We are looking at why life is a mess and God gives us answers for why life is a mess. The first answer given to us as to why life is a mess is that every person has fallen to the temptation of Satan. Satan tempts us to doubt God’s goodness, doubt God’s integrity, and to think that God’s law are ridiculous. The lie Satan gives to us is that we can be free. But rather than become free by sinning, we become enslaved to sin. Life is a mess because we have messed up our own lives by not listening to God and not believing in God. To use our illustration from the last lesson, we ran in the street even when God told us not to. In this lesson we are going to continue to look at God’s answer as to why life is a mess. Genesis 3:8-24 will explain to us the effects of sin. It is the effects of our sins that continue to make life a mess.
As we saw at the end of the last lesson, Genesis 3:7 records that the freedom Adam and Eve believed they would have actually gave them shame. Innocence is lost and now the man and the woman know they are naked and cover themselves. This is what leads us into an amazing scene that becomes a sad scene. Verse 8 says that Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of the day. This is something we may not really think about but it is an amazing statement. God was in full fellowship with his creation. God is described as walking in the garden with humans. His presence is with his people. The implication is that there is full access to God. There are no barriers. But the rest of verse 8 is the sad scene. God is walking in the garden, but this time Adam and Eve hide themselves from his presence. Notice the problem is that humans have to stay away from God. They are afraid of him. Sin has caused a barrier of shame and guilt to exist. Sin has caused humans to now be fearful of God where previously fear did not exist. Please think about how fear now will become the response of humans every time they are ever given the opportunity to be in God’s presence. Think about Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the apostle John who all fall down as dead and are struck with fear when they are in the likeness of God’s presence. Fear replaces fellowship because of sinfulness.
But God must teach this to Adam and Eve. In verse 9 God calls out, asking where his creation is. It is not as if he does not know. There are two things God is doing. First, God is seeking for his sinful creatures. God seeks the lost. God does not ignore them nor immediately banish them. God seeks them. God loves them. God loves and seeks the lost. Second, God needs to teach his people. God is calling for Adam so that they can see they have caused the change in the relationship. Their actions are causing them to hide from God. Their actions have caused them to be fearful of God. This is what Adam now admits in verse 10. Adam says he was afraid because he was naked and he hid himself.
Now we need to carefully consider what God does with Adam. He asks Adam a question in verse 11. “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Please consider: does God know the answer to this? Of course God knows the answer to this. God is not on a fact finding mission. God knows exactly what has happened since the man is hiding and is covering himself with fig leaves. So what is God doing by asking this question? God is looking for confession. God is asking Adam to admit what he has done. Now what should be Adam’s answer to God’s question? What should Adam say? God is desiring confession. Adam’s answer needs to be, “Yes, I ate from the tree you commanded me not to eat and I am so sorry!” But rather than confession, Adam answers with a deflection. Look at verse 12.
“The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree, and I ate.” What does Adam do? Adam blames the woman. So much for marital bliss! He completely throws his wife under the bus. It is her fault. She gave me the fruit of the tree. Not only is it her fault, God it is your fault because you gave me this woman to be with me. Adam says that ultimately he is not responsible. He did eat the fruit, but it is not his fault. Rather than confession, which is what God is looking for, we have deflection.
It will not go any better for the woman. God turns to the woman in verse 13 and asks her what she has done. Her response is just like Adam’s response. Rather than confessing, she also deflects. It is the serpent’s fault. The serpent deceived me and I ate.
Friends, this is another reason our lives are a mess. Our lives are a mess because, rather than confessing our sins to the Lord, we excuse our sins. We deflect and cast blame elsewhere. We will say that we have done something wrong but it is not our fault. We cannot be blamed. Excuses are spiritual disaster. Deflection rather than confession is spiritual doom. It is the worst thing we can do and yet we so easily and readily do this. We declare that our sin that we decided to commit was not our fault but a decision we were forced to make because of someone else. Healing for sins cannot come through deflection but through confession. One reason our lives remain a mess is because we refuse to confess what we have done. We exonerate ourselves from our sin rather than embracing the truth: we decided to disobey.
