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.
Monthly Archives: January 2013
We have here the sentence passed upon Adam, which is prefaced with a recital of his crime: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, Genesis 3:17. He excused the fault, by laying it on his wife:She gave it me. But God does not admit the excuse. She could but tempt him, she could not force him; though it was her fault to persuade him to eat, it was his fault to hearken to her. Thus men’s frivolous pleas will, in the day of God’s judgment, not only be overruled, but turned against them, and made the grounds of their sentence. Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee. Observe,
I. God put marks of his displeasure on Adam in three instances: –
1. His habitation is, by this sentence, cursed: Cursed is the ground for thy sake; and the effect of that curse is, Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee. It is here intimated that his habitation should be changed; he should no longer dwell in a distinguished, blessed, paradise, but should be removed to common ground, and that cursed. The ground, or earth, is here put for the whole visible creation, which, by the sin of man, is made subject to vanity, the several parts of it being not so serviceable to man’s comfort and happiness as they were designed to be when they were made, and would have been if he had not sinned. God gave the earth to the children of men, designing it to be a comfortable dwelling to them. But sin has altered the property of it. It is now cursed for man’s sin; that is, it is a dishonourable habitation, it bespeaks man mean, that his foundation is in the dust; it is a dry and barren habitation, its spontaneous productions are now weeds and briers, something nauseous or noxious; what good fruits it produces must be extorted from it by the ingenuity and industry of man. Fruitfulness was its blessing, for man’s service (Genesis 1:11, Genesis 1:29), and now barrenness was its curse, for man’s punishment. It is not what it was in the day it was created. Sin turned a fruitful land into barrenness; and man, having become as the wild ass’s colt, has the wild ass’s lot, the wilderness for his habitation, and the barren land his dwelling, Job 39:6; Psalm 68:6. Had not this curse been in part removed, for aught I know, the earth would have been for ever barren, and never produced any thing but thorns and thistles. The ground iscursed, that is, doomed to destruction at the end of time, when the earth, and all the works that are therein, shall be burnt up for the sin of man, the measure of whose iniquity will then be full, 2 Peter 3:7,2 Peter 3:10. But observe a mixture of mercy in this sentence. (1.) Adam himself is not cursed, as the serpent was (Genesis 3:14), but only the ground for his sake. God had blessings in him, even the holy seed: Destroy it not, for that blessing is in it, Isaiah 65:8. And he had blessings in store for him; therefore he is not directly and immediately cursed, but, as it were, at second hand. (2.) He is yet above ground. The earth does not open and swallow him up; only it is not what it was: as he continues alive, notwithstanding his degeneracy from his primitive purity and rectitude, so the earth continues to be his habitation, notwithstanding its degeneracy from its primitive beauty and fruitfulness. (3.) This curse upon the earth, which cut off all expectations of a happiness in things below, might direct and quicken him to look for bliss and satisfaction only in things above.
2. His employments and enjoyments are all embittered to him.
(1.) His business shall henceforth become a toil to him, and he shall go on with it in the sweat of his face,Genesis 3:19. His business, before he sinned, was a constant pleasure to him, the garden was then dressed without any uneasy labour, and kept without any uneasy care; but now his labour shall be a weariness and shall waste his body; his care shall be a torment and shall afflict his mind. The curse upon the ground which made it barren, and produced thorns and thistles, made his employment about it much more difficult and toilsome. If Adam had not sinned, he had not sweated. Observe here, [1.] That labour is our duty, which we must faithfully perform; we are bound to work, not as creatures only, but as criminals; it is part of our sentence, which idleness daringly defies. [2.] That uneasiness and weariness with labour are our just punishment, which we must patiently submit to, and not complain of, since they are less than our iniquity deserves. Let not us, by inordinate care and labour, make our punishment heavier than God has made it; but rather study to lighten our burden, and wipe off our sweat, by eyeing Providence in all and expecting rest shortly.
