God’s free gift of grace was all around Adam and Eve. God had created them “in his image”-- to be like him. His purpose has not changed. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29 KJV)
God gave Adam and Eve everything they needed to sustain their physical life. They had a safe, pleasant home with animals they had named. They had gardens and orchards for food and pleasure. The climate must have been comfortable since clothing wasn’t necessary. They were given the responsibility for managing the earth’s resources. They even had access to eternal life (the tree of life.)
They were not prisoners. They had the freedom to make their own choices. But God did warn them that if they chose to decide for themselves what was right and wrong, (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) they would die. Millennia this side of Eden, we think this should have been a “no-brainer.” But look around us at the condition of this world today. The descendants of Adam and Eve are still being tempted by the same desires and are still making the same choices. The result is still suffering and death.
The devil appeared to Eve in the form of a snake. He convinced Eve that God was holding out on her and Adam. If they wanted to really know how to live they needed to eat the fruit off the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They should find out for themselves the right way to live. Only then would they be like God.
Eve considered what the devil offered. It looked appealing. She longed to find out what it tasted like. She was ambitious. Because she desired to possess and experience a life that she imagined was better than the life she already had, she believed the devil. She made a choice to turn her back on God’s instruction and listen to the lie planted in her mind by the devil.
Now, Adam was standing right there listening to the same sales pitch. He knew that old snake was lying, but he wanted to try that fruit as bad as Eve did. Since she didn’t drop dead on the spot, he took a bite too.
Oh, the disappointment! Instead of feeling more alive, content, or wise, they felt naked and vulnerable. They felt fear for the first time. They had invited evil into their home and it was no longer the secure place it had once been.
They covered themselves in leaves in a futile attempt to get rid of the shame and guilt they were feeling. When God came to visit, they tried to hide from him. God knew what they’d been up to, but he wanted them to admit it. But each in turn blamed another instead of taking personal responsibility for the decision each had made.
God’s first act was the promise of his grace. He promised to defeat the devil through the Seed of a woman descended from Eve. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
God gave them hope. They would need it because they got what they reached out and took. They would experience suffering as the consequence of bad decisions as well as the good God provides. Family life would include pain and sorrow. Work life would include hard labor that didn’t always produce enough food. At the end of this difficult life, they would die and their bodies decay. Would they live again? Was all hope of choosing life gone forever? No. All hope was not lost. God had a plan.
When God killed an animal and made clothes to cover Adam’s and Eve’s nakedness, he was giving them a picture of the blood sacrifice he would provide to save them and all their descendants from death. Those who believe God will have the life God intended from the beginning. The Seed, Jesus the Christ, promised to Eve did come so that those who believe God can have the opportunity to choose life.
“So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’
‘Where, O death, is your victory?
‘The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.
Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,
because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” I Corinthians
For the Scripture reference list and related
Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study
Guide: God’s Plan of Life for Men and Women