God’s Response to Sin
Often, it is said, that God cannot handle sin. It is believed God forsook Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, because of sin, while he was dying on the cross. Uninstructed people have painted a very negative picture of God’s response to man when it concerns sin by painting a picture of a Father who could not even stay with His son even though His son had always obeyed Him. Consider these two verses:
And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone;
for I do always those things that please him.
Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own,
and shall leave me alone, and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
When any subject is considered in the Word of God every verse that pertains to that subject must be considered and understood. Either God never left His only begotten Son or Jesus lied when he uttered these words.
If God could not handle being with Jesus Christ while he was doing the will of His Father, dying for our sins on the cross, then how could God possibly put up with the rest of mankind? This “wisdom” makes a mockery of God and His loving and forgiving nature.
The first thing God does in this period of transition is to work with Adam and Eve. God endeavors to restore some fellowship. But man is still running from his sin. Therefore, God must work with Adam and Eve so that they can see that what they have done is wrong.
When a child has done something wrong, he can move in one of two directions. Either he can acknowledge the mistake and take whatever action is required for correction. Or he can add to his mistake by denying it or finding excuses to make the mistake seem smaller. One way leads to peace and right living, while the other way leaves you with fear and hardness. Before any child can choose to correct a mistake, you must first have the child’s attention.
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. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him,
Where art thou?
Some have said that this demonstrates that God has a limited foreknowledge. For if God knows where Adam is, why then, would He be calling for him? It is assumed that if God knows where Adam is, then He is only toying with Adam, playing a head game with Adam by calling for him. The illogic of this thought pattern is not really worth comment.
This illogic comes from making figurative things in God’s Word literal. Any mind that makes a figurative thing literal will also make literal things figurative. The result of such logic will be commandments and doctrines of men.
“Where art thou,” is two different figures of speech but three figures of speech in all. Let me explain. First, it is the figure anthropopatheia, giving God human characteristics. It is anthropopathia in that it shows God to be ignorant or lacking knowledge. Second, it is anthropopatia in that it shows God needing to call out. This is the same figure of speech used twice. The third figure of speech here is erotesis or interrogating. This means you ask a question without waiting for the answer. It is asking a question without looking for information. In other words, God is not calling out to Adam because He is unsure of where Adam is physically, mentally, or spiritually. God is calling out to Adam to get Adam’s attention.
Adam sinned in Genesis 3:6, at that time he lost holy spirit. What happened to Adam’s holy spirit when it left him?
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Like the body of man returning to dust, the spirit upon Adam returned to its origin, God. To believe God did not know where Adam was is also to say that God did not notice the spirit that was upon Adam, and Eve also, return to Him. This is not only a God that has a limited foreknowledge, He also isn’t very observant!
The question is asked to show Adam where he is at, to help him see the results of his disobedience. God is trying to reestablish some fellowship with Adam. But He cannot do that until He first has Adam’s attention.
And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden,
and I was afraid, because I was naked: and I hid myself.
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me,
she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Adam has his sin completely rationalized. “It was the woman! She did it. She gave it to me! You shouldn’t be talking to me God. You should be talking to Eve. This whole thing is really her fault.” Sounds much like the males in every society throughout time. No matter what has gone wrong, if there is a woman handy, it must have been her fault. But Adam doesn’t stop there with his rationalization or accusations.
Just in case blaming the woman doesn’t carry the day for Adam, he is ready with his next rationalization. “You, God, gave me the woman! It’s your fault! If you hadn’t given me this little lady none of this ever would have happened.”
This is covering his sin with lie upon lie. This is going in the wrong direction. No fellowship can be reestablished as long as Adam thinks along these lines, as long as Adam is in denial. Basically, Adam is saying that it is not his fault. He really didn’t do anything wrong. It was the woman, or it was God, it was anyone except Adam!
Then, finally, Adam says, “I did eat.”
