Midrash on Genesis Chapter 3:8-24
Man’s greatest need is to have a righteousness that will make him acceptable to God, a standard of life and lifestyle that God can accept to allow men and women to enter heaven. Righteousness is to have the right and privilege to stand in the presence of a perfect and sinless God without any sense of guilt, inferiority, condemnation and shame. It is to be clothed with a life that is acceptable to God. Of course the only perfect and righteous life was found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ of whom the scriptures say of Him that God has made Him to become for us; “wisdom from God-that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). We have nothing to boast about before a Holy God and before the Lord Jesus Christ of whom the scriptures also say “Such a high priest meets our need-one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exulted above the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26).
The whole Bible is a testament to the Lord Jesus Christ and His power to save sinners from the power of the devil, from the power of sin and from hell and the lake of fire. The Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation revealed in the fact that He came “to seek and to save the lost” is the central theme of the whole Bible. Indeed the scripture also says that, “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). Salvation is the story of God seeking to reconcile fallen man to Himself, to restore that relationship which has been broken through sin and rebellion. In the work of salvation it is God Himself who takes the initiative to save us. As scripture says; “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
And again it is written; “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). And again it says; “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sin” (1 John 4:10). And so here in Genesis we see God the creator seeking after His fallen creation. This is where the work of Salvation in our lives starts. God seeks to reconcile us to Himself. Indeed the cross proved this fact. As it is also written that; “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). So in this study we see Adam and Eve hiding from their creator and God Himself walking in the garden seeking fellowship with them. And so we read in our text…
(V.8) “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
It was probably at this time of the day when the Lord had a special time of fellowship with Adam and Eve. Why would He be walking in the garden? It is clear from the text that He was looking for them. Normally they would probably run to Him and greet Him with great affection and love, however, this time their absence was very conspicuous. Now God knows all things and He already knew what they had done, yet, He still wanted to reach out to His now fallen creation to reconcile them to Himself. It is a fact that sin separates us from God. This indeed is the whole problem with the human race. It is not a psychological, sociological, or an economical problem but a sin problem which has caused the havoc, the desolation, the death and the destruction we see in this fallen world.
Indeed it is written; “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:9). Every human being born into this world is born with a sinful nature, with an inherited inclination towards doing evil rather than good. King David put it this way when he said; “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). He did not mean that his mother was living in sin when she gave birth to him but that when he was conceived at that moment of the conception evil was already present in his life. This is what every human being born into this world inherits in Adam. As it is also written that; “The wicked are estranged from the womb” (Psalm 58:3).
As it is also written, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18). People run away from God because they know deep down on the inside that to acknowledge His existence is to acknowledge their accountability to Him for the way they are living. And so Adam and Eve tried to hide from the Lord. But we also read…
(Vs.9-11) “Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” “He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
Of course God already knew the answer to His question to them both. He was trying to get Adam and Eve to own up to what they had done. This is what confession of sin really means. When we truly confess our sins to God we actually agree with what he says about us without any arguments or excuses. As David said; “I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge” (Psalm 51:3-4). This is what the Lord was after when looking for Adam and Eve. However, instead of looking for Him they tried to hide themselves from Him. God asked Adam the question even though He already knew the answer. As it is also written; “Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks upon the heart” and that “there is nothing hidden from the eyes of Him to whom we must all give an account.” Also notice that God called to Adam first as Adam was not deceived as Eve had been. He knew better but did not step in to stop the devil from doing what he did. Adam went along with his wife. Paul the apostle mentioned this when he said, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner” (1 Timothy 2:12-14).
In Adam’s reply to God we can see the immediate consequences of sin. Firstly, both Adam and Eve felt shame, because of the ingratitude clearly revealed in their rebellion, and because that in aiming to be like God they had sunk into a state of the greatest wretchedness, having become morally, ethically and spiritually corrupted and defiled in every way. Secondly, they were now engulfed and driven by fear, because they saw they had been deceived by Satan, and were exposed to that death and punishment from which he had promised them an exemption.
