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Foundational Damage

One of the most obvious things about the world around us, at least when we take the time to look, is that there is a whole heck of a lot of brokenness. There is evil, true evil, in this world. If you go on the local news each evening, you are likely to hear a story about any number of things, from rape to murder to abuse and any number of other heinous things. Oftentimes, we do not even have to go that far. We have families. We do not have to look further than our own household to see the brokenness. Even the most remarkable and most loving household will have strife, selfishness, anger, pride, and many others. This is not new to any of us. We understand there is a problem, but rarely do we look at the root cause of all these issues. There are a lot of ways to answer the question of root cause. We could say that we are the problem, that it is the result of pride and selfishness, or that this is all the result of sin. Each of these is correct but brings up the question of how we got this way. Last week, we talked about original sin, which is the first sin that entered the world through Adam and affected the whole of creation through him. This week, we are going to look at the effects of this original sin.

Starting Big

The first and most visible effect of sin is death. Talk about starting with a big one. We are starting with this one because it is the first consequence of sin that is given in the Bible. In Genesis 2:15-17, before sin even enters the world, the Lord tells Adam that "in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Gen2:17) The idea is simple: if Adam eats of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the consequence will be death. As we know, this is what happened. He eats the fruit, and his body immediately starts to die. He dies spiritually, and his body begins to break down and die. Throughout the rest of scripture, the idea is that the minimum sentence for sin is death. For example, Paul writes in Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death." I think it is crucial to emphasize at this point that death is the minimum sentence. All sin brings death, but not all sin is equal. It is popular today for people to say that all sin is equal because they all bring death, but even from our fallen perspective, we recognize that this is not the case. We do not think of a kid stealing a candy bar as being as bad as someone committing rape.

The Curses: Part 1

So death is the first effect, but it is not the only effect. As you continue to read through Genesis chapter three, we come to a section on curses and consequences. The first set of curses has to do with the serpent, and while it does relate to us, it is primarily concerned with Satan. The second and third sets apply directly to Adam and Eve, which means that they also affect us. Genesis 3:16 is God's response to the woman. It states two seemingly distinct consequences of sin that are ultimately connected. First is that pain in childbearing will be multiplied. Some have taken this to mean that before sin, there would have been no pain in childbearing, but I do not think this is the case. This is because the text says it will be multiplied, not added. A multiple of zero is still zero, so there must be some pain to multiply. The second part of the woman's consequence is damage to her relationship with her husband. Again, this can be a bit controversial, but if we look at how these two things, childbearing and marriage, are connected, it can help us understand what is happening. Both relate to relational issues. The damage to childbearing and marriage relate to the two primary relationships in a woman's life. Both of them are now going to be subject to pain and strife. Raising children is painful, and marriage is difficult. Before sin, these relationships would be harmonious; after sin, they are filled with hurt.

The Curses: Part 2

After the woman comes the curses that relate to Adam. The relational consequences apply to Adam as much as they do to the woman, but the separation of the two demonstrates the primary roles of men and women. The woman is called to be a mother and a wife, whereas the man is called to be a provider. All the curses that are related, for the most part, to Adam have to do with his work. The ground is cursed. His ability to provide for his family is now going to involve pain. Work existed before the fall and was a good thing. Adam is placed in the garden to work and care for the garden. Now, due to his sin, there will be weeds, and the work will be much harder. Obviously, this also affects the woman, but it is not her primary role. The man's primary role is to be the breadwinner, and the cursing of the ground reflects that. The woman's primary role is to be a mother and wife, and the consequences that she is given reflect that.

Summarizing it All

As we start to really understand the consequences and the weightiness of sin, it can be quite depressing. This is further amplified when we look at the world around us, the broken relationships, and other evils that are clearly visible around us. I think it is vital for us to reflect on this and understand it because it helps us understand our own tendencies and desires. It helps us to understand the culture around us and how things like feminism and the rise of abortion are so prevalent. At the same time, we need to understand that there is hope in the midst of all this. Before even telling Adam and Eve the results of their sin, he tells them, via the cures of the serpent, that there will one day be a savior. There will be one who will crush the head of the serpent. This points to Christ, our only hope in life and death. So, as you contemplate the consequences of sin and how we are sinners ourselves, remember that we have a savior who has paid the penalty for our sin by his death on the cross.

Soli Deo Gloria

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