“She took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:6). What grievous words; our hearts should sink each time we read them. One could hardly overstate the magnitude of consequence unleashed upon creation, a creation which only moments before was divinely declared “Good.”
The serpent would receive his judgment; he would no longer have the use of feet, he would be cursed to slither upon his belly in the dust, and there would be adversity between him and woman. Satan would receive a hint of his fate, at least his earthly future, yet the greater eternal plan for his future would be revealed later; one of an eternal order. Yes, Satan would finally receive his Earthly sentence, but also in that courtroom of Eden pronouncement of verdict and sentence would consume the rest of the created order as well.
For her role in the act of disobedience, woman would bear a multiplied pain in childbirth. Whatever had been the original measure of discomfort was exponentially increased due to sin. One would understand this to have affected the entire capacity of womanhood, not merely the act of birthing. Hormones. Menstrual agony. Bodily transformations. Hot flashes. But this was not the limitation of her sentence.
“Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”
Long debated, this verse seems to yield two different camps; one embracing a heightened sexual zeal on the part of women, the other view supposing the woman to have an aggression to usurp her husband’s authority. And yet, the husband would still be the divinely appointed head in the relationship. And thus, contention is introduced into the marital bliss.
Mankind, who had chosen to follow in disobedience brought the curse upon the land. The land would no longer solely be the advocate of man, but would now be the contentious provider. It would yield not only the fruit of enjoyment but also the fruit of despair and toil. This would be a competition that man could win but only at the cost of physical exertion. Through consistent hard work, bread could be extracted from the reluctant agent of life. And there’s more.
The body of man, built for the duration of eternity would fail. The DNA of sin introduced to the body would herald a failure of sorts to this divinely inspired frame of perfection. In time, eyes would fail, teeth would rot. Hair would fall out, muscle would atrophy. Intellect would suffer. Disease would enter the body and compromise life. One’s flesh would eventually be returned to the minerals from which he was created. End of physical life. But that’s not the worst of it.
Toward the end of the chapter, the Edenic couple would be ushered to the eastern gate and expelled from the Garden; cast from the presence of the Lord. The greatest loss due to sin was the intimate relationship with their Creator, which the couple had enjoyed prior to the fall.
In one fell swoop of disobedience the perfection of Eden was compromised, and thus was released the floodgate of evil into humanity, evil which would course its way not only into the very spiritual DNA of mankind, but also onto the sum of created order. Nature would turn hostile. Animals would turn on each other, organisms would turn to attack the delicate balance of the body so “fearfully and wonderfully made.” This unique strain of disease would find its way into the DNA of mankind, coursing its way through to every man.
Let no one say that the consequences of sin were minimal. And, let no one downplay the divinely given remedy to that disobedience. Let no one discount the magnitude of sin and its consequences…Paul says it in much fewer words than I have, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” but this is a summary of chapter Romans chapter 5:12-21, which recounts the consequences of the act. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
Why paint such a grim picture, Kelly? Because we cannot truly understand the heights to which Christ has saved us, until we fathom the depths of our original fate.
Though man had failed to obey the Covenant of Works, the Covenant of Grace was foreshadowed in Genesis 3:15, “And 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.”
This brief cryptic prophecy, announces the great power of the Gospel, right there in the Garden. Speaking to the serpent, God announces, prophesies a remedy to the Edenic catastrophe. A remedy which would offer to offset the indescribable damage produced in one fell swoop of disobedience.
At the expense of death to this seed of woman, God would offer restoration to all who believe in Christ. The serpent would endure a critical wound, bringing about his demise. In one act of grace upon the altar of the cross, the slate is wiped clean for all who believe. The opportunity for unbridled relationship with God would be once again offered to mankind.
Let no one minimize the gift of Christ!
[The Shepherd’s Echo is a previously published TheShepherdsPen]