Monday, September 28, 2015

Genesis 3:13-24 Man and Woman After the Fall

We are  currently  considering  key doctrines  in Genesis  1 –11, as  these chapters   deal with the fundamental issues of life. 
Genesis  asserts that God exists.  
Genesis asserts that He has created all things. 
Genesis says that He has created man in His image  and therefore man occupies  a unique position in God’s creation. Man is not simply one of the ‘animals’ in creation. 
Furthermore, Genesis 2 speaks about the  origin and nature   of  marriage, being a union between one man and one woman for life. Marriage is  a pre-fall ordinance, and biblically speaking  it constitutes  the  foundation of  civil society . Genesis 3 introduces us to the origin of sin and its terrible consequences in the world. 

As we consider all  this,  we have noted  that the world  is deeply divided on all these fundamental issues. We are seeing that men  are hard at work to find substitutes and alternative  explanations   for God, creation,  the nature of man, the nature and purpose of marriage  and  the nature of sin  and  the origin  of evil in this world. Genesis 3 explains  that  the mastermind  behind  all these de-constructive efforts is  the archenemy of God –the devil ! Ultimately Satan is  the    cause of all the confusion  in the world.  He is the one who has caused the human identity crisis.  He is the one who   continuously  causes us to question God and His  good designs.  Nowhere is this more true than  with respect to God’s  design for man and woman  in this world and for this  reason  we have been focussing  on the  doctrine of man.  It is crucial  that we understand  God’s  design of man  in order to  know what has gone  wrong with our world  and  so to counteract  that which is  wrong.  The Church  by the Word of God  is the only means  by which  Satan’s  designs  may be  resisted and counteracted.  The Reformation of the 16th century is  a good example of this.  

We began  with  Genesis 1:27,28 : “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion…” . This text affirms  that (i)  there is a God  (ii) who created  man (iii) in his own image (iv) as male and female (v)  to have dominion over the earth.

We then considered  Genesis 2:4- 25   and learned  there  that: 
(i) Man was created first and the woman some time later.
(ii) Adam and Eve share the image of God equally, but  Adam is called by God to be the leader of this human team. Eve is called to submit to his leadership.  Adam is called to   bear  accountability  for the moral pattern of life in the garden of Eden. We saw  that  God’s  original   design for man and woman  was :   
·         a sinless man, full of love,  and possessed  with  strong spiritual and  moral leadership of his  companion, and his equal,  the woman.  
·          a sinless woman, full of love,  and possessed  with a joyful, responsive, intelligent support for her companion’s  leadership.
Genesis 3 :  The Fall  and its Consequences  for Man and Woman

As pointed out earlier, the Bible teaches that  there is  a  primeval  being,  initially introduced here  figuratively  as ‘the serpent’,  identified  in Rev. 12:9 &20:2  as “ the great dragon… that ancient serpent who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.”    The Hebrew word rendered "serpent" in Genesis  3:1  is  nachash  (lit. to shine, or  a shining one). He appears as an angel of the light[1]   and it is this  that makes him so  deceptive!  Hence  ‘serpent’ is a figure of speech  to describe  the appearance and nature of this  evil being , who is said to be  a fallen  prince  among the angels. This super intelligent  being   has been hard at work  to usurp and to   undermine  God  and His work  by:
·         … saying  that God  does not exist. (Atheism) 
·         …making us believe that  the universe, our world and all things  were not created by God, but by  impersonal, random chance. (Theory of  evolution)
·         …making us believe that  there is no difference between male and female. (Gender agenda)
·         …redefining marriage, by  making us believe that there is such a thing as homosexual marriage.    
·         … saying that  there is no such  thing as sin.  It is merely  a lack of education or ignorance, and these will be sorted out as  mankind grows away from their superstitious  beliefs  in religion, and as  mankind continues to evolve.

Each one of these  5 challenges  strikes deep at the heart of   the fundamental  truths  of  Genesis  1:27.   But  we are asking   how  this  has affected men and women?  Given what we have learned so far concerning the nature of man and woman before the fall, what  has changed  after the fall?  How is life different for us now?