Sometimes we act as though this whole thing took place in the amount of time it takes to read these few verses. There is no concept of time in these verses. Time is not an important consideration. Getting man’s attention, helping man realize what he has done, these are important. How long did this take, God does not say in His Word, therefore we do not know. But if we view this in light of man’s normal response time for accepting responsibility for his actions, it took God more than a few minutes to reach Adam’s heart.
Now God must also work with Eve for both of them have sinned.
1 Timothy 2:14
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
In Romans 5 we are shown Adam's sin. How that he heard something along side of God’s Word, how he then stepped along side of God’s Word, and then how he fell along side of God’s Word. Here in Timothy, we see that Eve is also part of the transgression, even though she could say that she was tricked. And, as a matter of fact, she does try to use that very point in speaking with God in the Garden about why she is not to blame for this whole mess.
And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done?
And the woman said, the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
Eve is just as good at rationalizing as Adam. First response from Eve is; “It is the serpent’s fault.” If you have a child or if you have ever had to deal with children, this whole situation should sound very familiar.
Johnny, what are you doing? You know perfectly well what Johnny is doing. You have eyes and you see the crayon in his hand, as well as the scribbling all over the wall in front of him. But you ask a question, “What are you doing”? This is the figure of speech interrogating. You are not looking for information. You what to get Johnny’s attention before you begin to correct him.
Then Johnny explains to you why this event has taken place. Maggie, his sister, got the crayons out of the box and “gave me this one.” If it wasn’t for Maggie, this never would have happened. And besides, you brought the crayons into the house in the first place. And it was dad that put this wall here in my room!
Then finally, while twisting the toe of his shoe into the floor in front of him, Johnny says, “Yes, I did write on the wall.” I can almost see Adam and Eve sticking their big toes into the ground in front of them and finally saying, “I did eat.”
God is simply working with Adam and Eve so that He can establish some fellowship with them after they have sinned. Overall it is amazing how God responds in these verses; so much for the common teaching that God cannot handle sin. In these verses He is handling things very well.
When you consider the results of Adam’s sin, the magnitude of this sin, even the turning of the earth over to the Devil, the enemy of God, God just goes about to get man in fellowship with Him again. God’s graciousness and mercy are overwhelming. God is not hiding from sin, nor is He running away from sin. God is standing and confronting the sin problem of man with love and forgiveness.
On the other hand, all man can do is try to hide his mistake, with fig leaves no less! And then he has a million other reasons why he disobeyed. There is always someone around that you can blame your sin on. God confronts the situation in love while man cowers in fear, hiding behind excuses and lies.
Man hasn’t progressed very far along the road of being responsible for his actions. For in our day and time we have accurately described life in the terms of, “no accountability.” Today no one is responsible for what they have done. It is always someone else. If not someone standing next to you, then it was the fault of someone from a previous generation. Perhaps even the entire generation! Natural man has not changed much since the Garden.
Perhaps this is a good time to answer your questions about Eve and how she was tricked by a snake. Eve said in verse 13 that the serpent beguiled her. In Genesis 3:1 we read that the serpent was subtil.
2 Corinthians 11:3
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty,
so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
The word beguiled could be translated seduced. And that is exactly what happened; Eve was seduced by the Devil. We can also see this in the word used for serpent. The word serpent means to whisper. This word shows us how the Devil dealt with Eve. He whispered to her, it was a seduction as opposed to a rape.
The Devil whispered sweet nothings in her ear. And that is a very accurate way to describe what the Devil had to say, nothing! He coached her, wooed her, he cooed at her, he seduced her, and as with any seduction, it took time.
Once again, Genesis 3:1-6 does not lay out a time frame. The amount of time that passed during this seduction is not as important as Eve allowing herself to be seduced. God does not handle time in these verses, He handles how mankind fell. This too becomes an important point when considered in light of what 2 Corinthians had to say about us not being deceived like Eve.
