Monday, April 20, 2015

Theft #17H - Stealin' Back Death - Where It Hurts the Man

            17 Now to Adam He said, "That you listened to the voice of your wife and you ate from the tree which I  commanded you, saying, 'You will not eat from it:' Cursed (is) the ground because of you.  In toil you will eat it all the days of your life.  18 But the thorn and the thistle it will make sprout for you, and you will eat the plant of the field.   19 By the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return into the ground, for from it you were taken.  For dust (are) you, and into dust you will return." 

Well, the man gets a much longer rebuke than the women.  This shouldn't surprise us, since the man was created first, and--as the expression goes--the "buck" stops with him. It's clear from the creation passages in Gen One and Two that the Man was head of the Woman from the beginning, and Romans 5:12 that it was through "one man" that sin and death entered the world.  He tried to blame the Woman, and by implication he tried to blame God, but it just doesn't wash:   Adam is guilty!

Before we get to the actual consequences of his sin, we get this interesting comment by God on the exact nature of Adam's disobedience:  "you listened to the voice of your wife, and you ate . . . . "   Yikes!   He listened to his wife rather than to God.  Now the account in Genesis 3:6 simply says that she "gave also to her husband with her and he ate," but the implication in God's rebuke is that she talked him into eating, in some way.  And he "drank the Kool-Aid," so to speak, or--literally--ate the fruit.  This business of a husband listening to negative counsel from his wife comes up several times in Scripture, always with disastrous results. The husband won't always listen when the wife tries to control, as we already saw in God's rebuke to the Woman in Gen 3:16.  But what began as a perfect marriage in perfect harmony with the Creator has now become a struggle between the man and woman, and between both of them and God.

God's rebuke of Adam is also worded in a unique way:  "Cursed is the ground because of you."   OK, the serpent was cursed, which makes sense, but neither the woman nor the man is cursed.  Instead, it is the 'ground," which is arguably "innocent" in this whole affair, since non-sentient pieces of the creation can hardly be guilty of sin.  However, just as in the woman's case, God's imposed consequence strikes deep and hard at the area of the man's primary responsibility: feeding his family;  at what we might call his "job."   Before the Fall, he was essentially a caretaker of a garden orchard which God planted, watered and brought to fruition;  the man merely had to gather the fruit.  But now:  man has to dig and plant the ground himself, and--just to make it interesting--the ground can't cooperate very well.  Instead of, or--probably--in addition to the desired crop, he gets "thorns and thistles," .... what we know from our modern yards as "weeds."  But the man has to labor and sweat and be frustrated and do the job anyway, because this now becomes the primary source of food, such as it is.  Man's "labor" is just as difficult, in it's way, as woman's "labor" in childbirth.

But why the ground for the man anyway?  Well, let's remember how Adam was created:  from the dust of the ground, which God points out here in a couple different ways, and also adds the grim truth that now Adam will return to that dust, most certainly when he dies.  Adam's fate is like the modern bumper-sticker:  "Life is hard, and then you die."

Now most of us know from the New Testament that even this radically difficult life/death cycle is not the end, and we did have a hint in Genesis 3:15 that the "seed of the woman" will crush the "seed of the serpent." We got a hint of some kind of redemption.  

And in the next post, which will summarize and close this deathly series, we'll discover what the price will be for mankind's redemption, and that price is high indeed.

Later in Christ,
The Thief

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