Reading: Genesis 3:6-7
The contrast between the paradise of Genesis 2 and the pain of Genesis 4 is striking. The world as we know it is not the same as the world as God created it. There was a time when this earth was free from the vagaries of humanity, when humanity lived with the promise of perpetuity, when sickness was not part of human vocabulary, and graves were unknown.
All of this changed at a point in history when we read of Adam that “he did eat.” This little statement of disobedience points us to the covenant that Adam broke with his creator: obedience meant life; disobedience meant death. The extent of this disobedience against God is seen in two particulars.
First, the place in which he sinned. Adam sinned in paradise; he could not claim that he was a victim of circumstance, social deprivation, or lack of education. He sinned in a perfect environment against all the odds. How often have we sinned against the odds, turned our back on a wholesome environment, a Christian home, a godly father or mother, and went out wilfully into the world and hurt those who loved us most.
Second, the people he sinned against. It was not in Eve but in Adam as the first created and the representative head that the human race fell. In his sin Adam brought his entire family— the human race—down with him. By disobedience Adam fell, and by disobedience we continue to fall today. But the effects of sin are not limited to the sinner himself. We, like Adam, cause those to fall who depend on us, look up to us, follow or emulate us. We never know the damage one sin can make as it ripples out from the center into the lives of those around us. Paul tells us to “walk in wisdom toward them that are without” (Colossians 4:5).
“Never did one sin strike so many at once.” Thomas Manton (1:270)