Wednesday: Grace and Judgment in Eden: Part One
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In Genesis 3, after the Fall, the Lord’s opening words are all questions: “Where are you? . . .

Image © Standard Publishing from GoodSalt.com

Image © Standard Publishing from GoodSalt.com

Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? . . . What is this you have done?” (Gen. 3:9,11,13 NIV).

In contrast, God’s first declarative statement in Chapter 3—His first statement of fact—follows these questions. When speaking to the serpent, what does God say, and what is the meaning of His words? See Gen. 3:14-15.

Think through the implications of what is happening here. God’s first declarative statement to the fallen world is, in fact, a condemnation of Satan, not humanity. Indeed, even in that condemnation of Satan, God gives humanity the hope and promise of the gospel (Gen 3:15). As He declares Satan’s doom, He proclaims humanity’s hope. Despite their sin, the Lord immediately reveals to Adam and Eve the promise of redemption.

Notice, too, that only after this promise, only after hope of grace and salvation is given in Gen 3:15 (known also as the “First Gospel Promise”), does the Lord pronounce judgment on Adam and Eve: “To the woman He said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children. . . .’ Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife . . . .’” (Gen. 3:16-17, NKJV).

Don’t miss this point: the promise of salvation comes first, followed by judgment. Only against the backdrop of the gospel, then, does judgment come; otherwise, judgment would mean nothing but condemnation, but Scripture is clear: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).

Why is it so important always to dwell on the fact that God’s purpose is to save us, not to condemn us? How does sin in our life cause us to lose sight of that crucial truth? That is, how does sin cause us to turn away from God?

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Wednesday: Grace and Judgment in Eden: Part One — 32 Comments

  1. Verily from scriptures,it is a fact that GOD values the life of a human being.That bears an explanation as 2 y He does not curse man.Rather He promises salvation unto him.So,y should we hesitate?Let`s believe in Him.GOD bless you as you make wise decisions.

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  2. Todays topic clearly shows that GODS Purpose is to save us not to condemn us and when we read Romans 8:28 which says And We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him ,who have been called according to his purpose. we should always know that God is on our side nothing should turn us away from him.

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  3. At times I have done a lot of thinking about this business of Eden and have wondered how much of it is allegory and how much of it is actual. At this point I am thinking it is both.

    I am convinced that we have two original created parents that were put in the Garden of Eden as stewards of God's creation to care for it. Under the command to be fruitful and multiply humanity would have extended that paradise to eventually cover the earth but sin got in the way of that plan.

    While I believe in the literal I also think that there is more to the story than that. We often think of immortality and tend to believe that if we could only have access to the tree of life then we would be healed of our maladies and live forever. The problem is that the tree of life never created anything and it never resurrected anyone and is itself a created life form. Jesus was the creator (Jn 1:3) who resurrected not only many people when on earth but also resurrected Himself (Jn 10:18). He said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live" (Jn. 11:25 NKJV). He didn't tell us that we must first go the tree. As Ellen White said, "Christ is the source of our life, the source of our immortality. He is the tree of life, and to all who come to him he gives spiritual life" (Review & Herald Jan 26.1897). "Of Christ it is written: 'In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.'" John 1:4. He is the Fountain of life" (8 Testimonies 288.3). She understood the spiritual connection between the tree and the actual source of life.

    This has a lot of implications concerning the Garden of Eden. So, with that in mind I think of the entrance to the Garden of Eden that was at its east end (Gen 3:24) which had the same position as the entrance to the sanctuary Moses build. If the Garden of Eden was to be the sanctuary on earth then Adam and Even were its high priest and priestess just as Aaron was and the tree of life was the ark in the Holy of Holies.

    As an allegory then when the two transferred their allegiance and dominion to Satan who now was their immediate supervisor they were no longer able to hold that position. So when God kicked them out of Eden it wasn't just to deny access to the tree but was a dismissal of their position as High Priest and Priestess of the sanctuary. They were, just as we are, denied entrance to the Holy of Holies until Christ became our High priest and advocate before the Father. Only through the door (Jn 10: 7-9) and the veil (Heb 10:19-20) can we enter that which was denied to us for so long. Through Christ we are again, "a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 2:5 NKJV).

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    • Hello Tyler
      I love your explanation in the form of an allegory. It really helps to put this all into context. But I have a couple of questions.
      After the fall (sin) God said to the Trinity...“Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” Gen 3:22.
      By eating the fruit and committing sin, how could they have become 'like' one of the Divinities? does this imply that there were two distinct consequences of eating the forbidden fruit? You say that "sin got in the way of the plan' but, if there was to be no sin on earth, than why would there be the need for a high priest and priestess (Adam and Eve)?
      I am thinking of your allegory and not able to put it all together. Can you please help?