(2.) His food shall henceforth become (in comparison with what it had been) unpleasant to him. [1.] The matter of his food is changed; he must now eat the herb of the field, and must no longer be feasted with the delicacies of the garden of Eden. Having by sin made himself like the beasts that perish, he is justly turned to be a fellow-commoner with them, and to eat grass as oxen, till he know that the heavens do rule. [2.] There is a change in the manner of his eating it: In sorrow (Genesis 3:17) and in the sweat of his face (Genesis 3:19) he must eat of it. Adam could not but eat in sorrow all the days of his life, remembering the forbidden fruit he had eaten, and the guilt and shame he had contracted by it. Observe,First, That human life is exposed to many miseries and calamities, which very much embitter the poor remains of its pleasures and delights. Some never eat with pleasure (Job 21:25), through sickness or melancholy; all, even the best, have cause to eat with sorrow for sin; and all, even the happiest in this world, have some allays to their joy: troops of diseases, disasters, and deaths, in various shapes, entered the world with sin, and still ravage it. Secondly, That the righteousness of God is to be acknowledged in all the sad consequences of sin. Wherefore then should a living man complain? Yet, in this part of the sentence, there is also a mixture of mercy. He shall sweat, but his toil shall make his rest the more welcome when he returns to his earth, as to his bed; he shall grieve, but he shall not starve; he shall have sorrow, but in that sorrow he shall eat bread, which shall strengthen his heart under his sorrows. He is not sentenced to eat dust as the serpent, only to eat the herb of the field.
3. His life also is but short. Considering how full of trouble his days are, it is in favour to him that they are few; yet death being dreadful to nature (yea, even though life be unpleasant) that concludes the sentence. “Thou shalt return to the ground out of which thou wast taken; thy body, that part of thee which was taken out of the ground, shall return to it again; for dust thou art. ” This points either to the first original of his body; it was made of the dust, nay it was made dust, and was still so; so that there needed no more than to recall the grant of immortality, and to withdraw the power which was put forth to support it, and then he would, of course, return to dust. Or to the present corruption and degeneracy of his mind: Dust thou art,that is, “Thy precious soul is now lost and buried in the dust of the body and the mire of the flesh; it was made spiritual and heavenly, but it has become carnal and earthly.” His doom is therefore read: “To dust thou shalt return. Thy body shall be forsaken by thy soul, and become itself a lump of dust; and then it shall be lodged in the grave, the proper place for it, and mingle itself with the dust of the earth,” our dust,Psalm 104:29. Earth to earth, dust to dust. Observe here, (1.) That man is a mean frail creature, little as dust, the small dust of the balance – light as dust, altogether lighter than vanity – weak as dust, and of no consistency. Our strength is not the strength of stones; he that made us considers it, and remembers that we are dust, Psalm 103:14. Man is indeed the chief part of the dust of the world (Proverbs 8:26), but still he is dust. (2.) That he is a mortal dying creature, and hastening to the grave. Dust may be raised, for a time, into a little cloud, and may seem considerable while it is held up by the wind that raised it; but, when the force of that is spent, it falls again, and returns to the earth out of which it was raised. Such a thing is man; a great man is but a great mass of dust, and must return to his earth. (3.) That sin brought death into the world. If Adam had not sinned, he would not have died, Romans 5:12. God entrusted Adam with a spark of immortality, which he, by a patient continuance in well-doing, might have blown up into an everlasting flame; but he foolishly blew it out by wilful sin: and now death is the wages of sin, and sin is the sting of death.
II. We must not go off from this sentence upon our first parents, which we are all so nearly concerned in, and feel from, to this day, till we have considered two things: –
1. How fitly the sad consequences of sin upon the soul of Adam and his sinful race were represented and figured out by this sentence, and perhaps were more intended in it than we are aware of. Though that misery only is mentioned which affected the body, yet that was a pattern of spiritual miseries, the curse that entered into the soul. (1.) The pains of a woman in travail represent the terrors and pangs of a guilty conscience, awakened to a sense of sin; from the conception of lust, these sorrows are greatly multiplied, and, sooner or later, will come upon the sinner like pain upon a woman in travail, which cannot be avoided. (2.) The state of subjection to which the woman was reduced represents that loss of spiritual liberty and freedom of will which is the effect of sin. The dominion of sin in the soul is compared to that of a husband (Romans 7:1-5), the sinner’s desire is towards it, for he is fond of his slavery, and it rules over him. (3.) The curse of barrenness which was brought upon the earth, and its produce of briars and thorns, are a fit representation of the barrenness of a corrupt and sinful soul in that which is good and its fruitfulness in evil. It is all overgrown with thorns, and nettles cover the face of it; and therefore it is nigh unto cursing, Hebrews 6:8. (4.) The toil and sweat bespeak the difficulty which, through the infirmity of the flesh, man labours under, in the service of God and the work of religion, so hard has it now become toenter into the kingdom of heaven. Blessed be God, it is not impossible. (5.) The embittering of his food to him bespeaks the soul’s want of the comfort of God’s favour, which is life, and the bread of life. (6.) The soul, like the body, returns to the dust of this world; its tendency is that way; it has an earthy taint, John 3:31.
