Genesis 013 – The Blame GameGenesis 3:8-15 • Dr. Andy Woods • November 8, 2020 • Genesis
Genesis 013 –
“The Blame Game”
Dr. Andrew Woods
Let’s take our Bibles this morning and open them to the Book of Genesis 3. The title of our message this morning is “The Blame Game.” “The Blame Game.” Taking a look this morning at Genesis 3:8, and seeing if we can get beyond 3:13 today.
As you know, we’ve we’ve launched and are continuing our study through the Book of Genesis. Genesis 1 through 11; part 1 of the book is all about the origin of the human race. And within that big unit is the first of four events— Creation itself. So we have studied Genesis 1, which is a record of the whole creation week. And then Genesis 2, which is really a focus on day six. You get outside of Genesis 1, 2, and everything seems to be fine. What could possibly go wrong? After all, God said, ‘Everything is not just good, but everything is very good.’ And what went wrong is Genesis 3, which is the second of four events: the fall of man. The fall of man is described in Genesis 3, and the after effects of that fall are found in Genesis 4,5.
People say, ‘Well, why are you going through this section of the Bible so slowly?’ I guess my response is, “This section? We go through every part of the Bible slowly here, I guess.” But the reason we’re going into so much detail here and taking our time is [because] these initial chapters in Genesis are foundational.
If we don’t understand what happened here in these foundational chapters, then the rest of Christianity and the offer of the gospel really makes no sense. And even beyond that, the message of the Cross makes no sense, and the state of our world makes no sense. So I’m planning on going through these initial chapters in a slow manner. I am, believe it or not, planning on picking up the pace once we get further into Genesis; there are a lot of genealogies and things. I don’t think we have to spend ten years on each genealogy, but we will get through the Book of Genesis, unless the Lord comes back, and then amen to that. We will be picking up the pace shortly, but I didn’t want to pick up the pace and miss this foundation. The foundation has to be laid.
Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Anybody that’s involved in construction of any kind knows that the most important part of a building is the foundation. In fact, we were living in the Dallas area, and we would wake up in the morning and see a crack in our wall that wasn’t there the night before, and it wasn’t a case of ‘you need new wallpaper, or you need a new paint job.’ The foundation is the problem. If the foundation is lopsided or crooked, then problems develop.
We have a lot of problems in modern day Christianity in terms of doctrine and beliefs, and it really relates to a lack of understanding of God’s original design for man, what went wrong and how God is at work to redeem or restore what was lost. I’ve given you this quote before by W.H. Griffith Thomas and his commentary on the Book of Genesis. He says, “This chapter, [Genesis 3], is the pivot on which the whole Bible turns.” I can’t accentuate or highlight that enough in our thinking.
And so here’s our outline of Genesis 3:
Genesis 3:1-5–The temptation by the serpent, a very important section, because there we saw Satan’s tactics, four of them, and we also saw Adam and Eve’s mistakes in spiritual warfare, and we can certainly learn from their mistakes.
Genesis 3:6—From there, we saw the actual sin of Adam and Eve. This is where the actual formal sin occurred, or transpired. And as we studied 3:6 last time, we saw the three avenues of temptation. Temptation only comes in one of three ways; that’s described in 3:6, and we saw the breakdown in an authority structure that God Himself established: male headship in the family. That structure now has been broken;Tthe second part of 3:6, and as the saying goes, ‘You can pick your sin, but you can’t pick the consequences.’
Genesis 3:7-13–Consequences follow sin like night follows the day. And so what happened to the human race as a result of this sin in 3:7-13, is an explanation of that. We actually covered 3:7 last time, mankind, humanity. Adam and Eve got very religious; 3:7 is a description of how they now knew that they were naked or guilty before God, and they tried to fix the problem through their own efforts by sowing fig leaves and fig trees and leaves and those kinds of things together so that they might cover themselves. And ever since that point in time, humanity, recognizing its guilt, is incurably religious. It’s interesting, modern day psychologists will tell you that the problem with people is they feel guilty. I would just add this: the reason they feel guilty is because they are guilty. And people have an innate sense of guilt, an innate sense of guilt before God, and the world of religion says, ‘Well, here’s how you can fix the issue through your own efforts.’ That’s the beginning of works-righteousness, which we described last time. It’s not how God will forgive sin, which will be described in 3:21, where He will kill an innocent substitute and transfer the blessings from that to us at the point of faith. The world of religion doesn’t want you to mature into 3:21. They want to keep you in 3:7 on a path of perpetual works-righteousness: ‘I’ve got to do A, B, and C for God to like me.’ And people never enter God’s presence that way. In fact, in Isaiah 64:6, as we saw last time, tells us that if people are seeking to enter God’s presence through their own works of righteousness, God looks at those works of righteousness as if they are what? Filthy rags or filthy garments. So that was consequence number 1– the human race became extremely religious.