Today this cause continues to produce the very same effects! Shame and fear were the first fruits of sin, and fruits which it has invariably produced, from this first transgression to the present time. Indeed God wants us to be honest with Him and with ourselves. Sin is our problem. As it is written; “Behold You desire truth in the innermost being.” And again it is written, “A bruised reed he will not break and a smoking flax He will not quench.” Such is the tender heart of God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the blessed Holy Spirit towards us who are steeped in sin and rebellion. If only we ran to Jesus instead of from Him when we know we have sinned. Indeed it is written; “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). Instead, so often, like Adam and Eve we try to hide ourselves from God. Another thing we see now is that Adam tried to blame Eve for his sin. Isn’t this what people do today? They try to blame others for making them do what they did. Furthermore, they even think that they are not as bad as some others using this also as an excuse to justify themselves before God. Look at what Adam did…
(Vs. 12-13) “The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Not only did Adam blame the woman but also blamed God as well as if it was God who made him do what he did. When God questioned Eve she blamed the serpent as if somehow she had not been complicit in this act of rebellion. Like Adam, she was shifting the blame to someone else. While Satan was the instigator of the rebellion they became partakers of the same rebellion by allowing him to have power over them when they knew better. Even though Adam and Eve had never experienced evil they certainly knew what God had said about it having been taught about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They undoubtedly knew that evil existed but had never experienced it until they fell into sin. Now the Lord turned to the devil and pronounced a curse on him for doing what he did.
(Vs.14) “The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;”
And so God pronounced judgement on this creature that had been indwelt by Satan. He was reduced to the lowest place in the animal kingdom, deprived of speech and no longer able to communicate with humans. Whatever this creature was he was destined to crawl on his belly and eat dust until the day he died. Of course Satan would live on, being a spirit being that can never die, and seek to find another creature or human being that he could personally indwell and use to promote and achieve his diabolical purposes in the world. Historically there was only one other man that was personally indwelt by Satan and that man was Judas Iscariot who betrayed the Lord Jesus. However as we will see there is another person destined to appear at the end of this present age into whom Satan will enter. This man will be the Antichrist. We see this in what God said next to Satan as He was no longer addressing the creature Satan had used but addressing Satan himself.
(Vs.15) “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; “
It is a clear fact that Satan specifically hates women and where you see a society denigrating women and even abusing them physically you have the work of Satan. When you look at Islam today and read what the Quran and the hadith say about women it is very clear that it expresses the Islamic attitude towards women. One of the things that will mark the Antichrist and his beast empire is that he will hate women. Daniel said this would be so; “He (the Antichrist) will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women” (Daniel 11:37). There is a strong argument that this is one of the things that points to an Islamic antichrist in that Islam denigrates women more than any other religion or race or ideology upon the face of the earth today. Even Mohammed himself hated the desire of women and used them as he willed and encouraged his followers to do the same. It’s all there in the Quran and the Hadith. From its inception the Islamic empire categorically stated and enforced the ideology that women had no rights and in Muslim countries today it is still the same. But there is a spiritual reason behind this enmity towards women.
“He shall bruise (crush) you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
The enmity that God said he put between Satan and the woman did not mean that He wanted to make women the subject of abuse and denigration by men. No not at all. God had a plan that through a woman the whole earth would be blessed when a woman gave birth to a Son who would be the Saviour of the whole world and by His death on the cross bring about deliverance from sin and death for man and then after He had risen ultimately to rule the nations. The reason that Satan has specifically hated women as he still does today is now given by God. At the cross Satan succeeded in dealing a death blow to the Lord Jesus but it was more a bruising in that the Lord Jesus came back to life again.
However, at the cross Satan received a death blow in that the power to keep men enslaved to sin and death was now taken out of his hands. As it is written concerning the work of Lord Jesus at the cross; “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (Hebrews 2:14-15). And again it is written of the Lord Jesus Christ that at the cross; “…having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him” (Colossians 2:14-15). And yet again it is written; “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8b).
