Genesis 3:22-24 (NKJV) 22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”– 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
In our last two posts we have looked at the creation of man in some detail. To understand grace, we must understand its origin. Why was it necessary for God to bring grace into the creation? We have set a stage that is marked by a beautiful harmony. God created a world where his family could live. He is able to fellowship with them. They are different from all other created things just as he is different from everything in any world.
God is a spirit. He lives in and rules over a realm or dimension called the world of the spirit. The God of creation is all powerful, all knowing, everywhere present and unchangeable. There can be only one such being. He had created angels, beings who were also part of the world of the spirit. They were created as servants of God. They were not in the same class as God. For one thing, although they had the capacity to make a choice, they did not have the right of choice.
When some of them, led by Lucifer the leader of heavenly worship, did choose, there could be no redemption for them. Their choice brought a contamination to heaven that could not be tolerated. God had to create a place of separation for them. That place is called hell. It was created to hold the devil and his angels so that the contamination of sin would not affect the spiritual world (Matthew 25:41.)
God’s desire for a family caused him to create another place. A place that was separate from the world of the spirit. A limited place in which he could put man, a being whose life flowed from the spirit world but who existed in the limited, physical world. He wanted a family to love him. Because man existed in the physical world, God could give him the divine right of choice. Without choice there can be no love. Man was given both the capacity and the right to choose to either love God or not.
God put two things into the physical realm that would create the atmosphere of choice for man. He put two trees in the Garden. One representing the choice to love God and the other the choice to rebel against God. He put something else in the Garden. More accurately he put someone else in the Garden.
Isaiah 14:12 (NKJV) 12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!
Here we see that Lucifer also known as Satan was “cut down to the ground.” We see that in the Garden of Eden there is a being who has the power of speech. He is not man but a serpent. Satan is often seen as a serpent.
Revelation 12:9 (NKJV) 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
In this verse we see Satan called the serpent of old. God put a tempter in the Garden. If man was going to choose to love God, he had to make sure there was no question that he would make the choice. In Genesis 3 the drama God knew would happen plays out. You can read the scriptural account later but let me summarize.
Satan temps the woman to eat from the forbidden tree. He could not make her eat. She had to choose to eat. In Timothy we see that she was deceived but Adam was not (1 Timothy 2:13.) We sometimes think Adam was off somewhere else in the Garden during Eve’s temptation. He was not. Genesis 3:6 says that she gave the fruit to her husband who was with her. Adam now had to choose. Until he ate of the fruit nothing happened. He was the head of the woman. He could have chosen to remain loyal to God, his Father. We cannot know what would have happened to them if he had.
He knew that Eve had eaten. He knew that he loved her as “flesh of his flesh.” It is my opinion that he believed God’s promise concerning the “Tree of the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” would come to pass in her life. She was going to die. He could not bear to lose her, so as he looked at the fruit she had eaten he made an informed decision. He chose her over God. When he ate their eyes were opened.
This set-in motion a number of things. God came looking for them in the cool of the day. He is God. He knew where they were, but they had to take responsibility for what they had done. He pronounces several consequences for their choice. Man will no longer rule the earth. He will have to fight it for survival. Woman will no longer be man’s “helper” designed to share in his dominion over creation. Instead, she became his servant. Her desire would be for him, but childbearing would be in pain. This was not God’s original plan. It was a result of choosing sin and self will over submission to God.
Let us not forget the main curse associated with eating from the forbidden tree. The Hebrew says, “The day you eat from it, in dying you shall surely die.” Adam and Eve did not die physically for many years after they ate from the tree. However, there is no indication they would ever die before they ate of it. Adam and Eve were eternal beings.
There is an interesting fact about the human body. All the cells in our bodies are renewed every seven years. With each renewal cycle there is a flaw that grows. That flaw is what we call aging. I do not believe that flaw was in the original design. Man was designed to physically live forever. He was to be a spirit being who would live eternally in a physical body. They were to be God’s eternal family. When they sinned, something was introduced that caused them to begin to deteriorate. That something is called death. More specifically it is called spiritual death or separation from the source of man’s life, God himself.
Spirit beings cannot cease to exist. Man’s spirit would not cease to exist once his body died. However, since he would pass into the spirit world separated from God by his own choosing, he would suffer the same fate as Satan and his angels. He would spend eternity as a spirit being separated from God. The bible calls his future home Gehenna or the lake of fire.
All of this is what man deserves. He chose Eve over God. Adam knew the consequences but disobeyed anyway. God knew that he would. He was prepared for it. He had a plan in place to get his family back. Man did not deserve this from God. Man deserved to be left to his fate. God had every right to destroy what he had created but he did not. Man deserved eternal separation. That is not what God planned to allow.
God was moved with compassion for his family. He told Satan and all creation that he was going to give man what he did not deserve; a way out. He was going to redeem him from his choices and give him new choices. The act of redemption was mercy. The fact that Adam’s descendants would be offered what they did not deserve was grace. In today’s verse we see God’s mercy to preserve them until he did something about their situation.
Grace was not introduced in the New Testament. It was part of the original design. God planned for man’s fall when he created him. He was ready to put the plan of redemption into motion even before the fall of man. He makes a declaration to Satan that sets the course of history. In this declaration he declares both mercy and grace. Read it now and we will discuss it next time.
Genesis 3:15 (NKJV) 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”