Genesis 3:8-10–Consequence number 2 is described now in 3:8-10, where fellowship between God and man has now been severed. It’s now been broken. And you have a description of that in 3:8-10. It says, [that they, that’s Adam and Eve], “…(NKJV) heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him,…” [Now that also we have noted, is very interesting because it was Eve who sinned first. And yet, God called out to Adam first. It doesn’t say there in 3:8,9 that the Lord called out to the woman, even though she’s the one who sinned first and who was tempted and gave in to that temptation and gave some to her husband who ate also. God called out to the man. Why is that? Because the man, as we have tried to establish, is the head pre-fall, in the family, the authority structure that God Himself has ordained] … 3:9, Then the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” [A rhetorical question; and then in 3:10], He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.“
The second consequence that came to humanity as a result of this sin was broken fellowship. You see, prior to this illegality, prior to this infraction, prior to Adam and Eve eating from the forbidden tree of knowledge, you get the impression, and you see that at the beginning of 3:8, that they used to stroll with God in the cool of the day. They had such a relationship of God where it involved unbroken intimacy and unbroken fellowship. And now with the sin, something different has entered the picture. You’ll see there in 3:8, the word ‘hid.’ In 3:10, you’ll see the word ‘afraid.’ And those are words that were not there before, but now they are there. It’s not just Adam and Eve, but as you travel through the Bible, you’ll discover that this is the reaction of sinful human beings when they come into the presence of God, the Holy of Holies.
Isaiah describes this fear that overtook him in the book of Isaiah 6:5. He says in this great vision where he saw the Lord, Then I said, ”(NKJV) “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King,The LORD of hosts.”
Now, who is giving this testimony? It’s none other than Isaiah, who is probably the greatest writing prophet that we have. And it’s interesting that the most important part of a prophet’s anatomy was his tongue, because it was his tongue that gave him the ability to proclaim the oracles of God, and even Isaiah’s tongue, in the presence of God, is described as being unclean. And Isaiah said, ‘It’s not just me that’s unclean. It’s this whole nation that’s unclean.’ And that is the natural reaction of human beings in their fallen state when they come into the presence of God.
This is what Adam and Eve are experiencing. It’s what John the Apostle experienced on the island of Patmos in AD 95. It says in Revelation 1:7, When I saw Him, [that’s the glorified Christ], I fell at His feet like a deadman. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid: I am the first and the last.”
Isn’t this the same Apostle John who leaned against the chest of Christ 60 years earlier in the Upper Room in John 13:23? Isn’t this the one where Christ apparently kept referring to John as the one whom the Lord loved? I mean, if you look at all of the individuals who had the closest walk with the Lord and the closest friendship with the Lord, it would be John. And now, even John is seeing Christ, not in His incarnation as he knew him 60 years earlier, but in His glorified state. And his immediate reaction is to drop down to the ground as if he were dead.
Simon Peter got a glimpse in the gospels of the holiness of God. There came a point in his interaction with Christ that he understood exactly who Christ was. And you have a record of that in Luke 5:8, But when I [Simon Peter] saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me, for I am a sinful man!”
Again and again in the scripture, you see this; you don’t see this idea that some of the kids have shirts. God’s rad, He’s my dad kind of thing. And God is your Father we’re to call him Abba Father, but there is something that we have lost in modern day evangelicalism, and it’s the holiness of God. It’s the fear of God. This is what all of these people are experiencing. And quite frankly, this then becomes the reason as to why people today are running from God. The human race, to a large extent, is really not looking for God.
The idea of God in Spirit and Truth is something that is fearful to them. Jesus spoke of this in John 3:19-21. He said, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world…” [Now, you would think that if the Light has come into the world, that humanity would gravitate towards the Light. But that is not so. Jesus goes on and He says], …“and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
The reaction of human beings to the light of God is to run for cover, to get away from it as fast as they can. Why is that? Because sinfulness is coming into the presence of God Almighty. It’s a lot like opening your garage very quickly in the morning when it’s been dark all night, and you open the door, and the light comes in and you can see all of the insects and everything else ducking and running for cover. That, for the most part, is the reaction of humanity to God. Why is that? There’s a reason.
