There is so much truth in Genesis chapters 1 to 3. In the beginning, God. We have met the God who is Almighty. God who is eternal, beyond time and before time and outside time, God who is Creator. God who is good and pure – and to begin with everything He created was good too, it was very good!
God created human beings. And He created them in his image, in His likeness.
We saw a month ago what being made in the image of God actually means. The Mental image. The Creative image. The Moral image. The Social image. The Spiritual image. That is what human beings are. The representation of God within Creation. And we have been entrusted with dominion over the whole of creation. That is what we were created to do. The representatives of God ruling over and caring for creation. Made in the image of God
And then we read God placed man in a garden in Eden. The word “Eden” means ’delight’ and ’pleasure’ and that is exactly what God intended for Mankind. In Eden, God provided Humankind with everything necessary for his happiness and well-being. Physically, he had abundant food and drink. For his heart, God gave him a companion so as not to be alone. For his spirit, God gave him purpose and responsibility of caring for creation and becoming a creator too. God also surrounded Man with beauty. To satisfy the soul, Man had the ability and opportunity to walk and talk with His Maker, each day, like good friends.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, … and the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
GOD IS A GOD OF RELATIONSHIPS
God was walking in the garden. Enjoying the beauties of all He had created. But in the garden specifically because He wanted to walk with Adam and Eve – the crown of his creation. That was why human beings were created – to enjoy relationship with the Creator.
Can you imagine what it must have been like ? For Adam and Eve to walk in the Garden side by side with the Living God. To talk face to face with God. That was what God intended for human beings – but only a few since have had that wonderful experience.
ENOCH Gen 5:22 Enoch walked with God 300 years;
NOAH Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.(Genesis 6:9)
Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.
Enoch, Noah, Abraham. And the Bible tells us that Moses TALKED with God, face to face.
Ex 33:10 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshipped, each at the entrance to his tent. 11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
Numbers 12:6 8 With him (Moses) I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD.
God walking and talking with human beings. That is why he created us, in his own image. If we want to know a bit about what God is like we can look at ourselves, as human beings created in God’s image. We are created for community, created for relationships. Relationships with the rest of Creation, relationships with the animals, relationships between man and wife created to complement each other, relationships with God.
Saint Augustine of Hippo (354–430 AD) wrote, “You awaken us to delight in your praise; for you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
Human beings were designed to have a walking talking relationship with Almighty God. God walking among human beings. He is our God – we are His people. That is what it means to be truly human. God is a God of relationships. God intended to walk with human beings in the garden forever. That is what we were created for. So what went wrong?
Let me make one thing very clear, I believe the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is history. It believe these events happened just as the Bible describes them. Different people understand Genesis chapters 1 and 2 in different ways. Some people read them literally, as seven days of 24 hours each. Other people read them symbolically with the “days” representing long periods of time. But when we get to Genesis 3 and beyond I understand these chapters as history. And it was in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve that sin entered into the world.
THE CAUSES OF SIN
The devil –
3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Believing lies about God
“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”
4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.
Confusing good and evil
4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Leading each other on into sin
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
THE NATURE OF SIN
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.
Uncontrolled appetites – selfishness, greed, lust
Pride and independence – rebellion against God, wanting to lead life apart from God’s guidance, Thinking we know better than God
Disobeying a clear command.
3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”
We don’t know exactly why eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would be wrong for Adam and Eve. But we do know that God does not give commands without good reason. And eating that fruit did give Adam and Eve personal experience of evil. God knows best – and this story of the Fall of humanity shows that truth so clearly. We disobey His commands at our own peril. Disobedience offends God, but it also brings us harm.
RESULTS OF SIN.
Adam and Eve hide from God. Their guilt separated them from God. Here is surely one of the saddest verses in the whole Bible.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Instead of running towards God to be with Him, Adam and Eve ran away from God to hide from Him.
John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
God is a God of relationships – so when Adam and Eve hide away from God, God seeks them out. “Where are you.” Even though God knew and indeed had seen and heard everything which had happened, God still wanted relationship with the man and the woman. Just as God says to each and every one of us still today, “where are you?” God wants relationship with us just as much.
