Thursday, December 1, 2016

The First Sin

Gen 3:1–19

Sin Is Disobedience

God created everything perfect, and because of God’s common grace, much of the beauty of God’s creation still survives in spite of divine judgment on sin. It’s surprising to hear discussion of what the nature of Adam and Eve’s sin must have been. I’ve heard pride, lust of the eye, and so forth. The simple answer is that it was disobedience. God had given them broad latitude in the Garden of Eden, outlawing precisely one tree out of all his creation:

The Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die” (Gen 2:16–17).

Even the Tree of Life would have been a permitted tree before disobedience. But with Satanic enticement, Eve ate from the forbidden tree; then she became Satan’s agent and got Adam to eat from the forbidden tree. Adam should have stood at that tree and come to the knowledge of good and evil by judging the evil enticer rather than falling under the serpent’s enticement.

Sin Has Deadly Consequences

The Bible depicts an immediate loss of intimacy on two levels. (1) Adam and Eve became ashamed of their nakedness before each other—something that never bothered them in their innocence before disobedience (Gen 2:25; 3:7). (2) Worse, they became ashamed and hid from God as well (Gen 3:8).

God made judicial inquires, asking what they had done. Instead of confessing their sins and repenting, they only made excuses. Adam blamed it all on his wife Eve: “I was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit.” Eve blamed the serpent for tricking her (Gen 3:12–13).

But God blamed them both for disobeying him. He told them that this sin would trouble them—and right at the point of the creation mandate. They were to fill the earth. For Eve and all her successive daughters, that would mean childbirth. The judgment on sin touched her right there. Adam was to rule and subdue the earth; however, the only crown the earth would bring him would be thorns and thistles (Gen 3:16–18).

But we can be so glad of divine grace, from the coverings God provided to Adam and Eve, to the promise that the woman’s offspring would crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15).

Thank God the story continues with God’s gracious provision through Jesus Christ our Lord. When Jesus met with the same enticer in his wilderness temptations, he succeeded where Adam had failed. He overcame the serpentine enticer by obedience and reverence for God’s Word.

Adam’s sin brought sin into the world, and with it came death and judgment (Rom 5:12–21). But “Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come” (Rom 5:14). One man’s sin brought death, “But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ” (v. 15).

Questions, Reflections, and Commitments

  • What do you think might have been the result if Adam and Eve had gone straight to the Tree of Life and eaten from it while it was still a permitted tree, rather than heading for the forbidden tree and eating it?
  • Reflect on the double force of Paul’s argument in Romans 5:12–21, which is summarized as follows: “Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.”

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