When humanity in its fallenness comes into the presence of God, they know that they are standing in the presence of a Being that has not only the power but the right to judge them. It’s an awful lot like having a police officer around. Generally speaking, you see a police officer, you see a security guard, you see someone in authority, and they’re a comfort to you. You like their presence. Except if you ventured in today going 85 miles an hour, then it’s different. You’re not comfortable with them around. If you stop by somewhere on the way in and helped yourself to a five-finger discount, the presence of the police officer is not comforting if you evaded your taxes, the presence of a police officer is not comforting. You want to get away from that police officer.
That is the reality of human beings when they come into the presence of God. This is why the doctrine of the transferred righteousness of Christ is so critical. If I can’t stand before God through the transferred righteousness of Christ, this is what I’m reduced to. Fear. Abject fear. I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan on standing before the Lord one day in my own righteousness, which really is not worth much anyway. I plan on standing before the Lord in His righteousness. If I stand before the Lord in His righteousness that has been given to me as a gift, transferred to me at the point of faith alone in Christ alone, then I can stand. But I can’t stand before the Lord in my fallen state.
The same fear that overtook John, the same fear that overtook Isaiah, and here, Adam and Eve, would quickly overtake me. Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” I am somewhat concerned that we have emphasized the love of God, which is all part of the Bible, too; and the grace of God and our relationship to God, we’ve emphasized that so much that we’ve lost sight of why we need that grace. We’ve lost sight of the holiness of God.
We really don’t hear a lot of messages today as was preached by the late Jonathan Edwards, a classic, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” What kind of message is that? How are you going to attract the masses to church when you preach like that and you talk like that? And yet God took that sermon of Jonathan Edwards, and He used it to start the first Great Awakening in the United States of America. And as the testimonies go, the presence of God, in this awakening beginning on the East Coast, was so profound that even people in the harbors would begin to weep. They would begin to experience fear coming into the presence of the Holy Spirit. The testimonies indicate that people, as he preached that sermon, were grabbing the edges of the pews as he preached it for fear of sliding into hell. And as I understand that sermon, it was no oratorical masterpiece. It was sort of boring. I mean, from what little I know of it, he took it as a manuscript, and read it to his audience. The only person that was more scared of that sermon than the crowds who heard and were influenced by it, was Jonathan Edwards himself. When he saw the effect of that sermon, as historians tell us, he put it away somewhere—we would call that the file drawer—somewhere. I’m never preaching that one again.
And yet, isn’t this what we need today? Isn’t this what we need to hear? In this political season, everybody seems to think that the problems with the United States are political. I’m here to tell you that being political is just a manifestation of the spiritual. We have lost sight of who God is. We’ve lost sight of His holiness. We’ve lost sight of why Adam and Eve are hiding and are afraid. And if that part of the gospel isn’t explained, then how would you ever see your need for the gospel? It’s almost as if everybody understands this but Adam and Eve themselves. Because God, you’ll notice there, asks them a question. He says in 3:9, “Where are you?” Why would God ask a question like that? He knows where they are. It’s not like they’re hiding from Him was all that successful? I mean, how can you fool God? The question is not for the benefit of God; the question is for the benefit of Adam and Eve because they fully do not comprehend what has just transpired.
It’s what we call a rhetorical question. It is a question designed to show them that their status before Him just changed. ‘The days of strolling with Me in the cool of the garden are now a thing of the past. Now you are running from Me.’ So that is what God is trying to get them to understand? ‘Where are you?’ It’s like, you know, when I walk into my house, and I leave the door open, and my wife says, ‘Did you leave the door open?’ Now she’s sitting there, she can see I left the door open. Why would she ask me that question? Well, the question is not for her benefit. It’s for my benefit. It’s a polite way of saying, ‘Get up and close the door.’
This is that similar type of question, “Where are you?” The relationship is different. The dynamics are different. Things have changed. ‘The strolling with Me in the cool of the garden, intimacy is now a thing of the past. And now you are afraid. And now you are hiding from Me.’ The police officer comes in. If you haven’t done anything wrong, what’s the problem with having a police officer around? But oh, how things change if you have committed a crime because you’re in the presence of somebody who has the responsibility and the right and the authority to punish that crime.
And thank God for the fact that God punished His own Son in our place. More of that as we continue through this chapter. Man gets religious. The fellowship with God is now severed. And now this is why I entitled this “The Blame Game”—the buck just keeps getting passed. You know the old sign, the buck stops here, doesn’t stop anywhere. It goes right over everybody’s head. And you see a description of that in Genesis 3:11-13. That’s God speaking to them, ‘Who told you that you were naked and have eaten from the tree of which I have commanded you not to eat?’ God asks the question. Adam responds. The man said, “The woman.” [Watch this now]. “The woman who You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree and I ate,” 3:13. Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, ”The serpent deceived me,v and I ate.“ So it’s very interesting here. When called to an account, and God calls out Adam first because he’s the leader, Adam, first of all, does not take responsibility for his own actions. The first person he blames is God. ‘The woman that you gave me is the problem.’ And then God kind of condescends to their level in 3:13, I think it is. And He asks the question of Eve, “What is this you have done?” And she blames the serpent.
So Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the serpent. And as the saying goes, the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on. More on that in a second. But there is something deep within fallen humanity’s psyche where there is an unwillingness to take responsibility for personal action. That is who we are by nature. When I was going through law school and got exposed to criminal justice theory, I saw this everywhere as explanations for crime.
It almost seems like everybody’s to blame except the criminal himself. ‘Well, he doesn’t have a good education. Oh, he’s been abused.‘ I call that the abuse excuse. I remember the days when Dan White gunned down the mayor of San Francisco in the 1970s, I believe it was a man named Harvey Milk, the mayor. And it was interesting what the lawyers did with that, and how they developed what’s called the Twinkie defense. They blamed it all on the fact that there was too much sugar going through his mind at that particular time. And they came up and [explained] that’s why he did this horrible thing. It’s taking a horrific evil, a murder in cold blood, out of rage when you study all of those circumstances and blame it on something biological, on sugar in his mind or whatever. There is a move within the United States of America; you see this in what is called the Equality Act, which I’m hoping will not become law. But it’s this idea that if you have a behavior, homosexuality, let’s say, then that’s that’s no different than being a racial minority. The fact of the matter is homosexuality, adultery, fits of rage—Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 as clearly as it could be said, all of those things can be changed under the power of the Holy Spirit. That is not the same thing as being a racial minority or a member of a minority race or a minority gender or whatever. Race is something that is immutable. It’s unchangeable. And yet the great push today is to take homosexuality and other behaviors and equate that to skin color. I would explain this to my students at the Bible College, 60% of which were African American, and they were offended. Not at me. But at this movement when I would describe it; one of them in class even developed a saying. He would say, ‘Well, their sin is not the same as my skin.’ An amen to that.
But it’s all part of this fallenness that we find ourselves in where if I’m caught up in some sort of sexual sin, it’s everybody’s fault but mine. And it must be related to genetics or whatever. It’s an outworking of the same thing. It’s an outworking of the Twinkie defense.
Quite frankly, this is the error of modern day psychology. I am in favor of Bible-based counseling, but there’s a school of thought that says you don’t counsel people from the Bible; you counsel them from the world of psychology, from the writings of Freud and Young and Skinner, most of whom, if I describe their lifestyles, you would not even want them to teach Sunday school in your church, let alone become a model for counseling.
And so you go into the abuse excuse, you go into this, you go into that, and it’s always somebody’s fault other than the person that pulled the trigger. See?
The fact of the matter is God does not allow people such an out. I remember years ago substitute teaching, seeing a kid… In fact, this story didn’t occur to me personally, but I did hear it from one of my friends. And this kid in the substitute teaching expedition, they were taking a field trip and the kid took the Frisbee and threw it into the lake thinking nobody saw him. And when confronted, the kid’s alibi was classic. He said that the lake took the Frisbee. That was what he said. And you hear that, and you say, ‘there it is.’ That’s exactly what people are like. I mean, that’s what we’re like from infancy. This is part of who we are. This is part of our nature. I mean, ‘don’t blame me for throwing the Frisbee into the lake. It’s the lake that took it, obviously.’ And this is what Adam and Eve here are doing here at the very beginning.
The fact of the matter is that this type of excuse does not roll over as far as God is concerned. In the book of Ezekiel 18:20 God says this: “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”
Are you committing deeds of righteousness? Then you have nobody to blame for that but yourself. Congratulations. Conversely, are we involved in deeds of iniquity? God says, ‘You have no one to blame for that but yourself.’ If we don’t have Christ, God forbid, we will stand before God as guilty human beings, and all of us will be guilty on account of our own choices. Our personal moral accountability will be held against us by God, should we dare to stand before Him absent the transferred righteousness of Christ.
But that concept of individual choices, individual sins,’Yes, I was tempted, but I’m the one that pulled the trigger. Yes, I was angry, but I’m the one that said the bad thing that I said. Yes, I was sexually tempted, but I’m the one that opened up the website and looked at it. I’m the one that had the affair.’ The Book of James 1:14-15 [“But each one is tempted when he is carried away by his own lust.”], which we’re going through on Wednesday nights, is very clear. It says, ‘Each one sins when he moves into lust, temptation, sin, lust, death.’ By using the word ‘each’ when he is tempted in this way, James says ‘it’s your fault. Don’t blame your parents. Don’t blame the educational system. Don’t blame something in biology. Blame yourself.’
