Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Judgement on Man (Genesis 3:17-19)


[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 man’s consequences—much like the woman’s—hit him at his essential purpose. He was created to guard and tend God’s creation. Now that role is broken and will always constitute a painful struggle. God tells man that he will eat in pain. This does not mean that the act of eating will hurt, but rather that the toil that he will undertake to be able to eat will be painful.

Work itself here is not the curse. Work is good. We were created for work. But now work has been broken and we can no longer find true fulfillment in our work. We are not doing what we have been created to do. All our efforts are a long, hard process of putting off the inevitable: death.

Death is another resulting consequence of sin of course, but not in the way that it was expected perhaps. Man did not instantly die when he sinned. Or did he? Death is never specifically mentioned here in 3:17-19. And it does not come for years and years. However, man is about to be cast out of the garden, the home that was designed for him. And, life outside of the garden is not really life. Our whole existence in this broken world outside of the garden is nearer to death than the life we were created to live. The Bible does teach that mankind outside of a relationship with God is “spiritually” dead, but this life we live apart from God and His perfect plan for us is also a sort of death awaiting death.

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