[Lesson 8] CORRUPTION: The Problem Of Evil, Part 2 - Consequences
Day One Study
Read Genesis 3:1-19.
Effect of sin on an individual—
1. Once Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit, “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked” (v. 7a, NIV). Compare this with Genesis 2:25 and what the serpent “promised” in 3:5.
2. Recall our discussion of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in a previous lesson “Humans, Home and Family, Part 2.”
· What had actually been gained?
· What had really been lost?
3. Why did they start sewing? In other words, how did they try to solve their problem of “nakedness?”
Effect of sin on our relationship with God—
4. Discuss what happens in vs. 8-11 including Adam’s and Eve’s apparent emotions.
5. Read Psalm 139 and Hebrews 4:13. Is it really possible to hide from God? Explain your answer.
Effect of sin on our relationships with others—
6. Discuss the attempts of both Adam and Eve to avoid responsibility for their individual actions (v. 12-13).
7. After the questioning, God proceeded to speak prophetic curses to all parties involved—the serpent (& Satan), the woman and the man. Discuss what God said to each one and what it means. Look for evidences of God’s grace to each as well.
· The SERPENT v. 14 [Note: we will study v. 15 in more detail next week.] —
· The WOMAN—
· The MAN—
Day Two Study
Adam and Eve began to die physically on that very day, just as God promised. Remember the literal translation of the Hebrew at the end of Genesis 2:17 is “dying, you shall die.” As we will soon see, their source of perpetual life was removed from their reach. But, physical death was not the only aspect of life involved. We will study spiritual consequences more fully next week.
8. Eve rightly recognized that she had been deceived (v. 10). Consult a dictionary for the definition of “deceive.”
9. How does Satan, the serpent, still deceive today? Read Colossians 2:8; 1 Peter 5:8 as well as any other scriptures you may want to share.
10. What can and should you do to root out deception and prevent it from happening to you?
· Psalm 119:97-105—
· 1 Peter 5:6-10—
· Ephesians 6:10-13—
11. Though Adam and Eve were hiding, God sought them.
· Meditate on Luke 15:4-7 and Luke 19:10. What does knowing this truth mean to you personally?
· Do you have trouble accepting responsibility for your own actions? Who or what do you usually blame?
Day Three Study
12. Read Psalm 139:23-24 and Psalm 51:10. Memorize them and pray them often this week. Be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit reveals to you about your own heart. Remember how much God loves you. Take time to read Romans 8:26-39. Can anything be better than this?!!!
· Read “Creation Answers: Cursed Creation” following this lesson.
· Discuss the effects of the curse upon mankind, the earth and all of creation itself. See Romans 8:18-22 plus other passages that discuss the consequences of sin.
· So, why do we wear clothes?
Creation Answers: Cursed Creation
John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost, the second longest poem in English literature begins with these words:
Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Genesis 2-5 contains the account of “Paradise Lost” for us.
Genesis 2 — The Perfect World
Genesis 2 is supplemental, not contradictory to what we read in chapter 1. Jesus quoted from both chapters together at once in Mark 10:6 showing that He considered it to be a unit. Genesis 2 reveals important details about God’s highest creation—man, the one creature intended to have a spiritual relationship with God.
It is probable that when Moses wrote the book of Genesis, he used ancient records that had been handed down through the generations, each record associated with the man who wrote it. Genesis 2:4a says, “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.” There are 9 more of these lines scattered throughout Genesis seemingly at the end of a section, like a signature at the end of a letter. The first one is God’s, obviously given by direct revelation. The second one is Adam’s in Genesis 5:1 and is called a book or written account. In fact the word “generations” (Hebrew tholedoth) was translated into English as “Genesis.” It also appears in Matthew 1:1 “This is the record of the genealogy (genesis or genealogical history) of Jesus Christ.”
It’s now known that writing was common before Abraham so it’s reasonable to think these early records were also written. By the way, the many intimate details and descriptions throughout Genesis indicate that these were eyewitness accounts. Probably written on stone or clay tables. Moses, guided by the Holy Spirit, then compiled and organized them into a continuous narrative. God used the same method in inspiring the other historical books of the Bible that were either written by eyewitnesses or from the direct verbal or written testimonies of eyewitnesses. All of this is not proven but quite probable.
From Genesis 1 and 2, we glean some specific details.
Animals And Humans Were Vegetarian So There Was Harmony In Nature.
“Then God said, ‘I now give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the animals of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.’ It was so.” (Gen. 1:29-30)
God Specially Designed Both The Man And The Woman With Purpose.
They were designed for work and for fellowship. (Genesis 2:15, 18) He put them together in marriage relationship with each other, thus defining marriage as one man/one woman for life. He gave man work to do to tend and guard the garden. God gave both of them work to do in reproducing themselves to fill the earth and in ruling the other creatures. That meant they had to study the earth and its systems and living occupants to properly manage them all.