The Consequences (3:14-15)
Another reason why life is a mess and why the world is a mess is because now the world will bear the consequences for sin. God is going to level consequences, what we call curses, because of the sin committed against the Lord. The first consequence is given to the serpent in verses 14-15. The serpent will in a constant position of humiliation, going on his belly and eating dust. Not only is humiliation the destiny of Satan as represented in the serpent, but hostility is also declared as a consequence. Verse 15 says there will be hostility between the serpent and the woman, between the offspring of the serpent and the offspring of the woman.
Now it is important that we stop here for a moment and think about what this consequence is saying. Pretend that you know nothing about the New Testament yet and think about how this consequence sounds. It is the offspring of the serpent that will have hostility with the offspring of the woman. Who are the offspring of the serpent and who is the offspring of woman? The text cannot be teaching that snakes are going to hostile to humans. That is not the point that is ever made in the scriptures regarding this consequence. We have poetic imagery, as noted by your text changing its indentation. Satan’s offspring are going to be in conflict with Eve’s offspring. What hostility is this depicting? The scriptures tell us what this will look like.
By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:10 ESV)
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44 ESV)
Where did Jesus and John get the idea of being children of the devil? It comes from here in Genesis 3. There is going to be hostility between those who belong to Satan and those who belong to the woman. Genesis will focus later on the offspring of Abraham as those who are the people of God. This curse is showing that there is going to always be a struggle between good and evil in the human race. Humanity will be divided between those who follow God and those who reject God.
But ultimately Satan is going to lose. While the people of God will be bruised, victory will be forthcoming. Do not be thrown off by the word “he” at the beginning of the sentence, “He shall bruise your head.” The word “he” can be plural or singular, and directly refers to the offspring, according to Hebrew scholars. The head of the serpent, which represents Satan and those who belong to him, will be crushed by the woman and those who belong to her offspring. We see the apostle Paul teach this idea as he ends his letter to the Romans.
17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. 19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (Romans 16:17–20 ESV)
Notice that this is the picture of Genesis 3. There are those who are causing division and creating obstacles who are to be avoided. They serve their own appetites and not the Lord Christ. So be wise toward what is good and innocent toward what is evil. Then notice the picture in verse 20. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” This is a reference to the curse against Satan. Satan will have hostility against God’s people but God’s people will have the victory. Satan will be crushed under the feet of God’s people.
We are left to wonder how it would be possible that the people who belong to God would be able to have victory over the offspring of the serpent. Humanity is doomed because of sin. We see in Genesis 3 that humans cannot be in the presence of God now. We are filled with shame and guilt. Our sins have created a barrier between God and ourselves. Satan looks like he has won because he has captured all of us through his temptations. So how can we crush Satan under our feet when he is the one who tempted us and caused us to fall? We need someone to achieve victory for us. Listen to how the apostle John described our problem in 1 John 3:8.
Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. (1 John 3:8 ESV)
This is the essence of our problem. The devil has been sinning from the beginning and we have too. But listen to the rest of what John says in that verse.
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8 ESV)
From the offspring of the woman would come one person, Jesus, who would give victory of all the offspring of woman and all the offspring of Abraham. Jesus would crush the head of the serpent so that we would also victory over the serpent and his offspring. Listen to the writer of Hebrews:
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. (Hebrews 2:14–15 ESV)
Jesus is the one who fulfills the picture given in Genesis 3. Satan has bruised our heels because we are under the power of sin and death. Jesus crushes the head of the serpent through his perfect life, death, and resurrection so that he destroys the one who has enslaved us.
So why is life a mess? Life is a mess because we have separated ourselves from God by our own decision to not listen to him. Even though all God’s laws are for our good and protection, we did not believe and enslaved ourselves under the power of sin. But God is a God who seeks the lost. God calls out to the world and asks us, “Where are you?” What God is saying is that you need him. Do not run from him. Run to him. You are hiding yourself from him and he is seeking you, not for destruction, but for salvation.
We have the same two choices before us that Adam and Eve had before them. We can either deflect or confess. If we deflect and blame others for our sins and try to justify ourselves we will remain separated from God. Life will remain a mess. We will be counted as those who do not belong to the Lord. If we confess what we have done, then we can be counted with the offspring of hope, as we look to Jesus to be our Savior and Deliverer from our sins. God made two promises in our text this morning. The first promise is that there will always be hostility between good and evil, between the people of God and the people of Satan. The second promise is that God’s people will be victorious. God’s people will have victory, not because of themselves, but because they have a Savior in Jesus.