Genesis 3:14-24 The Consequences of Sin

March 2, 2014

Genesis 3:14-24

The Consequences of Sin           


Children’s Sermon:  “Stop, Look, and Listen”  


Intro:  Before and After

Before:  There was freedom.  There was abundance that came with ease.  There was intimacy with God.  There was generosity received from the Creator by the creatures.  It was good. 


When God commanded them not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was it because he was trying to withhold something from them?  No.  God had given them everything they needed to live full lives.  But Satan put it in their minds that they were missing something (sort of like our children’s sermon last week when I introduced the idea of cookies to kids who were totally content without them).  So the woman takes for herself what God did not wish for her to have.  This act changed everything.


It opened up their eyes to notice they were naked and to be aware that they were ashamed.  It changed their relationship with each other, their relationship with God and their relationship with everything else they would encounter from then on.


There are always consequences for our sin.  Always.  Let’s look at the consequences that were set in motion during the dawn of human rebellion against God.  “Every curse is a recasting of a pre-fall condition.  The punishment is comparable to the sin.  Moreover, every participant in the fall receives a separate punishment, following the order of their wrongdoing.  Each is responsible directly to God.”[1]


Remember the blame game?  Didn’t pan out.  God saw through the blame and gave everyone what their sin had earned them.  But even as God announces the consequences of sin he also announces the plan of salvation.  What?  Right here in Genesis 3??  Yes!  God himself speaks the first words of prophecy announcing the salvation of all mankind.  Let’s look closer.



We may never get our heads completely around this, so let me just share with you how I have come to understand it.  Satan, the Devil, the Enemy of God, chose to rebel against God and he and his followers were cast out of heaven.  They are spiritual beings.  As spiritual beings, Satan and his demons can enter and use animals and creatures to achieve their purposes.  Think of all the NT examples of demon possession and Jesus and his disciples casting them out.  Think also too how throughout NT and especially in Revelation, Satan is referred to as “that great serpent”.  Satan chose a creature to inhabit in order to carry out his deception.  Satan had already been cursed and cast out of the presence of God, now the creature is cursed more than any other creature.


So in this instance, Satan chooses to use a snake to approach the woman.  Remember that in the beginning, man and woman had authority over all of the animals.  They did not fear any of them.  They all dwelt together in unity.  The woman was not afraid of the snake when it approached her.  Now, the serpent who was “more sly” than all the animals is more cursed than them all.  Slithering on the ground and eating dust puts the snake at the bottom of the list of respectable creatures.


V15  Think about the relationship the human race continues to have with snakes.  In general we don’t like them.  Whenever they show up they catch us off guard.  They give us the shivers.  My first encounter was at my grandparents.  Out by the water pump, I was picking mint.  I saw the tail and thought it was a lizard – not quite so terrifying and then I saw this giant head and ran screaming up to the house.  My brave grandfather came down with his shovel and cut that things head off!  As we stood for a picture that snakes body fell on my foot.  In the picture – it’s just my grandpa and the snake.  I was nowhere to be seen.  This relationship with snakes that the general population feels – it goes way back.

The consequence of the sin of the snake changes the relationship between humankind and the reptile.  Instead of having loving dominion over all creatures, now the woman will have to fight off the serpent and it’s progeny to keep her children safe.


It is in this verse that God speaks the first words of the gospel of redemption.  The theme recurs throughout the NT.  The Messiah comes to crush the head of the serpent.  The serpent strikes the heel of God’s own son.  Here is the gospel, the good news of our redemption in Genesis.  The rest of Scripture follows the story of God accomplishing that redemption.


V 16  Besides the pain in childbearing, the part of this curse that has deeper consequences is the second part.  Remember that woman was created out of the side of man to rule with him over the creatures.  The intention was that man and woman help each other equally.  The curse changes that.


Perhaps a better translation of the second half of the curse is this:  “You will desire to rule over your husband, but he will rule over you.”  Wives, let that sink in for a moment.  Are you a woman who likes to be in charge?  Of everything?  Do you have a tendency to be picky about what your husband does?  Do you ever tend to be critical about how he spends his time? Or the way he tends to things around the house?  Do you tend to want to remold him to fit your image of what you thought you were marrying?  If you answered “yes” to any of these, you are experiencing what it means to live under the consequence of Eve’s sin.  This is not an excuse to behave like this, it is the reason that we have the propensity to do so.  Painful.  True.  Jesus came to redeem us from all sorts of things and trying to boss our husbands is one of them.  You’ll need to decide what you need to do with that.  Could be a great opportunity for a Lenten discipline there.


But chin up, ladies!  We bear a hard consequence to overcome but the guys get a longer curse!


V17-19  Look at that!  God announces Adam’s sin.  “Because you listened to your wife” and in essence chose to follow her instead of God, this is what you get.  Sometimes good women lead their good men astray.  Gentlemen, I want to encourage you as strongly as I might, to follow God and live in obedience to him.  Lead your family as God commands, not as society or media, or your childhood experience or your wife demands, but as God commands.

The curse is bound up in the earth from which Adam came.  Before the curse, the work they did in the garden was easy, the ground fertile, the rains plentiful, a farmer’s dream.  But now, it will be all hard work.  If anything comes easy it is a blessing, but humankind should expect to work for what they get. Can anyone who has gardened or farmed say “Amen!”?


And at the end of this passage, we see what happens after we work so hard – we return to the dust from which we came.


V 20-21  Adam gives the woman a name that reflects who she is “the mother of all the living.” And then we see a very gracious thing happen.  God, himself, makes garments of skin for Adam and Eve. 


The first things to notice about this event is that it required a sacrifice.  Some animal had to be killed in order to get its skin.  Through the sacrifice of that creature, the shame of humankind was covered.  Today we are going to receive communion.  A sacrifice had to be made so that you and I could be covered, forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God.  Think on that as we wrap up this chapter.


V 22-24 Everything is broken through sin and disobedience. 

Genesis 3, in its entirety, lays stress on the alienation of mankind from all reality.  All the relationships that humanity had before the Fall are now twisted and broken.  Mankind is now alienated from creation, from one another, from themselves, from eternal life and, most disheartening of all, from the Creator.  Sin has had a holistic effect on all creation.  And, indeed, it has affected all parts of mankind.  All aspects of people’s characters have been infected by sin:  the physical body, the emotions, the mind, the heart and the will.  This understanding of sin properly explains the present condition of the earth and humanity’s situation on it.  There is simply cosmic and ubiquitous brokenness.[2]


Concl.  That’s all pretty intense.  It’s also very true.  It’s a lot for you and I to carry on our own.  So the Good News of the Gospel is that Christ has come to lift the curse.  We are about to enter into the season of Lent in which we will think, again, of what Christ came to do on our behalf.  We experience it anew this morning as we share the table together.  The good news of the gospel is that the offspring of the woman really did crush the head of the serpent.  Death has no sting.  The enemy of God has no real triumph.  Through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven, redeemed and restored to a right relationship with God, one another, and even the earth.  Let us celebrate.


[1] Aida Besancon-Spencer, Beyond the Curse, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985), 35.

[2] John D. Currid, Genesis. (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, 2003), 141.