3.2 – The Fall & the Curse (17 min video)
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Well, welcome back to the second lecture of this week. Remember taking a look at the fall, but before we actually take a look at how sin came into our world through mankind, or really how we became fallen.
And keep in mind even saying sin came in our world as problematic because we don’t wanna think of it as a thing of its own. But, uh, but all the same. As we begin to unpack this, we can take a look at kind of what Adam’s jobs were. Keep in mind that Adam being the first man, has the primary duty or the primary, uh, end, so to speak, that chief end, as we talked about in the orientation lecture, to glorify God, to enjoy him forever.
But he was also given very specific, uh, manifestations, very specific outworkings of how he was to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. One of those was intending the garden or to use the language innocence to, to till the soil of it. And the garden itself was something unique. It was planted in part of Eden by God. We’re told according to Genesis two. And this word Eden itself means pleasure. Uh, the Greek for it is esia, actually. It’s for the garden itself, which means from the old Persian, something like a pleasure ground. You see this because Adam, for example, is living in a place that has the tree of life that has presumably all the animals ’cause he names them there. And of course, we see this great river flowing through the garden that divides into four rivers beyond this. And it’s kind of curious that if he’s tending the garden, that it would actually grow. It should actually thrive, should actually be more fruitful. In other words, we see man doing something that is distinctly managed to borrow Schaffer’s term. Uh, we see Adam actually taking something that, uh, can have more form, can have greater fruitfulness, and his work presumably would actually do that.
In other words, man reflects the creator because he subres he takes what the creator has made and he structures it. He works it, uh, he actually, uh, makes things more beautiful, or at least that is one of our purposes. Another curious task that we see Adam being given is he’s told to keep the garden. And, and we really should think about this in terms like a castle keep, which was the strongest part of the castle, and designed to actually guard the most important people inside the castle or to be a last in a defense for any survivors in the castle.
In other words, he has this task of protecting or of guarding the garden, which begs the question guarding from what that would presumably be, Satan, who’s already fallen by this tide because he shows up as the serpent seemingly very quickly to actually tempt Eve, who then tempts Adam. But we’re also told this curious thing that he’s given. He’s, he’s given this task Of naming the animals. But of course, before he’s given the task of naming the animals, he’s given a promise that he will have a help meet. He will actually have someone who will be like him, who will be made in God’s image to help him. But before she Eve was given to him, he first of all has this exercise of naming the animals, of practicing something that is unique to man, of showing the fact that he can discern, he can separate, he can use language to actually name, to actually say, this is like this, or this is different over here.
So Adam names the animals, but one of the curious things about his naming of the animals is when he does this, we’re told from the text, like you said, where he’s promised to helper that he names the animals and we’re told very clearly. He realizes through his discernment, through his unique ability to reason, which is distinct to man, at least at that level, to that degree, he realizes that there’s no helper like him. So all the animals can be like helpers to him, but they’re not the true helper he needs. We’re told he did not find that he has, uh, no mate, like all the animals do, who each pass before him in pairs. In other words, we have the first instance in the creation of something not being good, not because it’s fallen or evil, just because it’s not yet complete. And of course, you know the story about how God causes Adam to fall asleep and takes a rib from him and cause and creates eve or builds eve actually to use the Hebrew from that rib.
And then of course, when Adam awakes and he meets her and recognizes who he is and who she is that we talked about before, he sings or he gives the world’s first poem or song as we know, it’s a different type of text. And the rest of Genesis when he says this at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. In other words, it’s something unique as the two of them are meant to clinging to each other. Uh, meant to be one flesh, a type of intimacy that’s above something just physical, but still includes the physical, showing that man is something different. Then of course, another job, uh, that Adam is actually given another task he’s given on the role that is, is he’s given what we call the dominion mandate, which is this idea that he actually is to have dominion over the creatures of the world, but also he’s told to be fruitful, to multiply, in other words, to to spread humans, uh, through children throughout the earth. These, these are all of his chief roles because they’re connected to his worship of God. They should also be his chief joys, everything from his work to the place where he works, to his marriage, uh, to his interaction with the Animals and discerning them, uh, to of course the the having of children.
