Sin Carries Dire Consequences (Gen. 3:7–8, 16–19)
How did the guilty pair show their guilt and shame? What judgments were pronounced on the woman and the man?
Verses 7–8: And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
Adam and Eve were expecting to become wise and be like God. All they found was guilt and shame. They lost their innocence. The eyes of them both were opened, but instead of the new insight and wisdom they expected, they knew that they were naked.
At the heart of their sin was their decision to turn from God; therefore, they soon discovered that their sin had separated them from God and from each other. They “heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze” . Apparently they had walked together with God before sin came, but after they sinned, they hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. This is the worst consequence of sin; it separates the sinner from God. The Lord came looking for them and asked, “Where are you?” (v. 9,). God showed the first indication of His love by seeking sinners. He knew where they were, but they did not realize the seriousness of their sin and the depth of His love.
In verses 10–13 God confronted each of them about their sin. Their responses show that sinners try to blame their actions on someone other than themselves. Eve blamed the serpent. Adam blamed Eve and ultimately God. This shows that sin separates from others.
Verses 16–19: Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 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; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 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.
Verses 14–15 describe the curse on the serpent. We will look at this in the next point in the outline.
Verse 16 tells of the consequences of sin for the woman. The consequences were in the two basic areas of her life: procreation and her relationship with her husband. Three times God mentioned sorrow, twice to the woman and once to the man. To Eve God said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. To Adam God said, in sorrow shalt thou eat of it. The word can be translated “labor”. In Eve’s case, the word refers to labor pains in giving birth. In Adam’s case, it refers to his work as “labor.”
In both cases the punishment was directed against something that was part of God’s good creation. The good creation included being fruitful by giving birth (1:28) and by caring for the garden (2:15). God created the woman capable of giving birth. This was part of God’s good creation. He gave man the work of tending the garden. This made work a part of God’s good creation. The coming of sin made childbearing more painful, and it turned useful work into grinding toil.
The second consequence of sin for the woman was stated in the last part of Verse 16. The two key words are desire and rule. These two words appear in 4:7, where sin desired to control Cain. Thus some interpreters think that Verse 16 means that the woman desired to control the man. Other Bible students think that the meaning is that the woman would desire the man in sexual ways and in other ways. In either case, the woman’s desire would be frustrated because the man would rule over the woman. This may refer to the exercise of the husband’s legitimate leadership role in the marriage, or it may refer to those men who pervert that role into domination, which is sinful.
Verses 17–19 describe the consequences of sin for the man. We have already noted that sin turned useful work into ceaseless toil. Because of the man’s sin, the ground was cursed. Notice that neither the woman nor the man was cursed—only the serpent and the ground. But the cursed ground made life hard for the man. Hard labor was necessary for him to have bread. Rather than being caretaker of a beautiful garden, he toiled amidst thorns and thistles. He was able to survive only by the sweat of his brow. The curse on the ground also had broad effects on the earth as a whole. God’s image in man was marred, but the good earth was also injured. Both it and humans need to be redeemed (Rom. 8:19–22).
The second part of the sin’s consequences for the man was death for him and for his posterity. Not only would his life become toil but he would return to dust. God made man from dust, and man would return to dust. Human mortality is one of the consequences of sin. The biblical view of death is not that of a friend but of an enemy (1 Cor. 15:26).
What are the lasting truths in Genesis 1:7–8, 16–19?
Sin does not deliver what it seems to offer.
2. Sin brings guilt and shame.
3. Sin separates from God and others.
4. Sin has dire consequences for the sinner and for others.
5. Sin distorts God’s purpose in the good creation.