In the previous chapter I said that Eve made five mistakes in falling into temptation that provide a pattern for most sins.
1. Failure to rebuke sin when it appears
Sinfulness is usually attractive, desirable or powerful and our lack of quick and decisive action at its first appearance is usually our downfall. An effective rebuke requires 3 things:
- Knowledge of what is truly good and evil (Word knowledge)
- Conviction of our own position
- Immediate response
2. Compromising God's Word
Those who want to sin but also want to call themselves Christians simply change what God's Word really says to accommodate their disobedience. For example:
- "Christian" homosexuals have theologians, commentaries and churches that exclusively support their lifestyle choice.
- Those who want to continue their bad habits simply "block out" the parts in the Bible that deal with their sins.
3. Considering the pleasure of sin
When we do not rebuke sin right away we end up trying it on for size and this indecision usually leads to giving in to temptation.
4. Consent to sin
If we do not initially refuse to sin, we will eventually give in to it.
The trick is to decide ahead of time that you will say no, then when you are faced with temptation you will not weaken yourself by considering the pros and cons, you will just say no.
5. Start a club
It is no fun to sin alone and so the next step is always to find a sympathetic partner who will let you sin in peace or who will join you. Romans 1:32 mentions this phenomena. Paul says that sinners, who know they are doing wrong, encourage others to do wrong and applaud them in their sins.
Sin is the original problem and the method has always and will always be the same. One other thing we learn from this sequence is that sin has consequence.
Consequences of Sin
I would normally say that the next section is entitled the consequences of Adam's sin but there is not enough paper to list the individual consequences that resulted from this sin. Suffice to say that the two major consequences were that Paradise (a sinless place of joy) was lost and the world (the physical universe) was lost.
Genesis records, in sequence, the consequences and events that took place after their disobedience:
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked;
- Genesis 3:7a
They knew from experience (they tasted the fruit) the knowledge of good and evil. They had experienced good and now were experiencing evil. Their experience was the shame that comes from knowingly disobeying God.
Why was their nakedness the focal point of their shame? Their sin was not a sexual one. One idea is that they realized that as "head" of the human race, they had corrupted the future generation by their sin. This realization centered itself around their reproductive organs which symbolized the future generations.
Another idea is that they realized that they could not hide their sin and their nakedness was a reminder of this.
Either way, the Bible says that they felt embarrassment and shame for having done wrong.
…and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
- Genesis 3:7b
The fact that they tried to cover themselves means that they felt guilty. They knew that they had done wrong and felt bad about it, which is probably what saved them. Had they been proud like Satan, God could have destroyed them there and then.
Note that they tried to cover themselves and this is always inadequate. They covered themselves but were still afraid. When God covers you, you do not have to be afraid anymore.
8They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" 10He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself."
- Genesis 3:8-10
Shame and guilt produce fear. Fear because a feature of man's conscience (where his will operates) is that man intuitively knows that sin equals punishment. God said that disobedience brings death and that knowledge is part of man's psyche (Romans 1:28-32).
The normal fellowship between Adam and God did not include sin. Adam knows God's will concerning sin and, consequently, is afraid of the judgement he knows will come.
He was not afraid because of his physical nakedness, he was afraid because his nakedness now reminded him of sin and sin reminded him of death.
4. More sin
11And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
- Genesis 3:11-13
It does not take long for sin to multiply itself. Immediately Adam begins to show signs of his moral deterioration. When asked about the tree, instead of confessing and asking for forgiveness, Adam does two things: blames his wife and blames God. Instead of praising God for His goodness, he blames Him for his troubles!
When posed with the same question, Eve does not acknowledge guilt and ask for forgiveness either, she blames the serpent and offers the excuse that she was deceived.
Sin has already reduced them to denying their own guilt and blinded them to God's goodness. They do not appeal to Him for help.
The first thing they learn about evil is that it always results in judgment and punishment by God. God pronounces judgment in the same order that the sin proceeded: Satan, Eve and then Adam.
A. Satan is judged
14The Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat
All the days of your life;
15And 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 3:14-15
The snake's posture (whatever it may have been before) will now be that of one slithering in the dust, trampled underfoot of other animals. This is the imagery of the position of Satan who once was an angel, now will be hated, cause fear and repulsion, as the snake now does in normal circumstances.
We get a glimpse of Satan's original plan when we hear the curse. There is special emphasis on Satan's inability from here forward to dominate woman and the offspring she will bear (which was probably the reason why he attacked her) to dominate her and control her children for his own purposes.
God says that there will be war, not subjection, between the woman, her children and Satan. This struggle will end with the seed of woman destroying the seed of Satan. It is Interesting to note that in the Bible, men have seed, not women, and spirit beings have no seed. Spirits do not procreate, only humans do this.
The seed of woman is Jesus who was conceived without a human male. The seed of Satan is the "man of lawlessness, the anti-Christ" to whom Satan gives power and who will be destroyed by Christ's coming (II Thessalonians 2:8)
The "bruising" is a blow. For the woman's seed, the blow will be on the heel (the inferior part of the body), this is Satan's attack that resulted in the human death of Christ that was only temporary. For Satan's seed, the blow is to the head, the superior part of the body and thus, fatal.
Jesus, when He returns, destroys death and pronounces judgment on Satan who is thrown into the "pit" forever.
B. Eve is judged
To the woman He said,
"I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you."
- Genesis 3:16
Both Adam and Eve were painlessly brought into a perfect and sinless world. Because of this sin, the creating of future society would be marked by pain. Because of their sin, death enters the world, and pain at childbirth becomes the constant reminder of this fact.
Before sin, man and woman enjoyed co-rulership over creation. Because of sin, this perfect balance was upset and God established a rule of law in the area of leadership.
The husband would rule and be the head of the family unit.
This concept is repeated and confirmed in the New Testament (I Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:22-24).There have been many abuses of this situation but the Bible clarifies the loving relationship that is to exist within this situation (Ephesians 5:25; 28-30).
There is also mercy in God's judgment over Eve. She will not desire the serpent and his promises but will return her focus to her husband. The pain of childbirth will not overcome her love of husband and family. There will be a limit to her suffering.