And you can see Adam and Eve right at the beginning here not wanting to accept that. Jesus said this in John 5:40 to the Pharisees, “You are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” Alright, Jesus says, ‘Let’s stop the conversation. Let’s stop the philosophy. Let’s stop the talking about this or that. Let’s stop the debates about the deity of Christ. Here’s the problem. It’s you. You’re making a choice right now not to come to Me for life. And that’s the reason you don’t have it.’
The Lord holds people accountable for their own unbelief—a concept that’s dying today; a concept that was dying and being denied at the dawn of human history. Humans got religious. The fellowship between God and man was broken. The buck started getting passed.
There’s a fourth thing that happened here in 3:11-13 again, which we won’t reread, but there is a reversal of the hierarchy that God established. What is the hierarchy of God? It is this, “…let them [Adam and Eve] rule over…“ creation; Genesis 1:26 and 1:28 with the male, or the man in the position of headship in that relationship. So it goes: Adam is to have authority over his wife and the two of them are to govern creation for God. As we have explained, this is the Office of Theocratic Administration where someone governs for God. That’s the order that God established. It’s not a post-fall order, it’s a pre-fall order. It’s what God intended. And look at how the whole thing is backwards now. Adam, instead of leading his wife, is following her into sin, and the two of them are not governing creation on God’s behalf anymore. They’re listening to creation, in particular, a talking snake, and the structure that God had established has now been reversed top to bottom. It’s been perverted.
You know, the interesting thing about the devil is he really doesn’t come up with a lot of new stuff. What he does is he takes the existing order of God and puts a spin on it; puts a twist on it, where by the time he’s finished, the original product is unrecognizable. It’s a perversion of what God established. And with Adam and Eve no longer functioning as theocratic administrators over the earth, who becomes the authority over planet earth for a season? Satan. He’s called in many passages, prince of this world—don’t have time to look at all those, but you can look them all up in the parentheses if you’re interested. [See slide on Names & Titles Demonstrating Satan’s Post-Fall, Earthly Authority]
God of this age or world; 2 Cor 4:4
Prince and power of the air; Eph 2:2. In fact, Satan today is so powerful that if I didn’t have the armor of God to stand against him, I’d be wiped out because he’s running planet earth. “He roams about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” And I really appreciate 1 John 5:19, the description of Satan that the whole world lies in his power. Lewis Sperry Chafer gave the illustration of a mother rocking her newborn to sleep. That’s the imagery that you get in 1 John 5:19, Satan taking the whole earth and just rocking it to sleep. And so therefore, this is going to necessitate the intervention of God to set in motion a process by which what was lost will get restored. And that’s the Bible in a nutshell.
The process— we’re going to see the process very quickly when we get to 3:15. The process is in play. The issue is what side of the ledger do you want to be on in Satan’s world system that’s rapidly deteriorating and falling, or in the system of God where the office of theocratic administrator is restored one day? With God the Father ruling over God the Son over planet earth, and God the Son along with His wife—who might that be? Isn’t that why we’re called the bride of Christ, ruling alongside his delegated authority over planet earth for 1000 years? That’s where human history is headed. It’s a restoration of what was lost in Eden. The reality of the situation is, ‘Look, you can pick the sin. You cannot pick the consequences.’ And there are three biggies that are plaguing us to this very day, if not worse than ever before.
- A. Religion, which will send a person immediately into hell; hell itself is filled with religious people. The most religious people that existed in the first century were the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and look at how well Jesus got along with them. In fact, Jesus is meek and mild to everybody, the woman at the well, etc.. But I’ll tell you, He’s got some very sharp and square words to say to the religious crowd who peddled works-righteousness. Man got religious (3:7).
- B. The fellowship between God and man is broken (3:8-10),
- C. The buck keeps getting passed. No one wants to take responsibility for their actions (3:11-13). It’s like as an elder dealing with a leader in the church who has gotten involved in sexual sin. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the misfortune of being in that position, and watching them come up with some of the most bizarre explanations possible to a point where a person doesn’t even want to take responsibility, and they’ve weaved this bizarre story together that has so many spiderwebs and cobwebs, it’s obviously hiding something. And what is being hidden underneath this tapestry is personal responsibility. And to be frank with you folks, we’re all like that. That’s how we are. The buck gets passed, and the design of God in terms of creation hierarchy now has been perverted.
