Monday, January 3, 2011

Genesis 3 - Sin Enters the Scene

LINK: Genesis 3

Here is an audio version of me telling the story:FALL

BACKGROUND

"This chapter is the pivot on which the whole Bible turns" 
Griffith Thomas

I so agree. Careful study of this chapter is absolutely foundational. We cannot even possibly grasp its importance as the foundation of biblical revelation. Therefore, this post is longer than most. 

In Genesis 1 and 2, there are three major characters: God and His "king and queen," Adam and Eve. We see that they have perfect unbroken fellowship. They were provided for in every way. Their provider God was a good God. That has been made abundantly clear. He gave them responsibility ("Be fruitful and multiply fill the earth and subdue it" and name the animals), and He gave them each other. There was no loneliness in that Garden. Their relationship was good. He gave them absolutely no reason to doubt His goodness; yet . . .

In Genesis 3, we see a new character on the scene: a crafty serpent. Revelation 20:2 indicates that this serpent is Satan. How did he get there? Read Ezekiel 28. He was once an angel who was expelled from heaven.

Essentially, this crafty guy tried to make a liar out of God, convincing Eve that God had another motive for not having Adam and Eve eat that forbidden fruit. Of course, it was a lie. Satan is good at deception, and God is just plain good. We know that He is from Genesis 1 and 2, right?

Eve saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eye, and desirable to make one wise. Compare that with this verse:
For all that is in the world 
the lust of the flesh (good for food) 
the lust of his eyes (pleasing to the eye) 
Boastful pride of life (desirable to make wise - be like God) 
is not from the Father but from the world. 
(1 John 2:16)

So, she eats it. Adam eats it. I have heard it said that Eve was deceived, and Adam knew what was right and just plain disobeyed, but I don't think it matters. It resulted in just one thing: their perfect, free-flowing relationship with God was broken. Their eyes were opened, and they knew they were naked and tried to cover themselves with fig leaves. They hid from God because they were afraid. Then, Adam blamed Eve. 

Then the curses: the serpent must crawl on his belly, the woman has pain in childbirth and her "desire" (in Hebrew, the root means "to overflow onto") will be for her husband and he will rule over her, the man must toil in his work. They are banished from that beautiful perfect Garden. Worst of all is the spiritual death that occurs. There is SEPARATION. It kills me.

There is a song by Ginny Owens that asks the question, "Who are you listening to?" Adam and Eve listened to the wrong voice and they made the wrong choice.

If they had chosen the Word of the Lord, they would have had life and order. Because they chose the Word of a serpent, they had chaos and death

So, who are you listening to?

Despite this dismal scene, there is a ray of hope.


Picture I took yesterday! (January 2, 2013)

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption 

Even before the man and woman were cursed, God gave a promise in the curse of the serpent in Genesis 3:15:
"I will put enmity
between you and the woman
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel."

This verse is called the protoevangelium which means "first gospel" in Greek. It is the first promise of the Messiah. The seed God talked about was Jesus Christ. He talked about it even before the first curse was given to Adam and Eve. 
There is no lapse of time between the fall of the human race, and the promise that there will be a victory over what has happened, a restoration of the destruction. Adam and Eve are given hope immediately, and are given another statement by God to believe. (Christianity is Jewish, p.35)
In addition, God makes the clothes of skin even after they already had made fig leaf garments to cover themselves (3:21). He is a God of compassion and provision. He provided them clothing, but a creature had to die and shed blood in order to cover them (please see Hebrews 9:22 and Leviticus 17:11 ). This foreshadows the substitutionary sacrificial system (the death of an innocent substitute to "cover" the effects of sin) that we will study in Leviticus, but it also points toward Jesus as the substitute to cover our sin.

God is good all the time, isn't He?

REFLECTION

I struggled with typing up this reflection all day yesterday. I had to sleep on it. I suppose it is because I am a pretty positive person, and Genesis 3 seems so negative and sad. Also, I am a relational person, and it just rips my heart out to see the relationship between God and man severed in this way. I was in agony yesterday. I had to make it personal and look at MY sin for what it is; a separation in relationship with my loving and holy God. That was very "hard but good" to do.

Sometimes when I dialogue with people about Jesus (usually after I have studied Genesis and other key Old Testament passages that point to Him), I take a piece of paper and fold it over and draw a tree in a garden over the fold with an unbroken line going from God to man.



When I talk about Genesis 3, I pull the paper to full length, and instead of this unbroken line from God to man, there is an enormous gulf that spreads across the page. God is on one side, and man is on the other. I draw sin down the middle of the gulf and circle the "I" in sin. "sIn" is doing what "I" want to do rather than what God wants me to do (because it is best for me). 



In that moment, I am painfully aware that there is NOTHING I can do to bridge that deep chasm that exists between me and God.

Oh shoot. Even as I type, I weep over this. The relationship is broken. It says in Romans that we were even "enemies."

Yet, even in the darkest moment in that Garden, there was a LIGHT of hope in the protoevangelium (first Gospel) of Genesis 3:15! That is the promise I cling to in this dark hour in the garden. The descendant of the woman (Jesus) will crush the head of Satan! Jesus is the bridge over the chasm that covers the sin (I draw it so the middle "S" in Jesus intersects with the "S" in Sin) and makes a way for restoration! (1 Peter 3:18). Praise be to God for His infinite Gift.



Jesus to the rescue! YAY!

APPLICATION

A possible "I WILL" statement or this chapter might be, "I will memorize Genesis 3:15 - the protoevangelium."

Another possibility is to meditate on the words to this song: 

"The Beginning" by Michael Card

In the beginning was the Beginning
In Him it all began
All that they had was God and the garden
The woman and the man
Before Creation learned to groan
The stars would dance and sing
Each moment was new, every feeling was fresh
For the creature, King and Queen (this describes Genesis 1&2)

But deep in the heart of the beautiful garden
Forbidden fruit was found
And they were deceived, disobeyed and were driven
From that holy ground
But beside the tree of disobedience
The tree of life did grow (the hope of Jesus)
The gift of its fruit an eternal beginning
But they would never know (Genesis 3)

CHORUS

The Beginning will make all things new
New life belongs to Him
He hands us each new moment saying
My child, begin again
My child, begin again
You're free to start again

This very moment is filled with His power
That we might start anew
To break us away from the past and the future
He does what He must do
And so the Alpha brings to us this moment to commence
To live in the freedom of total forgiveness (1 John 1:9)
With reckless confidence
With reckless confidence (Hebrews 4:16)

This song has spoken to me over and over because it communicates the drama and sadness of the separation but the hope of the Gospel and of "new beginnings" every day because of Jesus.

PRAYER

Even in the darkness of that garden, You gave us hope in the promised seed. Thank You that through Jesus' blood, we have a way back to You. Help us to be mindful to confess our sin to You so that there will not be anything separating us. In Jesus' name, Amen. 

Post a Comment