Monthly Archives: January 2015

Genesis 3 and the Entrance of Evil

Genesis 3:4–6 (ESV) — 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 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.” 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 its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

 

 

Intro:

We saw in Genesis 1-2 an emphasis on God’s good/very good creation.

  • The Heavens and the Earth
  • Image-Bearers – Adam and Eve
  • The Garden
  • Garden Blessings – Presence/Fellowship with Yahweh

 

Yet, in startling contrast to this, Genesis 3 shows how Adam and Eve, swayed by the Serpent…

  • Marred Good Creation
  • Rebelled Against God
  • Destroyed the Blessings
  • Severed Fellowship with Yahweh

 

John Piper describes the disconnect like this:

“Between the perfection described in Genesis 1:31 (‘behold, it was very good’) and the appearance of evil in Genesis 3, something happened. The good creation was corrupted” – John Piper.

 

This disconnect – this “something happened” – raises an important question.

  • Why did the “something” happen?
  • Why did God allow evil into His good creation?
  • How could a “very good” creation contain the potential for evil?

 

BTW – trying to answer these questions will only raise more questions.

  • It will also present the opportunity to chase many rabbits.
  • All of this demonstrates both the complexity and mystery inherent to this issue.

 

Back to our questions.

  • Unfortunately, Genesis 1-3 seems to have no interest in answering these questions.
  • Kenneth Mathews repeatedly reminds us of this fact.
  • “Genesis does not explain the origins of evil…”.
  • “…there is no attempt here to explain the origins of evil”.
  • “The narrative explains only the origin of human sin and guilt” – Mathews.

 

BTW – The book of Jonah never answers this question either.

 

So where does that leave us?

  • How can we attempt to answer these questions?

 

It leaves us with what is called a theodicy.

  • “A theodicy purports to offer the actual reason God has for allowing evil in our world” – John Feinberg.
  • It tries to explain where evil came from if God exists (Jeremy Evans).

 

“Theodicy” literally means, “justify god”.

  • What needs justifying?

 

The thing that needs justifying is the:

  • How can evil exist in a theistic universe?” – John Frame.
  • It is an apparent logical problem that God and evil coexist.
  • Theists must justify how the two can exist together.
  • The apparent difficulty to make this justification is “called the logical problem of evil, for it accuses the theistic worldview of logical inconsistency” – John Frame.

 

 

Theodicy vs. Defense:

We need to distinguish between a theodicy and a defense.

  • A theodicy for evil is different from a defense of evil.

 

A defense tries to explain, now that evil is here, what is being done about it (Jeremy Evans).

“A defense is much less pretentious [than a theodicy], for it claims to offer only a possible reason God might have for not removing evil” – John Feinberg.

 

For example, a defense seeks to give reasons for:

  • Natural Problem of Evil – why God would allow a tsunami to kill hundreds of thousands.
  • Gratuitous Problem of Evil – why God would allow “pointless and needless suffering” – Bird.
  • Religious Problem of Evil – why God would allow my loved one or me to suffer?
    • Judges 6:13a (ESV) — 13a And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?

 

 

Theodicy 101:

To get us started, we need to look at how the Logical Problem of Evil (the entrance of evil into God’s good creation) is stated by atheist J.L. Mackie.

  • P1 – If God exists, he is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent.
  • P2 – An omniscient being has the prior knowledge of evil to prevent evil.
  • P3 – An omnipotent being has the ability to prevent evil.
  • P4 – An omnibenevolent being has the desire to prevent evil.
  • P5 – Therefore, if there were a God, there would be no evil.
  • P6 – There is evil.
  • C1 – Thus, necessarily there is no God.

 

In trying to understand why God permitted evil to enter His good creation…

  • We need to figure out why this Logical Problem of Evil is not sound.
  • In other words, we need to figure out what is wrong with its premises (P) or conclusion (C).
  • Premise 4 is where the problem resides.

 

Why do we need to figure this out?

  • There are a many reasons, but a couple of obvious ones are…

 

1) To answer our original question posed above.

  • Why did God allow evil into His good creation?

 

2) To head off problems with what we believe to be true about God.

“If the theist’s God is both good, can get rid of evil, and has no morally sufficient reason for failing to do so, then his theology will be internally inconsistent and will collapse” – John Feinberg.

  • In other words, if there are no answers to the Logical Problem of Evil, then God can’t have the attributes that the Bible says He has.
  • This poses all sorts of problems for us.

 

 

Evil:

What is evil?

  • It’s hard to figure out what we are trying to explain without defining it.

 

Definitions:

  • “Evil is that which is in opposition to God, God’s character or God’s law – William Edgar.

“Evil is not a substance or a thing but instead is a privation of a good thing that God made. A privation of a good is the corruption or twisting of a created thing’s essence or substance…evil is the absence of something that ought to be; it is the absence of what fulfills a thing’s nature or essence” – Jeremy Evans.

  • So why was what happened in the Garden evil?

 

BTW – it must be said that God hates evil.

  • Psalm 97:10 (ESV) — 10 O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
  • Proverbs 8:13 (ESV) — 13 The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
  • Psalm 45:6 (ESV) — 6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;

 

So given God’s hatred of evil – why is it here?

  • We will briefly give two theodicies that deal justify both God and the entrance of evil into creation.

 

 

Freewill Theodicy:

This theodicy introduces to the LPE a premise that counters an assumption made by the LPE argument.

  • The assumption is that God does not have a morally sufficient reason to allow evil.
  • The freewill theodicy challenges this assumption and states as a premise that God does have a morally sufficient reason to allow evil.

“To prove its truth [of this new premise] one must propose what God’s reason might have been for creating a world containing evil, and then argue that his reason proves that ours is a good world and exonerates God from having to remove moral evil” – John Feinberg.

 

The reason proposed that explains why God had a morally sufficient reason to allow evil into his good creation is libertarian freewill.

  • “No contemporary philosopher has done more to develop and defend the free will defense than Alvin Plantinga” – John Feinberg.

 

He begins by defining what freewill is.

  • Freewill means that “it must be within that agent’s power either to perform or to refrain from performing [an] action” – Jeremy Evans.
  • Or more explicitly…

“If a person is free with respect to a given action, then he is free to perform that action and free to refrain from performing it; no antecedent conditions and/or causal laws determine that he will perform the action, or that he won’t. It is within his power, at the time in question, to take or perform the action and within his power to refrain from it” – Feinberg.

 

After defining freewill, Plantinga then explains why it is worth having – in spite of the evil it brings.

“A world containing creatures who are significantly free (and freely perform more good than evil actions) is more valuable, all else being equal, than a world containing no free creatures at all. Now God can create free creatures, but he can’t cause or determine them to do only what is right. For if he does so, then they aren’t significantly free after all; they do not do what is right freely. To create creatures capable of moral good therefore, he must create creatures capable of moral evil and he can’t give these creatures the freedom to perform evil and at the same time prevent them from doing so” – Alvin Plantinga.

