Genesis 3, Here Comes the Son

Summary

What starts as a conversation ends in a curse because Adam and the woman eat the forbidden fruit (3:1-6). Sin changes critical relationships between humans and God (3:16); between men and women (3:7). People will still multiply, but it will be painful (3:16). The curse even impacts man’s relationship to the ground (3:17-18). The man created from dust will die and return to dust (3:19). Despite all the bad news, there is good news. A saving son will be born from the woman’s offspring (3:15). Adam responds to this good news by naming the woman Eve (3:20). God covers Adam and Eve with animal skin and casts them out of the garden lest they live under the curse forever (3:20-24).

Key Verse

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. Genesis 3:15 (ESV)

Devotional Commentary

The danger of temptation is not in the question but the conversation. As amazed as we are that a crafty serpent questioned the woman, we ought to be more amazed that she answered back (3:1-3).

Temptation always begins by questioning the Word of God. “Did God actually say . . . (3:1)?”

And then a conversation ensues, less about what God has forbidden and more of a conversation about the finer aspects of touching, dying, and knowing (3:2-5). This conversation continues today. As long as we can debate and question what the Bible says, we dismiss ourselves from doing what the Bible says. 

Temptation is about taking a world full of fruit and reducing it to a single tree issue (Gen. 3:2-3). So we don’t talk about what all we can enjoy; instead, we parse what God prohibits. 

And so she eats. And she “also gave some to her husband who was with her (3:6).” The man who named all the animals and praised God for the woman’s glory says nothing while the serpent seduces his wife. A passive man is more of a danger to the world than the devil will ever be. 

“And he ate (3:6b).” And everything changed. Paradise is lost.

The man and the woman who were not ashamed (2:25) now see their nakedness (3:7). They’ve been naked all along, but now they notice it. So much of the confusion, abuse, and shame of sin stems from seeing nakedness instead of image-ness (1:27). The man and woman created for oneness now hide from one another.  

And here comes God. But where has the man and his wife gone? In Genesis 2:7, we see God breathing into man’s nostrils the breath of life. But in Genesis 3:8-10, man is afraid of God and hiding in the bushes. The relationship has changed. 

The man who praised God for the woman in 2:23-24 blames Him for her in 3:12. You gave her to me. She gave the forbidden fruit to me. I ate it. Adam was defiant. The woman was deceived (3:13).

Now come the curses. Most think of curses as an unfortunate spell cast upon an unlucky soul. In the Bible, curses are not spells but consequences. Curses do not come from potions but choices. It doesn’t take a witch or a magician, just your own dumb decision to cast a curse. In Genesis 1-2, we had a world that was “very good.” Now we know both good and evil. And God describes this good and evil world (3:14-19). See if it sounds familiar.

The sin-cursed world will be difficult for the woman. In Genesis 1:28, God blessed humanity with the ability to be fruitful and multiply. Sin will “multiply your pain in childbearing (2:16a). It will not only hurt to have them, but it will hurt to raise them. 

And the man who would become one flesh with you in 1:24 will now seek to rule over you in 3:16b. Remember, Genesis 2:16 is not a new order but a sinful consequence. She will try to control him with her cunning. And he will try to put underfoot the woman who came from his side and stood before his face. Instead of oneness, the man and woman, husbands and wives, want a winner. In Genesis 2, we had a wedding. In Genesis 3, we have wrestling.

Work is not the curse. Man’s purpose is to work (2:5). The curse is work that doesn’t work. Instead of abundant fruit, sometimes you do your best, and all that comes from it are thorns and thistles (3:18). 

Satan insinuated that we could sin and never die. We still believe the lie. And the devil promised that if they ate the fruit, they would become like God (3:5). He insinuates that God is holding something good from you. God was not withholding good but evil. Sin never ends up as you imagine it. Adam’s eating did not make him divine; instead, it destined him to die and return to dust (3:19). 

But there is good news. God promises an offspring of the woman who will deal the deceiver a fateful blow (3:15). Notice that it is “her offspring.” There is no mention of the man. This is the setup for the miraculous “male-less” incarnation our Savior. This is the gospel. This is the story of the Bible.  

And Adam is the first to respond to this good news. The giver of names (2:20) now calls the woman Eve “because she was the mother of all living.” Adam has repented of his blame and has stated his belief. By faith, he receives what God says. God responds by exchanging their loincloths of leaves (3:7) for a covering of skin. 

The Creator was the first to kill. The first death in consequence to sin was not the man or the woman. So there would not be an execution; God made a sacrifice. The only hope for a man who sins is a God who saves.

As ugly as Genesis 3 appears, don’t miss the magnitude of grace. Grace first appears in God’s question, “Where are you (3:9)?” Adam wasn’t the state champion of hide and seek. An all-knowing God knows precisely where you are in the world He created. The reason God asks is to help you realize why you are where you are. Where are you?

And as bad as the banishment appears (3:22-24), grace abounds even more (Rom 5:20-21). Adam and Eve had to go because God did not want them to live forever fallen. So yes. You and I will die. No one survives life. But the good news is that if we turn to the Savior, the consequence of sin is temporary, not eternal. 

We will return to the tree of life one day, not in a garden, but a city (Rev. 21-22). And when we do, praise God, we won’t be like this – sinful, sickly, ashamed. Men won’t be at odds with women and work . . . . will work! The deceiver will be defeated (Rev. 20:7-10), and paradise will never be lost again. 

Without access to the tree of life, Adam and Eve are going to die. The serpent lied. The day of death has dawned (Gen. 3:4). But the hope of the gospel is that while death is the penalty for sin, it is not our doom. On the contrary, death is the release of living forever in a world like this as sinners like us. Death is awful, but death has lost its sting in the hope of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:55). 

Gospel Truth

Genesis 3:15 is the first mention of the gospel in the Bible. And now we go in search of this saving Son. This is the story of Scripture. Adam set the precedent of a proper response to the good news of the saving Son. We repent of sin and receive by faith the sacrifice God has provided. And God is good. He responds not by covering us with animal skin but by covering our sin with the blood of the sacrificial death and righteousness of the resurrected life of the saving Son (Rom. 3:21-26).

Questions to Discuss

  • What did the serpent call into question?
  • Where does the text imply Adam was while the woman was having the conversation with the serpent?
  • How do the curses correspond to the world as you and I know it? How have they played out in your life?
  • Why did God cast the man and woman out of the garden?
  • What is the solution God set forth to save us from the consequence of sin?

Summarize Genesis 3:20-24 in your own words.

Challenge

In your conversations, today listen for someone to discuss how the curse of sin is playing out in their life. Then, show them Genesis 3 and explain to them the good news of Jesus Christ, the saving Son. 

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