2. How admirably the satisfaction our Lord Jesus made by his death and sufferings answered to the sentence here passed upon our first parents. (1.) Did travailing pains come in with sin? We read of thetravail of Christ’s soul (Isaiah 53:11); and the pains o death he was held by are called odinai (Acts 2:24),the pains of a woman in travail. (2.) Did subjection come in with sin? Christ was made under the law,Galatians 4:4. (3.) Did the curse come in with sin? Christ was made a curse for us, died a cursed death,Galatians 3:13. (4.) Did thorns come in with sin? He was crowned with thorns for us. (5.) Did sweat come in with sin? He for us did sweat as it were great drops of blood. (6.) Did sorrow come in with sin? He was a man of sorrows, his soul was, in his agony, exceedingly sorrowful. (7.) Did death come in with sin? He became obedient unto death. Thus is the plaster as wide as the wound. Blessed be God for Jesus Christ!
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Man is condemned to exhausting labor in order to make a living. This is because of God’s curse upon the ground. Adam was to work before the Fall (2:15), but now it would be tin the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground. Years later, Lamech cried out for relief from the curse upon the ground and the difficulty of farming (5:29). Adam was created from the dust of the ground, and unto dust shalt thou return. This is not to imply that Adam will go back to the animal kingdom.
Read Genesis 3:16
We have here the sentence passed upon the woman for her sin. Two things she is condemned to: a state of sorrow, and a state of subjection, proper punishments of a sin in which she had gratified her pleasure and her pride.
I. She is here put into a state of sorrow, one particular of which only is specified, that in bringing forth children; but it includes all those impressions of grief and fear which the mind of that tender sex is most apt to receive, and all the common calamities which they are liable to. Note, Sin brought sorrow into the world; it was this that made the world a vale of tears, brought showers of trouble upon our heads, and opened springs of sorrows in our hearts, and so deluged the world: had we known no guilt, we should have known no grief. The pains of child-bearing, which are great to a proverb, a scripture proverb, are the effect of sin; every pang and every groan of the travailing woman speak aloud the fatal consequences of sin: this comes of eating forbidden fruit. Observe, 1. The sorrows are here said to be multiplied, greatly multiplied. All the sorrows of this present time are so; many are the calamities which human life is liable to, of various kinds, and often repeated, the clouds returning after the rain, and no marvel that our sorrows are multiplied when our sins are: both are innumerable evils. The sorrows of child-bearing are multiplied; for they include, not only the travailing throes, but the indispositions before (it is sorrow from the conception), and the nursing toils and vexations after; and after all, if the children prove wicked and foolish, they are, more than ever, the heaviness of her that bore them. Thus are the sorrows multiplied; as one grief is over, another succeeds in this world. 2. It is God that multiplies our sorrows: I will do it.God, as a righteous Judge, does it, which ought to silence us under all our sorrows; as many as they are, we have deserved them all, and more: nay, God, as a tender Father, does it for our necessary correction, that we may be humbled for sin, and weaned from the world by all our sorrows; and the good we get by them, with the comfort we have under them, will abundantly balance our sorrows, how greatly soever they are multiplied.
II. She is here put into a state of subjection. The whole sex, which by creation was equal with man, is, for sin, made inferior, and forbidden to usurp authority, 1 Timothy 2:11, 1 Timothy 2:12. The wife particularly is hereby put under the dominion of her husband, and is not sui juris – at her own disposal, of which see an instance in that law, Numbers 30:6-8, where the husband is empowered, if he please, to disannul the vows made by the wife. This sentence amounts only to that command, Wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; but the entrance of sin has made that duty a punishment, which otherwise it would not have been. If man had not sinned, he would always have ruled with wisdom and love; and, if the woman had not sinned, she would always have obeyed with humility and meekness; and then the dominion would have been no grievance: but our own sin and folly make our yoke heavy. If Eve had not eaten forbidden fruit herself, and tempted her husband to eat it, she would never have complained of her subjection; therefore it ought never to be complained of, though harsh; but sin must be complained of, that made it so. Those wives who not only despise and disobey their husbands, but domineer over them, do not consider that they not only violate a divine law, but thwart a divine sentence.
