Gleanings In Genesis

5. The Fall (Continued)


IV. The Fall and God

"And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" Beautiful indeed is this record of Divine grace. This was not the voice of the policeman, but the call of a yearning love. Dark as is the background here, it only serves more clearly to reveal the riches of God's grace. Highly favored as our first parents were, blest with everything the heart could desire, only a single restriction placed upon their liberty in order to test their loyalty and fidelity to their Maker- how fearful then their fall, how terrible, their sin! What wonder if God had consigned them to "everlasting chains under darkness," as He did the angels when they sinned? What wonder if His wrath had instantly consumed them? Such would have been no undue severity. It would simply have been bare justice. It was all they deserved. But no. In His infinite condescension and abundant mercy, God deigned to be the Seeker, and came down to Eden crying, Where art thou?

W. Griffith Thomas has forcibly summed up the significance of this question in the following words: "God's question to Adam still sounds in the ear of every sinner: ‘Where art thou?' It is the call of Divine justice, which cannot overlook sin. It is the call of Divine sorrow, which grieves over the sinner. It is the call of Divine love. which offers redemption from sin. To each and to every one of us the call is reiterated, ‘Where art thou?'"

Everything recorded in Genesis 3 has far more than a local significance. God's attitude and action there were typical and characteristic. It was not Adam who sought God, but God that sought Adam. And this has been the order ever since. "There is none that seeketh after God" (Rom. 3:11). It was God who sought out and called Abram while yet an idolater. It was God who sought Jacob at Bethel when he was fleeing from the consequences of his wrong doing. It was God who sought out Moses while a fugitive in Midian. It was Christ who sought out the apostles whilst they were engaged in fishing, so that He could say, "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you." It was Christ who, in His ineffable love, came to seek and to save that which was lost. It is the Shepherd who seeks the sheep, and not the sheep that seek the Shepherd. How true it is that "We love Him because He first loved us." O, that we might appreciate more deeply the marvelous condescension of Deity in stooping so low as to care for and seek out such poor worms of the dust.

"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" (Gen. 3:15). Here again we behold the exceeding riches of God's grace. Before He acted in judgment He displayed His mercy; before He banished the guilty ones from Eden, He gave them a blessed promise and hope. Though Satan had encompassed the downfall of man, it is announced that One shall come and bruise his head. By woman had come sin, by woman should come the Savior. By woman had come the curse, by woman should come Him who would bear and remove the curse. By woman Paradise was lost, yet by woman should be born the One who should regain it. O what grace- the Lord of glory was to be the woman's Seed!

Here we have the beginning and germ of all prophecy. It would be outside our province now to attempt anything more than a bare outline of the contents of this wonderful verse. But three things should be carefully noted. First, it is announced that there should be enmity between Satan and the woman. This part of the verse is invariably passed over by commentators. Yet it is of profound importance. The "woman" here typifies Israel- the woman from whom the promised Seed came- the woman of Revelation 12. The children of Israel being the appointed channel through which the Messiah was to come, became the object of Satan's continued enmity and assault. How marvelously this prediction has already been fulfilled all students of Scripture know full well. The "famines" mentioned in Genesis were the first efforts of the enemy to destroy the fathers of the chosen race. The edict of Pharaoh to destroy all the male children; the Egyptian attack at the Red Sea; the assaults of the Canaanites when in the land; the plot of Haman, are all so many examples of this enmity between Satan and "the woman," while the continued persecution of the Jew by the Gentiles and the yet future opposition by the Beast witness to the same truth.

Second, two "seeds" are here referred to- another item which is generally overlooked- "thy seed" and "her seed"- Satan's seed and the woman's Seed- the Antichrist and the Christ. In these two persons all prophecy converges. In the former of these expressions "thy seed" (Satan's seed) we have more than a hint of the supernatural and satanic nature and character of the Antichrist. From the beginning the Devil has been an imitator, and the climax will not be reached until he daringly travesties the hypostatic union of the two natures in our blessed Lord- His humanity and His Deity. The Antichrist will be the Man of Sin and yet the Son of Perdition literally the "seed" of the serpent- just as our Lord was the Son of Man and the Son of God in one person. This is the only logical conclusion. If "her seed" ultimates in a single personality- the Christ- then by every principle of sound interpretation "thy seed" must also ultimate in a single person- the Antichrist.

"Her seed" the woman's Seed. Here we have the first announcement concerning the supernatural birth of our Savior. It was prophetically foretold that He should enter this world in an unique manner. "Her seed- the woman's seed, not the man's! How literally this was fulfilled we learn from the two inspired records given us in the New Testament of the miraculous conception. A "virgin'' was with child and four thousand years after this initial prediction "God sent forth His Son, made of a woman" (Gal. 4:4).