Now the works of the devil is all sin, all rebellion, all sickness, all disease and death and the power to take men to hell. People go to hell because they reject Christ, however, if by the help of the Spirit they are led to repent and accept Christ as Saviour and Lord there is nothing Satan can do about stopping that! While he will do everything he can to stop someone being saved he cannot stop them from yielding to the Lord Jesus when convicted to do so by the blessed Holy Spirit of God. Indeed the Lord Jesus said this was so; “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John10:28-29). Now Christians can backslide and the point where a backslider can no longer repent and turn back to Christ is only known by the Lord.
However, if you are saved and you want to stay saved, even though you are passing through many trials, afflictions, severe temptations trials and assaults by the devil, there is no way you will ever be lost. Satan can attack us and savage us emotionally mentally and even physically but he can never snatch us out of the hands of the Lord Jesus. Indeed it is written of the Lord Jesus; “…but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever (to the uttermost) those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:24-25).
In the Bible we are told that the Lord Jesus has the power of an indestructible life and if He is living in us through faith and He is the object of that faith then His very own indestructible life dwells in us. Indeed John the apostle said; “The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin (continue in habitual continuous sin and make a practice of it), because he is born of God” (1 John 3:8-9). Now let’s continue…
(Vs. 16) “To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”
Pain in childbirth was never God’s original plan for women. The pains are part and parcel of the fall. Yet labour pains metaphorically used in the Bible can also refer to the time of the Great Tribulation or as it is also called the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. When a woman is about to give birth her labour pains become more frequent and more intense as the time of birth approaches. In Matthews Gospel chapter twenty four the Lord Jesus Himself used the illustration of labour pains to describe how at the end of this present age wars, famines, earthquakes and diseases would increase in frequency and intensity as this present age comes to a close.
When a woman is in labour she is very conscious of the pains, however, once the baby has been delivered she very quickly forgets the labour pains as she now enjoys having the baby. Through the pain of childbirth new life comes into being. The whole world is racked with the “pain” of war, sickness, disease, pestilence, death, ecological disasters, famine and earthquakes and yet these “pains” also tell us that in God’s economy they must precede the birth of God’s visible Kingdom on the earth.
Furthermore, we could liken the womb of a woman to a person’s soul. The process of regeneration by the Spirit can be a very protracted and painful experience for the soul being transformed from a creature of this world into a creature of the world to come. While there is a moment in time when a soul dead in sin is made alive to God through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit the process that brings about this new birth can be a protracted time of emotion and mental pain and anguish as the soul, struggling to be free from its natural propensity to sin and rebellion, is transformed into the likeness and image of god its creator.
Metaphorically speaking the soul is transformed from the existence of a “caterpillar” a creature of earth into a “butterfly” a creature of heaven. Just as a new birth comes after physical pain so the spiritual rebirth from above comes about after the spiritual pain deep within the soul. Furthermore, just as physical contractions indicate the birth of a new baby about to be born so the “contractions” of wars, famines, earthquakes, disease and death, precede the spiritual and visible birth of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Also it was through the pain of childbirth that the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners and rebels like you and me from the power of sin and rebellion against God. Because of the fall women may have been consigned to pains in childbirth yet through labour pains a woman gave birth to the Son of God who would not only save His people from their sins but also destroy the devils work. It also needs to be said that even after a person is born again from above and indwelt by the very nature of God Himself there is still an intense struggle at times between the desires of the flesh with the desires of the Spirit.
In every one of us there is a “Jacob” and “Esau” wrestling for control over our minds and hearts. Esau was the fleshly man and he was struggling with Jacob the spiritual man. Esau would be a man of the flesh but Jacob would be a man of the Spirit. Paul writes about this struggle in his letter to the Galatian believers. So then contractions came about because of the fall yet they indicate a deeper truth and meaning directly related to the spiritual rebirth from above that takes place deep within the soul of a man turning his will from the power of darkness and sin to the power of light and God. Now let’s read on…
(Vs.17-19) “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”
Adam we are told; “listened to the voice of your wife.” In other words Adam put his wife before God. He allowed her to persuade him to compromise his spiritual standing before God. The devil in his subtlety and wickedness and deception got to the man through his wife.
