I had always heard growing up that Genesis 3 is about the fall of man. Humanity went against the will of God and thus sin entered the world. That sin separated man from God, thus humanity “fell” away from God.
But recently I have noticed that this story is not so much about the sin as it is God’s reaction to the sin.
Take yourself back to that moment when you first realized that you had done something wrong and got caught. Remember those feelings of dread, shame, embarrassment, guilt. Now multiply those feelings many times over and you might begin to understand the emotions that swarmed over Adam and Eve. Their eyes were opened to their nakedness. For the first time in their lives they felt shame about their “private” parts.
In an attempt to cover their sin and their shame they tried making loin cloths out of fig leaves and then tried to hide themselves from God’s sight.
Imagine the hurt that God must have felt. His prized, most beloved creation, His masterpieces, were now terrified to be seen by Him. They were now ashamed of the very bodies that He had crafted so tediously.
God told them that on the day they ate of that fruit they would certainly die. They had obviously eaten the fruit. They had broken the one command given them. What’s more, they tried to turn the blame back on God Himself.
God had a decision to make. Would he strike them dead that day as He said? Or would he show mercy on them?
Here’s the awesome thing about God’s reaction – He is just yet merciful.
He has to punish them for their sins. He curses the ground, increases childbirth pains, and drives them out of the Garden and cuts off access to the tree of life. Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?
But He does not kill them. Instead, he kills two animals. This is the first instance of animal sacrifice on humanity’s behalf. He takes the skins of those two animals and makes proper clothing for Adam and Eve. He didn’t have to do that, yet He knew how important it was for Him to take away their shame and embarrassment.
What man failed to cover up, God covered it better. What greater show of mercy could their be?
Even though Adam and Eve were driven out from the Garden, God did not leave them. He still loved them. He still took care of them and blessed them. What greater show of grace could their be?
Yes, God is just and fair, but He is even more merciful and gracious.
” Yahweh—Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand [generations], forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin. But He will not leave [the guilty] unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ wrongdoing on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6-7
“But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more…” Romans 5:20
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23