We move into the fourth part of this chapter (3:14-19) where now the Creator Himself begins to impose divine judgments. These are not just consequences. These are judgments that God Himself has now articulated into this situation (3:14-19), and it’s very interesting.
- He speaks to the serpent first in 3:14-15. Why would He speak to the serpent first? Because the serpent sinned first.
- He speaks to the woman’s second in 3:16. Why would hh speak to the woman
second? Because the woman sinned secondly, in order.
- He speaks to the man in 3:17-19. Why does He speak to the man third? Because
the man sinned third, chronologically.
First, God says something to the serpent—two things, by the way. Secondly, God says something to the woman—two things, by the way. And thirdly, God says something to the man—two things, by the way. Two, two and two. Six things have been imposed on the created order because of what happened, and without an understanding of these six judgments by God Himself, you can make no sense of the world we’re living in. I mean, why does this happen? Why does that happen? Oh, my goodness. You start to see what God says here, and suddenly you understand what is wrong with everybody.
So what does he say to the serpent? Two things to the serpent. Number one, your body is altered. There is a physical change in your physical makeup. And you see that there in 3:14 (NKJV). The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed you are more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field. On your belly you will go. And dust you will eat All the days of your life.”
I don’t know what it was like in Eden prior to this. I don’t know if the serpent walked. I don’t know if he had legs. I don’t know anything. I just know that his physical body was changed to the point where to get around now on the ground, he would have to slither. I can put it this way. Slither. How’s that? And every time you see the serpent slithering, it’s a reminder of what happened.
The interesting thing about sin, and this is something that we don’t fully comprehend, I’m convinced, is sin, yes, it’s spiritual. Yes, it alienated us from God. Yes, it damaged our vertical relationship to God, but it did something else. There was a physical alteration in our world because of sin. Physically, the serpent’s body is altered. Now, Paul the Apostle in the book of Romans 8:19-22 is very clear about this. He says, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.” [In other words, creation itself is personified as wanting God to come back and liberate creation. Why]? Romans 8:20-22, ”For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation… [this is a figure of speech called the personification]. …”For we know that the whole creation [that’s a lot, the whole creation]… “For the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”
There’s something wrong with this physical world. And only in the Bible would you have an explanation of what’s wrong with it. In fact, something is so wrong with it that if creation had a voice, and you could put your ear to the ground, you could hear it groaning; crying out for God to come back, Jesus to come back, with the sons of God and the angels to liberate creation.
See, everybody today is talking about ecology and the environment. You know what your Bible says? The greatest ecological disaster that’s ever hit, not just planet earth, but all of creation, happened right here in Genesis 3. ‘Oh, well, we don’t want to talk about that part of ecology. Let’s just blame this oil company or that oil company. Let’s blame climate. Let’s blame capitalism.’ People say, ‘Well, do you believe in climate change?’ And my answer is, “Well, of course, the climate does change, doesn’t it? I think you’re hard pressed to prove that human activity today is causing it for the simple reason that we had global warming in the time of the Vikings. That was before I got my SUV, by the way.”
And so creation itself is in travail because of what happened here in Genesis 3. In fact, if we have time, we may not, we’re going to be getting to 3:17-19 where we learned that even the ground itself is cursed. And now it’s going to be hard, 3:17-19, to get out and make a living.
God says, ‘You want to rebel against Me? Fine. Try the ground now. It’s now in rebellion against you.’ You don’t think God has a sense of humor? God is very sarcastic in the Bible. In fact, in the book of Exodus, I could show you if I had the time that every one of the ten plagues that happened in Egypt were designed to mock one of the deities in the Egyptian pantheon. They worshiped the Nile. God says, ‘I just turned it to blood red.’ They worshiped frogs. God says ‘You like frogs? Here’s so many frogs, you won’t know what to do with them.’ I mean, when God curses the ground where the ground is now rebelling against Adam and Eve, that is divine sarcasm of the highest order.
And there is a physical dimension to sin that we don’t perceive because we look at sin in only spiritual terms. Jesus said this—remember the paralytic in John 5? He was in that condition for what does it say, 38 years? And he was bound up by this horrible tradition that said that the first guy down to the pool because the angel stirs the waters, gets healed, and this guy can’t even move. He’s a paralytic. How would you like to be bound up in that state physically and be under that God-awful religious tradition? And Jesus comes along and heals him. And then Jesus says something interesting to him following the healing. Afterwards, Jesus found him in the temple. The guy was walking and went to the temple. And Jesus went after him, and said, ‘There’s one other thing you need to know.’ Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” Whoa. You mean to tell me that he was in that condition because a physical sin he was committing—it doesn’t tell us what sin put him in that position? Now be very careful here. I’m not saying all physical infirmities are of that nature. Paul himself suffered from frequent illnesses, Galatians 4:13, and it really had nothing to do with a sinful choice in his own life.