In the third item of this marvelous prophecy reference is made to a double "bruising"- the woman's Seed shall bruise the Serpent's head, and the Serpent should bruise His heel. The last clause in this prediction has already become history. The "bruising" of the heel of the woman's Seed is a symbolical reference to the sufferings and death of our Savior, who was "wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities." The first of these clauses yet awaits fulfillment. The bruising of the Serpent's head will take place when our Lord returns to the earth in person and in power, and when "the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan shall be bound for a thousand years (the Millennium) and cast into the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:2, 3). Again, we say, what a remarkable proof this verse furnishes us of the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures! Who but He who knoweth the end from the beginning could have given such an accurate outline of subsequent history, and packed it within the limits of this one verse!

"Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them" (Gen. 3:21). In order to adequately explain and expound this verse many pages might well be written, but perforce, we must content ourselves with a few lines. This verse gives us a typical picture of a sinner's salvation. It was the first Gospel sermon, preached by God Himself, not in words but in symbol and action. It was a setting forth of the way by which a sinful creature could return unto and approach his holy Creator. It was the initial declaration of the fundamental fact that "without shedding of blood is no remission." It was a blessed illustration of substitution- the innocent dying in the stead of the guilty.

Before the Fall, God had defined the wages of sin: "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." God is righteous, and as Judge of all the earth He must do right. His law had been broken and justice cried aloud for the enforcing of its penalty. But is justice to override mercy! Is there no way by which grace can reign through righteousness? Blessed be God there is, there was. Mercy desired to spare the offender and because justice demands death, another shall be slain in his place. The Lord God clothed Adam and Eve with skins, and in order to procure these skins animals must have been slain, life must have been taken, blood must have been shed! And in this way was a covering provided for the fallen and ruined sinner. The application of the type is obvious. The Death of the Son of God was shadowed forth. Because the Lord Jesus laid down His life for the sheep God can now be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

How beautiful and perfect is the type! It was the Lord God who furnished the skins, made them into coats and clothed our first parents. They did nothing. God did it all. They were entirely passive. The same blessed truth is illustrated in the parable of the prodigal son. When the wanderer had taken the place of a lost and undone creature and had owned his sin, the grace of the father's heart was displayed. "But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him" (Luke 15:22). The prodigal did not have to furnish the robe, nor did he have put it on himself, all was done for him. And so it is with every sinner. "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). Well may we sing, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness" (Isa. 61:10).

"So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life" (Gen. 3:24). This was the immediate climax in the Divine condemnation of the first sin. After sentence of judgment had been passed first upon the serpent, then upon the woman, and finally upon the man, and after God had acted in mercy by giving them a precious promise to stay their hearts and by providing a covering for their shame, Adam and Eve were driven out of Paradise. The moral significance of this is plain. It was impossible for them to remain in the garden and continue in fellowship with the Lord. He is holy, and that which defileth cannot enter His presence. Sin always results in separation. "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you" (Isa. 59:2).

Here we see the fulfillment of God's threat. He had announced, "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Die, not only physically- there is something infinitely worse than that- but die spiritually. Just as physical death is the separation of the soul from the body, so spiritual death is the separation of the soul from God.- "This my son was dead (separated from me) and is alive again- restored to me. When it is said that we are by nature "dead in trespasses and sins," it is because men are "alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Eph. 4:18). In like manner, that judicial death which awaits all who die in their sins- the "Second Death"- is not annihilation as so many are now falsely teaching,[1] but eternal separation from God and everlasting punishment in the lake of fire. And so here in Genesis 3 we have God's own definition of death- separation from Him, evidenced by the expulsion of man from Eden.

The barring of the way to the tree of life illustrated an important spiritual truth. In some peculiar way this tree seems to have been a symbol of the Divine presence (see Prov. 3:18), and the fact that fallen man had no right of access to it further emphasized the moral distance at which he stood from God. The sinner, as such, had no access to God, for the sword of justice barred his way, just as the veil in the Tabernacle and Temple shut man out from the Divine presence. But blessed be God, we read of One who has opened for us a "new and living way" to God, yea, who is Himself the Way (John 14:6). And how has that been accomplished? Did justice withdraw her sword! Nay, it sheathed it in the side of our adorable Savior. Doubtless that solemn but precious word in Zechariah 13:7, "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd," looks back to Genesis 3:24. And because the Shepherd was smitten the sheep are spared, and in the Paradise of God we shall eat of the fruit of that tree from which Adam was barred (see Revelation 2:7).

Summing up, then, this important division of our subject- God and the Fall- we discover here: An exhibition of His condescension in seeking man; an evidence of His mercy in giving a blessed prophecy and promise to sustain and cheer the heart of man; a demonstration of His grace in providing a covering for the shame of man; a display of His holiness in punishing the sin of man; and a typical foreshadowment of the urgent need of a Mediator between God and man.


ENDNOTES:

[1] In Revelation 20 after the unsaved are resurrected, they are still termed “dead”- for ever, dead to God even while they live


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