Where was the Garden of Eden located? We don’t know. The Flood would have totally restructured the surface of the Earth, wiping away all traces of the garden except what may be found as fossils. God placed an angel at the entrance to the Garden to keep pre-Flood men from returning. That was no longer necessary after the Flood obliterated it. After the Flood, Noah and his descendants gave familiar names to the new rivers and places they encountered as they migrated, just as American settlers have done for 300 years.
God Made Man And Woman (Not The Animals) In His Image.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.’ God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:26-27)
God established a relationship with them. He made gracious provision for them with only one restriction—that one tree! It was a test of their love for Him because true love requires a choice.
Mankind And Most Of The Animal World Would Have Continual Life.
Death was not in the “genes” at the time. However, it was stated as the consequence of disobedience right up front. The phrase in Genesis 2:17 is literally, “dying, you shall die.” In the very day of disobedience, man would enter into a state of “dying” which would lead ultimately to death. We don’t know the role of the Tree of Life in the garden. Because God barred their access to it after the Curse, it may have also perpetuated life. We simply do not know.
God Pronounced His Creation “Very Good” At The End Of The 6th Day And Rested From Creating.
Since then, He has been sustaining His creation (Hebrews 1:3, Colossians 1:17). Later, we’ll talk more about this.
Conclusion: any evidence of disorder, suffering, decay, and death which we now see in the present world or in the records of the past cannot possibly be attributed to anything occurring during the six days of Creation. Something obviously corrupted this “very good” perfect world, turning it into the world we see today. The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 15:21 which says, “…death came through a man.”
Genesis 3 — Man’s Sin And “Paradise Lost”
Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s one command. They sinned. Then, they hid from God. God came looking for them, asking questions about their behavior. Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the serpent. God as judge holds each party responsible then delivers His verdict—the promised consequences to sin but more far-reaching than either Adam or Eve could possibly imagine. (Genesis 3:14-19) Corruption aptly describes what happens to God’s perfect world. Corruption affected all of life.
Do you know that many cultures have in their traditional histories (before ever having contact with a Jew or Christian) an account of a perfect world that was marred by disobedience? A “paradise lost”. Some even involve a tree.
Death Enters The World—Spiritual Death For Man, Physical Death For Man And Living Creatures
Instantly Adam and Eve died spiritually (separated relationship from God), and they began to die physically until they actually physically returned to dust. Since Adam was appointed to exercise dominion over the earth, his dominion also would begin to “die.”
Paul describes this in Romans, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) “World” is the Greek word kosmos which is used to refer to the universe and the entire earth. Death did not enter only the experience of humanity, but the universe which would include the animal kingdom—the other living creatures besides man.
We need to define who the living creatures were. Life according to the Bible resides in the “soul,” the Hebrew word nephesh. This might be equated roughly with the concept of consciousness and is also associated with the “breath of life” or “blood” (Lev. 17:11). This quality is associated only with man and most animals, but never plants. The Bible says plants grow, flourish, wither, and fade but they do not “live” or “die.” They are biologically alive but not Biblically “living.” Not everything we classify as part of the animal kingdom would be biblically “alive” according to God’s definition. A similar argument can be made for some of the “lower” animals (perhaps clams and crawfish) and certainly for bacteria and viruses. Their “death” would not constitute death of truly living organisms.
Physical death of living creatures, including man, began with God’s judgment on man’s sin. If you think about it, adding millions of years of animal death before the creation and Fall of man contradicts and destroys the Bible’s teaching on death and the full redemptive work of Christ. It also makes God into a bumbling, cruel creator who uses (or can’t prevent) disease, natural disasters and extinctions to mar His creative work, without any moral cause, but calls it all “very good.”
If God originally intended death to be an integral part of His creation, then God should allow death to continue into eternity. But, He doesn’t. All the prophecies of the future talk about a restoration to harmony in nature, animals eating only plants, and man living long on earth. Paul calls death the last enemy. Rev. 22:3 says the curse will be removed in the new Earth. Death will be vanquished for good.
A Cursed Creation Affected Everything!
· The ground/dirt became reluctant to yield its food. Instead it required man’s toil, sweat and tears before he could eat.
· Some creatures and plants were changed — the serpent was altered physically. Women would experience pain and sorrow in childbearing. Some plants would now produce thorns and thistles rather than just useful fruit and vegetables. Relationships were affected.
· Pain, decay, suffering and aging would become part of the daily experience. As would animals eating one another, although man isn’t told to eat meat until after the Flood.
“For the creation was subjected to futility – not willingly but because of God who subjected it – in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now.” (Romans 8:20-22)
Did The 2nd Law Of Thermodynamics Begin At The Fall?
Everything is running down because of sin. This is a scientific principle or law called the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. This law says that the entropy (disorder) of the Universe increases over time, and some have thought that this was the result of the Curse.
Disorder isn’t always harmful. Digestion breaks down large complex food molecules into their simple building blocks. Friction turns ordered mechanical energy into disordered heat allowing Adam and Eve to walk with God in Eden rather than slipping through the tulips. The sun heating the earth is heat transfer from a hot object to a cold one—a classic case of the Second Law in action. Breathing is based on air moving from a high pressure to low pressure. Finally, all beneficial processes in the world, including the development from embryo to adult, increase the overall disorder of the universe, showing that the Second Law is not inherently a curse.
