Summary: Shame, Curses, and Redemption
December 5, 2012
In our last study we asked why God would put the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden, and we concluded that it was the beginning of His plan of redemption which would prove His love for us. This week we’re going to go back over some of these verses and we’re going to look at three things more closely: (1) the shame that came with sin, (2) the curses that followed, and (3) the promise of redemption.
It’s important to remember that this story is literally true, but that it also serves as a type or shadow: there’s an initial law and promise: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17).
This sounds a lot like what God told the Israelites several hundred years later: “Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the LORD thy God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day. […] 26Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen. 28:1And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God” (Deut. 27:10, 26-28:2)
And it sounds a lot like what we find being told us today: “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb. 4:7).
This theme is all throughout the Scriptures. Adam had rest in the garden, but he lost it and God has ever since been gathering His people to bring them back to rest. This is the gospel: Christ was cursed on our behalf, suffered our punishment, and raised from the dead to reverse everything Satan brought through his lies. Jesus is bringing life and redemption to His people.
Let’s read about it now. The serpent tempted the woman to eat the forbidden fruit,
6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
They wanted to be like God in knowing good and evil, and now they have it but it’s not what they intended. Rather than feeling very wise and god-like, they instead feel shame and embarrassment. I imagine it’s the same way Satan felt after he decided to be like God and failed. Adam had been face-to-face with God before the fall, and we don’t read of him being afraid, but that’s no longer true.
It’s interesting that no one had to tell them anything, and something that was so natural and which had been taken for granted is suddenly an issue. They now have firsthand experience of evil—they have rebelled against God and they are ashamed of their very bodies.
It’s no coincidence that Isaiah tells the Babylonians, “Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen” (Is. 47:3) or that Jesus tells the Laodiceans, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear” (Rev. 3:18).
And so they sew together some leaves to wrap around their bodies:
8And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day:
Don’t forget that Jesus Christ is the express image of God, and that He existed in flesh even at this time.
and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
Why would they hide themselves from the presence of the Lord? This is something that happens when people come across God, especially when His holiness is contrasted with their wickedness. In the next chapter Cain acts pretty stiff-necked in God’s presence, but we know he’ll be with those who beg the mountains to hide him from the face of the One sitting on the throne. Abraham saw God and bowed down low. Moses took off his shoes, the Israelites were afraid to come near the cloud on the mountain, and Isaiah said, “Woe is me!” Inside the Holy of Holies the high priest burned incense to hide himself from the plain view of God.