Death-- Plus Interest?
Time to take another close look at Genesis, the second and third chapters. I will highlight the verses I’m keying on:
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it. And the LORD God commanded the man,You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will certainly die.(2:15-17 )
- Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?The man said,The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.(3:11b-12)
- ----Then the LORD God said to the woman,What is this you have done?The woman said,The serpent deceived me, and I ate.(3:13)
- --------So the LORD God said to the serpent,Because you have done this, (3:14:a)
- ----To the woman he said, (3:16a)
- To the man he said, Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ’You must not eat of it,’ (3:17a)
Notice two important things here: the
mirrored order of confrontation and results, and the
God confronts the three in the order man, woman, serpent, but the responses are in reverse order: serpent, woman, man. And note especially the fact that while God said
Because you... to both the man and the serpent, he said nothing like that to the woman.
But we must ask: Why the second layer of responses? Didn’t God say
you will die, and didn’t it happen to both Adam and Eve? Then why the added items: the curses on the ground and the serpent? Was there
interest on the original penalty?
When a second layer of results is added, we must look for a second cause. God did not charge
interest on the death penalty, but instead was dealing with a second issue. But remember that the serpent was never part of the first warning. Only humans were told they would die. And since Eve was not cursed and God did not say
because you did this to her, that leaves Adam with receiving a second penalty. Why?
We’ve been over that before, but it bears repeating: Adam alone rebelled against God to the point of blaming Him and Eve for his sin. He didn’t point at himself or the serpent, but at Eve and God. So he alone was driven out to work the ground that he alone was taken from. Adam alone blamed God, and Adam alone was the cause of the cursed ground and the entrance of sin into the world.
As the Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45), then, Jesus came to pay for Adam’s unique penalty: hostility toward God. This is the difference between the sins of Adam and Eve; both ate the fruit, but only one turned against God. It is this turning against God that broke the relationship, and which required Jesus’ death to repair. Otherwise we can make no sense of why only Adam is blamed for sin (Rom. 5:12).