 

An important point needs to be made about God.

  • “God’s creation of humans with significant freedom only means that he created a set of circumstances whereby evil may occur; it does not mean he determined it to occur” – Jeremy Evans.
  • In other words, God is not the author of evil.
  • How this can be is one of the many complex questions and rabbit trails that arises when dealing with the LPE.

 

So does the freewill theodicy answer our question…

  • Why did God allow evil into his “very good” creation?
  • Yes it does.
  • In fact, “the LPE is a relic of the past. Even J. L. Mackie, who formulated the LPE in its most precise form, decidedly rejected his own thesis in his later work, effectually conceding that the problem of evil does not show that the central doctrines of theism are logically inconsistent with one another given the reality of evil” – Jeremy Evans.

 

But we have another theodicy to consider as well.

 

 

Feinberg Theodicy:

A different approach to answering our question comes from Christian philosopher John Feinberg.

  • He rejects the idea of libertarian incompatibilist freewill in favor of a compatibilist freewill.

 

What is compatibilist freewill?

  • “It seeks to show that God’s exhaustive sovereignty compatible with human freedom, or in other words, it claims that determinism and free will are compatible. Rather than limit the exercise of God’s sovereignty in order to preserve man’s freedom, compatibilists say that there must be a different way to define what freedom really means” – Theopedia.

 

Compatibilism defines freedom as follows:

“Compatibilism claims that every person chooses according to his or her greatest desire. In other words, people will always choose what they want — and what they want is determined by (and consistent with) their moral nature. Man freely makes choices, but those choices are determined by the condition of his heart and mind (i.e. his moral nature). Libertarian free will maintains that for any choice made, one could always equally have chosen otherwise, or not chosen at all” – Theopedia.

  • “Compatibilistic freedom is still freedom; it isn’t compulsion” – John Feinberg.

 

After defining his view of free will, Feinberg starts his theodicy as follows:

  • “Confronting the problem of evil must face three fundamental questions: 1) Must God eradicate evil?— a question about obligation; 2) Can God remove evil?—a question concerning ability and power; and 3) Should God eliminate evil?” – John Feinberg.
  • The same questions the Free Will Theodicy addresses.

 

Feinberg answers questions as follows:

  • “God can’t eradicate evil without producing various problems I shall specify. Thus, he isn’t obligated to remove evil.”

 

This answer is very similar to Plantinga’s approach.

  • God has ordained a morally sufficient reason to allow evil.
  • This means that for God to prevent or rid the world of evil contradicts the way he ordained to create.
  • The difference for Feinberg is the nature of the will God created – compatibilistic vs. incompatibilistic.
  • We will see how that plays out – especially with the human attribute of desire.

 

Feinberg then spells out the two stages of his theodicy.

 

Stage One:

He begins as follows…

  • “God intended to create and did create agents who can act; he didn’t create or do their acts (good or evil). They do them” – John Feinberg.

 

Those actions include:

“At a minimum…the capacity to reason (that capacity obviously varies from individual to individual), a being with emotions, a will that is free (compatibilistically free, though freedom isn’t the emphasis of my defense), a being with desires, intentions (formed on the basis of one’s desires), and the capacity for bodily movement. Moreover, he intended for us to use those capacities to live and function in a world that is suited to beings such as we are” – John Feinberg.

 

He then spells out the implication of God’s intention.

“If God intended to and did create the sort of being I have described, then I believe God cannot eradicate moral evil without contradicting his intentions in producing that being. That is, for God to fulfill both goals (eradicate evil and create human beings as I have described them) would be impossible, for accomplishing one goal would foreclose his achieving the other” – Feinberg.

 

Stage Two:

He begins state two of his theodicy with a question.

  • “If humans are the sort of creatures I have described, then how do they fall into sin?”

 

His answer is not free will.

  • He says the answer – as spelled out by James – is desire (a significant part of compatibilism).
  • This is similar to the “naked as vulnerable and dependent” approach we took some weeks ago.

 

James says this:

  • James 1:13–15 (ESV) — 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

 

In light of James, Feinberg states:

  • “In accord with James 1:13-15, I hold that morally evil actions ultimately stem from human desires [not libertarian free will]. This doesn’t mean desires in and of themselves are evil or that the desires do the evil.”

 

In other words, God ordained that humans have desires.

  • The capacity to desire was not inherently evil.
  • But it presented a risk.
  • The risk is sin.

 

BTW – Is it any wonder, then, that the Psalmist says.

  • Psalm 37:4 (ESV) — 4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

 

Feinberg goes on to detail how this answers his question and relates to his theodicy.

“To sum up, then, as to how an evil action comes to be, an individual has certain basic desires or needs which aren’t evil in themselves. He initially doesn’t purpose to sate those desires in a way that disobeys ethical norms. However, a desirable object comes before him, and he is attracted to it. He forms the intention to have it, even though acquiring it is prohibited by moral precept. Then, when the allurement becomes strong enough, he wills to acquire or do the thing he desires. At that point sin is committed. Then, bodily movement (whatever it might be) to carry out the decision occurs. Once the act is done, it is public knowledge that the moral law has been broken.”

 

So then, similar to the Free Will theodicy, God decreed that humans have desires (the naked/unashamed/vulnerable).

  • Being made with desires that drive the will is risky.
  • It can, and did, lead to the Fall.
  • But for God to mitigate this risk would have altered the way He ordained to make man.
  • In other words, naked, unashamed, desire-filled people are the people God wanted to make.

 

Because of this, He put limits on what he could do with respect to mankind.

  • God is limited in some ways?
  • “There are some things God cannot do. God cannot be cruel, for cruelty is contrary to his nature. He cannot lie. He cannot break his promise. God cannot make a circle, a true circle, without all points on the circumference being equidistant from the center. Similarly, God cannot make a human without certain accompanying features” – Millard Erickson.

 

God, presumably, could have gotten rid of the risk.

  • But to do so He would have had to…
  • 1) Eliminate mankind.
    • But we are His image bearers!
  • 2) Eliminate all objects of desire.
    • But Father/Son/Spirit are to be objects of our desire!
  • 3) Eliminate desire itself.
    • But we are to be driven to sacred service and worship.

 

Feinberg finishes up his argument this way.

  • So, “Can God remove moral evil from our world? I believe he can, if he creates different creatures than human beings.”
  • And importantly, because “God intended to bring himself glory through his created order, he also had very specific intentions about the creatures he would create to accomplish that goal” – John Feinberg.

 

We need to finish with the ultimate reason for creation and evil’s ultimate solution.

  • Colossians 1:16 (ESV) — 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

 

 

Genesis 3 to Romans 5:12 – The Garden Exile View

Having spent some time dealing with the judgment of Adam…

  • We need to now contend with how the NT (specifically Paul) understood this judgment.
  • This view is traditionally known as Original Sin.
  • Before we do, we need to do a quick review of God’s judgment of Adam.

