So what does God do when humanity itself is harmful to God’s creation? Did God not anticipate this flaw? Did God himself include this flaw within humanity? Is it now God’s responsibility to destroy humanity to protect the rest of creation? Isn’t that what the serpent said God meant?
Mankind’s greatest weakness
In Genesis 3 we see a conversation between the crafty serpent and the woman God created. At face value it appears that Eve is doing a good job of putting the devil in his place, it appears that she is defending God’s position.
The only trouble is by choosing to engage in a conversation in the first place with the serpant is actually Eve’s greatest downfall. She thought she knew better! Her pride in her own knowledge of God is what let her down, which opened her heart to being deceived. Eve didn’t stop to think, she didn’t refer back to her husband who had been called by God to lead creation, she didn’t refer the serpent back to God. Eve was no match for the devil but she didn’t need to be.
As we saw in Genesis 2:16 God had given the instruction about the tree to the man before the woman had been created. It was Adam’s responsibility to ensure that the fruit of the tree wasn’t eaten. This instruction from God was for the protection of humanity for humanity can-not become equal with God.
There was much wrong in both Adam and Eve’s response to the serpent but it was the act of choosing to listen to the serpent that was the problem. Genesis 3:6 ‘so when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of it’s fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate’. esv.
Eve ‘saw’ which meant she had considered all that the devil had shown her and agreed with him that it would be good for them to be complete in their knowledge of all things. In that moment the thought became the desire. What she didn’t consider is everything they already had was all that they needed. However Adam’s choice went further to wanting equality with God, Adam rejected God himself; for Adam had choosen a relationship with his fallen wife rather than his Creator and then blamed God for creating her.
Psalm 34:8 gives us a glimpse into the solution that was before Adam and Eve ‘Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good’.
The result of their choices that day was not only in the death of humanity but in the death of humanity’s relationship with God…..or so the serpent thought!
God knew this moment in time was coming in fact this was God’s plan to rid heaven and earth of the devil and sin. How? By using the weakness of humanity to overcome the pride of sin! You can just imagine the big grin on the serpents face when he slithers off after doing his worst. However, in the moment of Adam and Eve’s sin (belief that equality with God was possible and rejection of a relationship with God) two things happened.
Adam and Eve hid and God came seeking!
No that can’t be possible, surely God’s rightful judgement was that they had eaten the fruit therefore they should have ‘certainly’ died. Shouldn’t they have been destroyed on the spot? Wouldn’t that be what the serpent would demand? What the serpent couldn’t understand is that God in his judgement provided grace.
Yes judgement would come, death is the result of the sin but the Creator has made the provision for the wages of sin that his created humanity did but there would be no provision for sin itself. Sin was declared the enemy that day and no provision would ever be given for sin or the devil their destiny was eternal damnation and destruction.
Genesis 3:15 ‘And 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 is the declaration of judgement on the father of lies that from the woman (humanity) there will come one (her offspring) who will be hurt by the devil (strike his heel) but who will ultimately destroy sin and death (crush your head).
Consequence of sin
Life was never the same for Adam and Eve after that fateful day when they were deceived and turned away from God. They were certainly filled with shame and guilt and tried to sort out the mess themselves but it was too late, the horrific separation had begun because sin had entered their hearts, they had to be banished from the garden therefore a spiritual death had occurred, their relationship with God had been marred.
There was also a physical death to come as no longer creation and humanity worked together in harmony, from that moment on creation would be humanity’s toil rather than pleasure. This in turn resulted in the relationships of all future men and women would be one of control and demand for equality, rather than working together in perfect peace and unity.
The other tree
Genesis 3:22 tells us of the tree of life which Adam and Eve could no longer have access to because if they did, they would be eternally dying which would result in eternal suffering.
This means God was never withholding anything from Adam and Eve they always had had access to the tree of life which represented all that they needed or would ever need. Up until the moment sin entered their hearts they had all they needed to live life to the full but instead they chose to have equality with God rather than love from God. God’s provision had always been there and his protection continued as he stopped them eating from the tree of life in their state of sin……we see that the judgement of God is also the grace of God for the people who were created to be loved.
Hope for the hopeless
Genesis 3:20 ‘Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living’. Genesis 4: 1 ‘Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said ‘With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man’.
In these words of these fallen humans they were so desperate to see the promise of God fulfilled in them. After all they had got it wrong surely God had given them the opportunity of putting it right, surely this new born son is the one who God had promised would destroy the devil, sin and death!
No instead their son Cain became the first murderer of his own brother. No, the hope for humanity didn’t lie in the hands of humanity but in the hands of God himself.
In the Old Testament we see these three things at work:
Humanity looking and longing for the offspring that was promised on that day, the day humanity tried to have equality with God.
And God’s continued declaration of his promise to humanity that an offspring would come and if humanity put their trust in Him then they could come back to the perfect place that humanity was always created to be……..in the arms of God.
Thirdly that God himself would provide the sacrifice needed to redeem mankind and pay the price for the sin they had committed and this would be the place we ultimately see judgement and grace working together.