In the beginning… God created the world and everything in it. He placed Adam and Eve in a spectacularly perfect garden and gave them one simple rule. Don’t eat from the forbidden tree. Most of us know the story well. The serpent arrives on the scene and challenges Eve to question God. In those infamous moments, the first two humans make a decision that would change everything for all of mankind. The result of our sin on that fateful day would have dire consequences… consequences that only a Savior could fix.
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All my life, I heard this story one way. Adam and Eve sinned. We were separated from a holy God because of our sin. And Jesus came to die for our sins so that we could be reconciled to God. Every aspect of the fall of man as well as our salvation was all about the problem of “sin.”
But the truth is so much greater than that. Sin happened in the garden. But it is the result of that sin that changed everything. And when Jesus came to this earth, He did far more than simply deal with our sin… He came to make all things new again.
Think of it this way: As a parent, I want what’s best for my children because I love them deeply. And every day, I try to teach them right from wrong. Why do I do that? Is it because I want perfect kids who never make mistakes? Or perhaps I’m trying to spare them from the negative consequences of their actions. If the salvation story is about nothing other than sin and us being “unclean” in that sin, then we are serving a God who simply wants perfection rather than a God who loves us for all He’s created us to be. It is because of His great love that He put a plan into motion to save us… not just from our sin but also from the consequences we brought upon ourselves as a result of our sin.
Here are just some of the results of that one act of disobedience…
- Death now reigned in the world. – When God forbid Adam and Eve to eat from the tree at the center of the garden, He warned them that the consequence would be death. (Genesis 3:3) He didn’t sugar coat anything or try to hide anything from them. He was very clear that the wages of their sin would be death. Romans 5:14 tells us that “death reigned” after the sin of Adam. The truth is that once they knew both good and evil, once they gave the enemy a place to speak into their lives, and once they opened the door to evil in this world… death would follow. This was a consequence God so desperately wanted to spare them from when He commanded them not to eat the fruit.
- The earth suffered consequences as well. – When death entered the world, it didn’t just affect humans. The earth was also cursed. It is because of sin that trees, plants, and flowers die. The ground would now produce weeds and make life difficult for Adam as he now had to labor for his food.
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. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; 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.” – Genesis 3:17-19
- Darkness had dominion over this earth. – Colossians 1:13 refers to the kingdom of this world as the “domain of darkness,” and Ephesians 5:8 says that we were once “darkness” before becoming light in Christ Jesus. I find it interesting that before God spoke in Genesis 1, the earth was covered in darkness. His first words were… let there be light. John 1 speaks of Jesus as being the light of the world. Our world was dark, and Jesus would be the One to restore the light.
When Jesus entered the world, it is as if God said “let there be light” once again.
- There would now be unrest in our relationships. – This isn’t typically something that comes to mind when you think of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. But truth be told, God’s words to Eve were all about pain and unrest. When God said “in pain you will bring forth children,” I don’t think He was simply speaking of physical pain. Having children would now be difficult, and even painful in more ways than one. And not only that, but her relationship with her husband would now be strained. Once equals in the garden, men and women would now be subject to the curse in their relationships.
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.” – Genesis 3:16
- We would become spiritually blind and easily deceived. – Jesus came to restore sight to the blind, and all of mankind is included in this statement. The world would become so blind that they would serve hundreds of false gods, sacrifice their own children, treat people as property, etc. Even when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they too were accustomed to worshipping idols and living for no one but themselves.
- The fall of man led to our captivity. – Slavery. Bondage. Captivity. We were bound to sin prior to Christ. Spiritually speaking, sin had a hold on our lives. It held a power that in our spiritual blindness, we couldn’t see.
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” – John 8:34
- The enemy, for a time, ruled over this earth. – The enemy suffered too for trying to deceive Eve in the first place. But his consequences wouldn’t be fully recognized right away. Genesis 3:15 contains the very first prophecy of Christ. He would strike the heel of Eve’s offspring, but her offspring would strike his head, which would be a far more crushing blow!
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; 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.” – Genesis 3:14-15
- The separation of heaven and earth which ultimately separated us from God. – This perhaps was the greatest consequence of them all. The Bible tells us that God is spirit. Yet, Adam and Eve were able to walk and talk with Him here on this earth. Heaven and earth were intertwined. The Garden of Eden, which contained the Tree of Life, was on this earth for any and all to consume and have eternal life. But the fall of man led to a separation. In His love for mankind, God removed Adam and Eve from the garden and put His plan into motion.
Right there in the midst of that first sin, His grace was already at work.
The result of our sin was death, but Jesus would come to bring abundant life.
This post is part of a larger series called “Let There Be Light.” Join me as we journey through the Old Testament leading up to the arrival of Jesus, the Light of the World!
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.