 

 

Judgment of Adam:

Genesis 3:17–19 (ESV) — 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

 

Genesis 3:23–24 (ESV) — 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

 

Over the last couple of weeks, we saw this judgment had three main aspects.

  • (1) “cursed is the ground” (vs. 17)
  • (2) “to dust you shall return” (vs. 19)
  • (3) “drove out the man” (vs. 24)

 

The first was effectively a reversal of Adam’s relationship to creation – especially food.

  •  “in pain you shall eat
  • eat plants of the field
  • sweat of your face you shall eat bread

 

The idea here is not just a physical hardship, but as we saw with Eve…

  • This reversal brings with it anxiety and mental anguish.

 

The second aspect of the judgment of Adam was his death.

  • Adam was fashioned from the dust of the ground.
  • He would return to the ground – he would die.

 

The third aspect of this judgment is the context for the other two – expulsion from the garden.

  • In other words, the cursed ground would be the ground outside of the garden.
    • No access to the food God provided – so work and mental anguish.
  • And Adam’s death would result from his being outside of the garden.
    • No access to the tree of life God provided – so death.

 

So Adam’s exile from the Garden of Eden was a severing of the access Adam had to:

  • God’s Garden Fellowship
    • Which naturally led to severing of…
  • God’s Garden blessing.
  • God’s Garden life.

 

 

Transition:

Having understood God’s judgment of Adam…

  • It is only natural to ask how the NT viewed it.

 

Douglas Moo elaborates:

“What is the relationship between Adam’s sin and ours? Or, to put it another way, why do all people, without exception, sin?…How is it that the sin of Adam led to the condemnation of all people?” – Douglas Moo.

  • The answer to these questions is located – we are told – in Romans 5:12.

 

 

Romans 5:12:

Romans 5:12 (ESV) — 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

 

To get us started, Michael Bird does a great job at rephrasing our questions to show us what is at stake.

  • Concerning 5:12 and specifically the phrase “because all sinned” he says:
  • “The two main issues raised by this passage are: (1) What impact did Adam’s sin have on the sinfulness of humanity? (2) For which sin is humanity culpable—for Adam’s sin, or each for their own sins?”
  • I would add one more, “(3) For whose sin does humanity die?”

 

We are going to look, very briefly, at 4 takes on how to answer these questions.

  • Keep in mind, “The interpretation of these verses is sharply controversial and infested with difficulties” – Tom Schreiner.

 

After each take, I will ask the same three questions of each take.

  • How does Jesus maintain a sin-free human nature on this view?
  • How does in infant who dies fare salvifically on this view?
  • What are the problems with this view?

 

Why the question about Jesus’ humanity?

  • Orthodox Christianity teaches that Jesus is both 100% God and 100% human.
  • And yet in His humanity, He was without sin.
  • Given humanity’s relationship to the sin of Adam, we have to ask how Jesus was born without sin.

 

Why the question about infants?

  • “While the status of infants and those who never reach moral competence is a difficult question, it appears that our Lord did not regard them as under condemnation” – Millard Erickson.
  • King David’s baby is typically used to support this view.
  • Again, given humanity’s relationship to the sin of Adam, why aren’t infants condemned by their guilt in Adam?

 

The four takes are:

  • (1) Pelagianism
  • (2) Seminal Headship
  • (3) Federal Headship
  • (4) Garden Exile (my label for a hybrid Schreiner/Blocher/Bird view)

 

 

(1) Pelagianism:

This view answers Bird’s questions as follows:

  • “(1) What impact did Adam’s sin have on the sinfulness of humanity?” – Answer: None.
  • “(2) For which sin is humanity culpable—for Adam’s sin, or each for their own sins?” – Answer: Their own.
  • “(3) For whose sin does humanity die?” – Answer: Their own.

 

James Boice sums up this view as follows:

The Pelagian view of Romans 5:12 holds that, “each human being sins in his or her own person, entirely apart from any relationship to Adam, and that the person’s death, which follows, is a consequence of that sin only” – James Boice.

  • On this view, “Adam was merely a bad example” and humans “enter the world with a blank slate” – Michael Bird.

 

Questions –

  • How does Jesus maintain a sin-free human nature on this view? Free from sin.
  • How does in infant who dies fare salvifically on this view? Not condemned?

 

What are the problems with this view?

  • (1) It discounts both the corporate and spiritual aspects of the Fall.
  • As Douglas Moo says, “the ‘sin’ that enters the world is more than an individual sin; it is the bridgehead that paves the way for ‘sinning’ as a condition of humanity” – Douglas Moo.
  • (2) It doesn’t account for the obvious sin that does exist in small children.
  • (3) It doesn’t account for Scripture’s clear teaching that we are born in sin.
    • by nature children of wrath” – Eph. 2:3.

 

 

(2) Seminal Headship:

This view answers Bird’s questions as follows:

  • “(1) What impact did Adam’s sin have on the sinfulness of humanity?” – Answer: Everything (biology).
  • “(2) For which sin is humanity culpable—for Adam’s sin, or each for their own sins?” – Answer: Adam’s and Their Own.
  • “(3) For whose sin does humanity die?” – Answer: Adam’s and Their Own.

 

This view is that of Augustine.

  • Michael Bird sums up Augustine’s Seminal Headship view as follows:

“We inherit our sinful nature from him [Adam]. That sinful nature is transmitted seminally as we were biologically in Adam when he sinned” – Michael Bird.

  • This is the concept of Original Sin – we receive both Adam’s corruption and guilt because we were literally (somehow) biologically in Adam.

 

Questions –

  • How does Jesus maintain a sin-free human nature on this view? Not sure.
  • How does in infant who dies fare salvifically on this view? Not good?

 

What are the problems with this view?

  • How is it that we are legally held responsible for another’s sin before God?
  • How can an individual’s sin have corporate transmission through biology?
  • How is biology related to our legal standing before God?
    • Doesn’t John 9 discount this?

 

 

(3) Federal Headship:

This view answers Bird’s questions as follows:

  • “(1) What impact did Adam’s sin have on the sinfulness of humanity?” – Answer: Everything (representatively).
  • “(2) For which sin is humanity culpable—for Adam’s sin, or each for their own sins?” – Answer: Adam’s and Their Own.
  • “(3) For whose sin does humanity die?” – Answer: Adam’s and Their Own.

 

This is the view of a majority of scholars I read.

  • Essentially it means this…
  • “Adam acted on behalf of all persons. There was a sort of contract between God and Adam as our representative, so that what Adam did binds us” – Millard Erickson.

“God appointed Adam the head or representative of the race, so that he would stand for them and they would be accounted either just or sinful on the basis of his obedience to or disobedience of God’s command” – James Boice.

 

The result of this federal transmission of Adam’s sin is that:

  • “The sin of Adam is the sin of all” – John Murray.
  • “His sin is our sin, his guilt is our guilt” – John Frame.
  • “All people, therefore, stand condemned ‘in Adam,’ guilty by reason of the sin all committed ‘in him’ – Douglas Moo.

