2Pet. 3:13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth,  in which righteousness dwells. 
  • Before this curse, Adam was instructed to work the ground in the garden to serve God

    • And that work would have been enjoyable and rewarding

      • In fact, it wasn’t work at all, in the way we think of work today

    • Now, his efforts to work the ground will be a chore and a fight against the decree God has instituted

    • Work will be a “two steps forward, one step backward” kind of experience

      • God’s curse guarantees that our work will result in the world seeming to work against our best efforts

      • Yard work isn’t fun, gardens have weeds, things will wear out and need repair

  • Before the fall, Adam’s work didn’t include these kind of set backs

    • After the restoration of the earth, we will find a wonderful kind of work serving God, in the way Adam first experienced in the Garden

  • Why does God curse the ground?

    • First, like Woman’s pain, it is a chastisement that also forms a memorial of the mistake

      • Today we can remember how sin led to this situation

    • Second, this change becomes an object lesson to teach us the futility of man’s work in the face of sin

      • Our flesh wants to solve its own problem

        • We are tempted to work our own solution

        • But now man’s fruitless efforts at work will serve as a contrast to God’s perfect work in Christ

      • We simply can’t rely on our own work, because that work is never finished

        • When we pull a weed, a new one emerges

        • When we paint the house, it needs new paint in a few years

        • If our own work can’t ensure permanent solutions in the garden or the shingles, how can our work save us from our sin?

    • Finally, the curse will ensure that God eventually puts an end to everything contaminated by sin

      • This is the origin of physical death for everything that comes from the ground

        • Adam’s body, animal’s bodies, trees, plants

        • It is the wisdom of God to create a plan where He can curse the contaminated world without cursing Adam’s spirit

      • Only the physical body is cursed by this pronouncement

        • Which is why we must receive a new body upon our resurrection

    • This curse is ultimately a blessing for God’s children

      • Man’s corrupt body must be replaced

      • And because Woman was made from Adam, she shares in these same pronouncements

    • If not, man would live forever eternally sinful

Psa. 102:24 I say, “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days, 
Your  years are throughout all generations. 
Psa. 102:25 “Of old You founded the earth, 
And the  heavens are the work of Your hands. 
Psa. 102:26 “Even they will perish, but You endure; 
And all of them will wear out like a garment; 
Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. 
Psa. 102:27 “But You are the same, 
And Your years will not come to an end. 
Psa. 102:28 “The  children of Your servants will continue, 
And their descendants will be established before You.” 
  • Also, the ground will be replaced too

    • And when the earth is made new, the curse will be gone

Is. 65:21 “They will  build houses and inhabit them; 
They will also  plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 
Is. 65:22 “They will not build and  another inhabit, 
They will not plant and another eat; 
For  as the  lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, 
And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. 
  • So then the chapter wraps up with a number of significant details

Gen. 3:20 Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. 
Gen. 3:21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. 
  • It seems the story has abruptly changed course

    • Adam decides to give his wife a new name

      • Remember, Adam had already given her a name

Gen. 2:23 The man said, 
“This is now bone of my bones, 
And flesh of my flesh; 
She shall be called  Woman, 
Because she was taken out of  Man.” 
  • But now Adam decides to rename Woman to Eve

    • Why is this renaming happening, and why did Adam decide to do it here in the midst of such a haunting moment?

  • First, the name Eve means mother of all the living

    • The word Eve is chavvay in Hebrew – which means life or living

    • Her name tells us why Adam has renamed her and why he did so here

  • Adam has just heard God declare that He would bring a solution to this problem through the Woman

    • The solution would result in the destruction of the serpent 

    • And it would come through a seed that Woman would provide

    • This solution, later to be called the Messiah, would be the source of all the living

  • So Adam hears God make this promise, and he takes action in response

    • The word God spoke said Woman would bring new life, and Adam renamed her Eve, meaning life or living

      • Adam is showing proof that he received this word from God and believed it

      • We know God had spoken to Adam before concerning the tree 

        • Adam didn’t believe that word

        • So sin came into the world

    • But the Fall of Adam brings us a troubling question

      • If Adam didn’t believe God’s word, was Adam saved?

