The consequences for sin can be traced all the way back to the original two humans, Adam and Eve. God told Adam, “…for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:15). Disobeying God in the Garden caused Adam and Eve die spiritually and physically. When Adam and Eve ate of the apple, they immediately died spiritually and they began to die physically. There was no physical or spiritual death in the garden before Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Their immediate spiritual death was evidenced by their shame and their attempt to cover their nakedness.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. -Gen. 3:6-7
This disobedience, or “sin,” made them feel the need to cover themselves, thus symbolically covering their sin. But man’s best attempts at covering his sin are only temporary; man needs a more perfect covering of sin through a Redeemer (“redeem” means to save).
Oftentimes when we sin, we immediately feel shame. Our consciences condemn us. We feel guilty and sometimes have a hard time forgiving ourselves for our actions. These are immediate consequences of our sinful behavior, but there are often further repercussions to us and others.
Soon after Adam and Eve sinned and tried to cover their shame, they had to face God.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” – Genesis 3:7-11
As I reflect on these verses, a few things immediately stand out. First, before they sinned, God would walk with Adam and Eve in the Garden and talk with them. How special that must have been for them. Second, no one had to tell them that they had sinned and were spiritually dead. They reacted immediately by trying to cover up their sin and hide from God. Third, although God asked them questions about what had happened, He knew full well what they had done. He knew they would do it before they were even created. God gifted man with a free will, giving him the choice to sin or not. But God understood that, given free choice, man would ultimately choose his own selfish way over God’s way. God continued to question Adam, giving him the choice to respond to God honestly or dishonestly.
God was not surprised when Adam and Eve sinned. God is not surprised when you and I sin. He knew before Adam and Eve were even created that they would sin. God is all-knowing and operates outside of space and time. He knew that all humankind would fall under the curse of sin. He knew He would provide a plan of redemption for man, in time, that would bring us back into relationship with Him. The essence of sin is self-centeredness, or independence from God—the belief that we don’t need Him. The essence of God’s plan for us is communion with Him. As Oswald Chambers sums it up, “Independence is overrated!”
God knows that each of us, when given the choice, will ultimately think of ourselves over Him. But He is a God of second chances. God’s ultimate goal for us is to have a relationship with Him through the redeeming work of His Son Jesus Christ.
Read this blog together with your spouse and discuss the following questions:
- What do you think it would have been like to walk in the Garden of Eden and talk with God?
- If you had been in the Garden instead of Adam and Eve, do you think you would have given into the temptation? Why or why not?
- Can you identify some ways that you attempt to cover up sin in your life today?
- Does it work? Why or why not?