1.                  On a vertical and fundamental level the fall  has  deeply affected man’s relationship with God
When Adam and Eve  started listening to the devil’s attractive  but deceitful  suggestions  that  
(i) God did not actually say  (3:1) and  
(ii) that they would greatly profit by eating from the forbidden fruit and so to gain the knowledge of good and evil, (3:4,5)  in so doing they lost their innocence and therefore their protected environment in the garden of Eden.  Since they were now  privy to  the knowledge of good and  evil, they  had to  leave  the place of innocence   of evil – the place of  perfect fellowship with God.  Spiritually, emotionally and physically,  things became very hard,  as we discern   from  Genesis  3:16  (the curse upon the woman) and from  Genesis 3:17 – 19 (the curse  upon Adam).
This spiritual separation actually amounts to spiritual death i.e. alienation from God  (Eph. 2:1) and eventually also physical death. In this they were  warned by God : “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  This is exactly what happened. Following the fall, and  prior  to the flood men lived up to nearly a thousand years and they died. Following  the flood there is a sharp decline in life expectancy. Abraham’s father Terah only lives  205 years (Gen. 11:32). Abraham’s wife Sarah lived  127 years (Gen.  23:1) and Abraham lived  175 years (Gen. 25:7). Isaac lived 180 years (Gen.  35:28). Joseph only became 110 years old (Gen.  50:22). Moses was 120  when he died (Deut.  34:7).
Were  it not for the fact that God  had  mercy  upon  the people that He had foreknown from  before the beginning of the world  (Eph. 1:4), man would  have been in an irredeemable state. But it is clear  that  God  has  a plan, and it is clear that not all among men will be lost.
The plan is  revealed  in   Genesis 3:14- 15  when God  announces the judgement upon  the devil. The judgement is delayed but certain. Before the final  day of judgement for Satan arises there will be a time when  he  is allowed to  have influence upon the world which God has created.
Please note  that  the Bible speaks here about two off-springs (3:14): (i) the offspring of  Satan  and (ii) the offspring of  the woman.  Who are these?  The  illustration follows actually in  Chapter 4 – the story of Cain and Abel. Cain kills Abel, the godly  seed. It is clear that  Cain is   the  offspring of Satan.  There is no redemption for him  and he becomes a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth. We note that his offspring  becomes a murderous bunch (Gen. 4:19-24) .
Having exterminated   righteous  Abel, Eve conceives  again and gives birth to Seth and says : “God has appointed  for me another offspring instead of Abel for Cain killed him” ( Gen  4:25)  , and Set’s offspring become the prototype of the godly offspring ,
This is the story  of the  OT  and of the whole Bible. There  are two kinds of people in this world – the children of the devil, and the children of God.  The children of God  are born sinners like  everyone else, but IN CHRIST  they are redeemed  and ransomed as  a treasure for God . 
THIS IS THE GREAT STORY LINE OF THE BIBLE !  And with  this  NT perspective  we do the work  of Christ by preaching the gospel, trusting  that His sheep shall hear His voice. Jesus  said: “ My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…My Father who has given them  to me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (Jn. 10:27-30)
2.                  On a horizontal level the fall has affected  man’s relationship  
The primary  crack  appears  in the most basic of all relationships -  that between man and woman. Last week we alluded  to  Genesis 3:16 : “To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
The original intention for   that  perfect relationship between man and woman was  now shattered . Here we now find  :
·         A sinful man, lacking in love,  and inclined towards tyrannical rule,   failing to lead his companion  and equal, and with a lack of  strong  spiritual and moral leadership.  
·         A sinful woman, lacking  in submission  and inclined towards jealous longing for the man’s position,  and possessed  with a rebellious and  subversive  spirit.  
 Those are the implications of Genesis 3:16b:
·         Your desire will be for your husband
·         and he will rule over you”
For the woman the fall brings about  a   subversive desire for the man’s position . The word corresponds to  that in Genesis 4:7:    “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not  do well , sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”  Here God is warning Cain  concerning  his resentment and anger against Abel. God tells him that sin is about to get the upper hand in his life, but  he must rule over it." Sin is crouching at the door of Cain's heart  and it desires to have him. It  desires  to overpower him. This is the same  word used in  3:16 , and so when it says  "your desire will be for your husband," it means that when  the woman gives into her sinful desire it will result in  a  desire to  subvert  or  manipulate  the man. Women may not have as much brute strength as men, but  in general they tend to be more  crafty  than men.  A woman  can  run circles around him with her words and where her words fail, she knows his  weaknesses. If you have any doubts about the power of sinful woman to control sinful man  then simply  reflect for a moment on the number one marketing force in the world — the female body. She can sell anything because she knows the universal weakness of man and how to control him with it.
For the man   the fall brings about  a  desire for  tyrannical rule. When a man gives into sin  he will be tempted to  rule  his companion  with an iron fist. He will mercilessly subdue her with his strength. As a rule men have more brute strength than women and so they can rape and abuse and threaten. The exploitation of women by sinful men is conspicuous because it is often harsh and violent.

The direct result of the fall  are  thus devious women and tyrannical  men.

So  now we see  and understand  the  effects  of the curse in  Gen.  3:16.  And here you find  the origin  of  that long standing  and   ugly  gender war. And properly speaking it all begins in the garden before the fall. Adam  and  Eve were  tempted before  they sinned, and then they gave  into that temptation  when the  sin of the heart became an actual sin.  
In a nutshell:   Sin expresses itself  firstly horizontally - in rebellion against God, and secondly , vertically , in terms of   subversion and tyranny , undermining one another.
Only the Gospel – only Jesus   can bring perspective and healing to  such broken relationships. And that is why we thank  God for the  work of Christ in our midst! Amen !

[1] 2 Corinthians  11:14,15

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