The method the Devil used to seduce Eve in the Garden is the same method he still uses in our world today. First, he wants you to doubt the integrity of the words of God. He wants you to consider questions about the integrity of God’s Word. Then he wants to draw you into a conversation along the lines of questioning the integrity of the Word. After that he will try to get you to add words, omit words and change words. In this manner, if you go along with the seduction, when your conversation is finished, you will no longer have the words of God because you will have changed them, skipped them, or added a few of your own. If you walk in this manner, then you also will have allowed yourself to be seduced by the Devil. He will have seduced you off of the Word of God.
The Devil did not attack Eve. Nor did he overpower Eve. The Devil could do neither of these things for he had no authority or power. The only way he could get to Eve was by seducing her, by tricking her.
This word serpent also shows us the greatness and the accuracy of God’s Word. It comes from a word that means to be bright. Now this is not to indicate that the serpent was still the shinning one or the morning star, as spoken of in Isaiah. If that were the case then God would have used that same word he used in Isaiah to speak of Lucifer as the morning star.
The great truth that can be seen in the use of this word is the appearance of the Devil during this seduction.
2 Corinthians 11:14
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
The Devil’s appearance, although precisely unknown, would not have been hideous, nor ugly, nor that of a snake. No more so then his schemes and covers in our day and time are hideous.
It sounds wonderful to save the environment, or to remove all poverty and homelessness. It is very noble to work toward world peace and harmony. The good causes, the wonderful works, the religious attitude all appear as excellent covers. But if any one of these is more important that your personal relationship with God, then you have been seduced. If these things or any other noble cause comes between you and God, then you have been seduced away from the greatness of your fellowship with God. None of these schemes are hideous but all have been used to replace God and fellowship with God.
Today men will read and follow their horoscopes in their local newspapers so that they know how to live that day. Many will place a phone call to a “physic” who will tell them how they are to act today. But these same men will never pick up a Bible and read it to learn how they should live their lives. This does not appear hideous or ugly. For the most part it seems very innocent and harmless. But it is worshipping the stars and the planets rather than God. It is a seduction of the Devil.
Who changed the truth of God into a lie,
and worshipped and served the creature [creation in the Greek text] more than the Creator,
who is blessed for ever. Amen.
The same can be said about those who spend their lives to save a whale, or a tree. But never get around to making Jesus Lord in their life so that they themselves are saved!
It looks good, to be dedicated to a worthy cause, not hideous. But it is no different than putting on fig leaves to cover for a lack of holy spirit. It has a nice dressing for the outside of the package while doing absolutely nothing for the inside. Natural man continues to work from the outside in. Natural man will always work from the outside in because the natural man does not and cannot understand spiritual matters.
This whole concept is also true when we elevate a person above God and His Word. For the most part this happens when two people in a marriage relationship will place one another before God and do it in the name of love. Yet another aspect of this, and perhaps much more common, can be seen when people who desire to know the heart of God place a teacher of God’s Word above God Himself. This is done when the words of a man, even a good man, are put ahead of the words of God. Rather than fellowship with God, rather than learn the words of God in their own life, rather than come to understand the heart of God as the individual walks with Him, these people rely almost totally and completely upon the words of their teacher. This was never the intent of God. God’s desire has always been to fellowship with each of His children one on one.
All of this appears very honorable, even very noble. Yet it is all the seduction of the Devil as he moves people away from God. Understand, these things are not wrong but rather it is how people elevate these things above or before God that makes them wrong. If you are keeping God first and saving a whale second, then God has an open door to help you see and understand the best way to save the whale. The point is to obey God, to keep Him first in your heart and life.
The Devil’s conversation and seduction of Eve was similar to all of these examples because it accomplishes the same ends, it separates people from God. Whatever the Devil’s exact form, when he was dealing with Eve, it was not hideous. He was the angel of light and even today transforms himself, even as his apostles transform themselves into the apostles of Christ.
Transition from the Garden