Even though Eve was deceived Adam was not. (2 Corinthians 11:3) (1Timothy 2:14) Because Adam knew better he received a worse penalty. His labour and productivity would become a burden fuelled by drought, flood, by frost and mildew, by fire and unyielding soil, by famine and blasting winds and hail. Talk to the average person today about the necessity of work and most will tell you if they are honest it is often a burden to them as they see it as something they have to do to survive.
For most people in the earth they do not really enjoy what they do but do it rather by “the sweat of their face” so that they can merely survive. Of course in Christ a man or woman sees their work as part of god’s plan for their lives and even though they may be doing something they would rather not choose to do they do it as unto the Lord knowing that in all things God works them together for good to those who love Him and who are called according to His good will and purposes. Indeed it is written that as a result of His grace we are enabled to do all good works which God has already ordained beforehand for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Remember that the Lord Jesus Himself was a working man. Before he turned 30 for most of his life he worked as a carpenter son. His work was not in a palace or corporation. He did not work in a flashy office and wear expensive clothes and rub shoulders with the elite in this world. He did not sit on a Board of Management but lived a very simple life as a working man. He had to learn to balance his spiritual life with the long hours demanded of a carpenter. Indeed he understands the frustration and at times the mundane aspect of the work most people do in today’s world. Very few actually enjoy what they do. Even in the best jobs at times they can become rather mundane. However, in Christ whatever we do as God’s children whether in a corporation or in a factory we do it all as unto the Lord and seek to bring glory to God by the way we work and the way we approach our job, not as man pleasers but as God pleasers. In Christ our work becomes our call. As Paul the apostle said; “Each man must remain in that calling in which he was called.” He did not mean that we should not take a promotion or try to better our circumstances if it was possible but whatever situation we found ourselves in when we were saved we should work at it with all of our heart, our mind, our soul and our strength as if we were doing it to please Him.
Of course before we were saved if we were employed in theft, crooked business dealings, prostitution or some other activity condemned in the Word of God and not appropriate to His children’s sanctification then we would need to change our occupation. However, not all who are saved are called to become ministers, full-time workers of missionaries but to stay where they are to be witnesses to the Lord Jesus Christ. What we do is important but after we are saved it takes some time for God to prepare us for what he ultimately has for us to do. Sometimes His preparation takes years and years and the things He uses most is the everyday mundane situations in which we will often find ourselves. As it has been said, “God uses the ordinary to prepare us for the extraordinary.”
Yet knowing that He has already ordained works beforehand that we might walk in them we know that our labour in the Lord is not in Vain and that he who has begun a good work in us will bring it to completion at the Day of Jesus Christ when He comes back. In Adam our work is cursed but in Christ it is redeemed. God ordained work for us but it was not to be a burden. In Adam our work ends in futility and death and we leave what we have done for others but in Christ our work whatever it is has a real purpose with an eternal reward. Now let’s move on…
(Vs.20) “Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.”
Indeed who said that man came from monkeys? The whole idea is absurd to say the least. What do a few old bones in a box prove anyway? Why a monkey does not even have a speech centre in its brain! Evolution is a theory and only a theory which cannot be substantiated or even proved. The only reason it took off in the nineteenth century was that it gave men an excuse not to acknowledge their creator because in doing do they were also acknowledging their accountability to Him for their attitudes and actions in life. Furthermore the idea of evolution appeals to those intellectuals who think they have superior knowledge and in some cases even as professed atheists denying the God who created then in His own image and likeness. Indeed God says of all professed atheists; “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” What man calls wise God calls foolishness because, “the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.” Besides it has also been said “that in a time of war there are no real atheists!” A person may well profess to be an atheist in their life but when they are on their death bed and facing eternity are they so confident then? Why even Darwin himself repented of his evil work on his deathbed! Indeed Eve did not bear an ape or a monkey and Adam was certainly no monkey. The whole idea that we came from apes is absurd when you think about it logically and unemotionally. But let’s now move on to conclude our study.