The more likely answer is that when God judged sin with death, He withdrew some of His sustaining power so that the decay effect of the Second Law was no longer countered.
Did God Change Creatures So They Would Become Fierce, Eat Meat, And Die? Or, Did God Create Them With Those Capabilities In The First Place And Just “Turned It On” After The Curse?
There’s argument for both ideas. Here’s a brief synopsis of the two theories regarding these defense/attack structures (DAS):
1. The Defense/Attack Structures Were Already Present And Used For Different Purposes Before The Curse.
· Sharp teeth—even today, creatures with sharp teeth do not always use them to rip other animals apart—for example, bears, bats, and monkeys. The giant panda’s sharp teeth are used for bamboo munching; the fruit bat eats fruit with its fangs. Some originally vegetarian animals become accustomed to eating meat when they are exposed to it. So, it’s not unlikely to think that they could have all been vegetarians to begin with, but God allowed them to “branch out.”
· Disease-causing organisms—While some organisms cause disease in one type of creature, those same organisms are beneficial to other creatures. Many E. coli bacteria are very helpful to the human body, especially aiding digestion.
· Thorns—thorns have no apparent purpose for plants other than defense. Which leads to the second theory:
2. Design Alterations Were Made After The Curse To Allow Such Defense / Attack Structures.
Physical changes were made to plants producing thorns and the serpent losing its legs. These changes were passed along to offspring. Man (and animals) would no longer live perpetually but age and die.
Conclusion: Both of these ideas may be true. We just don’t know how God did it. But, He did something that permanently affected the perfect “very good” world. Through it, God is allowing mankind to experience what it wants—life without God.
Genesis 4 & 5—Though No Longer Perfect, Life Moves On
Children are born, grow up, marry, build settlements, fight and kill one another. In Genesis 4, Cain murders his brother Abel then runs away to a land called “Nod.” There, he and his wife have kids. Where did Cain get his wife? This question has been the food of scoffers for years. The scripture does not say he found a wife in Nod nor does it prevent him from having already been married before he murdered Abel. Since Adam and Eve had sons and daughters, and since God did not prohibit marriage between close family members until the time of Moses, (at least 2500 years later), it is reasonable to conclude that Cain married a sister or a niece. According to the historian Josephus, Jewish tradition held that Adam and Eve had 56 sons and daughters. Considering their lifespan of >900 years and their pristine physical condition (no mutations yet), it is not impossible to believe.
The remaining portion of Genesis 4 gives a most intriguing, even tantalizing, picture of life in the antediluvian (pre-Flood) world. This is almost the only information we have about that first human civilization, which was later so completely destroyed by the great Flood. Archeological excavations deal almost entirely with post-Flood deposits. Other than semi-legendary recollections of the world’s first “golden age,” the brief Biblical record is still the only fully reliable account we have of that first age. (Dr. Henry Morris, The Genesis Record, page 142)
While in Nod, Cain built a walled encampment, raised his family, and spread his particular brand of wickedness to his descendants and their friends. Population on the earth increased and so did technology and culture. The record of Cain’s descendants reveal that metal tools of all kinds were available to use, and musical instruments stimulated the emotional and aesthetic senses for them as it does for us. Some created poetry. Some lived as nomads, engaging in the domestication and herding of livestock. And, there was writing as we have already discussed. Lamech’s two wives were noted for their fashion sense: Ada means “gorgeously adorned” and Zillah means “one whose presence is announced by the tinkling of her jewelry.” Although subject to death, men used intelligence God gave them. These are not the works of primitive, uncivilized, slow-witted “cave-men” humans. By the way, Job who lived shortly after the Flood also knew about metalworking. Much of archeology is based on the concept of evolution.
Meanwhile, Eve has another boy named Seth whose line is traced in chapter 5 without reference to what they built or accomplished other than their relationship to God. So, some look at Genesis 4 and say that such evidences of culture and civilization must be the by-products of a godless people since the activities are described in Cain’s lineage rather than in Seth’s. On the other hand, God has gifted man with the abilities needed to do all of these things and even given directions to godly men in scripture to perform similar works of “civilized” behavior. Some examples are Exodus 25; 1 Kings 5-8; Deuteronomy 3:6-25; and Matthew 25:14-28.
Though not perfect, life moves on. And, God is in it.
Sources For Further Study
1. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, Jonathan Sarfati, www.answersingenesis.org/Docs/370.asp#fall
2. Arguments We Think Creationists Should NOT Use, www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/dont_use.asp.
3. Do the Genesis Genealogies Contain Gaps?, Dr. Rick Freeman, June 20, 2007 at www.answersingenesis.org/articles/web/level/semi-technical.
4. Death Before Sin?, James s. Stambaugh, ICR Impact article No. 191, May 1989.
5. Creation’s Original Diet and the Changes at the Fall, James Stambaugh, www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v5/i2/diet.asp.