 

So it is similar to Augustine’s seminal view except for the method of transmission.

  • Adam’s sin wasn’t transmitted biologically, it was transmitted representatively.
    • A deeply covenantal view of Adam’s sin.
  • In this way, both the corporate and individual implications of the Fall are maintained.
  • And the textual/biological problems of Augustine’s view are avoided.

 

However, there is an admission of mystery with representative transmission.

  • “The sin of Adam was in some sense our own sin, and therefore God is right to judge us for it” – John Frame.
  • For some reason the one sin of the one man Adam is accounted to be the sin of all” – John Murray.

 

Interestingly, on this view the fact that infants die is counted as evidence by some that they are guilty of Adam’s sin.

  • If they die (death is result of sin) before there own sin, they must have Adam’s sin.
  • I supposed the same would apply to the seminal view.

 

Questions –

  • How does Jesus maintain a sin-free human nature on this view? Not sure.
  • How does in infant who dies fare salvifically on this view? Not good?

 

What are the problems with this view?

  • How is it that we are legally held responsible for another’s sin before God?
  • How can an individual’s sin have corporate transmission via representation?
  • Where does Genesis 3 state Adam was our representative head in such a way that we were “in” him?

 

 

(4) Garden Exile:

This view answers Bird’s questions as follows:

  • “(1) What impact did Adam’s sin have on the sinfulness of humanity?” – Answer: Made it a surety.
  • “(2) For which sin is humanity culpable—for Adam’s sin, or each for their own sins?” – Answer: Their Own*.
  • “(3) For whose sin does humanity die?” – Answer: Their Own*.

 

This view disagrees with the notion that when Adam sinned all sinned.

“When Paul says ‘all sinned,’ he indeed means that every human being has personally sinned” – Tom Schreiner.

  • As opposed to the idea that we all sinned in Adam.
  • “It seems unlikely…that Paul is arguing…that people die because of Adam’s sin” – Tom Schreiner.

 

So what is the corporate aspect of this view?

  • Our two answers above were both “Their Own”.
  • Seemingly indicating agreement with the Pelagian view.
  • How does it avoid the Pelagian view’s rejection of any corporate effects from Adam’s sin?

 

To answer this, we need to view it through the lens of Adam’s judgment we reviewed above.

  • Adam’s sin severed…
  • God’s Garden Fellowship.
    • Which naturally led to severing of…
  • God’s Garden blessing.
  • God’s Garden life.

 

In my opinion, this is the key to this view.

  • Adam was exiled from Garden Fellowship – naked and ashamed.
  • The Garden, naked and unashamed, and the tree of life were all lost.

 

Adam sinned; was exiled from the Garden and as a result died.

  • His Garden Exile alienated him from God.

 

So because all of us were also born outside of Garden Fellowship, we too will die.

  • Because all of us were born outside of Garden Fellowship, we were born alienated from God and so will sin.
  • Because all of us were born outside of Garden Fellowship, we are “children of wrath”.

 

Tom Schreiner puts it as follows:

“As a result of Adam’s sin, death entered the world and engulfed all people; all people enter the world alienated from God and spiritually dead by virtue of Adam’s sin. By virtue of entering the world in the state of death (i.e., separated from God), all human beings sin” – Tom Schreiner.

 

Henri Blocher puts it this way:

  • “Sin entered the world through Adam.”
  • “Death is the consequence of the sin of Adam.”
  • “Death has spread to the whole human race.”
  • “Human beings, because they enter the world alienated from God, sin.”

 

For these reasons, Schreiner would paraphrase the end of 5:12 as follows:

  • Instead of the ESV’s, “and so death spread to all men because all sinned”.
  • He suggests, “On the basis of death entering the world through Adam all people sinned.”
  • He (with Fitzmyer) shows why this is linguistically valid (not my concern here).

 

So, the corporate aspect of Adam’s sin taught by Paul’s words is simply this:

  • “The sin of all is a consequence of death entering the world through Adam” – Tom Schreiner.
  • Our alienation and separation from God are due to Adam’s sin, and thus we sin as a result of being born into the world separated from God’s life” – Tom Schreiner.
  • Therefore, Paul is not referring to Adam’s sin being in us like the 2nd and 3rd views above.

 

Another way to look at this is by simply saying this:

  • Because Adam sinned and was exiled from Garden Fellowship he died.
  • Because of this, all of us are born exiled from Garden Fellowship – so we sin and we die.

 

Questions –

 

How does Jesus maintain a sin-free human nature on this view?

  • In His humanity, Jesus was not born having sinned in Adam.

 

But how does He escape the certainty of sin from being born in Garden Exile?

  • This is simple – Jesus wasn’t born in Garden Exile alienated from God.
  • As God and man, He was born in Garden Fellowship.
  • He was born naked and unashamed – not naked and ashamed.
  • So he was spiritually alive and not spiritually dead like the rest of us.

 

How does an infant who dies fare salvifically on this view?

  • Maybe, because they aren’t guilty of Adam’s sin, and haven’t reached the age of accountability, they are innocent and thus saved.
  • However, their righteousness still must come from Christ and His work.

 

What are the problems with this view?

  • I suspect James Boice’s concern would be put forward.
  • For the parallel to Christ as the new Adam to hold, “we must also be declared sinful on the basis of Adam’s sin and not merely on the fact that we sin personally”.
  • In other words, Christ’s righteousness is imputed to all of us – so Adam’s sin was also “imputed” to all of us.

 

One possible answer:

  • It can simply be said that by our Union with Christ (His death and resurrection), God brings us back into Garden Fellowship – both physically and spiritually.
  • Just as our union with Adam’s Garden Exile exiled us from the Garden physically and spiritually.
  • No to mention the Adam as historical and Jesus as historical parallel.
  • So, many parallels still hold.

 

BTW – we can also use Paul’s own words to maintain the parallel.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:21–22 (ESV) — 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

 

Moreover this view’s strengths seem to be:

  • It avoids Pelagianism.
  • Accounts for what happened in the Garden in a fuller way.
  • Provides the best answers to our questions concerning Jesus and infants.

 

 

Conclusion on Romans 5:12:

Whichever view we embrace we need to do so humbly.

  • And we must not forget some of the main points of Paul’s Romans 5 discourse.

 

Main Point:

  • “Paul plainly asserts that all people stand in a relationship to one of two men, Adam and Christ, and their relationship with them determines their eternal destiny” – Michael Bird.
  • “In Adam the race has experienced sin, leading to condemnation and death, while in Christ believers have experienced righteousness, leading to justification and eternal life” – James Boice.
  • “Believers shift from the epoch of sin, death, and condemnation associated with Adam’s transgression to the epoch of righteousness, life, and justification associated with the obedience of the new Adam” – Michael Bird.