But having said that, there are circumstances. Would I say every circumstance? No, but some circumstances where sin itself alters your body physically. And what is this slithering on the ground? What is that all about? I think there’s a parallel passage in Micah 7:17. It’s speaking of the Millennial Kingdom, and it says, “They will lick the dust” [that’s the Gentiles] “will lick the dust like a serpent. Like reptiles of the earth. They will come trembling out of their fortresses; To the Lord our God, they will come in dread And they will be afraid before You.”
The slithering on the ground there is some sort of reminder, not just [that] sin has a physical repercussion and a consequence, but it’s a reminder that the serpent was defeated here. He’s on the ground. Micah 7:17 seems to analogize that to humility. The serpent was humiliated. Why was the serpent humiliated? Because of something that God is going to say in 3:15. By the way, without 3:15, you can make no sense of the Bible. The whole microcosm of the Scripture is found in 3:15. The rest of the Bible is simply an explanation or an unpacking of 3:15.
And it relates to the second thing that God said to the serpent, and this is what we call the protoevangelium. It’s the first formal presentation of the gospel in the Bible. Man has fallen. We’ve seen the problem and problems that were ushered in, now we’re starting to learn about what God is going to do to fix the problem. That’s 3:15. What does 3:15 say? “And I will put enmity Between you [speaking to the serpent] and the woman,” [the woman is Eve] “And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise Him on the heel.” Satan just got put on notice here that his days are numbered. Yeah, he’s just assumed or asserted his authority over the world system. But that’s not going to last forever because there’s coming One from the Seed of the woman, (the woman being Eve), who is going to take the serpent’s head and crush it. But as this process is unfolding, ‘You, serpent are going to be able to strike the coming One on the heel.’ Now, at the end of the day, would you rather have your heel bruised or your head crushed? I’ll take the heel, because if my heel is injured, I’m not defeated. But if my head is crushed, I’m defeated. And so what is being predicted here is God is going to bring forth His Man who was going to ultimately defeat Satan, but along the way, Satan is going to be able to inflict a lot of momentary, temporary casualties. And this is the beginning of what the theologians call the Seed of the woman, the seed of the serpent conflict. Satan knows this is coming and he’s trying to blot out the lineage from Eve to prevent this Messiah from entering planet earth.
Now, if you don’t understand that, you have no idea why Cain murders Abel in the next chapter. Well, that’s weird. Why would they do that? Because the evil one is in Cain’s thoughts, 1 John 3:12. And Satan saw that Abel’s sacrifice was accepted, and Cain’s sacrifice was rejected. And so Satan reasoned that this Genesis 3 protoevangelium, first gospel prophecy of the Messiah is coming forth from Abel’s line. ‘So I will stop this whole process right now.’ By having Cain murder Abel, it’s why Pharaoh began to exterminate the Jewish line. Why Athalia, later on in biblical history, wanted to stamp out the royal offspring of the House of Judah. It’s why Esther, in the Book of Esther, Haman developed a plot to exterminate the Jews; it’s why Herod is trying to kill the children in Jerusalem. It’s all the outworking of what was predicted. This One is coming, but you’re going to cause a lot of problems along the way, serpent.
Satan, for whatever reason, thinks in his darkened mind, that he can stop God’s prophecies from happening. And what better way to do that than to work preemptively? That’s why the line is threatened over and over again as you move through the Old Testament. That’s why the Jewish race, through whom the Messiah will come, is jeopardized over and over again in the Old Testament.
Did you know, we talk about assassination attempts? There were a couple, maybe more, assassination attempts on the life of Christ before He went to the cross. You read about that in John 8 where they were so angry at Jesus, they picked up stones to stone Him to death because He claimed to be the the I AM, and Jesus sort of disappears through the crowd. I mean, that kind of thing happens a lot in the New Testament. And it’s another attempt by Satan being unsuccessful in thwarting the birth of Christ, tried to kill Jesus, at least before He goes to the cross and resurrects from the dead. That’s one of the reasons why Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple; Josephus tells us how high that was, and he just says, ‘Throw yourself off.‘
You see the Bible, it’s like going to a movie. And you come in late to the movie, and you missed the first 5 minutes of the movie. And the problem is, in the first 5 minutes of the movie, you missed an important piece of data to analyze the rest of the movie. And because you don’t have that piece of data, the rest of the movie makes no sense to you. That is modern evangelical Bible reading. Because we’re so eager to plow through chapters so fast, because after all, I’ve got to do a chapter a week, right? That’s what my Bible study guide says. I’ve got it all marked out for the whole year. I’m going to make it through the whole Bible this year. And we’re in such a hurry that we miss a piece of key data, and Genesis 4 doesn’t make sense. The flood doesn’t make sense. The Pharisees contest with Jesus doesn’t make sense, and yet it all makes sense if you understand what’s happening here in 3:15. It’s the bruising of the heel, the perpetual bruising of the heel.
