Adam and Eve were created for relationship…relationship with the Creator and relationship with one another. In God’s brilliant design, two humans came from one and were then reunited, becoming one flesh (Genesis 2:24). They enjoyed God and they enjoyed one another. But sin shattered what was once beautiful and fulfilling.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s one command, He had every right to pass immediate judgement and destroy them. After all, He had warned them that the penalty for disobedience would be death. But He didn’t. And He didn’t walk away. Instead, they experienced God’s abundance of love and grace.
Adam and Eve were informed they would experience tragic consequences because of their sin. God told Eve, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16).
God did not curse His beloved Eve as He did the serpent. He foretold the consequences that would affect her as a wife and as a mother. She would experience pain. And the institution of patriarchy would begin.
God claims responsibility for labor pains but He is not clear about whether the change in relationship between Adam and Eve is prescriptive or predictive. Reading the entire context of Scripture, I leans towards believing His statement is prophetic and not a prescribed punishment. Time and time again, despite prophetic warnings, God’s people rebelled against Him causing Him to leave them to their own folly. I am not going to take a strong stance because 1) it is not definitive and 2) I’m just a student who is always learning. Regardless, the verdict was not God’s original plan for life in Eden. In Eden, pain did not exist and oneness thrived.
As a side note to those who consider the statement prescriptive, I acknowledge the argument that it was necessary for a system of authority to restore order over the chaos sin had created (and we read of the chaos that ensued when Adam and Eve tried to blame everyone else for their sin). Chaos wasn’t part of God’s original plan either.
Which brings me to the point I’ve pondered for years. Why isn’t the church doing its part to live as God originally wanted us to live? And why isn’t the church fighting for complete restoration? In other words, why is the church settling for a Genesis 3 existence instead of pursuing the Genesis 1 and 2 existence? It’s countercultural but I think there is the better way, the road less travelled, the road to Eden, the road towards restoration, redemption and wholeness. And I think God wants His church to lead the way.
The first church was told, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus…There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26,28).
That’s what Eden is! Oneness. One regarding the essentials of our faith. One regardless of nationality, race, class, or gender. One in the desire to reveal God’s heart for the world. One in the use of our gifts and talents for the gospel. Unity in our relationship with God and with one another. And as His church, we are following the living Christ home and hoping to bring with us as many people as we can.
The Fall was never the last word. The consequences are not a permanent condition. No, our God offers restoration and redemption. As should His church.
Thought to ponder:
What part am I doing in rejecting the consequences of the fall and fighting for the restoration of Eden?