Death and Genesis 3 (part two)


In my previous post we looked at the behavior of Adam and Eve after they sinned in the Garden. They did three specific things to avoid accepting responsibility. We still do them today.

In this post, we’re going to consider the theme of death in Genesis 3. There’s more in the text than immediately meets the eyes.

These three observations have fascinated me for years.

1) What did Adam do to his wife? Remember what God said would happen to them if they ate the forbidden fruit? “In the day you eat of it you will surely die.”

When God came looking for them, Adam thought that God was coming to kill him. We disobeyed. God said death would result from disobedience. He’s come to kill me.

His next thought: How can I get out of this mess?

Like us, Adam was willing to do whatever it took to escape the consequences. Even if that meant executing his wife. By blaming her, Adam was pronouncing a death sentence on his wife. In short, Adam said to God: “Don’t kill me, kill her!”

[all of a sudden, I don’t feel like such a failure as a husband]

And now, not only has their perfect relationship with God been broken, their perfect relationship with one another has been seriously(!) fractured.

[Can you imagine their pillow talk that night? And every time Eve wanted something from Adam all she had to say was, “Remember that time you tried to have God kill me to save yourself?”]

2) Did Adam and Eve die that day? God didn’t execute either of them. But He had said that they would die “in the day” they ate the fruit. Did God lie? Was this an empty threat? Or did they die that day?

The answer is YES! They really died that day! Spiritually. This helps us understand that in the Bible death means “spiritual separation from God” (see Romans 6:23).

And that day they BEGAN to die physically, as their biological clock was heard ticking for the first time ever.

[BTW, God doesn’t give empty threats. He’s a perfect parent. This should put an end to the empty threats we constantly give our children. They amount to nothing short of lies.]

3. How did God cover their sins? Adam and Eve had made fig leaves to cover up their sin. But this covering was insufficient. At the end of the Genesis 3, God replaced their inadequate coverings with animal skins as clothing (Genesis 3:21).

This is incredibly significant. Where did God get these animal skins?

This is the first physical death recorded in the Bible. And the animal that died was killed by God as a sacrifice, its skins were used to cover the sins of Adam and Eve. Atonement always requires the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22).

This also explains why Cain’s fruit tray was rejected as an acceptable offering to God while Abel’s animal sacrifice was accepted (Genesis 4). Cain should have learned from God’s example that an atonement offering requires the shedding of blood. [also why I never take a fruit tray to a party]

And the pattern is set for the rest of the Old Testament. Animal sacrifices were required to cover people’s sins. But something better is provided in the New Testament. The blood of Jesus does not merely cover sins; it takes our sins away (see Hebrews 10:11 vs 9:28).

Isn’t Genesis 3 amazing!?

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4 responses to “Death and Genesis 3 (part two)

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