 

Plus it answers the following question:

“Why do people so consistently turn from good to evil of all kinds? Paul affirms in this passage that human solidarity in the sin of Adam is the explanation—and whether we explain this solidarity in terms of sinning in and with Adam or because of a corrupt nature inherited from him does not matter at this point [or Garden Exile]. On any view, this, the biblical, explanation for universal human sinfulness, appears to explain the data of history and experience as well as, or better than, any rival theory” – Douglas Moo.

 

 

 

Genesis 3:20-24 – Grace in Judgment

Genesis 3:20–24 (ESV) — 20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. 22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

 

This seems to be a weird collection of verses.

  • Both in its position in the chapter – it seems out of place.
  • And in its content – verse 20, e.g., seems an awkward verse to come after verse 19.
  • Moreover, the text comes across more as a commentary – an aside to the judgment texts.

 

I think by understanding the text and what it is telling us – everything will come into focus.

  • Especially when we see how prevalent grace is.

 

 

Naming of Eve (vs. 20):

The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”

 

Gordon Wenham gets us started.

“What prompted the man to call his wife ‘Life’ especially at this juncture in the story? It comes immediately after the curses announcing man’s mortality (v 19), the pains of childbirth (v 16), and the struggle of the woman’s seed with the snake (v 15)” – Wenham.

 

So what we have is a sudden and massive change in tone.

  • In the midst of the judgment and curses – especially the decree that death awaits Adam and Eve – we are told that Adam named his wife “the mother of all living”.
  • Eve’s name in Hebrew, ḥawwâ, apparently finds its origin from the word ḥāyâ which means “to live” – DOT.
  • This seems in opposition to the death that awaits them.

 

What is going on here?

  • There are at least three choices.

 

1) Exercising Headship

  • This is the most common view.
  • The idea is that in naming his wife “Eve”, Adam is demonstrating his authority over her.
  • “Adam’s naming the woman is his exercise of responsible headship” – Kenneth Mathews.

 

However, this meaning doesn’t seem to flow from the context that precedes it.

  • Moreover, there is an ancient debate concerning who is superior over whom in the Genesis narrative.
  • “Historical Judaism traditionally argues for the superiority of the man (see Gen. Rab. 18.2), as does Islam (see Al-Baghawi, Mishkat al-Masabili). The Talmud, however, argues for the superiority of the woman (Sanh. 39a)” – DOT.

 

2) Act of Faith

  • In spite of the death sentence leveled at Adam and Eve, Adam seems to understand that God has more in store for humanity.
  • As we saw last week, there are some reversals that need to be remedied.
  • Therefore, “Adam’s naming is an act of faith on his part. Though threatened by death Adam does not believe that he and his wife are to be the first and last beings of the human race. Motherhood will emerge” – Victor Hamilton.

 

Does this make sense in light of the judgment texts before it?

 

3) Continuance of Life

  • Even though death will befall them, they will live on through their offspring.
  • Life will continue, as they are obedient to be fruitful and multiply.
  • Moreover, “She was the source of the ‘seed’ (v. 15) that would eventually defeat the serpent and restore life” – Apologetics Study Bible.

 

Does this make sense in light of the judgment texts before it?

 

 

Making Garments (vs. 21):

And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

 

A number of commentators point out that this text has God making (asa) again.

  • He had rested, but is now at work again.

 

Their point is this.

“Adam and Eve are in need of a salvation that comes from without. God needs to do for them what they are unable to do for themselves” – Victor Hamilton.

  • In other words, God’s making of the garments is His first act of grace shown to Adam and Eve after the fall.

 

We also need to keep in mind that Adam and Eve are about to be expelled from the garden.

  • The vulnerability – both spiritual and physical – they were made with is about to exist within a context it wasn’t originally made for.
  • Once naked and unashamed (in Garden), they are now naked and ashamed (outside Garden).

 

But, God intercedes on their behalf – even in the midst of His judgment – and shows grace.

  • “It is important for understanding the drift of this chapter that we note that the clothing precedes the expulsion from the garden. God’s act of grace comes before his act of judgment” – Hamilton.

“This provision should probably be seen as an act of grace by God, preparing them for the more difficult environment he is sending them into and providing a remedy for their newly developed shame” – Walton.

 

BTW – Gordon Wenham disagrees with the garments as grace approach.

  • “In this context God’s provision of clothes appears not so much an act of grace, as often asserted, but as a reminder of their sinfulness (cf. Calvin, 1:182). Just as man may not enjoy a direct vision of God, so God should not be approached by man unclothed” – Wenham.

 

 

What about the texts connection to animal sacrifice?

  • As the ESV Study Bible points out:

“Because God provides garments to clothe Adam and Eve, thus requiring the death of an animal to cover their nakedness, many see a parallel here related to (1) the system of animal sacrifices to atone for sin later instituted by God through the leadership of Moses in Israel, and (2) the eventual sacrificial death of Christ as an atonement for sin”.

 

There is actually disagreement about this.

  • The Hebrew text used here points clearly to literal, real clothing needed for protection outside of the Garden.
  • “It is probably reading too much into this verse to see in the coats of skin a hint of the use of animals and blood in the sacrificial system of the OT cultus” – Hamilton.
  • Maybe this is trying too hard not to read something into the text.

 

Kenneth Mathews points out this about the word for “garment”…

  • “This is another lexical link with the symbols of the tabernacle, where the priest must be properly clothed before God in the administration of his service” – Mathews.
  • He goes on to point out that…
  • “Since the garden narrative shares in tabernacle imagery, it is not surprising that allusion to animal sacrifice is found in the garden too” – Mathews.

 

In other words, we have already seen the Garden is a sacred space that requires sacred service.

  • And in our verses today, we see additional tabernacle imagery with the introduction the cherubim.
  • He placed the cherubim” (vs. 24).

 

Cherubim are associated with the tabernacle all throughout the OT.

  • “The placing of cherubim to the east of the garden is reflected in the tabernacle and temple, where cherubim were an important component in the structure and furnishings” – ESV Study Bible.
  • So it is not a stretch to see tabernacle sacrifice imagery behind God’s provision of the garments.
  • It fits.

 

BTW – there may be here an indication of the need for the law.

  • Something else “made” by God.

 

In Adam and Eve’s naked and unashamed state (vulnerability in the Garden), they had great freedom.

  • They only had one prohibition.

 

But, in their naked and ashamed state (vulnerability outside of Garden), there was a need for covering.

  • The garments covered them physically.
  • The law would cover them spiritually?

 

 

Like One of Us (vs. 22):

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—

 

There is widespread agreement on this verse.

  • It is not expressing a fear that God now has a rival.
  • Remember the context – God alone is creator of everything and He alone can “reverse” creation.
  • “God’s admission that the man ‘has become like one of Us’ does not indicate that the serpent’s suggestion that God was insecure about His position was correct” – Apologetics Study Bible.

 

Kenneth Mathews put’s it like this:

God’s word here “is not one of fear of usurpation but rather of sympathy for the misery the first couple must endure and an assurance that their pitiful state is not consigned for eternity” – Mathews.

