We experience it a hundred different ways: It’s the call from the doctor telling us the tests are back, and it doesn’t look good. It’s the string of long nights spent at the office only to be passed over for the promotion. It’s the hurricane that wipes out half a city in an afternoon, and the political unrest that doesn’t seem to care who gets caught in the crossfire. It’s the marriage counseling that didn’t work; the guy who said he’d call but doesn’t; the pregnancy test that comes back negative; the child who’s losing her way—and we can’t do anything to stop it.
No one has to tell us. No one has to convince us. Something’s “off” in this world, and we know it. We feel it.
Between natural disasters, socio-political disruption, and personal disappointments, our lives hardly resemble the world of Genesis 1 and 2. And not without reason. While the first two chapters of the book of Genesis give us a glimpse of an idyllic paradise, only one chapter later paradise is lost.
Deceived by a snake and led by her own faulty thinking about God’s explicit command, Eve takes fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, eats it, and gives some to her husband (Genesis 3:1–6). A moment later, the open, perfect fellowship of Genesis 2, what made it possible for the man and his wife to stand before each other naked without a trace of shame, vanishes, and for the first time Adam and Eve use God’s creation to hide themselves, both from each other and from God (Genesis 3:7–8). Only four verses later, an already strained relationship is pushed to the limit as the man turns against God and his wife (v. 12). Before all is said and done, all of creation—the woman, the man, the earth—will suffer the effects of Adam and Eve’s sin (vv. 14–19). As Genesis 3 comes to an end, God drivesAdam and Eve out of the garden to make their life east of Eden.
It’s all too familiar, what we see in Genesis 3. And if all we were left with was a picture of a man and his wife broken by sin, it would be almost unbearable. But the thing about God is that he’s merciful. And so, in the midst of shame and hiding, blame and accusation, the pain of childbirth and the cursing of the ground, God made a promise, not to the man and not to the woman, but to the snake. God says, “Because you have done this . . . I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (vv. 14–15). Wrapped in that promise we find the foreshadowing of the gospel—the good news that God would send someone who would set right what Adam and Eve’s sin had broken.
And God has been true to his word, moving heaven and earth to restore what was lost in Genesis 3. It is toward this movement of redemption that we now move.