Empty Cross Ministries
Genesis Chapter 3
The Consequences of Sin
Rev.Dr. David Stembaugh, D.D.
Genesis 3:16 “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
“Pain in childbirth”: This is a constant reminder that a woman gave birth to sin in the human race and passes it on to all her children. She can be delivered from this curse by raising godly children, as indicated (in 1 Tim. 2:15.)
“Thy sorrow and thy conception”: The word for sorrow means “birth pangs” and sounds like the Hebrew word for tree, which is a reminder of the source of this pain in the sin involving the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It also looks forward to the Crucifixion when the curse ultimately will be hung on a tree.
“Thy desire” has been variously interpreted:
(1) A physical desire strong enough to compensate for the pain of childbirth;
(2) Her natural desire to submit to her husband’s leadership; or
(3) Perhaps a desire “against” her husband in not being willing to submit to him because of her fallen sinful nature (Eph. 5:22; 1 Tim. 3:4, 11).
“Thy desire … he shall rule”: Just as the woman and her seed will engage in a war with the serpent, i.e., Satan and his seed (verse 15), because of sin and the curse, the man and the woman will face struggles in their own relationship. Sin has turned the harmonious system of God-ordained roles into distasteful struggles of self-will.
Lifelong companions, husbands and wives, will need God’s help in getting along as a result. The woman’s desire will be to lord it over her husband, but the husband will rule by divine design (Eph. 5:22-25).
This interpretation of the curse is based upon the identical Hebrew words and grammar being used in 4:7, to show the conflict man will have with sin as it seeks to rule him.
As we said before, the sin of each one was an individual act, and the punishment also is individual. We too, will be judged individually. We shall stand before Jesus, one at a time. We will stand or fall on our own belief in Him. Not what our parents believe, or not what our husband or wife believe, but on what we believe. God has no grandchildren, just children.
In verse 16, God established the order in the family here on earth. A husband should rule over his wife in the flesh. As I said before, we are all responsible to God for our spirits. this Scripture, (that woman shall suffer in childbirth as her punishment for leading her husband into sin), has to do with the flesh, not the spirit.
God did not curse the woman or the man in the judgment that He spoke on them. He would provide restoration for them through the Savior, Jesus Christ. They would each be allowed to accept that salvation.
Christianity places woman on the same level with man as regarding the gospels.
Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Also, we read the wife is in subjection to the husband in the flesh.
Ephesians 5:22-23 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.”
These Scriptures are trying to help us understand how Jesus is the husband of the church. He is the groom; we are the bride of Christ, if we are believers in him, both male and female.
Genesis 3:17 “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life;”
“Because thou hast hearkened”: The reason given for the curse on the ground and human death is that man turned his back on the voice of God, to follow his wife in eating that from which God had ordered him to abstain.
The woman sinned because she acted independently of her husband, disdaining his leadership, counsel and protection. The man sinned because he abandoned his leadership and followed the wishes of his wife. In both cases, God’s intended roles were reversed.
Adam “obeyed” the voice of Eve and not God (2:17), which was the first marital role reversal.
“Sorrow” is the same word applied to the woman in verse 16. Thus, they shared equally in their punishment.
God was displeased with Adam because he listened to Eve, instead of Him.
God will not allow us to put anything, or anyone, ahead of His commands to us. The favorite excuse of many women for not coming to church is, “My husband wouldn’t bring me”. Come without him, if you must. He may soon come, too.
In His punishment for Adam, He cursed the ground (not Adam). The ground even today produces only what man works and gets from it. Before, it voluntarily grew. It produces the amount man puts out in effort to make it produce now.
Genesis 3:18 “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;”
In verse 17 God said” “Cursed is the ground for thy sake”: God cursed the object of man’s labor and made it reluctantly, yet richly, yield his food through hard work.
Genesis 3:19 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.”
“Return unto the ground”: I.e. to die (2:7). Man, by sin, became mortal. Although he did not die the moment he ate (by God’s mercy), he was changed immediately and became liable to all the sufferings and miseries of life, to death, and to the pains of hell forever.
Adam lived 930 years (Gen. 5:5).
In these verses above, God told man, that through much opposition from the earthly things, shall he earn a living. I believe it also means that the devil will oppose him on every side, trying to alienate him from God.
The story of the thorns and thistles growing together with the wheat until the end showed that a man will be surrounded in this world by people controlled by Satan. We will have to grow with the Lord in spite of their trying to choke off Christianity.
Man’s body truly will return to the earth, because it is of the earth. The spirit of man will not return to the earth, but will be with Jesus in heaven (if we choose to believe in Jesus). God has reminded man of his humble beginning. Just through belief in the Lord Jesus Christ can mankind rise above this humble beginning.
Genesis 3:20 “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.”