      • Did he receive grace and was he saved from the sin he produced?

    • Here we have our answer

      • Having heard God’s promise concerning Adam’s wife, Adam believe God’s word this time

      • In fact, he renames his wife to make clear that he believed

        • This is also a direct reversal of the last time

        • Last time Adam heard a word of God and didn’t believe and acted contrary

      • But now he acts in keeping with belief

        • And he takes an action consistent with his belief 

      • In this moment we can say that Adam becomes a believer by faith in God’s word

  • In response to that faith, God then demonstrates that forgiveness is available 

    • God makes Adam and Eve animal skins for clothes

    • Remember that Adam and Woman had tried to cover themselves with plants

      • But that covering hadn’t been enough

      • They still felt vulnerable

    • Now by faith, God grants them a covering made of animal skins

      • This means that animals had to die to provide their skins

      • An animal was sacrificed to provide a covering for man – both spiritual and physical

        • The atonement was a picture of the atoning work of Christ on the cross

    • Where before man tried to cover himself by his own work in making leaves, that work was insufficient to provide true covering for sin

      • But now in faith, Adam has found a true covering

      • And God provides animals skins by His own hands

        • God’s work can do what man’s work cannot

    • This is the first death recorded in the history of creation

      • An animal sacrificed to cover the first sin (limited atonement)

Gen. 3:22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of  Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from  the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” — 
Gen. 3:23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 
Gen. 3:24 So He drove the man out; and at the  east of the garden of Eden He stationed the  cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to  the tree of life. 
  • First, we immediately notice that God uses a plural when referring to Himself

    • What a simple way to see that even in the first pages of the Bible God is referring to Himself as the Godhead

      • He says that man became like one of Us (plural reference to God – Elohim)

      • Trinity clearly on display

        • The term “one of us” combines a singular and a plural reference

    • This statement is a comment by God for the benefit of mankind

      • It explains why we (man) were excluded from the Garden God made available

      • The Garden included a tree that provided eternal physical life

  • This is grace in two ways:

    • It is grace to provide for the replacement of the corrupted body

      • It is grace to ensure that men aren’t left alive to be used by Satan indefinitely

        • To live forever in a sinful body is a curse

        • By forcing them out of the Garden, the man and woman will know physical death, but this is a good thing for believers

    • Secondly, God must prevent Adam and Eve from entering God’s presence in the Garden again

      • Though they are saved by faith, nevertheless they still carry around sin in their bodies

      • This sin cannot be in the presence of God and live

    • So God  “drives them out” and they are expelled from the Garden

      • The sense in Hebrew is that they weren’t necessarily willing to leave the Garden

      • But God used His angels to force the ejection

  • To be sure they don’t try to re-enter, God stations angels at the entrance

    • This must have been a dramatic scene for many years

      • In fact, this guard was in place for 1,630 years (until the flood)

      • Adam and the next generation would have discussed how they were excluded from the Garden

      • This was grace in that it preserved the human race to ensure that God’s plan of redemption would have time to play out as God intended 

      • Instead of coming to an untimely end by meeting God in judgment in the Garden

    • The reference to the flaming sword is actually a reference to the Shechinah glory of God Himself

      • So God used angels and His glory to keep men out of the Garden

      • Before, Adam enjoyed the direct fellowship with God

        • But now sin had produced a barrier that prevented him from having that intimate, personal relationship with God in the Garden

        • The barrier was obvious and foreboding in the form of this angels and God’s glory

          • As long as sin existed in Adam and the world, access to God was impossible

      • Only if something removes that barrier can true fellowship return

        • We know that Jesus by His blood cleansed us and the world of that sin

        • And in a future day, we will enter in His presence without fear because the atoning work of Christ will have removed that barrier

      • Today we have access in Spirit because of Jesus' work

        • In a future day, we will also receive new bodies, and we will walk into Christ’s presence