III. Observe here how mercy is mixed with wrath in this sentence. The woman shall have sorrow, but it shall be in bringing forth children, and the sorrow shall be forgotten for joy that a child is born, John 16:21. She shall be subject, but it shall be to her own husband that loves her, not to a stranger, or an enemy: the sentence was not a curse, to bring her to ruin, but a chastisement, to bring her to repentance. It was well that enmity was not put between the man and the woman, as there was between the serpent and the woman.
14And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The prisoners being found guilty by their own confession, besides the personal and infallible knowledge of the Judge, and nothing material being offered in arrest of judgment, God immediately proceeds to pass sentence and, in these verses, he begins (where the sin began) with the serpent. God did not examine the serpent, nor ask him what he had done nor why he did it but immediately sentenced him, 1. Because he was already convicted of rebellion against God, and his malice and wickedness were notorious, not found by secret search, but openly avowed and declared as Sodom’s. 2. Because he was to be for ever excluded from all hope of pardon and why should any thing be said to convince and humble him who was to find no place for repentance? His wound was not searched, because it was not to be cured. Some think the condition of the fallen angels was not declared desperate and helpless, until now that they had seduced man into the rebellion.
I. The sentence passed upon the tempter may be considered as lighting upon the serpent, the brute-creature which Satan made use of which was, as the rest, made for the service of man, but was now abused to his hurt. Therefore, to testify a displeasure against sin, and a jealousy for the injured honour of Adam and Eve, God fastens a curse and reproach upon the serpent, and makes it to groan, being burdened. See Romans 8:20. The devil’s instruments must share in the devil’s punishments. Thus the bodies of the wicked, though only instruments of unrighteousness, shall partake of everlasting torments with the soul, the principal agent. Even the ox that killed a man must be stoned, Exodus 21:28,29. See here how God hates sin, and especially how much displeased he is with those who entice others into sin. It is a perpetual brand upon Jeroboam’s name that he made Israel to sin. Now, 1. The serpent is here laid under the curse of God: Thou art cursed above all cattle. Even the creeping things, when God made them, were blessed of him (Genesis 1:22), but sin turned the blessing into a curse. The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field (Genesis 3:1), and here, cursed above every beast of the field.Unsanctified subtlety often proves a great curse to a man and the more crafty men are to do evil the more mischief they do, and, consequently, they shall receive the greater damnation. Subtle tempters are the most accursed creatures under the sun. 2. He is here laid under man’s reproach and enmity. (1.) He is to be for ever looked upon as a vile and despicable creature, and a proper object of scorn and contempt: “Upon thy belly thou shalt go, no longer upon feet, or half erect, but thou shalt crawl along, thy belly cleaving to the earth,” an expression of a very abject miserable condition, Psalm 44:25 “and thou shalt not avoid eating dust with thy meat.” His crime was that he tempted Eve to eat that which she should not his punishment was that he was necessitated to eat that which he would not: Dust thou shalt eat. This denotes not only a base and despicable condition, but a mean and pitiful spirit it is said of those whose courage has departed from them that they lick the dust like a serpent, Micah 7:17. How sad it is that the serpent’s curse should be the covetous worldling’s choice, whose character it is that he pants after the dust of the earth! Amos 2:7. These choose their own delusions, and so shall their doom be. (2.) He is to be for ever looked upon as a venomous noxious creature, and a proper object of hatred and detestation: I will put enmity between thee and the woman. The inferior creatures being made for man, it was a curse upon any of them to be turned against man and man against them and this is part of the serpent’s curse. The serpent is hurtful to man, and often bruises his heel, because it can reach no higher nay, notice is taken of his biting the horses’ heels, Genesis 49:17. But man is victorious over the serpent, and bruises his head, that is, gives him a mortal wound, aiming to destroy the whole generation of vipers. It is the effect of this curse upon the serpent that, though that creature is subtle and very dangerous, yet it prevails not (as it would if God gave it commission) to the destruction of mankind. This sentence pronounced upon the serpent is much fortified by that promise of God to his people, Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder (Psalm 91:13), and that of Christ to his disciples, They shall take up serpents(Mark 16:18), witness Paul, who was unhurt by the viper that fastened upon his hand. Observe here, The serpent and the woman had just now been very familiar and friendly in discourse about the forbidden fruit, and a wonderful agreement there was between them but here they are irreconcilably set at variance. Note, Sinful friendships justly end in mortal feuds: those that unite in wickedness will not unite long.
