This article is an excerpt from the Fall 2015 issue of The Gospel Project for Adults. The Gospel Project takes adults, students, and kids on a chronological, Christ-centered journey through the storyline of Scripture. Preview one month free at gospelproject.com.
Human Rebellion Results in the Shattering of God’s Good World (Gen. 3:17-24)
In order for us to feel the preciousness of the gospel, we must come to grips with the utter destruction that our sin brought into the world. Our rebelling against God not only destroyed our relationship with God and each other, but it also shattered the perfect peace of God’s good world.
God called humanity to fill the earth (Gen. 1:28). But now this task will come through a woman’s pain and anguish (3:16). God called us to subdue the earth. But now this task will come through toilsome work, fighting thorns and thistles. Only by the sweat of our brow will we be able to eat bread (3:17-19). The work God gave us has been invaded by toil, and the beauty of childbirth has been wracked with pain.
Choosing to separate ourselves from God—the source of life—is the choice of death. God created us out of the dust of the ground, but now to dust we will return. Death is the punishment for rebelling against our life-giving Creator.
Genesis 3 ends with the reality of exile. God’s good world has been marred by human sin, and we are now separated from the perfection of the garden. The angel with his flaming and whirling sword stands between us and what once was.
But even in this sad scene of judgment, there is a thread of mercy. Before casting Adam and Eve out of paradise, God clothed them with animal skins. God provided the covering for Adam and Eve’s nakedness. God’s initiative here points forward to His Son’s atoning work, when through His own sacrifice, Jesus will take away the guilt of our sin and cover our shame with His righteousness.
At the heart of sin is a great exchange. We exchange the glory of the immortal God for mortal, corrupting images (see Rom. 1:21-23).
The fact that Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation from the lowest of all creatures (the serpent) shows how we have flipped upside down the created order. Instead of God ruling over humanity, who reflects Him by ruling over creation, we have reversed the order. Now it’s creation rebelling against humans, who are rebelling against God. We subjected ourselves to creation and sought to establish our authority over God’s authority. Sin dehumanized everything authentically human about us and made a mockery of the glory of our immortal God.
Because of sin, Adam and Eve were banished from paradise. Their sin separated them, and us, from God’s presence with no way back except through the angel’s sword. But the day would come when the sword would fall on the Son of Eve on the cross. The Son would be banished by the Father so that we might be reunited with Him. Jesus would face the sword so that we could return from our exile.
When God’s own Son was born into this world, He undid everything that went wrong in Genesis 3. He answered the questions that Satan has put in our hearts: “Is God good? Does He intend good for us? Can we trust Him?” He answered those questions with the nails in His hands and a spear through His side, with His becoming sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).
Excerpted from The Gospel Project for Adults © 2015 Lifeway Press®. Used by permission.