Genesis 3:1-15 The Gospel in Genesis: God has Crushed WC McCarter
I am thoroughly convinced that pressure is coming for Christians in America. We will have to be prepared. It is my responsibility, my duty, to equip you for ministry, even (and especially) in a hostile environment. Maybe you have noticed that I keep coming back to the Gospel. We need to know what we believe. We need to know it so well that when tough times come, we will be more than conquerors. We want to see growth toward maturity in our individual lives and as a congregation. We also want to see numerical growth in our congregation. I think that we can accomplish both preparation and evangelism. We need to gather on Sundays to be built up, and we need to scatter throughout the week in order to be witnesses of Christ Jesus.
Take a look at Genesis 1-2 by way of introduction.
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
The Fall (1-7)
Here we find the account of sin entering the human race. Here we find the cause of evil. Here is the explanation for why things are the way they are. Here is spiritual death, physical death, suffering, pain, trouble, and the rest.
The serpent seemingly comes out of nowhere, yet Eve does not seem to be shocked by his presence or message. We know from the rest of Scripture, that this “serpent” is Satan/Devil. Both words mean adversary, accuser, or persecutor. He appears as the “antigod” figure. Elsewhere in Scripture he is called a murderer and a liar. Satan uses a serpent, a created animal, to do his work. As you can see, he also uses communication to cause confusion.
Moses uses a play on words when referring to Adam and Eve’s nakedness and the serpent’s craftiness. The two Hebrew words sound the same. We could maybe preserve the word play by translating the words as nude and shrewd. Moses is signaling to the readers Adam and Eve’s vulnerability. Remember, the couple was nude and were not ashamed. They were oblivious to any threats in the Garden of Eden. And the Serpent was shrewd from the beginning. Christians must be aware of the craftiness of the Devil’s deceit. He may appear to be a great theologian, a great teacher of the things of God, but he is a liar who seeks to destroy as many as possible.
In the first recorded conversation about God, it is Eve who speaks with Satan. We cannot be sure why he approached her and not Adam. All sorts of reasons have been proposed. Satan goes to the extreme when he poses his question. Although Satan suggests that God had prohibited the couple from all of the trees of the Garden, the truth is that God had permitted them to eat from every tree except one. The seed of doubt has been planted. What will Eve do with it?
The woman responds to the serpent with the truth. She completely comprehends the commandment God had delivered to them. She even exaggerates the commandment as she tells Satan that if they simply touched that one tree, they would surely die. Satan is good at presenting the truth in a deceptive way, but his response to Eve is an utter lie. We can learn from verse four that Satan will stretch the truth as far as he can to get want he wants, but he will lie to your face if that’s what it takes. Satan presents God as a big-bad-bully, as if he doesn’t want Adam and Eve to reach their full potential. He presents rebellion as a means of advantage. What we learn from his comments in verse five is that “Deification is a fantasy…” (Hamilton, 190).
The deception that has filled her heart has caused Eve to see the banned tree in three ways: (1) Good for food (2) Pleasant to the eyes (3) Desirable to make one wise. These desires are put over her desire to follow the words of God. The three may have built up to a climax in that Eve desired the deceptively-promised wisdom the most. Satan’s evil plot fell right in place. We do not know the fruit, but “She took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” Adam does not rebuke her, but simply joins in. He obeys his wife instead of God. “Hers is a sin of initiative. His is a sin of acquiescence” (Hamilton, 191). Satan promises that Eve (and Adam) can “become like God,” yet, of course, that is not what happens. We do not become angels (even though that is a common sentiment in America), and we certainly do not become gods. When their eyes are opened they do not become like God, but find that they are naked. “Ironically, their opened eyes bring them shame” (Waltke, 92). Their relationship is immediately damaged, and they create barriers between themselves: fig-leaved clothes.
The Confrontation (8-13)
God was the Gardener of Eden. Both the Old and New Testaments affirm this idea of God. He planted the Garden, and was personally involved in its day-to-day process. The Lord would normally come for a stroll to view and enjoy His creation. A walk in the Garden would be most suitable in the cool of the day, the evening, and not in the heat. The word used for God’s movement suggests that it was done on a regular basis.
Adam and Eve were alerted to the Lord’s presence when they heard the sound of Him in the Garden. They must have expected His arrival in the Garden, since that was the norm in the evenings. When they heard Him, they hid themselves among the trees. That reaction to the very sound of God was a declaration of guilt. All of the previous times that the Lord God had visited with them in the Garden they did not run to hide from Him. This time they felt ashamed and knew that they were guilty before God.