 

In other words, God is recognizing the severity of Adam and Eve’s current condition.

  • They are in risk of being immortal sinners – “live forever”.
  • And, in grace, He is about to provide a remedy for it.

 

 

Driven Out (vs. 23-24):

Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

 

1) The remedy for the severity of Adam and Eve’s situation was an act of grace.

  • God, as part of his judgment against Adam and Eve, “drove out the man”.
  • He did this so they could not eat of “the tree of life”.
  • In their nakedness and shame, God makes sure they don’t live this way forever.
  • “Taken in the broader context of Scripture, driving the man and his wife out of the garden was an act of merciful grace to prevent them from being sustained forever by the tree of life” – John MacArthur.

 

2) God’s act of driving them out, however, was also traumatic.

  • The Hebrew for “drove out” is a much stronger term than “sent him out” – Wenham.
  • In fact, it is the same phrase used to describe “the expulsion of the inhabitants of Canaan” – Wenham.
  • Even more harsh, is that the same phrase carries the idea of divorce as well.

 

3) Adam’s future is decided by God’s decree.

  • The use of this language makes clear that just as God put Adam in the Garden.
  • Adam’s expulsion was God’s work – Adam could not stay of his own will.

 

4) And we have to remember that the expulsion was also judgment.

  • “Outside the garden, man is distant from God and brought near to death” – Wenham.
  • “Removal from the safety of the garden [is] exposure to a life of severity and uncertainty” – Hamilton.
  • “The original tasks given to both Adam and Eve (keeping the garden, being fruitful and multiplying) now involve difficulty because they live outside Eden” – Heiser.

 

This expulsion makes it a certainty that Adam will return to the ground from which He came.

  • The dust outside of the Garden.
  • This means, of course, that all of us (sons of Adam) will also die.

 

Moreover, the couple, like Israel for years to come, is driven out to the East in judgment.

  • Disobedience leads to exile to the east throughout the OT.
  • Just as God put out Adam He puts out Israel for disobedience.
  • But as He put Adam into the Garden, in Genesis, God would soon bring Abram out of the East and put him back into the Promise Land.
  • Yet another act of grace and covenant faithfulness.
  • Actions that ultimately bring us Jesus.

 

Genesis 3 Summary:

“The serpent held out to the couple the prospect that being like God would bring with it unlimited privileges, unheard-of acquisitions and gifts. Alas, rather than experiencing bliss, they encounter misery. Rather than sitting on a throne, they are expelled from the garden. Rather than new prerogatives, they experience only a reversal. The couple not only fail to gain something they do not presently have; the irony is that they lose what they currently possess: unsullied fellowship with God. They found nothing and lost everything” – Victor Hamilton.

  • “Is it not surprising in a chapter of the Bible so widely accepted as mythical that we find the classical outline of salvation history rather than myths? God acts and speaks; man rebels; God punishes; God protects and reconciles” – Victor Hamilton.

 

 

Genesis 3:17-19 – God’s Judgment – Adam

Genesis 3:17–19 (ESV) — 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

 

 

The Problem:

1) God reminds Adam of the one command he was given earlier on – “You shall not eat of it”.

  • Genesis 2:17 (ESV) — 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
  • This command was given directly to Adam.
  • Implying that he was the one responsible for insuring it was obeyed.
  • Eve was not yet on the scene.

 

2) God spells out for Adam where he went wrong.

  • Because you have listened to the voice of your wife…

 

In the OT, this language – “listened to the voice of” is idiomatic.

  • It means, “obey” – Wenham.
  • Exodus 18:24 (ESV) — 24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said.

 

So the idea here is not that the problem was that Adam obeyed Eve.

  • “Obeying his wife rather than God was man’s fundamental mistake” – Wenham.

 

Therefore the text does not intend to suggest that men/husbands are never to obey women/wives.

  • Clearly, there are innumerable circumstances where we should.
  • As we discussed last time, each marriage is unique with respect to husband/wife strengths.
  • Additionally, there are countless times outside of marriage where men are to obey women!

 

Some Biblical examples:

  • Judges 4:14–15 (ESV) — 14 And Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the Lord go out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him. 15 And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army before Barak by the edge of the sword. And Sisera got down from his chariot and fled away on foot.
  • Acts 18:26 (ESV) — 26 He (Apollos) began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
  • Apollos had to “obey” the corrections taught to him by Priscilla and her husband.

 

Again, the point is that Adam’s obedience to Eve resulted in disobedience to Yahweh.

  • God is always to be our primary allegiance – even over our spouses.
  • And this goes both ways.
  • Obviously a wife is not to obey her husband when doing so results in disobedience to God.

 

3) The result of having obeyed Eve instead of God – Adam ate “of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘you shall not eat of it’”.

  • Adam ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 

So the problem summarized – God gave a command; Adam obeyed Eve instead; Adam ate the forbidden fruit.

  • Following this comes judgment.

 

The Judgment:

“…cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

 

God proceeds to spell out a number of consequences for Adams disobedience.

  • (1) “cursed is the ground
    • “in pain you shall eat”
    • “thorns and thistles”
    • “eat plants of the field”
    • “sweat of your face you shall eat bread”
  • (2) “to dust you shall return

 

(1) Cursed is the Ground:

Due to Adam’s disobedience – “because of you” – the ground becomes cursed.

  • Where as “to bless someone is to put that person under God’s protection, enjoying God’s favor. To curse is to remove from God’s protection and favor” – John Walton.

 

The way this “removal” of God’s favor plays out effectively reverses the relationship Adam had with creation.

  • “The man’s natural relationship to the ground—to rule over it—is reversed; instead of submitting to him, it resists…him” – Bruce Waltke.
  • The curse “has brought us full circle from creation’s bliss to sin’s burden.” – Mathews.

 

And, importantly, the curse (the removal) specifically relates to food.

  • in pain you shall eat
  • eat plants of the field
  • sweat of your face you shall eat bread

 

So why food and why can we call this judgment a reversal?

 

Food Before the Curse:

Adam’s food situation before the curse is fairly simple.

  • Genesis 1:29 (ESV) — 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.
  • Genesis 2:8–9 (ESV) — 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.
  • Genesis 2:16b (ESV) — 16b “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden”.

 

Prior to the curse, food was not an issue.

  • It was a need of image bearers to perform their image bearing/dominion responsibilities.
  • God freely provided it.
  • It was not obtained through sweat or toil.

 

BTW – We saw a few weeks ago that the dominion responsibilities of Gen. 2:15 –  “work it and keep it” – were sacred service responsibilities not agricultural.

  • Adam wasn’t farming for food before the fall.
  • The Hebrew phrase “work it and keep it” conveys the idea of “human service to God rather that descriptions of agricultural tasks” – Walton.

 

Sailhamer points out that the this priestly translation jives with “several early manuscripts”.

  • In them, the phrase means, “to worship and obey”.
  • “Man’s life in the garden was to be characterized by worship and obedience. He was to be a priest…” – John Sailhamer.