All of these things, the the whole beginning of the family at the heart of everything. So it’s gonna make sense that the fall itself, especially the curse, will affect all of those things. Now, before we actually talk about some of the details of the fall, one thing that’s really important we need to point out is the whole story of there being an original sin, of there being a time where evil really entered into the world and entered into the world like this.
You really don’t find it in other mythology. You really don’t find it in ancient stories. Probably the, the best example of this would be the story of Pandora and Pandora’s box. But in that whole story, it’s very flip flopped because she is given as a gift to man, kind of like Eve was given as a gift to Adam, but it’s a, it’s essentially a curse in disguise because she is given to punish man for his receiving of fire and deceiving the gods of sacrifice, and she’s given, uh, to be someone who actually unleashes evil in the world. In other words, the the idea behind the Pandora’s story is that man was happy and complete before women came along and ruined everything. That’s the idea of the Greeks. That is not the idea of the scriptures whatsoever. Of course, when Genesis three begins, we have this picture of Adam and Eve in the garden and we’re told that they had, they had no shame in their nakedness. Uh, they were entirely innocent of, of sin at this point. Curious word for the nakedness is, is the word another Hebrew term, and it, it’s kind of interesting to, um, that’s why I’m pointing that out, is because when the serpent shows up, we’re told first of all that he’s a creature made by God. He’s one of God’s creatures, but we’re also told that he’s more crafty than all of the other creatures. And the term for that is arum. And of course he’s different because he speaks, which would seem to suggest that this is not simply a serpent or simply a creature of God. As a testament tells us this actually is Satan himself who’s called the father of lies. His, his primary tool is deceit, and that’s where he begins. So when we see Satan as the serpent show up, he begins by actually questioning truth. It kind of reminds me of what Pilate says to Jesus when he simply ask him, what is truth? Kind of like, can you actually know truth? Is it actually possible? And Satan’s, uh, whole first question to Eve is God act. Did he actually say, did he really say that you can’t eat of this? So he starts out just by casting doubt. And of course Eve’s response is, yes, he did say this. He said, we cannot eat of it. In fact, he said, don’t even touch it. Which of course this is kinda interesting because she adds to the actual law, which was to not eat it. There. There’s never anything that God said where He said, you can’t actually touch it. And then of course, so we kinda have Eve kind of thinking a little bit more abstractly here or maybe a little bit more muddly we should say.
And Satan’s response is to give a bold lie off of this confusion. He says, you’ll not surely die. You’ll be like, God, you’ll be Elohim, is the word that’s actually used there. In other words, it completely introduces this idea of, of like dissatisfaction of there being a lack of thanksgiving. In fact, that’s how Shaeffer described, uh, the entire disobedience, the entire direction of sin, he says, was a failure to be thankful. It was ultimately a failure for us to know that our identity is actually found in glorifying God and enjoying him forever. And of course, the text tells us that she looked at the fruit, she saw it was good for food at a light to the eyes and that it was desire to make one y.
So then you see show up again in one John two 16, which talks about, uh, the desires of the flesh and so forth in very similar terms.
And she takes the fruit, she eats it, and then she gives it to Adam, who we are told was there with her. In fact, when Satan’s talking and he’s saying you, uh, multiple times, he’s saying it in the plural, that implies that Adam is there. And of course the text tells us he was with her the entire time. So we see Adam and Eve failing in their roles and we see Adam failing in his role to guard the garden and to recognize what the serpent actually was.
You think about it, he had just named all the animals. Uh, there should have been something strange about a talking snake. Uh, but here he has allowed this evil inn and he’s allowing Eve to not only listen to it, but to be the only one who’s actually dialoguing with it. And he’s just there apparently in silence. It’s also a failure, uh, to recognize the distinction between the creator God himself, who’s who other than his creation and the creation, something that is finite, something that is entirely dependent upon who God is. It’s also a failure to cling, uh, to God himself and to actually be thankful for life itself, which then becomes a failure to be fruitful and to multiply in a world that is not corrupted by sin.