God is thorough in His questioning. He asks, where? (v9), who? (v11), and what? (v13). God knows all things perfectly, why did He question the couple? We can only conclude that He was demonstrating His righteousness, and He was also allowing Adam and Eve to confess their sin. (Similar questioning is directed toward Cain after he murdered his brother.)
When God asks where they are, Adam admits that he was afraid when He heard God because he was naked. He is so overwhelmed with guilt that he answered why he was hiding, which was not the Lord’s first question. The fear that Adam sensed was obviously not motivated by faith. Thus, it could not be pleasing to God (Heb 11:6). Adam’s response to the second phase of questioning does not offer an admission of personal guilt, but deflects the blame toward his wife. I guess we could say that the guilt is mainly deflected toward God (“whom You gave to be with me”). The works of Satan convince people that they are not guilty, but that others should be blamed, even God (Jas 1:13). Eve responds much like Adam in the sense that she will not take blame. She pointed the finger at the serpent. Their shame forced them to cover themselves from each other, hide themselves from God, and in the end totally isolate themselves.
Listen closely, sin is missing the mark. It is falling short of the glory of God by rebellion, utter selfishness, and unbelief. Sin is the transgressing of boundaries declared in divine revelation. It immediately builds a barrier between man and God, and it ruins the relationships of people. Its end is death, both spiritually and physically. The Bible, and especially the NT, is clear that all have sinned, all are under sin, all are slaves to sin, and all will collect the wages of sin (death) apart from Christ.
The Promise (14-15)
Satan had embodied the serpent, which was a land animal that God had created on day six of creation. In these verses, God passes judgment on Satan and the serpent by association. I cannot make a very strong case for this, but I tend to believe that the serpent was some type of legged creature (God created beasts of the earth and creeping things) and after the judgment was caused to slither on its belly for the remainder of history (just a guess). To be consigned to moving around on its belly and in the dust of the ground was to be utterly humiliated (Ps 44:25). That judgment was also a sign of defeat (Ps 72:9; Isa 25:12). Notice that God has ultimate control over the situation. Satan may think that he can supersede God, but he is in no way able.
Verse 15 has historically been interpreted as a Messianic statement. We know from the NT that many people are the offspring of Satan, not physically, but spiritually in the sense that they follow his rebellion (John 8:44). Throughout the ages, there has been the ongoing battle between those who follow God and those who follow Satan (Whose seed are you?). At just the right time, God sent His Son (Gal 5:3-5). Satan thought he won, and he thought he had won when Christ died, but he was sorely and eternally mistaken.
Embedded in the curse is the promise of eventual victory. There is judgment, but there is hope. The messianic hope begins here. As one man has said, this is the “mother prophecy” that gives birth to all of the other messianic promises of the Old Testament which is ultimately fulfilled in the Lord Jesus (Smith, 38). For centuries, this has been called “the first Gospel.”
God says, “I will.” This is His initiative. God is sovereign. Satan may think that he has won some kind of victory. He may think that he has gained a following, that he has stolen God’s creation from Him, but God says, “I will.” Her “seed” is a collective word, but the singular pronoun “He” is quickly introduced. There will be ongoing spiritual battle between Satan’s seed and Eve’s seed, but there will be One who eventually steps forward to end the strife between the two lines. From Eve’s line, her seed, will come forth One that will crush the head of Satan.
Conclusion and Christian Application
(1) I think it is overwhelmingly comforting to see the Gospel in Genesis. There is wrath. God is righteous, holy, and perfect. Thus, He cannot pass over sin. He must judge. He must judge righteously. Yet, even when God brings down judgment on the man, woman, and serpent–there is hope for humanity. I am here to tell you today that we are no longer looking forward to that day when this promise is fulfilled. I can preach the completion of the Gospel from Genesis this morning: God has crushed. He has already done this marvelous thing in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Although His heel was bruised by crucifixion, the head of Satan was crushed by the weight of Christ’s sacrificial death and glorious resurrection.
(2) In light of the Gospel in Genesis, I want to challenge each of you over the next few weeks to walk through the process of evangelism with someone that you know. We will take one simple step each week toward sharing the Gospel. The first week (which is this week) I want you to speak with an unbeliever. The second week, I will challenge you to pray for that person each day. The third week, I will challenge you to share the Gospel with that person. Lastly, I will challenge you to invite them to church. It is time that we boldly proclaim the Good News which was first proclaimed in Genesis that God has crushed Satan!