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      • They became like God in exactly the way the serpent said they would: Knowing good and evil. Until they ate of the fruit, they only knew good. Once they ate it, they experienced evil.

        Not without cause does the narrative describe the serpent as "cunning."

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      • Louisdon, an allegory is just an illustration of something. It is another way of looking at what happened in Eden - not as a matter of being literal but as a teaching, a side bar issue to consider.

        Another way to look at the relationship of Eve to Adam as a priesthood is to consider the patriarchal system before Moses. The head of the household was the eldest male. He also was the one who offered the sacrifices and was the spiritual head of the clan much like a clergyman is in a church today. When a family became isolated that responsibility rested on the immediate eldest male rather than a distant clan elder. Now we should ask when did the eldest male assume that responsibility, only after he had children or was he in that position before?

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      • I appreciate your comment on the lesson discussion. I also would like some more explanation regarding the statement in gen.3,22 that if Adam and Eve ate the fruit they would become like Gods and live forever. Please explain the allegory of it all. Thanks and God bless.

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    • If we live in a correct manner, and supply the physical body with all the elements needed for it to carry out every function correctly, there are those who cannot understand why we die. Our body heals, repairs, replaces and energizes without fail, yet we age. Physically we age and eventually die, yet the body is clearly designed to perpetual life. Something is missing.

      I believe that what is provided through the tree of life is the missing element that God intended us to have. The tree was there from the beginning and man was barred from it after sinning "lest he put his forth his hand...and live forever."
      (Let's pause and look at this decree from God. What did He do this for? To spare us the misery of knowing evil without any escape from it. Yes, God knows of evil, but wishes to spare us from it.)

      The Tree of Life will be in the New Earth and all will eat of it and live forever, and I suspect that anyone who doesn't eat of it will not live forever. This is God's ordaining and while we don't understand the workings of it, I personally believe it reminds every agent of free will that God is our life Source. As with tithing and the Sabbath, we will have eternal reminders as we live with the freedom to choose. Satan forgot his need for God through the deceitfulness of sin, and how it blinds those who choose that path. Does Satan need the tree of life?

      Who can say?, but we have upon good authority that Satan has aged and I would imagine if we could see Gabriel, he would look as fresh as the day he was created. But time alone will answer this question.

      While we have more questions than answers, one thing seems clear; we need the Tree of Life to live forever. Obedience gives us right to that tree (Gen 3:22-24, Rev 22:14) and I would think that eating of it is an act of obedience in itself. Just like today as we choose the diet God has directed for our best interest.

      I'm not sure that Eden was a sanctuary since there was no sin, and they were removed from it as soon as they sinned. After all sin and sinners are removed forever, there will be no more temple, but God and the Lamb will be the temple. This is fitting isn't it? "God is our refuge and strength...", even when trouble will never be known again! Our experience in this life has proven that obedience is a refuge from the knowledge of evil and it's terrible consequences.

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      • Hi Robert, I agree with your view of the tree of life: "I personally believe it reminds every agent of free will that God is our life Source."

        It is not the tree itself that is the source of life, but it is a physical, visible reminder of God being the Source of all life.

        I also find this statement from Acts of the Apostles interesting:

        Jesus is the source of power, the fountain of life. He brings us to His word, and from the tree of life presents to us leaves for the healing of sin-sick souls. He leads us to the throne of God, and puts into our mouth a prayer through which we are brought into close contact with Himself. In our behalf He sets in operation the all-powerful agencies of heaven. At every step we touch His living power.(Acts of the Apostles, p. 478

        It seems to me that like so many things in the way God chooses to deal with us, His children, the Tree of Life seems to be both literal and symbolic.

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        • Exactly Inge, and I find it interesting how God does things. Why do we need to eat? I suppose God could have made us without the need to ingest food to maintain life, but eating brings such joy and pleasure. And while He could have made us capable of ingesting the soil, He made a vast variety of plants to bring us those vital elements from the soil in ways that defy description. Have you ever eaten "the perfect peach?!" (Or any fruit for that matter.) Oh, He could have made the soil taste like peaches I suppose, but beauty and variety bring Him and us such joyful pleasure.

