The Consequences Adam and Eve Faced for Their Disobedience (Genesis 3:6-24)
When I was in college, the faculty required us to complete two hours of Christian service each week in order to graduate. We could choose from activities such as door knocking or preaching or teaching Bible class and the like. We would sign up for one activity for the semester and give a weekly report on what we had done; we’d get a grade on our transcript just as we would have for any other course.
You could only do the same activity two semesters in your four years. I was running out of Christian service projects I could pick, so one semester I chose to participate in the local jail ministry. I was as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof the first time I went in that jail, but it wasn’t long until I was accustomed to going in and talking with the inmates and offering Bible studies.
One of the most vivid memories I have of my time in jail was the first time a guard brought in a troubled teen to show him what life was like behind bars. He took that boy from cell to cell so he could witness the inmates’ experiences. That boy’s eyes got as big as saucers. The inmates started yelling things at that boy; I really don’t want to repeat verbatim what they said, but they begged this teen to get his act straightened up so that he didn’t end up in jail.
That was, of course, the whole purpose of exercise—to show that young man what the consequences would be if he continued on his present course.
We’ve all experienced consequences for our actions. Maybe it was hearing your mom call you by your full name and knowing what was about to happen. Maybe it was when you got a ticket for going a little too fast. Maybe it was when you had to pay a late fee because you forgot to mail a bill. Everything we do has a consequence.
Adam and Eve learned about consequences the hard way. The serpent had made the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil look very appealing. Eve took of the fruit, ate it, and gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate. They soon got a wakeup call and learned that “Disobeying God always has consequences.”
We’ve been thinking about the worst year in human history—the year Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit. As we think about lessons from that year, we absolutely must consider the lesson “Disobeying God always has consequences.”
Adam and Eve faced many consequences for their sin:
- Nudity: Yes, Adam and Eve were naked before they ate of the forbidden fruit, but they didn’t care. They were innocent—just like a little kid that will run around naked. But after they sinned (after their innocence was gone), Adam and Eve knew they were naked and covered themselves.
- Fear of God: When the man and his wife heard God as he walked in the Garden, they became fearful and hid themselves (Gen 3:8-10). Everything in the text tells us this was a new reaction to God’s walking in the Garden. Adam and Eve enjoyed fellowship with God before the Fall, but after the Fall, they were afraid of God.
- Painful childbirth: The pain of the woman in giving birth was greatly multiplied. You women who have given birth know how painful having a baby is, and I’m sure that you’re thankful for the drugs modern medicine offers. We husbands have no idea what that pain is like—and I don’t mean to imply we do—but those of us who have been with our wives while they have given birth witnessed our wives in a great deal of agony.
- The rule of the husband: We know from 1 Timothy 2:13 that part of the reason man has spiritual leadership over the woman is the fact that Adam was created before the woman; however, we know from this passage (as well as 1 Timothy 2:14) that Eve’s sin played a significant role in male spiritual leadership. Why is the husband the head of the home? Why does he have authority over the wife? Because of Eve’s sin in the Garden.
- The curse of the ground: God places a serious curse on the ground because of Adam’s sin: (1) The man would eat of the ground through painful toil; (2) The ground would produce thorns and thistles; and (3) The man would return to the dust of the earth. The hard work of raising food is because Adam sinned in the Garden. The fact that we rot in the ground is because Adam sinned in the Garden.
- The casting out of the Garden: Because sin had entered the world, God could not permit man to reach out and take fruit from the Tree of Life and live forever. Man, therefore, lost his home and his right to live forever on this earth.
We face consequences for sin, too. Of course, the greatest consequence is facing the wrath of God: “The Lord Jesus [will be] revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thess 1:7–9). That, of course, is the most serious consequence of sin.
However, there are consequences in this life. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction” (Gal 6:7–8). No matter how much God forgives us, we still face consequences for our sin. We might lose a job we love. We might lose our family. We might lose sleep because of our guilt. We might lose our health. We can lose so much to sin.
We must, therefore, be aware of Satan’s schemes and yield not to temptation. If you need my help, please let me know.