II. This sentence may be considered as levelled at the devil, who only made use of the serpent as his vehicle in this appearance, but was himself the principal agent. He that spoke through the serpent’s mouth is here struck at through the serpent’s side, and is principally intended in the sentence, which, like the pillar of cloud and fire, has a dark side towards the devil and a bright side towards our first parents and their seed. Great things are contained in these words.
1. A perpetual reproach is here fastened upon that great enemy both to God and man. Under the cover of the serpent, he is here sentenced to be, (1.) Degraded and accursed of God. It is supposed that the sin which turned angels into devils was pride, which is here justly punished by a great variety of mortifications couched under the mean circumstances of a serpent crawling on his belly and licking the dust. How art thou fallen, O Lucifer! He that would be above God, and would head a rebellion against him, is justly exposed here to contempt and lies to be trodden on a man’s pride will bring him low, and God will humble those that will not humble themselves. (2.) Detested and abhorred of all mankind. Even those that are really seduced into his interest yet profess a hatred and abhorrence of him and all that are born of God make it their constant care to keep themselves, that this wicked one touch them not, 1 John 5:18. He is here condemned to a state of war and irreconcilable enmity. (3.) Destroyed and ruined at last by the great Redeemer, signified by the breaking of his head. His subtle politics shall all be baffled, his usurped power shall be entirely crushed, and he shall be for ever a captive to the injured honour of divine sovereignty. By being told of this now he was tormented before the time.
2. A perpetual quarrel is here commenced between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil among men war is proclaimed between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. That war in heaven between Michael and the dragon began now, Revelation 12:7. It is the fruit of this enmity, (1.) That there is a continual conflict between grace and corruption in the hearts of God’s people. Satan, by their corruptions, assaults them, buffets them, sifts them, and seeks to devour them they, by the exercise of their graces, resist him, wrestle with him, quench his fiery darts, force him to flee from them. Heaven and hell can never be reconciled, nor light and darkness no more can Satan and a sanctified soul, for these are contrary the one to the other. (2.) That there is likewise a continual struggle between the wicked and the godly in this world. Those that love God account those their enemies that hate him,Psalm 139:21,22. And all the rage and malice of persecutors against the people of God are the fruit of this enmity, which will continue while there is a godly man on this side heaven, and a wicked man on this side hell. Marvel not therefore if the world hate you, 1 John 3:13.
3. A gracious promise is here made of Christ, as the deliverer of fallen man from the power of Satan. Though what was said was addressed to the serpent, yet it was said in the hearing of our first parents, who, doubtless, took the hints of grace here given them, and saw a door of hope opened to them, else the following sentence upon themselves would have overwhelmed them. Here was the dawning of the gospel day. No sooner was the wound given than the remedy was provided and revealed. Here, in the head of the book, as the word is (Hebrews 10:7), in the beginning of the Bible, it is written of Christ, that he should do the will of God. By faith in this promise, we have reason to think, our first parents, and the patriarchs before the flood, were justified and saved and to this promise, and the benefit of it, instantly serving God day and night, they hoped to come. Notice is here given them of three things concerning Christ:– (1.) His incarnation, that he should be the seed of the woman, the seed of that woman therefore his genealogy (Luke 3:1-38) goes so high as to show him to be the son of Adam, but God does the woman the honour to call him rather her seed, because she it was whom the devil had beguiled, and on whom Adam had laid the blame herein God magnifies his grace, in that, though the woman was first in the transgression, yet she shall be saved by child-bearing (as some read it), that is, by the promised seed who shall descend from her, 1 Timothy 2:15. He was likewise to be the seed of a woman only, of a virgin, that he might not be tainted with the corruption of our nature he was sent forth, made of a woman(Galatians 4:4), that this promise might be fulfilled. It is a great encouragement to sinners that their Saviour is the seed of the woman, bone of our bone, Hebrews 2:11,14. Man is therefore sinful and unclean, because he is born of a woman (Job 25:4), and therefore his days are full of trouble, Job 14:1. But the seed of the woman was made sin and a curse for us, so saving us from both. (2.) His sufferings and death, pointed at in Satan’s bruising his heel, that is, his human nature. Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness, to draw him into sin and some think it was Satan that terrified Christ in his agony, to drive him to despair. It was the devil that put it into the heart of Judas to betray Christ, of Peter to deny him, of the chief priests to prosecute him, of the false witnesses to accuse him, and of Pilate to condemn him, aiming in all this, by destroying the Saviour, to ruin the salvation but, on the contrary, it was by death that Christ destroyed him that had the power of death, Hebrews 2:14. Christ’s heel was bruised when his feet were pierced and nailed to the cross, and Christ’s sufferings are continued in the sufferings of the saints for his name. The devil tempts them, casts them into prison, persecutes and slays them, and so bruises the heel of Christ, who is afflicted in their afflictions. But, while the heel is bruised on earth, it is well that the head is safe in heaven. (3.) His victory over Satan thereby. Satan had now trampled upon the woman, and insulted over her but the seed of the woman should be raised up in the fulness of time to avenge her quarrel, and to trample upon him, to spoil him, to lead him captive, and to triumph over him, Colossians 2:15. He shall bruise his head, that is, he shall destroy all his politics and all his powers, and give a total overthrow to his kingdom and interest. Christ baffled Satan’s temptations, rescued souls out of his hands, cast him out of the bodies of people, dispossessed the strong man armed, and divided his spoil: by his death, he gave a fatal and incurable blow to the devil’s kingdom, a wound to the head of this beast, that can never be healed. As his gospel gets ground, Satan falls (Luke 10:18) and is bound, Revelation 20:2. By his grace, he treads Satan under his people’s feet (Romans 16:20) and will shortly cast him into the lake of fire, Revelation 20:10. And the devil’s perpetual overthrow will be the complete and everlasting joy and glory of the chosen remnant.
11And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
We have here the offenders found guilty by their own confession, and yet endeavouring to excuse and extenuate their fault. They could not confess and justify what they had done, but they confess and palliate it. Observe,
I. How their confession was extorted from them. God put it to the man: Who told thee that thou wast naked? Genesis 3:11. “How camest thou to be sensible of thy nakedness as thy shame?” Hast thou eaten of the forbidden tree? Note, Though God knows all our sins, yet he will know them from us, and requires from us an ingenuous confession of them not that he may be informed, but that we may be humbled. In this examination, God reminds him of the command he had given him: “I commanded thee not to eat of it, I thy Maker, I thy Master, I thy benefactor I commanded thee to the contrary.” Sin appears most plain and most sinful in the glass of the commandment, therefore God here sets it before Adam and in it we should see our faces. The question put to the woman was, What is this that thou hast done? Genesis 3:13. “Wilt thou also own thy fault, and make confession of it? And wilt thou see what an evil thing it was?” Note, It concerns those who have eaten forbidden fruit themselves, and especially those who have enticed others to eat it likewise, seriously to consider what they have done. In eating forbidden fruit, we have offended a great and gracious God, broken a just and righteous law, violated a sacred and most solemn covenant, and wronged our own precious souls by forfeiting God’s favour and exposing ourselves to his wrath and curse: in enticing others to eat of it, we do the devil’s work, make ourselves guilty of other men’s sins, and accessory to their ruin. What is this that we have done?