 

Food After the Curse:

But after the curse, the same “pain” associated with Eve’s post-fall childbirth now accompanies Adam’s securing of food.

  • This “pain” as we saw then has a number of meanings.

 

(1) One is the obvious idea of physical effort.

  • in pain”; “thorns and thistles”; “sweat of your face

 

(2) The other meaning involves mental anguish and anxiety.

  • It also becomes something that brings anxiety.
  • Why?

 

Adam and Eve are still called to be fruitful and multiply.

  • Yet now God’s provision of food is removed from the equation.
  • Additionally, the production of food will be up to Adam.
  • And it will be subject to the uncertainties of weather and other conditions.
  • All of these factors create a situation ripe for anxiety.

 

Our text even gives the example of bread.

  • Apparently Adam will have to harvest plants of the field to make bread.
  • But this task will be made difficult due to the presence of thorns and thistles.

 

Moses’ Message:

Interestingly, the text speaks of growing wheat and bread making as if Adam would know what God is talking about.

  • To this point in his existence, Adam’s food source was fruit from trees.
  • So is this language anachronistic?
  • How would he know what this language meant?
  • Did Adam even know what a thorn or thistle was?

 

My point with these questions is that we have more Moses’ Messaging going on here.

  • In Moses’ context of leader of the Israelites, there is an important concept he wants his people to know.
  • One that finds its origins in Genesis 1-3.
  • One that explains their circumstances at any given moment.

 

Moses plays it out for us in Deuteronomy.

  • Deuteronomy 28:1–5 (ESV) — 1 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. 3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. 5 Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
  • VERSUS
  • Deuteronomy 28:45–48 (ESV) — 45 “All these curses shall come upon you and pursue you and overtake you till you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that he commanded you. 46 They shall be a sign and a wonder against you and your offspring forever. 47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you.

 

Obedience leads to an approximation of the Promised Land preparations of Genesis 1 and 2 (Sailhamer).

  • Disobedience leads to the Promised Land curse of Genesis 3.

 

Remember, the creation story and fall didn’t exist in a vacuum.

  • They were written to a certain people in a certain context.

 

(2) To Dust You Shall Return:

“Till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

 

The second part of God’s judgment was death.

  • The language used to convey this was the standard OT language of death – dust.
  • Job 10:9 (ESV) — 9 Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust?
  • Job 34:15 (ESV) — 15 all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.
  • Psalm 103:14 (ESV) — 14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
  • Ecclesiastes 12:7 (ESV) — 7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

 

Like the ground curse, death is also a reversal of conditions from before the Fall.

  • In fact, it represents the ultimate contrast of the life had in the Garden.
  • Why?

 

Adam came from the dust.

  • Genesis 2:7 (ESV) — 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

 

And with the Fall he will return to the dust.

  • return to the ground”; “to dust you shall return”.

 

How are we reminded of the fall in our relationship with creation?

  • In the same way as Adam and Eve?

 

We will talk more about death’s relationship to the Garden next week.

  • For now we need to make note of something.

 

Centrality of Death:

The problem of death is a central part of the Fall narrative.

  • “Death is exactly what God had forewarned and what the serpent had denied” would happen – Mathews.
  • Genesis 2:17 (ESV) — 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
  • Genesis 3:4 (ESV) — 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.

 

And of course, today’s text tells us:

  • Adam will “return to the ground”; “to dust you shall return”.

 

And lest we forget Paul’s comments:

  • Romans 5:12 (ESV) — 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

 

So given the centrality of death in the Fall, most believe we have the answer to a crucial question.

  • Who bears the most responsibility for the Fall – Serpent, Eve or Adam?
  • “It is the man who bears the greater blame for his conduct [because he] is the direct recipient of God’s death sentence” – Kenneth Mathews.
  • And textually (verse 17), “Emphasis on the second person ‘you’ and ‘your’ sharpens God’s focus on the man’s individual fault” – Mathews.

 

Moreover, we already mentioned that the command about the tree was given directly to Adam.

  • With this in mind, Wenham adds that “The sentence on the man is the longest and fullest, since he bore the greatest responsibility in following his wife’s advice instead of heeding God’s instructions personally given to him” – Gordon Wenham.

 

What is the significance of understanding Adam’s responsibility?

  • Understanding Adam’s responsibility is important for understanding the theology behind the Fall.
  • Something we will get into in a couple of weeks in Romans 5:12.

 

Suffice it to say, the Fall has made clear that a number of things have taken place that need remedying.

  • The need for serpent crushers.
  • The need for a reversal of the curse on the ground.
  • And as we have just seen, the need forward a reversal of death.

 

As we have said a few weeks ago – the rest of OT declares the coming defeat of death and dust.

  • Isaiah 26:19 (ESV) — 19 Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.
  • Daniel 12:2 (ESV) — 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

 

And Paul brings it all home to Christ.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:42–49 (ESV) — 42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

 

Genesis 3:16 – God’s Judgment – Eve

Genesis 3:16 (ESV) — 16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

 

Opening Observation:

The judgment of Eve is different in at least two ways from that of the Serpent and Adam.

 

(1) There is no “curse” language associated with Eve’s judgment.

  • 3:14 – Serpent – “cursed are you”.
  • 3:17 – Adam – “cursed is the ground because of you”.

 

(2) “There is no cause specified for her suffering” – Mathews.

  • 3:14 – Serpent – “because you have done this [deceived Eve]”.
  • 3:17 – Adam – “because you have listened” to Eve.

 

Speculation abounds as to why this is the case.

  • Mathews suggests the following…
  • The lack of “curse/because” language for the woman was due to the nature of her culpability.
  • She was culpable through deception.
  • This is “in contrast [to] the willful rebellion of the serpent and man”.

 

What might be some other reasons?

  • According to Mathews, one might be due to the fact that, through childbirth, “Eve will play the critical role in liberating them from sin’s consequences”.
  • Paul may be alluding to this in Galatians 4:4 – we will see it shortly.

 

Concerning the judgment of Eve, there is also some uncertainty.

“Quite clearly this verse, and the ones immediately following, teaches that sin has its consequences. It is less clear whether God describes or prescribes these consequences. In other words, are these negative consequences engineered directly by God, or is God simply informing the woman the way it is to be from this moment on?” – Victor Hamilton.

 

The described/prescribed consequences are:

  • Multiply Pain in Childbearing – we will view this as prescribed.
  • Desire for Husband – we will view this as described; fallout of the Fall.
  • We will handle them one at a time.

 

 

Pain in Childbearing:

I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.

 

Regarding “pain” there is a parallel here to Adam’s judgment.

  • Both share this same word, the Hebrew “issabon”.
  • It obviously carries with it the idea of physical pain.

 

Question – do all women experience physical pain with childbirth?

  • Science does tell us that labor pains are “one of the most severe pains”.
  • And that nearly all women do experience labor pains.
  • However, not all women do.

 

This observation along with a little digging hints that there is more going on here than physical pain.

