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Now notice the words out of God's mouth after this event takes place. Gen 3:9 "Where are you?" He did not say "You idiot!", "Damn you to hell", or "What a mistake you were!" No. God said to His beloved created "Where are you?". Now why is an all-knowing God asking where Adam and Eve are? Because he senses the separation that the sin has put between them. God is grieved not angry. Well take that back...He is angry. Not at Adam and Eve, but at the Devil. "Because of you" He says "cursed are you" he goes on. God proceeds to let the Devil know that he will now be an enemy to man. Also that Eve's offspring will crush his head. See the moment that we sinned Jesus came into play. God immediately gave us an "out" from our sin. I will discuss this more a little further on.
So God blames the devil for what has taken place in the garden. This is further confirmation to me that the devil put the tree there and NOT God. Next the Lord addresses Eve. Now this is another verse that I have looked up in the original Hebrew. I do not see in the Hebrew that God is personally cursing Eve. He is simply stating that now she is cursed because of her choice, not by God's. In the Hebrew Gen. 3:16 sounds like this "to the woman said-greatly multiplied your pain-childbirth pain will bring children-will be for your husband your desire-he will have dominion."
To Adam He says "cursed is the ground because of you." Gen. 3:17 Not cursed are you, Adam. So I don't believe God cursed Adam or Eve. God is simply stated the consequence of the choices they made. Remember they had dominion over the entire earth. They were in a sense CEOs of this corporation called EARTH. As we know when the CEOs make bad decisions it isn't long before the whole corporations goes down. So I believe God is saying to Adam and Eve is "Darn it you guys, now that you have made this choice things are going to be really hard for you. This planet is going to suffer because of you."
So we were the ones that choose death. We were the ones that choose a life of hardship and pain. We were the ones that "subjected creation to decay" Rom 8:21. We were the ones that choose to separate from God. God never intended any of that for us! And it grieved His heart that it ended up being anything other than perfect relationship with Him.
As we move on in Genesis God's love for Adam and Eve abounds. The fact that they choose something other than Him breaks His heart, but God still seeks relationship. He did NOT kick them out of the garden on their naked butts. Gen 3:21 says "The Lord God made garments for Adam and his wife and clothed them." See the Hebrew word for garden is "gan" from the root word "ganan" meaning to cover, protect, defend. God put a covering of protection over them before they left the garden. That doesn't sound like a pissed off God to me. That sounds like a loving, good God. It goes on to say in Gen. 3:23 "God sent him forth from the garden..." That is the King James Version. NIV uses the word "banish" which I believe is inaccurate given what the original Hebrew word means. The Hebrew word "shalach" means to let loose, let go or set free.
So why did Adam and Eve have to leave the the garden? Well we know that one of the reasons they have to leave is because they choose to leave. Choosing sin is choosing not to be with God. Remember the Devil? Sin is what caused the separation from God. Same with Adam and Eve. But at the end of chapter 3 its says that God needed to protect the tree of life. Remember the tree of life is "healing for all nations" Rev. 22:2. So this tree is more important now than ever given the events that just took place. The tree of life is eternal life. As it stands now Adam and Eve are in a progressive state of separation from God. The end result is death. Sin=death. So if God allows Adam and Eve the choice of staying in the garden...the tree of life is at risk. Gen 3:23 says "He (Adam) must not be able to...take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever." It sounds like God wants them to die. But it is quite the opposite. God wants them to live. See if they eat of the tree of life now, in their sinful state, they would eternally be separated from God just as the Devil is. God does not want that for Adam and Eve.
Keep in mind that even though God is all-powerful and sovereign, He still chooses out of love to operate within the confines of our freewill. So yes God could destroy the Devil right now. Yes God could have started over after Adam and Eve sinned. But that would be control. Out of LOVE he is letting our freewill choices ride.
So God had to guard the tree of life. As I said before the instant that we sinned Jesus came into play. The seed that would strike the Devil's head. The tree of life is part to that redemption. The tree of life is eternal life without the separation of sin. This is what God had planned for us in the first place. That is why I believe death in the physically sense is so traumatizing. When some one you know dies, it is extremely hard to get over. I think that is because we were not created by God to experience death. But we choose against God's warning that we would die. We choose the punishment of death by sinning. The sin is the punishment. Death is not the punishment of God. Adam had dominion therefore his choice was for all humanity.
The final thing that I would like to point out in in Gen 3:16. God is speaking to Eve after she has sinned. "[Her] desire will be for her husband, and he will rule over you." I do not believe that God is making a sexist remark here. In the grand scheme of things we know that man has no more God given dominion in this earth than woman do. So God is not saying woman must now be controlled by man. What I believe God is saying is that humanity will now desire wisdom and intimacy from themselves. That in a state of sin they will no longer desire wisdom and intimacy from God. This is soooo true. The entire rest of the old testament is God trying to restore intimacy with His creation. This is why Jesus is sent! To take away the barrier of sin and restore intimacy. Moreover this is still the case today. God wants nothing more than to have relationship with you, but sin is the barrier. How do I know this? Because when Adam and Eve left the garden...God left the garden too. He came out of the garden just to be close to His beloved creation. He wanted to be close to you.
I am going to continue to explore the relationship of sin and punishment in the old testament. I want to show that God was never punishing people. People were punishing themselves. Yes God does convict us. Conviction being God saying "Careful I don't think this is a good idea!" But the punishment part is simply us pushing past God's advice to make our own sinful choice. The punishment is the sin. So stay posted...