The fall of humanity and creation in Gen. 3 becomes one of the major themes throughout the Bible, for it explains all that is wrong with the world, as well as the need for redemption that is developed throughout the Bible. Because Adam and Eve were rulers over creation and thus responsible for it, their sin drastically and directly affected all of the creation as well. And even though Adam bore the privilege of headship, he also bore the responsibility for their decision and how it affected creation. This is why even though Eve was the one who sinned first, Adam was held responsible for the fall of humanity and creation by Yahweh in His Word (Rom. 5:12-14; 1 Cor. 15:22).

It is important to understand that the sin of Adam and Eve was against Yahweh, not against each other, the animals, or the planet. Therefore, the only way to bring redemption to humanity and creation would be by reconciling humanity to Yahweh. No amount of social justice, environmental preservation, or education can fix what is wrong with the world. Only by reconciling the sin barrier between Yahweh and humanity can the rest of creation experience redemption.

Temptation and Sin

This is the first place Satan enters creation in order to destroy the kingdom of Yahweh. He knows that he could never truly destroy Yahweh or His kingdom, but if he could get Yahweh’s image bearers to sin, it would be devastating to the kingdom of Yahweh on earth.

Satan used four tactics in order to get Eve to sin in Gen. 3:1-5.

  • He questioned the command. By asking, “Did God really say…” Satan began to sow seeds of doubt as to whether they understood correctly Yahweh’s clear command.
  • He denied the consequences. Satan blatantly denied the consequences of their actions by stating that they would not die. Notice to this there was no response from Eve.
  • He questioned the character of Yahweh. By saying that they would not die, Satan called Yahweh a liar. He added to this by stating that Yahweh was trying to keep them from becoming like Him. The minute Eve began to doubt Yahweh’s goodness and trustworthiness, she had no hope of obeying the command.
  • He offered them divinity. Finally, Satan said that they would become like gods and would be in control of their own lives and destiny.

Notice that their first mistake was that they did not go to Yahweh to ask Him about the serpent’s claims and why they did not agree with what He had said.

Their choice to sin against Yahweh, which severed their relationship with Him, brought immediate consequences into their lives. First, they saw how exposed and naked they now were before each other in a fallen and sinful state, and they were filled with shame. They feared the rejection of the other now that they knew what they had become. Second, they tried to take care of their nakedness and sinfulness through their own works. Third, they hid from Yahweh rather than going to Him for forgiveness. And fourth, they blamed each other and even Yahweh for what happened to them rather than taking responsibility for their choices.

The Judgment

Because of Adam and Eve’s sin against Yahweh, they lost the ability to dwell in His presence and to live eternally and rule and subdue in His name. The main judgment that they received was being removed from the garden (Gen. 3:22-24), which basically meant being removed from Yahweh’s presence. Yahweh did not remove them because He no longer cared for them but because sin cannot dwell in His presence. Yahweh’s glorious righteousness is so great that it would consume and eradicate the sinner who steps into His presence (Ex. 33:18-22; 34:29-35). So it was because He loved them that He removed them from His presence. And it was because He loved them that He would later send His Son as a ransom so that all of mankind could receive Christ’s righteousness and enter back into the presence of Yahweh.

Specifically to Adam, Yahweh declared that the land would no longer produce food freely for him. Life would now be sustained through pain (Gen. 3:17). To Eve Yahweh declared that her pain in childbirth would be increased (Gen. 3:16a). Life would now come into the world through great pain. Because they were now disconnected from the true Life, they would now experience pain throughout their lives.

Second, Yahweh stated that the woman would now seek to seize Adam’s headship and that Adam would abuse his headship (Gen. 3:16b). Because their relationship with Yahweh was now severed, their relationship with each other would be in conflict.

Third, the offspring of Eve would be in conflict with the offspring of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). It has been commonly understood that this is a prophecy concerning Christ; however, the grammar will not allow for this interpretation. In the Hebrew, the word for offspring, concerning both Eve and the serpent, is plural, meaning “many descendants throughout time.” Jesus was only one offspring of Eve’s, not many. Likewise, Satan, represented by the serpent, did not have any offspring. Satan here is the same Satan that Jesus defeated at the cross, not an offspring of the serpent. Also, the same Hebrew word is used for the man “crushing” the head of the serpent and the serpent “crushing” the heel of the man, which would bring death if the snake were poisonous. (Please keep reading even if you do not like what I am saying.)

The point here is that humanity throughout time would be in constant conflict with serpents. Not only did this serve as a reminder of Adam and Eve’s surrendering to the serpent in the garden but also of what was lost due to this fall. It is symbolic of the fact that humanity has lost its rulership over creation and is now in conflict with it. Because Adam and Eve did not subdue and crush the head of the evil that entered their kingdom, they are now doomed to be in conflict with the creation that they were supposed to be subduing in Yahweh’s name. (Please keep reading.)

My point is not to say that Jesus did not defeat Satan at the cross, but that this is a judgment against Adam and Eve, which they would not have understood as prophecy or hope. However, Christ is the one who comes thousands of years later to bring an end to this conflict. (Please keep reading.)

