Summary: Adam and Eve took a nosedive into sin when they listened to the snake. This great fall was followed by a greater recovery: restoration & salvation, won by Christ.
The right winger skates down the side as his teammate with the puck leads the charge. Suddenly, a big, burly defenseman on the other team gives this right wing a colossal body check into the boards. He goes down to the ice, missing a few more teeth, crumpled over in pain. Satisfied that he did his job, the punishing defenseman looks for someone else to harass. After a few moments of lying motionless on the ice, the right wing gets up and starts skating, not to the safety of his bench, but back into the play. He sneaks by the defense that wasn’t expecting to see him, receives a pass, and flips the puck past a stunned goalie. The next morning on the front page of the sports section, there are two pictures of this hockey player. The first picture shows him getting absolutely pummelled, and the headline reads, “Great Fall…” The second picture shows him pushing that puck into the net, with the headline finishing with the words, “Greater Recovery.”
“Great Fall – Greater Recovery” would also be a good headline for our sermon text this morning. Here we see Adam and Eve fall flat onto their faces; and they look pretty ridiculous doing it. But here we see the Lord God making a miraculous recovery: lifting Adam and Eve and a world of sinners back to a life of perfection and righteousness. Great Fall – Greater Recovery.
Genesis Chapter 3 is the saddest chapter in the whole Bible. In Genesis 1-2, we have the account of the Lord God creating this magnificent and exquisitely pure world. Step by step, God adds piece after piece to his creation, until it is finally ready for the masterpiece of God’s creation: human beings. Then God creates the man, then he creates the woman, then he brings them together and establishes marriage. Then he blesses them and makes them the caretakers of this majestic earth that he created for them.
And now we get to Chapter 3, where this perfection came falling down like a house of cards. In the verses before our text picks up, the devil approached Eve. The devil approached her with the same thing that he uses to get everyone to fall, a lure. We use lures when we go fishing. A lure is something that is supposed to look good to the fish you are trying to catch. When I was growing up, I had a lure that looked like an injured fish. The fish was bent a little, right at the bend there was a reddish spot that was supposed to look like a wound, and as this lure moved through the water, it simulated a fish that was having trouble swimming. This lure looked like a nice, easy lunch for a bigger fish, until the fish tried to take a bite and found out that he was the one who was going to be lunch. The devil also uses lures to try to catch people. And he’s got a whole bunch of lures that look very appealing to people. In our text, the devil opened up his tackle box and pulled out the double lure of knowledge and power. He tried to get Eve to think, “Eve, you know good, but you don’t know evil. Just think, if you knew what evil was like, you’d be just like God! Wouldn’t that be cool?” And Eve found this lure irresistible. Her husband Adam was also tantalized by the thought of being like God, and he bit as well.
And now, stuck with this lure in their mouths, the Lord God comes to them. He called to Adam, “Where are you?” And notice how Adam reacts. He does what so many people do when they are caught in a sin. He admits part of it, but leave out some of it. He says, “well, I was naked, Lord, so I hid from you.” But he had been without clothes for his whole life! What he omitted was that fact he now had shame over his nakedness. What he omitted was that it was his complete fault that he now had shame and fear of God. God doesn’t accept this lie on Adam’s part. He further probe’s into Adam’s life and asks the straightforward question, “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
Now here was Adam’s chance to come clean. To be a man. To take responsibility for his actions. And how does he do? He falls…in a big way. He tries to shrug off his guilt by pointing to two scapegoats: “the woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree.” What he’s really saying is, “look, it’s really Eve’s fault, and it’s really your fault too, God. If you hadn’t put Eve into this garden, none of this would have happened!” Eve doesn’t do much better. She tries to place the blame onto the serpent, and ultimately on God, who let this lying, deceiving serpent get into their perfect garden.