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Corruption of the System – Genesis 3:1-3:24

God had designed and initiated a system, an order, within which his creation was to exist and flourish.  It was a system full of blessing, harmony, peace and fellowship.  The consequence of the Fall was the corruption of that system.

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Genesis 3:1-24

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” 11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat
All the days of your life;
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
16 To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.”

17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;

Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”

20 Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. 21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

The Theme Explained

Before continuing, read the passage above and slowly let the images soak in.  Each image is someone’s personal expression of the theme.  Discover how the images reveal the theme from the passage.

The Fall resulted in a curse upon creation. The irony of the curse is that it was the innocent of creation bear the brunt of it. The guilty, Man and Woman, are not directly cursed, though their discomfort comes from the result of the curse.

The central turning point of the Fall narrative is the curse upon the serpent. Despite the serpent only being an instigator, it is to be cursed above all other creatures. The hostility with Woman and her seed is paired with the blame the Woman has placed on the serpent for her own actions. Woman, herself, is not cursed, though her discomfort is increased. The same is true for Man. The hostility between Man and Woman, once perfectly comparable partners, is balanced against the blame Man placed upon Woman. Ultimately, the trees and garden, which were the source of provision, was cursed. Man, himself, was not cursed; his discomfort arises from the curse upon the land.

God had designed and initiated a system, an order, within which his creation was to exist and flourish. It was a system full of blessing, harmony, peace and fellowship. The consequence of the Fall was the corruption of that system.


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