Intro: What event to date has changed the world more than any other? (Discovery of electricity, automobile, computer chip, or a great medical discovery?) How about this day – Genesis 3:1-6 “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, `You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, `You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.”For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
- The first sin changed the world. The true nature and tragedy of sin can only be seen as we come to understand its origin in the revelation of God.
I. The Original Sin: In the first 2 chapters of Genesis, the creation of God is just as He designed it – perfect. “It is very good”. But in chapter 3 the Spirit recounts the inauguration of sin, and its immediate and remote consequences.
A. In its simplest form, man’s first sin was a transgression of the only prohibition God mad God said, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat”(2:16-17). Then we read that the woman “took from its fruit and ate; and she gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (3:6). Their action was a direct and obvious violation of the command of God.
B. Actually, the first sin mentioned in the text was the lie of Satan. “You will not surely die.” (Gen 3:4). Jesus said Satan was a liar and a murderer from the beginning; after Satan’s sin came the sin of Eve, who ate of the fruit, and then the sin of Adam, who also took of the fruit.
C. Adam & Eve’s transgression impugned God on several levels. Satan deceived Eve by suggesting that she ignore God’s words and focus on herself.
1. He implied that God’s law was not in her best interest. “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (3:5). This account helps us to better understand the nature of sin and its inherent consequences.
2. God’s provisions are not sufficient. There were better ways to satisfy man’s needs.
3. God’s words are not truthful. He cannot fully be trusted. I can decide for myself what is best for me.
4. God’s warnings are not serious. He will not really react as He says.
5. Sin involves attempting to satisfy legitimate desires in illegitimate ways for the supposed gain we think we will receive. It is choosing the flesh over the spirit, the physical over the spiritual.
II. The Consequences of the Original Sin: Again we have to investigate the account of Genesis 3. There were immediate consequences to Adam and Eve because of their transgression. The first thing we look for in this narrative – Did God mean what He said?- Gen 2:17 –for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” We recognize that Adam and Eve did not physically die that day 9lived to have children). So did God’s warnings come true?
A. Physical death was the consequence of the transgression that day. Although it did not occur that day, Adam and Eve were driven from the garden, and the tree of life (3:22), thus ensuring their subsequent physical death, and the death of all of humankind. To Adam God said… Gen 3:19– In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
B. Spiritual death – but what we can easily recognize from other Bible teaching is that a second type of death was the fullest consequence of that transgression. The term, death, is used to reference separation (as in physical death the body is separated from the body). Thus, those who are spiritually separated from God are called “dead”. Eph. 2:1– And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, Col 2:13 – And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, Man’s fellowship with God was broken by sin. No longer could man live with God, and if sin is not resolves there is no possibility of a reconciliation. Notice that this single transgression caused the separation for Adam and Eve. Later Paul spoke of those who were guilty of sin as “children destined for wrath” (Eph. 2:3) who were “without God”, and “without hope in the world” (Eph. 2:12)
C. Alienation from God – Sin alienated Adam and Eve from God, their Creator. This is first seen in their attempt to hide themselves from God following their disobedience. Gen 3:8-10 – And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Their desire to not be around God was paradoxically fulfilled as God expelled them from the garden. Gen 3:24So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (KJV) They were on their own – without God. But before God drove Adam and Eve from the garden, and access to the tree of life, He spoke to them about what they brought on themselves.
D. Loss of Innocence and Emotional Peace – If you could be free from anything, what would ask for? Many would say anxiety and inner turmoil. Adam and Eve lived in a world without inner struggle or guilt. But their sin changed all of that.
1. Satan told Eve – Gen 3:5 – “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He spoke truth, but not the whole truth. What would it mean for man to know both good and evil personally and experientially? He would feel the shame and guilt that comes with the experience of sin. Troubled by their nakedness, they were ashamed. Up until the time of disobedience, there had not been the daily moral struggle, no pangs of guilt, no inner conflict. It was only when temptation was given permission to bear fruit in Eve’s heart that he problem began.
a. Peter and Judas both forsook and betrayed Jesus. In both instances their consciences punished them. Peter went away and wept bitterly.
b. David fought with the pain of his conscience in his sin with Bathsheba. He spoke about that pain in Psalm 32:3-5 – 3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah 5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
c. Later in the 51st Psalm David prays that God would restore his “joy” – Psalm 51:88 Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
2. Along with the loss of security in the world came the loss of self-esteem. The peace within was gone. How could it be regained? There was no going back. Men still struggle with these consequences and many never find peace or emotional fulfillment. Jesus promised his disciples a peace that the world could not provide, and the writer of Hebrews calls on God’s people to “…draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water”. (Heb 10:22)
E. Conflict with the Environment – Whereas before Adam and Eve lived in perfect harmony with the rest of creation (very good), now Adam would have to work and provide for himself through labor and this world would turn against him and work against him. Gen 3:17-19 – Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
1. Even the most natural element of their coexistence, the birth of children, would be characterized by pain and suffering. Gen 3:16 – “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children… Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” Adam and Eve were created and joined together to live in harmony and mutual respect for each other. But sin changed that. Now there would be competition and struggle between the sexes. Eve would be placed in a position under her husband to which she would be more vulnerable to further sin.
2. How are you feeling today? Any aches and pains? Chronic sickness? Pain & suffering are consequential – not always immediate or personally attributable – but sin has cursed our world. Some suffering is directly connected to sinful choices. Drug and alcohol abuse, and sexual sins lead to the destruction of the mind and body, as well as the soul. Paul says …If you “sow to the flesh, of the flesh you will reap corruption” (Gal 6:7-8). The physical consequences of our sin may go far beyond our own bodies. David’s sin led to the rebellion of his children and the disruption of his family and kingdom. “..But the way of the transgressor is hard.” (Prov. 13:15)
3. Satan was not exempt from the consequences of this day. Gen 3:14-15 – So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” This is the first glimpse of hope for the sinner. That hope rested in the one described as the seed of woman who, although suffering the serpent’s strike in his heel, would deliver the death blow to the Tempter. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead sealed Satan’s fate and those who would do his bidding. Hell is prepared for Satan and his angels.
Conclusion: I wonder if Adam or Eve fully recognized the consequence of their actions the day after their sin. God warned them about death – “lest you die” – yet they were allowed to live on and even bear children. Even the physical expulsion from the garden and the expectation of physical death was not fully the consequence mentioned. Sin separates us from God. That separation is a death that is the most devastating consequence of our sin. James 1:13-15 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
- It is this consequence that Jesus overcame in His resurrection from the dead. Rom 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
- Can you imagine a world where nothing good exists? No love, compassion, light, blessings, no God. Where God is absent nothing good can exist. This is the consequence of sin. Outer darkness. Death.
- The day that lives in infamy. The longer I live the more pronounced are the consequences of that fateful decision. But a clearer view of the curse provides a greater appreciation for the blessing of my forgiveness. God has rescued me when I had no hope.