“Eve comes from the verb to live. Here is Adam’s act of faith, looking to the future with hope. This word sounds like the word used in this verse, “living.” Adam seems not only to believe that God spoke the truth, but also to have faith in the salvation God had promised in verses 15 and 16.
This verse above indicated that there were no other people living (except Adam’s family), because Adam said his wife was the mother of all living.
Genesis 3:21 “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
“Coats of skins”: The first physical deaths should have been the man and his wife, but it was an animal, a shadow of the reality that God would someday kill a substitute to redeem sinners.
This is how Yahweh provides clothing for Adam and Eve, after their feeble attempt to cover their nakedness and shame. It is His way of demonstrating that He acknowledges their act of faith in verse 20. The word for skins presupposes the death of an animal and therefore the idea of blood sacrifice is clearly implied.
God loved Adam and Eve. The above Scripture indicates the first animal was sacrificed for man. God, Himself, provided the sacrifice, as He did with Abraham when he was about to sacrifice his son, Isaac. God provided the sacrifice, as God’s concern was still the needs of mankind.
Verses 22-23: “And live for ever” (see note on 2:9). God told man that he would surely die if he ate of the forbidden tree. But God’s concern may also have been that man not live forever in his pitifully cursed condition.
Taken in the broader context of Scripture, driving the man and his wife out of the garden was an act of merciful grace to prevent them from being sustained forever by the tree of life.
Genesis 3:22 “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:”
“Man is become as one of us” 1:26). This was spoken out of compassion for the man and woman, who only in limited ways were like the Trinity, knowing good and evil, not by holy omniscience, but by personal experience (Isa. 6:3; Hab. 1:13; Rev. 4:8).
Satan’s promise in 3:5 was technically true.
Genesis 3:23 “Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.”
“God sent him forth” as an act of grace as well as judgment.
Genesis 3:24 “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
“Cherubims”: Later in Israel’s history, two cherubim or angelic figures guarded the ark of the covenant and the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle (Exodus 25:18-22), where God communed with His people.
“Flaming sword”: An unexplainable phenomenon perhaps associated directly with the cherubim or the flaming, fiery Shekinah presence of God Himself.
“To keep” was used in 2:15 for the activities of man. The account relates privileges and responsibilities lost. And the way to the tree of life is guarded. Man’s way back to life is not easy; it will be by divine intervention.
In verse 22, the word “us” indicated more than one. (Verses 22-24), were not really intended as a punishment for man, but really so that he would not eat of the tree of life, and live forever in his body that suffered and aged.
Jesus is the Tree of Life, and when we eat of that Tree, being pardoned, our spirits will live forever with Him. Our earthly body will be changed into a heavenly body to house our spirits. This heavenly body will be free of pain, and free from the aging process.
Adam and Eve were doomed to a life of toil and pain; yet, they were looking for a better life beyond the grave where they would be restored to a better place than Eden.
The divine presence in the Cherubims and the flaming swords showed the majesty and authority of God. He could exclude whomever He would. Through Jesus Christ, mankind will be able to re-establish his right to the Tree of Life in heaven.
It is interesting to note the symbolism of the swords. The Bible is spoken of as a two-edged sword. God is also spoken of as a consuming fire. The flaming swords, and the Bible, are the only entrance into the Tree of Life. Through the Bible, we learn that Jesus is the Tree of Life, and only belief in Him can purchase our eternal life with Him.
Genesis Chapter 3 Continued Questions
1. Will husbands and wives be judged together?
2. In verse 16 God established the order of what?
3. Who is head of the home?
4. What was woman’s punishment for leading her husband into sin?
5. God did not speak a curse, just a punishment on man and woman, why?
6. We read in Gal. 3:28 as pertaining to the gospel there is neither _____ nor _________ in Christ Jesus pertaining to man and woman.
7. Ephesians tells us that in the flesh wives are subject to whom?
8. What are the Scriptures in Galatians, and Ephesians trying to show us?
9. In verse 17 God did not curse Adam, what did He curse?
10. What is the favorite excuse of woman for not coming to church?
11. Is that a legitimate excuse?
12. In the Scripture “dust thou are and unto dust thou shalt return”, what will turn to dust?
13. Man will be surrounded by whom in this world?
14. How is the only way man can rise above his humble beginnings?
15. Why did Adam name his wife Eve?
16. When God made coats of skins for Adam and Eve, what religious significance was this?
17. What word in verse 22 indicated more than one?
18. What two things did God place at the east of the garden of Eden?
19. Was this for punishment?
20. Why did God not want mankind to be able to eat of the tree of life at that time?
21. Our earthly bodies will be changed into what to house our spirits in heaven?
22. The divine presence of the Cherubims and the flaming swords showed what two things of God?
23. How can mankind re-establish his right to the Tree of Life in heaven?
24. What is spoken of as a two edged sword?
25. God is spoken of as________________ ______.
26. What teaches us that Jesus is the Tree of Life?