Fear and despair
9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
God had created human beings to be in relationship with Him. When that relationship is spoiled or broken, life loses its meaning and purpose.
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Not only was the relationship Adam and Eve had with God spoiled. The relationship they shared wife was damaged too. Here we have the first recorded argument between a husband and a wife. As so often, the row was over who was to blame for their problems. Passing the buck. God blamed the man. The man blamed the woman. The woman blamed the snake and the snake didn’t have a leg to stand on!
People make all kinds of excuses when they do something wrong. It was somebody else’s fault. It was just a “moment of weakness.” But God holds both Adam and Eve personally accountable for disobeying His command and rejecting Him. But they were not the only ones to be affected. And as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin, God’s image in human beings is tarnished and warped. We have an innate bias towards choosing wrong instead of right. As John Newton once put it, “By nature, I was too blind to know God, too proud to trust Him, too obstinate to serve Him, too base-minded to love Him.” The Bible tells us that that original sin, multiplied by millennia of history and billions of people, is the reason for the great mess the world is in today.
GOD’S JUDGMENT ON SIN
All relationships have limits and boundaries. God had set one simple boundary to his relationship with Adam and Eve, one rule to be obeyed as a sign of respect for God’s holiness. And when that law was broken, when our first ancestors ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then we see that God is a Holy and Righteous God. Disobedience had consequences. God’s judgment on the Garden, judgment on the man, judgment on the woman and judgment on that ancient serpent the devil. I think it was a sad day for God when He administered His punishment upon Adam and Eve. But we must never forget that any relationship we have with Almighty God will always have limits – we must never forget He is a Holy God.
Judgment on the devil
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals!
Judgment on the woman
16 To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
Judgment on the ground
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
Thousands of years before we knew about pollution and the ozone layer and global warming the Bible warns us that human selfishness and greed damages the planet.
Judgment on the man
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
There is the greatest punishment. Human beings were created immortal and sin has taken away their immortality. “The wages of sin is death.” “The soul that sins shall die.”
Fortunately for Adam and Eve and for us, their offspring, God is not only a just God but He is also a God of infinite mercy and bountiful grace. Even after Adam and Eve had disobeyed the only law God had given them, even while He was punishing the First Couple, God showed great mercy and grace. We see that mercy in at least three actions.
14 The LORD God said to the serpent, …. 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.”
God reveals that one of Eve’s descendants would crush or destroy the devil and all His works. This seed of Adam, this descendant will undo the damage done by devil’s deceit and the disobedience of Adam and Eve. That descendant is none other than the Saviour Jesus Christ. A promise of hope in the midst of judgment.
Then God acted to deal with the problem of shame which their actions had brought to Adam and Eve.
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
And finally God showed his mercy by making it impossible for Adam and Eve to eat again from the Tree of Life,
22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live for ever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
God banished them from Eden! How was that a display of God’s mercy? By eating the fruit of the Tree of Life, Adam and Eve would become immortal. Just think about living forever with a body that is subject to pain, sickness and disease. Think about living forever with guilt, shame, fear, disappointment, sadness and discouragement. Consider what it would be like to live forever in a fallen world of crime, oppression, betrayal, hatred, strife and war.
We all yearn for immortality. We all wish to live and never die; however, not under those circumstances. God did not want that for Adam and Eve and their descendants. So, in His divine mercy, God made sure that such a tragedy would never take place.
So here in the Garden of Eden we see so much about what God is like. The God of relationships – who longs for a relationship with each one of us. The Holy God, but also the God of mercy. The God who has made a way to deal with the problem of sin and made a way for us to enjoy that relationship with Him.
The Westminster Catechism reminds us that the Chief End of Man, our destiny as human beings is, “To Glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” God created us for a relationship with Himself. And the good news is that one day we will all enjoy that relationship. We will be even closer to God than Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden.
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Rev 22:3 The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
So one day all we WILL walk with God. We WILL glorify God and enjoy Him forever.