          The tree of Life will be present with it's delightful fruits, and it's leaves "for the healing of the nations". Will we get sick?!! No, but what we are missing today, even if we live perfectly according to God's recommendations, will leave us to eventually die. Yes, perhaps cancer-free and never sick a day of our lives, but we will not live forever. It seems that God had placed something vital in the tree of Life that prevents aging and death. Yes, it's from HIM, but He uses the Tree of Life to dispense it, just as He uses the peach, avocado (yum!), almonds, tomatoes, etc, to bring us the living elements from the soil that make our bodies function perfectly.

          God could create light and warmth without needing the sun, but the sun is how He chooses to share those life-giving gifts.

          God could have placed within us everything needed to sustain life, but chose to make us dependent on His gifts, which encourages faith in His providence and leads to trusting Him completely.

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        • Inge, I was hoping that Karina would answer your comment so that we would know what she was actually thinking but for some reason she apparently has decided not to.

          I really don't think she was saying that someone actually said that but was summarizing what she understood to be the effect of what Robert was presenting in his comment and put it in the form of a question. Such a construction is not that unusual in English.

          Personally, what I would like to see is some clarification from Robert on the issue. Is he saying that the only way for us to have immortality is to actually eat from a physical tree or is he viewing it as symbolic where the tree is a symbol of Christ in much the same way that Jesus presented His sermon on the bread of life?

          As for Rev 22:14 it can be understood using either view. To me the message of that verse is the same no matter how we interpret the Tree of Life.

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  4. Iam so greatful to the Lord for the salvation plan he set apart to save sinners like me. Devil tempts me from every corner of my weaknesses. He tells me to do evil things that are not right in God's eyes and mens eyes. God is so awaesome and loving. No is like this Jesus who cares for me and washes me whiter than snow. Amen.

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  5. i thank the LORD for his mercy and grace towards humanity in-spite man's disobedience from the beginning he still send his son to die for our sins.

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  6. Hey Guys I need your help here. I do not seem to clearly get the First Gospel Promise from Gen 3 v 15. Please help.

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    • Godfrey, the promise is that God would not allow Satan, a being much more powerful that us, to control us without our consent. Also, God promised that the Seed of the woman (Jesus) would destroy Satan, given by the symbol of crushing the serpent's head. This had to refer to Jesus since none of us are able to accomplish this ourselves.

      The fact that our Savior would come as the seed of the woman is the Gospel promise, of "God with us", God becoming a man! And by His death as a man He now has the legal right to forgive all sin, if we confess and repent.

      The "enmity" that God puts between Satan and us is the renewal that we experience by faith in Jesus. Faith in Jesus means we accept His sacrifice, confess and forsake our sins and live in obedience to all God commands us. His commandments are "holy, just and good" for us, and in "keeping them there is great reward", Psalm 19:11. This reward is peace with God, joy, and eternal life. This would not be possible if God did not intervene and place in us this enmity by our being "transformed by the renewing of [our] minds", Romans 12:2. This God alone can do and has promised to do if we will let Him. God actually creates in us a new heart which hates sin and loves righteousness.

      All this and more is summed up in the words spoken to the serpent(Satan) in Genesis 3:15. We see in the life of Jesus the very fulfillment of this promise.

      I hope this helps to explain it.

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  7. I thank God for his mercies towards me.He was still merciful in the garden to Adam and Eve and we are assured if we trust His words we will eat of the tree of life.

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  8. Hi Louisdon, these comments from Dr. Don Carson might help:

    “In Hebrew, ‘the knowledge of good and evil is often used…to have the ability to pronounce what is good and pronounce what is evil. That’s what God has done, if you recall…Now this woman wants this God-like function. Instead of delighting in the wisdom of her Maker, she is pronouncing, independently, her own choices as to what is good and evil---claiming the sort of independence that belongs only to God, the self-existence that belongs only to God, the moral absoluteness that belongs only to God.

    To be like God…means that God Himself must from now on be regarded at least a rival and maybe an enemy: ‘I pronounce my own good, thank you very much, and I do not need you to tell me what I may or may not do.’

    What is crucial is not the tree but the rebellion. What is so wretchedly tragic is God’s image-bearer standing over against God. This is the de-god-ing of God so that I can be my own god. This, in short, is idolatry.”

    She took and ate. “So simple an act and so hard the undoing,” someone has said. “God will taste poverty and death before ‘take and eat’ become verbs of salvation.”

    Indeed, in the gospel of salvation, God redeems our worship from allegiance to ourselves and the enemy to submissive praise to the Seed of the Woman. At the name of Jesus (who was bruised by the serpent) every knee (including the serpent whose head He crushed at the Cross) will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God!

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    • Thank you, Bing, for this explanation that illuminates both Gen 3:5 and Gen 3:22, in which God essentially verifies what the serpent promised -- that Adam and Eve were now "like Us," or like God.