But wait! There is hope and a foreshadowing of Christ in this chapter! Yahweh demonstrated His love for Adam and Eve and His desire to redeem them and their offspring by sacrificing an animal for their sins (Gen. 3:21). The point here is not that animal skins are a better covering than fig leaves but that the blood (something dying in their place) covers their sin. This is the first, and a better, foreshadowing of Christ to come, for it teaches that the only way back to Yahweh is through a blood sacrifice. And this is what the overwhelming majority of the prophecies of the Bible focus on, not the defeat of Satan. While the defeat of Satan is in the Bible, the focus is not on Him but on Christ in the Biblical prophecies. This prophecy will be developed more in Gen. 5 (see the Adam’s Line page), in Gen. 49, and many more. I will develop these throughout the timeline. (Now wasn’t that worth reading?)

Cain and Abel

The point of the Cain and Abel story in Gen. 4 is not necessarily that this is the first murder in the Bible but that Adam and Eve’s descendants also were sinners in conflict with Yahweh, each other, and creation. Sin had so thoroughly corrupted humanity that the immediate children of Adam and Eve were desperately wicked, not enlightened as the serpent had promised.

Yahweh has brought the hope of redemption to Adam and Eve by teaching them that animal sacrifice covers sin, which means there is hope for the restoration of Yahweh’s kingdom. Satan thus desires to corrupt their descendants and to kill those who cannot be corrupted. He accomplishes both through Cain.

Yahweh did not accept Cain’s sacrifice because it was grain but because it was not a blood sacrifice for atonement like He had taught Adam and Eve. Abel presented a blood sacrifice for his sins and so was able to maintain his relationship with Yahweh. Cain was not so interested in offering up a costly sacrifice for his sins but offering “some” of his grain to appease Yahweh. Leviticus makes it clear that Yahweh does require a grain sacrifice – but only after a blood sacrifice. Remember the original audience of Jews who just came out of Egypt would have understood this passage in this way since Yahweh had just instructed them on the sacrificial system.

Just as with Adam and Eve, it was Yahweh who pursued Cain both before and after he murdered his brother. Yahweh demonstrates here both His desire for a relationship with us (and not to punish us) and that He will always seek us out first.

Because Cain refused to offer his best to Yahweh, the land would no longer offer up food to him. And just as he took a home from Abel, Yahweh took his home from him by making him a wanderer. Even so, Yahweh demonstrated mercy in the midst of the sin and judgment just as He had for Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21). Though Cain was selfishly complaining about how bad it was for Him, Yahweh heard him and placed His mark of protection on Cain so that what he did to his brother would never happen to him.

However, Cain showed his lack of repentance by going out and building a city and putting down roots, which was completely contrary to Yahweh’s judgment on him.

Adam's Line

Adam’s line begins with a new son. Seth was the beginning of the chosen seed that Yahweh would use to carry out His plan of redemption. One would think that Satan had succeeded when he eliminated both Cain and Abel from the kingdom of Yahweh on earth, but Yahweh restored His plan through the birth of Seth who would keep the kingdom going (Gen 4:26). From Seth’s line will come Enoch and then Noah (see Adam to Noah family chart).

In Gen. 5 is the repetition of the phrase “and then he died.” The Bible uses repetition and patterns in order to make a point. But why is this significant? If we know that people die, then obviously everyone dies. This phrase is even more relevant in light of Gen. 5 being the only genealogy in the Bible that mentions the death of the people listed; all the others just state how long they lived or nothing at all. The serpent in Gen. 3 said that Adam and Eve would not die if they ate of the fruit of the tree, and in chapter 3 they did not seem to die. But by emphasizing everyone’s death, the author makes the point that Yahweh was right and the serpent was wrong. Likewise, the reader begins to realize by this point that death is a lot more than the soul being separated from the body. This only happens because of the much greater death that did happen immediately: humanity’s separation from Yahweh.

However, there is also a break in the pattern: “Enoch walked with God and then he disappeared because God took him away” (Gen. 5:24). What interrupts this inevitable death that humanity is condemned to face? Walking with Yahweh. To walk with Yahweh is the same as to be blameless (Job 1:1) and to walk in the light (1 Jn. 1:7). This phrase has the idea of one who is righteous and morally pure, and when they do sin, they repent of it quickly. The point is not that all who walk with Yahweh will be raptured but that Enoch’s rapture is a powerful testimony to the fact that one can escape death in the fuller sense of the word (eternal separation from Yahweh) by living in obedience to Yahweh. There is hope after the sin and fall of humanity. But since it is impossible to live in perfect obedience, there is the means of the animal blood sacrifice (Gen. 3:21) to demonstrate one’s repentance. Here is the beginning of the gospel message. One must live an obedient life to Yahweh by faith (but one cannot do this perfectly) and offer blood sacrifices in repentance by faith (but these are not totally sufficient for sin). This foreshadows and points to Jesus who will be the ultimate and sufficient sacrifice, which will enable humanity to live righteously under His atoning blood.