II. How their crime was extenuated by them in their confession. It was to no purpose to plead not guilty.The show of their countenances testified against them therefore they become their own accusers: “I did eat,” says the man, “And so did I,” says the woman for when God judges he will overcome. But these do not look like penitent confessions for instead of aggravating the sin, and taking shame to themselves, they excuse the sin, and lay the shame and blame on others. 1. Adam lays all the blame upon his wife. “She gave me of the tree, and pressed me to eat of it, which I did, only to oblige her”–a frivolous excuse. He ought to have taught her, not to have been taught by her and it was no hard matter to determine which of the two he must be ruled by, his God or his wife. Learn, hence, never to be brought to sin by that which will not bring us off in the judgment let not that bear us up in the commission which will not bear us out in the trial let us therefore never be overcome by importunity to act against our consciences, nor ever displease God, to please the best friend we have in the world. But this is not the worst of it. He not only lays the blame upon his wife, but expresses it so as tacitly to reflect on God himself: “It is the woman whom thou gavest me, and gavest to be with me as my companion, my guide, and my acquaintance she gave me of the tree, else I had not eaten of it.” Thus he insinuates that God was accessory to his sin: he gave him the woman, and she gave him the fruit so that he seemed to have it at but one remove from God’s own hand. Note, There is a strange proneness in those that are tempted to say that they are tempted of God, as if our abusing God’s gifts would excuse our violation of God’s laws. God gives us riches, honours, and relations, that we may serve him cheerfully in the enjoyment of them but, if we take occasion from them to sin against him, instead of blaming Providence for putting us into such a condition, we must blame ourselves for perverting the gracious designs of Providence therein. 2. Eve lays all the blame upon the serpent: The serpent beguiled me. Sin is a brat that nobody is willing to own, a sign that it is a scandalous thing. Those that are willing enough to take the pleasure and profit of sin are backward enough to take the blame and shame of it. “The serpent, that subtle creature of thy making, which thou didst permit to come into paradise to us, he beguiled me,” or made me to err for our sins are our errors. Learn hence, (1.) That Satan’s temptations are all beguilings, his arguments are all fallacies, his allurements are all cheats when he speaks fair, believe him not. Sin deceives us, and, by deceiving, cheats us. It is by the deceitfulness of sin that the heart is hardened. See Romans 7:11; Hebrews 3:13. (2.) That though Satan’s subtlety drew us into sin, yet it will not justify us in sin: though he is the tempter, we are the sinners and indeed it is our own lust that draws us aside and entices us, James 1:14. Let it not therefore lessen our sorrow and humiliation for sin that we are beguiled into it but rather let it increase our self-indignation that we should suffer ourselves to be beguiled by a known cheat and a sworn enemy. Well, this is all the prisoners at the bar have to say why sentence should not be passed and execution awarded, according to law and this all is next to nothing, in some respects worse than nothing.
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked and I hid myself.
We have here the arraignment of these deserters before the righteous Judge of heaven and earth, who, though he is not tied to observe formalities, yet proceeds against them with all possible fairness, that he may be justified when he speaks. Observe here,
I. The startling question with which God pursued Adam and arrested him: Where art thou? Not as if God did not know where he was but thus he would enter the process against him. “Come, where is this foolish man?” Some make it a bemoaning question: “Poor Adam, what has become of thee?” “Alas for thee!” (so some read it) “How art thou fallen, Lucifer, son of the morning! Thou that wast my friend and favourite, whom I had done so much for, and would have done so much more for hast thou now forsaken me, and ruined thyself? Has it come to this?” It is rather an upbraiding question, in order to his conviction and humiliation: Where art thou? Not, In what place? but, In what condition? “Is this all thou hast gotten by eating forbidden fruit? Thou that wouldest vie with me, dost thou now fly from me?” Note, 1. Those who by sin have gone astray from God should seriously consider where they are they are afar off from all good, in the midst of their enemies, in bondage to Satan, and in the high road to utter ruin. This enquiry after Adam may be looked upon as a gracious pursuit, in kindness to him, and in order to his recovery. If God had not called to him, to reclaim him, his condition would have been as desperate as that of fallen angels this lost sheep would have wandered endlessly, if the good Shepherd had not sought after him, to bring him back, and, in order to that, reminded him where he was, where he should not be, and where he could not be either happy or easy. Note, 2. If sinners will but consider where they are, they will not rest till they return to God.
II. The trembling answer which Adam gave to this question: I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, Genesis 3:10. He does not own his guilt, and yet in effect confesses it by owning his shame and fear but it is the common fault and folly of those that have done an ill thing, when they are questioned about it, to acknowledge no more than what is so manifest that they cannot deny it. Adam was afraid, because he was naked not only unarmed, and therefore afraid to contend with God, but unclothed, and therefore afraid so much as to appear before him. We have reason to be afraid of approaching to God if we be not clothed and fenced with the righteousness of Christ, for nothing but this will be armour of proof and cover the shame of our nakedness. Let us therefore put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and then draw near with humble boldness.