It becomes ever increasingly easy to gloss over sin, this condition of separation from God, broken peace in the world, and our alienation from each other. It’s easy to say, “I’ve messed up” and make it past tense, or to say that, “We all sin” and generalize it until it’s comfortable.
But we can’t do that with the first sin.
That’s why chapter three has been so hard for me to read. It’s not just, “Man and woman tuned from Yahweh, and were barred from the tree of life.” No, we are walked through the exact happenings of original sin, told the names of the people involved, shown their willingness, their buy into the lie, their guilt, and their result of their actions of unbelief. All this reminds me that in my life, there is this sin condition, and that I cannot gloss over it. Rather, I have to walk through it, accept that it is mine, admit that I act with disbelief and un-trust in Yahweh, and that this guilt is rightly felt and is because of the steps I have taken to bring my self here.
Yet, Genesis 3 is not about the sin of man: it is about the nature of God.
Yahweh Himself shows up in the face of their sin. He does not keep them at a distance, but comes to them. Yes, His coming near means that His holiness demands that their sin be dealt with (and thus the curse is proclaimed), but it also means that the promise of grace and restoration is at hand. In the midst of the pronouncement of the results of this broken shalom, God also announces the promise of the Savior. Even the action of sending humanity away from the garden is an action in step with restoration, after all would you want to life forever in this state of sin, growing old, breaking down, and never shedding this mortal coil, never knowing the hope of resurrection and of being a part of everything being restored to the way it was intended to be? So, a cherubim and a flaming sword are posted to guard the way to the Tree of Life that stands in the midst of the garden, to ensure that restoration can happen for every human… even for me.
This chapter also introduces us to a theme: the promised land. This garden was planted by God for man to have, and now we are driven to the east. But we will see Yahweh promise us a home of His choosing again, and we shall see Him make good on that promise.