Now you’ll notice that as the heel is being bruised, Satan is going to lose. We see Satan’s defeat unfolded through seven stages. (See slide on Satan’s Progressive Defeat with passages in parentheses).
1. He was initially evicted from heaven.
2. He’s defeated here in Eden.
3. He’s about to lose a major round in the pre-flood world as he tried to tamper with the genetics of the human race.
4. Satan is defeated at the cross. Many verses demonstrate that.
5. Satan will lose access to God’s throne at the midpoint of the tribulation period.
6. In the millennial kingdom, he’ll be bound in the abyss.
7. And finally, after the thousand years are completed, he’s thrown into the lake of fire.
What is all of this unpacking? What is all of this explaining? It’s explaining Genesis 3:15. There is something that’s very interesting that’s said here. I don’t know if you caught it. God said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed…” Well, wait a minute. I thought the seed, or the sperm came from the man. The man has the seed. The woman does not have the seed. How in the world would the woman get seed? Oh, my goodness. Am I reading this right? Is this not a very early latent prophecy of the virgin birth of Christ? That Mary, and what is happening in her womb, will not be the product of Joseph‘s seed, but the Lord’s seed implanted in her. That’s a very peculiar way of speaking of seed. And yet it’s not peculiar when you see this in light of what God would do through the virgin conception.
And also, by the way, the gender of the Messiah is given, “You shall…” [Satan] ”…bruise Him...[look at the pronouns in the gender], ”…And you shall bruise Him on the heel.”
The Messiah is not going to be a woman. The Messiah is going to be a male. And so this is fascinating as God has spoken two things to the serpent: the body has been changed, and ‘There’s coming One one day, and you’re now on notice, who’s going to take your head and crush it.’
It’s a pretty simple segue from there into the gospel because there’s only two categories here. You’re either of the seed of the serpent doing the troublemaking, or you’re connected to the One who is going to overthrow the troublemaker. It doesn’t seem to me, as I look at this, that there’s a lot of wiggle room here. Seed of the woman. Seed of the serpent. Which one do you want to be? Well, I would say this. We are born into the world as the seed of the serpent doing all kinds of mayhem on Satan’s behalf without even realizing it.
I think Ephesians 2:1-3 describes that pretty well, as it describes the darkening of our minds and how we, prior to coming to Christ, were doing the devil’s work. But isn’t it interesting how you can hear the gospel—be convicted by the Holy Spirit of the gospel, and by faith receive what Jesus did in our place and our whole status changes? We’re no longer the seed of the serpent, but we are connected to the One who’s going to crush the head. We’re destined for authority where we will rule and reign alongside His delegated authority in the Millennial Kingdom. Now, which side of that do you want to be on? And how do you move from one side to the other? It’s simply receiving the gospel or the good news.
Jesus paid a penalty for our sins 2,000 years ago that we couldn’t pay. He bridged the gap between the sinfulness of man and the holiness of God, which we spoke of earlier, which we can’t bridge. Jesus bridged it for us. And He tells us to trust or to rest in what He has done. Don’t make your own loin coverings. That’s not going to help you. Trust in what He has done. And He will take His righteousness and transfer it to you at the point of faith.
And you can reverse your eternal destiny right now. Even people that are listening to us online or hearing this long after the fact, can reverse their eternal destiny right now simply by receiving that gift by faith. It’s a matter of privacy between you and the Lord. It’s not a matter of walking an aisle, joining a church, giving money. It’s a matter of the spirit convicts a human being of their need to respond to this message, and they respond to it in their heart of hearts by trusting what Jesus did for them 2,000 years ago.
I would encourage anybody within the sound of my voice that’s being convicted of their need to do this, to do it today. If it’s something that you need more explanation on, I’m available after the service to talk.
But as we reconvene next Lord’s Day, we’ll look at the two judgments now imposed on the woman and the two additional judgments imposed upon the man.
Shall we pray? Father, we’re grateful for this foundation to Christianity, and how it brings into focus why we need the Gospel and why we need the Savior. I pray that we would tuck these things into our hearts as we live for You this week in a fallen world. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus name, and God’s people said, Amen!