(Vs.21-24) “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”
At the commencement of this study I mentioned the fact that man’s greatest need is to have a righteousness or righteous standard of life that makes him or her acceptable to God and without that level of perfect righteousness he or she will be condemned forever to separation from God in hell and ultimately consigned to the lake of fire to be tormented day and night in the presence of Satan and his angels whom they followed and served when they were alive on earth. When we see Adam and Eve sewing fig leaves together it speaks of man trying to make himself acceptable to God by good works. However, scripture tells us; “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Adam and Eve tried to hide their true spiritual condition from God. Indeed it is also written that “man looks on the outward appearance but God looks upon the heart.” God saw their hearts.
We have forfeited the righteous standard of life that God requires from us to make us fit to live in heaven. In Christ He has given us the righteousness of Christ and only those who have been clothed with this garment of salvation can go into the wedding feast with the Lord Jesus Christ after He has come back. This righteous standard of life is credited to our account in heaven and imputed to us through the Holy Spirit when we place our trust alone in the Lord Jesus to save us and in the merits of His atoning blood and righteousness. This righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ, a righteousness that makes us one with Christ and gives us the power and patience to identify with Him in every way and knowing Him personally in the power of His resurrection and in the fellowship of His suffering.
As the apostle Paul tells us; “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:7-11).
To conclude, are you still in Adam or in Christ? Are you sheltering under the atoning blood by faith in Christ and in the power of His blood to save you from all sin and its consequences? Has the Holy Spirit come in to dwell in your life imparting that righteousness without which no one will see God? Has the image of God lost in Adam been restored in you through Jesus Christ and by the work of His Spirit? Are all of your sins forgiven? Are you now trusting alone in Jesus to save you and forsaking all and every work of your own righteous standards which fall short of God’s standards of righteousness anyway?
So at the end of Genesis chapter three we see Adam and Eve barred from access to the Tree of Life and banished from the Garden of Eden. We see them naked before God and their pathetic attempt to justify themselves before a righteous and holy God with their own works of righteousness. Yet we have also seen that God Himself took the initiative to save them by sending His own Son to undo what the devil had done. Even though Adam and Eve would physically die they were saved by the blood of an animal sacrificed on their behalf and clothed with its skin. In the work of Salvation God Himself takes the initiative to save us and to give us the ability to respond yet once He has freed our wills to accept Him He still asks us to come voluntary to Him by faith alone in the merits and work of His Son and to repent of our sin and receive the Lord Jesus into our lives by faith as our personal saviour and Lord.
While God knows what we will decide and where we will spend eternity He still gives us the choice. I am sure that Adam and Eve repented of their sin otherwise would God have clothed their nakedness. We know from scripture that salvation must be personally received by faith. (John 3:16) (Romans 5:1) While we are not specifically told about Adam and Eve’s repentance we know from scripture that they must have repented and had faith in God to forgive them through a substitutionary sacrifice on their behalf. If that were not the case then how come their son Abel knew about bringing a blood sacrifice to God to atone for his sins? He would have learnt this from his father Adam. In the Bible every blood sacrifice made to God points to the ultimate sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The whole Bible from Genesis to revelation is about our Lord Jesus Christ and His power to save, to cleanse, to deliver, to empower and to impute His personal righteousness to all the moment they turn from sin and by faith alone trust Him to save them to the uttermost! Will you turn from all of your sin and rebellion? Will you turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and by faith alone invite Him into your life as your standard of righteousness. Only then will you be clothed with the garment of salvation, only then will you be ready to enter into the wedding feast of the Lamb! Only then will you be a partaker of the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith alone in Jesus Christ.