Man’s Connection to the Land – Part 5

Recently we’ve been working through a mini-series of sorts that examines man’s relationship to the land, as God created him from the dust of the ground. Having already seen how man was made in the image of God and was given the command to rule and reign over defined realms as God’s own vice-regent, we last looked at how man failed by violating the limits placed on him. Now we turn to see what the first consequences of these failures were and particularly if they impact this relationship with the land.

Looking back again to Genesis 2:17 we find that of all the commands and commissions man was given, only one had consequences that accompanied it. Here we note that in eating of the Tree of Knowledge, God told man, “…for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” The phrase you shall surely die is literally translated dying you shall die. But we have to ask ourselves, what kind of death is spoken off here? It’s clear based on subsequent chapters after The Fall that man did not immediately die, so was the serpent right (Gen. 3:4)?

This deserves a closer look and will take the next two posts to unpack.

While we might be able to see some of the consequences from man and woman’s sin manifested in their shame at being naked (Gen. 3:7), we definitely begin to see hints of its consequences in hiding themselves at the sound of God walking in the garden. As God approaches, we see Him calling specifically for the man and the shame and fear that was given in response.

And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

Genesis 3:10

God follows with an inquiry of the man, asking if he had eaten of the forbidden tree. Man’s response is telling in that he blames the woman and by implication blames God Who gave her to him, subsequently woman then blames the serpent. Reversing this order, God begins to assign consequences of the sin to all of the parties involved.

First is the serpent as God specifically states that he is cursed above, or separate from, “all livestock and above all beasts of the field.” Before we look at the specific curse levied on the serpent, noting well the language of curse, we see that in levying judgment, God sets the serpent apart as belonging to one of the realms that man had originally been given authority over, namely livestock and beasts of the earth. This is an area that man should have guarded and protected, subdued and taken dominion over, but he didn’t, leading to the first couple’s sin. Now, it is God intervening where man should have been obedient.

As to the direct curse placed on the serpent, God assigns him a humiliating defeat in declaring the serpent would now go on his belly eating the dust all of his days. There is a double application here, first in reference to actual serpents as created beings, which we know crawl on their bellies, and second with reference to Satan to whom God assigns defeat, further fleshed out in the next verse. As we know, not only did the serpent suffer the effects of the Fall, but the entire Animal Kingdom was now subjected to its effects, indeed all of creation. In other words, because of man’s connection to the land his failure in sinning impacted everything that God had created. Romans 8:19-23 comments more clearly on this:

19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:19-23

Sin is never isolated; it always has ripple effects. Here in a situation where man, had he obeyed God’s original command and commissions, could have limited the rebellion strictly to the serpent. However, he chose to sin thereby affecting all of creation. In this post we began to see the beginning of the fractured relationship between man and the land. Next time, we’ll look more closely at the serpent’s curse and then specifically how man’s sin would alter all future generations.

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Christian saved by grace through faith.

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