  • The HALOT lexicon tells us that “issabon” also carries with it the idea of “anxious toil”.

 

The LXX’s Greek translation picks up on this with its use of  “lype”.

  • This Greek word – in addition to physical pain – carries with it the idea of “pain of mind or spirit, grief, sorrow, affliction” – BDAG.

 

These insights seem to demonstrate that we are not merely dealing with physical pain (which given the Hebrew grammar may have existed already) – Heiser.

  • The point…we are now dealing with worry, anxiety and mental anguish along with more pain.

 

But wait…there is more!

  • The Hebrew word for “childbearing” (herone) means more than just labor.
  • Unfortunately, most translations make this unclear – “childbearing” (ESV); “labor pains” (NET).
  • However, the ASV tries to convey the full meaning of the Hebrew word “herone”.
  • The ASV says, “I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy conception”.

 

So to understand the full meaning of “pain in childbearing” we need to consider:

  • Physical Pain and Anxiety of childbearing.
  • Physical Pain and Anxiety of conception.

 

John Walton plays it out as follows:

God is “referring to the anxiety that a woman will experience through the whole process from conception to birth. This includes anxiety about whether she will be able to conceive a child, anxiety that comes with all the physical discomfort of pregnancy, anxiety concerning the health of the child in the womb, and anxiety about whether she and the baby will survive the birth process” – Walton.

 

He suggests the following paraphrase:

  • “I will greatly increase the anguish you will experience in the birth process, from the anxiety surrounding conception to the strenuous work of giving birth” – Walton.

 

This more robust understanding makes much more sense in an ANE Israelite context.

  • Remember their main concerns – people, nation and land.
  • And yet, outside of the garden, the obtaining of “people” becomes an painful and anxious uncertainty.
  • One need only think of Abraham and Sara.

 

Looking Back – Looking Forward:

And lest we forget, this judgment impacts one of the very things Adam and Eve were to do as image bearers.

  • Genesis 1:28a28a And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…”
  • Fulfilling this duty was not to be saddled with such pain and uncertainty.
  • The sting of sin brought this new relationship with our image bearing responsibilities.
  • This new reality – sin staining our image bearing responsibilities – is felt in full force to this day.

 

But there is good news.

  • God’s covenant faithfulness and plan for redemptive history is not thwarted by sin.
  • Galatians 4:4 (ESV) — 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
    • This “woman” is inclusive of Eve.
  • As declared in Gen. 3, the Serpent Crusher was born from the seed of the woman.
  • And because of the Fall, was born under the law.

 

Given the proximity of Christmas to this lesson, we should say the following:

  • Jesus’ birth is the ultimate demonstration that God’s grace overcame the death and judgment that came with the Fall.
  • The seed of Eve and Abraham’s promised offspring was always a certainty in spite of God’s judgment.

 

 

Desire for Husband:

Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.

 

There used to be big debate about the meaning of this passage.

  • But it appears that consensus (at least from my readings) is settling around one particular meaning.
  • This meaning centers around the use of the same language in Genesis 4:7

 

Genesis 4:7 (ESV) — 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

  • This text is fairly clear.
  • Sin is cast as an opponent to Cain.
  • Sin is said to have a desire for Cain.
  • And its desire is to rule over, control or have mastery over him.
  • Cain’s dilemma in 4:7 is that he must gain control (“rule”) over the “desire” of sin, i.e., its power against him” – Heiser.

 

Bringing this to our text, we can now see how it plays out.

  • Eve is “sin” and Adam is “Cain”.
  • As a result of the Fall, Eve will desire to have rule, control or mastery over Adam.
  • However, the very opposite will be the norm – Adam (man) will have control of Eve (woman).
  • If this is true, “then Eve’s curse is a desire to control her husband. Sin has damaged the relationship between husband and wife. As a result, the two will compete for dominance instead of sharing authority in harmony as originally intended” – Heiser.

 

So this fallout of judgment upon Eve is a corruption of the original intention of pre-Fall marriage.

  • Instead of a heart desirous of harmony and peace, the heart now seeks dominance.

 

Warning…Warning…Warning!

We need to be aware of something incredibly important.

  • This aspect of God’s judgment is not an endorsement of this type of relationship between Adam and Eve or man and woman.

 

“It is a distortion of the passage to find in it justification for male tyranny” – Mathews.

  • To take the passage this way fails to understand the passage.
  • It also misapplies the “dominion” or idea of “ruling over” from Genesis 1.
  • Adam and Eve were to exercise “dominion” together over creation.
  • It was not something they were to exercise over each other.
  • Genesis 1:28 (ESV) — 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

 

If a Christian marriage operates in this fashion – it is not a Biblically grounded marriage.

  • Neither an egalitarian or complementarian view of marriage operates this way.

 

What is a complementarian view of marriage:

  • “Complementarity means that the music of our relationships should not be merely the sound of singing in unison. It should be the integrated sound of soprano and bass, alto and tenor” – John Piper.
  • Husband and wife are in fact different and bear God’s image in the context of marriage in different ways.
  • Each excels in his/her strength.
  • Neither should try to sing all the parts.

 

As we said in a previous lesson:

“Scripture doesn’t give a lot of detail as to how God’s design for man and woman is to be worked out, so a traditional division of labor (women in the kitchen, changing diapers; men at work letting women do all household chores) doesn’t square with the biblical design…There is flexibility within the basic framework, and each couple has unique circumstances in which to work out God’s design and plan for them personally, both leader and partner. The biblical pattern is loving, self-sacrificial complementarity where the couple partners in conscious pursuit of God’s mission. Marriage is part of God’s larger purpose of reuniting all of humanity under one head, the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:10)” – Andreas Kostenberger.

 

He goes on to say:

“Succinctly put, the overarching model that many have implicitly understood in recent years has been male leadership and female submission…we believe that this approach may unduly constrain the woman’s role and contribution in marriage and the church. We might rather categorize the biblical teaching in these terms: male leadership and female partnership.”

 

I would say a more literal Genesis 1 & 2 way to put his term would be…

  • “male image-bearer” and “female image-bearer helper”

 

Notice that in this language there is no room for domination, mastery or rule of one spouse over the other.

  • And no reading of Paul’s “head over” or “authority over” language can be understood this way either.
  • God’s judgment of Eve at this point is “a description of the curse. It is a description of misery, not a model for marriage” – Piper.
  • I repeat…it is not a model for marriage.
  • It describes what is wrong with marriage, not what is right with marriage.

 

Important Implication:

“So the essence of corrupted maleness is the self-aggrandizing effort to subdue and control and exploit women for its own private desires. And the essence of corrupted femaleness is the self-aggrandizing effort to subdue and control and exploit men for its own private desires. And the difference is found mainly in the different weaknesses that we can exploit in one another” – John Piper.

  • This effect of the Fall requires that we examine ourselves as husbands.
  • How do we try and exploit our wives?
  • How do we seek to exploit their weaknesses to our benefit?