      In this context, it means that by making a choice in opposition to God's clear command, Adam and Eve became their own gods. And that's been humanity's tendency ever since.

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  9. I think it's telling that God's first question to Adam and Eve is "WHERE are you?" Isn't it interesting God asks this, when He knows they are in the garden? It implies a separation that God felt from them. Adam and Eve had turned from God in their hearts.

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    • Yes Kimberly, God came investigating before judging. It's a principle He lives by and it is seen over and over again in His dealings with humanity. With Cain, before the flood, the tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah...etc.

      God's question to Adam and Eve was really given to help them see for themselves where they now were and why. Notice how God never condemns, but only inquires. Adam and Eve condemn themselves and then God pronounces the sentence they earned by choice. But in that sentencing God gives great blessings to fallen mankind. Death is relief, work is a blessing, and somehow, the pain of childbirth is salvation, though few might agree with that while in labor.

      God only gives that which is good for us, "for His mercy endures forever".

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  10. Hi Inge,

    Indeed, "The chief end of man is to worship God and enjoy Him forever." Worship was the issue in Eden. It is the issue today and will be the issue in the end-time. The Adventist view of the gospel (with the Great Controversy theme) is consistent with this ultimate purpose and emerges in the Bible as early as Genesis 3:15.

    Again, I like the way Dr. Harold Best puts it: "We are all born worshipping (someone or something other than God). In the gospel, the Lord redeems our worship." This encompassing truth revolutionizes evangelism into a God-centered and God-glorifying proclamation.

    Blessings,

    Bing

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    • Yes, indeed, it is all about worship. It was so in Eden; it will be so at the end.

      Following up on your thought ...
      It seems to me that when Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me," (Luke 9:23) he was asking His followers to deny their desire to be God and worship Him alone.

      A focus on worship in our outreach, will "give glory to Him," as the prophetic angel in Rev 14:7 does.

      Thanks for these thoughts. :)

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  11. I am so happy that i am created by the image of GOD LORD i need you oh i need you every hour i need you i need you more than ever.

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  12. I believe that this lesson dispels the notion that God is full of judgement, fury and does not tolerate sinners but only condemns them to death.This clearly shows how God offers a way out of the situations that arise in our lives because we choose sin over obedience to God.

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  13. Greetings brothren. I need some help too. After God created Adam, then out out Adam's rib a likeness of Adam was created and then Adam called her 'Woman'
    Now, at what what pint was this woman called Eve? was this name ( Eve} given before the fall or after the fall. please help with either scriputural backing or spirit of prophecy.

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    • Renford, Genesis 3:20 seems to indicate that Adam named his wife Eve after the fall. "Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living."
      Apparently Ellen White has nothing to say about this.
      I appreciate Matthew Henry's commentary on this verse.
      "Genesis 3:20

      God having named the man, and called him Adam, which signifies red earth, Adam, in further token of dominion, named the woman, and called her Eve, that is, life. Adam bears the name of the dying body, Eve that of the living soul. The reason of the name is here given (some think, by Moses the historian, others, by Adam himself): Because she was (that is, was to be) the mother of all living. He had before called her Ishah - woman, as a wife; here he calls her Evah - life, as a mother. Now, 1. If this was done by divine direction, it was an instance of God's favour, and, like the new naming of Abraham and Sarah, it was a seal of the covenant, an assurance to them that, notwithstanding their sin and his displeasure against them for it, he had not reversed that blessing wherewith he had blessed them: Be fruitful and multiply. It was likewise a confirmation of the promise now made, that the seed of the woman, of this woman, should break the serpent's head. 2. If Adam did it of himself, it was an instance of his faith in the word of God. Doubtless it was not done, as some have suspected, in contempt or defiance of the curse, but rather in a humble confidence and dependence upon the blessing. (1.) The blessing of a reprieve, admiring the patience of God, that he should spare such sinners to be the parents of all living, and that he did not immediately shut up those fountains of the human life and nature, because they could send forth no other than polluted, poisoned, streams. (2.) The blessing of a Redeemer, and promised seed, to whom Adam had an eye, in calling his wife Eve - life; for he should be the life of all the living, and in him all the families of the earth should be blessed, in hope of which he thus triumphs."

      Hope this helps, and may God bless you!

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  14. I'm wondering the love of God to man, when man sinned in Eden, God never curse man instead he cursed the ground. But every party involved in the act was give the punishment, even though God loved the Man HE never let the sin to go like that un notice, and am sure today HE is the same God, so lets not follow our grandparent Adam and Eve.

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