And so this brings us to the curse. Uh, this brings us to Adam and Eve recognizing that, uh, they’re naked, which surely they had known this before, but we’re told that their eyes suddenly Eve’s eyes were opened, actually we’re told both their eyes were opened when they both ate, but were given this idea that they suddenly feel shame and they suddenly have to cover themselves the first time.
We have that in the history of mankind. And of course when God actually shows up and he walks in the cool of the Day implying that he had regular communion with his people, like he had a relationship with them, Adam and Eve are hiding and they’re hiding out of shame. And of course God calls them, where are you now? He doesn’t know where they are, it’s just kind of how the story, uh, develops and makes it easier for us to understand. And he probably really didn’t do that. But the point is this, when he shows up and he asks them, uh, when they, when they tell him, well, we hid because we were naked.
And he asked them, who told you you were naked? You notice another issue of sin here. They begin blaming others. Adam blames Eve. He’s like, well, God, it was really this woman you gave me who caused this problem. And then eve’s like, no, it was the serpent’s fault to actually cause this problem. So we don’t actually have true repentance here. We just have what we call blame shifting. It shows you the nature of our hearts to not want to actually admit that we were wrong. Then of course we have the curse itself, which ultimately, and one, one thing I want you to note is that the curse will affect all of man’s chief joys. Everything that he was given connected to his roles and so forth. But of course, the first thing God does is he curses the serpent and he’s told, he tells the serpent, you will crawl on your bellies. Where the idea of maybe the serpent having legs beforehand would be something like a dragon beforehand comes from. Perhaps it was, we don’t know. But he also tells the serpent, you will eat the dust of the earth. There’s kind of a, an irony going on here where the serpent is eating the very material that man has been made from and given life from, but will now return to because of death.
And of course, he also tells, uh, tells us or tells a serpent there that there will be hatred. There’ll be enmity between you and the children of the woman. To eve a God gives a very specific curse. He says that your pains in childbearing will be multiplied. Uh, the term that he uses. There is the word that means toil, like you’re gonna have to do this. It’s gonna be very difficult. In other words, one of the chief joys of mankind’s experience in earth that of having children, has now been cursed. He also tells her that your desire will be for your husband, but he shall rule over you implying that your desire will be to have your husband’s role to not, uh, submit to him, but to rule. Uh, but you, you’ll actually have to submit to him. So then we see echoed when Ephesians five, where Paul tells, uh, wives to submit to their husbands, but then likewise tells husbands to love their wives unconditionally as Christ actually loved the church.
Here’s the whole point, ’cause people have disagreements about that too. But there’s some pretty basic ideas going on here. Marriage itself, that whole natural clinging of man to wife becoming one flesh Itself is cursed. One of man’s chief joys. And then of course, the ground, the very thing that Adam actually came from, the thing that yields all of this food for him so freely in the garden, we’re also told that that is cursed. We’re told that Adam will have to give great toil. It’ll be by pain, it’ll be by the sweat of his brow, that fruit actually comes forward from the ground. There’ll also be thorns and thistles. So his chief desire, his actual, his natural working as a farmer, as a total of the soil, his calling in life that will also be affected.
And then of course the greatest curse of all his love of life itself will be affected because he will return to the dust from which he came.
In other words, we have the curse of death. So everything that man actually desires and finds joy in is thoroughly affected. But of course it’s also here that we have a promise, something that has a fairly long term called the proto evangel. It basically means the first instance of the gospel where we have this promise that there will come a child of man, a son of man usually say, who will crush the head of the serpent, who will crush the power of sin and actual death.
It’s very curious that right after this, Adam names Eve, a name that means giver of life, a name that essentially means someone who’s going to bring forth this child. And then of course, God closed them with some kind of skin we’re told. Some people have throughout time thought maybe it was like the serpent shedding his old skin and became a sign of the curse. Or perhaps God actually sacrificed an animal to actually cover Adam Neve. We don’t know. But the point is this, they’re then banished from the garden. They’re banished from the sanctuary where they were supposed to enjoy God forever. The Westminster shorter catechism, which will end with says it like this, that all mankind at the fall lost communion with God. We are under his wrath and curse, and so we are made liable. We experience all the miseries in this life to death itself and to even the pains of hell forever. But of course, the Proto Evangelian tells us and reminds us that this is not the end of the story.