Sermon: Paradise Lost - Genesis 3

All that God created was for God's glory and man's good. In sin, man was separated from intimate fellowship with God, man's source of life itself.

Sermon Series: Covenant Foundations

  1. God Is and God Created - Genesis 1
  2. Paradise Lost - Genesis 3
  3. A Promise toward Paradise Regained - Genesis 12
  4. God Delivers - Exodus 12
  5. God Gives His Covenant Commands - Exodus 34

Scriptures: Genesis 3:1-7

Connection to unit theme

God, the central character in the gospel story, of His own prerogative and according to His own divine will and plan, created the world and everything in it. Further, He created it all in a way that demonstrated His power and majesty, His goodness, and His love. All that God created was for God's glory and man's good. To walk in trust and obedience to God meant to enjoy the intimacy of God's presence and the bounty of God's provision. To fail to walk with God in faith and obedience would mean being cut off from God's presence, the very source of life. The latter is what took place and, as a result, man was separated from intimate fellowship with God, man's source of life itself.

Introduction

When we read the creation narrative of Genesis 1 and 2, we hear over and over again the declaration, "and it was good." This means that everything God made was according to His divine design and fulfilled His divine purpose. There was nothing that God intended to accomplish in creation that was left out. There was nothing lacking. God had created the world and everything in it in a way that resulted in man's good and God's glory, exactly as God intended.

God's greatest provision for man was the provision of Himself. God is what man needed most, as man's ultimate source of life and fulfillment. This is why God told man that to disobey God's command would result in death. The man and woman did not physically drop dead when they disobeyed God's command. However, they became cut off from their source of life, God Himself, which resulted in spiritual death. Losing the beauty and bounty of the Garden was the least of their loss. They lost the fellowship with the God who had made it, and them. How did this happen?

I. They doubted God's Word (v.1-3)

God had clearly revealed Himself and communicated His requirement for obedience to Adam and Eve. He did not leave out anything that was necessary for them to trust and obey Him. Satan, however, immediately worked in their lives by introducing doubt about God's Word: "Did God really say . . . ?" The only right response would have been to quote God's exact words to them (as Jesus would later do when Satan tempted Him). But, rather than responding in that way, as one commentator notes, "Eve disparaged the privileges, added to the prohibition, and weakened the penalty - all seen by contrasting her words (Gen. 3:3) with God's original commands (2:16-17)."1

When facing temptation, our greatest source of wisdom and direction is the Word of God. To even begin to doubt God's Word is to descend a slippery slope toward disobedience.

Application: Are you standing firm on the truth of God's Word, or have you begun to entertain the thought, "Did God really say . . . ?" To do so is to stand on very dangerous ground.

II. They doubted God's Goodness (vv.4-6a)

After introducing doubt regarding God's Word, Satan's next step was to blatantly deny God's integrity. He basically says, "God has lied to you. Further, God has been holding out on you." Everything about the way God created the world in Genesis 1 and 2 screams "God is good." He had graciously provided everything that man and woman needed to live the full life God intended, in fellowship with Him. Despite God's gracious provision, the woman began to believe the lie that God had withheld something needful from her. Rather than trusting in the goodness of the Creator, the woman decided to consider the desirability of the creation. Whenever we allow ourselves to question the goodness, or the sufficiency, of God as the Creator, it is a small step to pursuing self-fulfillment through the creation itself.

Application: God's Word reminds us that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). And, He has done that through His provision of Himself, through the death and resurrection of Christ and through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. Do you really believe that God is good and that He is enough? Or, are you living as though God has been holding out on you, keeping from you something that you really need if you are to live a full life?

III. They disobeyed God's Command (vv.6b-7)

Once we begin to doubt God's Word and His goodness, it is an easy next step to disobey God and seek self-sufficiency. Eve, and Adam after her, believed Satan's lies rather than God's Word, and sought, then, to be their own providers and their own lords. The result of their disobedience was devastating. When they disobeyed God, their eyes were indeed opened. They did not, however, see what they expected to see. Rather than seeing that they had become God-like themselves, they found themselves cut off from the fellowship with God they had once freely enjoyed. They also saw the impact of their sin on their relationship with one another. Disobedience to God's command does not bring abundant life and greater freedom. Instead, it brings spiritual death and bondage.

Application: Have you believed the lies that God's Word is not true and that God is holding out on you? Have you allowed those lies to lead you to disobeying God's commands and following instead your own will and desires? You can be sure that such a direction will never end well.

Conclusion

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they lost not only God's bountiful provision of the Garden, but more importantly, God's provision of unhindered fellowship with Himself, our only source of life and fulfillment. Because we have all sinned and been cut off from fellowship with God, our only hope of life, eternal and abundant, is through God's provision through Christ, His Son.

Randy Mann is minister of education and evangelism at Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Footnotes

  1. 1. Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Ge 3:1–7). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.