Punishment. No one likes to be punished. Even as an adult I have an aversion to punishment. Why is it we do not like punishment and some do all they can to avoid it? Why is that some know the actions that require punishment, yet they have more joy in the wrong action than they care about the pain of the punishment? We have heard, read, or watched many who perform a wrong action and then do all they can to avoid the punishment. Some spend the rest of their lives hiding so they do not get caught. Some are able to avoid the earthly punishment, but many are caught.
Punishment. The man and the woman tried to hide their sin from God, but they were unsuccessful. As you recall from Genesis 3:7-9, the man and the woman made clothes to cover themselves and then “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8). When we do wrong our first instinct is to run, or hide, or lie, or pretend we did nothing wrong. How many different TV shows are aired about criminals, their crimes, and their attempts at covering up their wrong behavior? How many mystery books are written that attempt to solve the cover-up of the crime? We have no trouble seeing the crime, but we do have trouble following the clues, finding the motive, and catching the criminal.
Punishment. God has no trouble finding the wrong doers or questioning them about the sin they committed. God knew their sin as they were committing it since God is omniscient. So now for the punishment. Why did God hand down the punishment He did?
- The serpent- Genesis 3:14. We do not see the serpent mentioned in the creation account in Genesis 1 specifically, but rather he is part of the group known as the animals that were created on day 6. There has been much speculation about the original form of the serpent…did he have legs? After we see the curse that was handed down, we are led to believe that the serpent had legs.
- Satan- Genesis 3:15. We know that Satan puffed himself up and doing this he fell from his glorious place in heaven as one of the angels. The punishment for his pride was to demote him from an angel in the presence of God to an angel over the evil realm. This was his punishment for his pride, but because he deceived the woman, Satan was handed down more punishment from God. Genesis 3:15 is a prophecy foreshadowing Jesus’ coming to die on the cross and take the punishment for our sins. During this time Jesus, God’s Son, will not only pay for our sins, but He will also seal the fate of Satan and “bruise his head” which is a fatal wound to his head.
- Woman-Genesis 3:16. If you remember from Genesis 1 and 2 God made the woman as a helper for the man and “to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” The woman was made as a helper to man also as a needed part for procreation. The punishment from God dealt directly with these two purposes of the woman. She would have pain during childbirth. Since there was no birth before the fall we do not know what childbirth would be like without pain, but we know that after the fall there is pain in childbirth. The next part of the punishment deals with the power struggle between the woman and the man. The woman made the decision to eat the fruit rather than consult with her husband and with God. Genesis 3:16 says “…your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.” The word desire here means to seek control. God is saying that the woman will seek to control her husband and exert her will, but the man will “rule” over the woman. The woman seeks to overthrow the man’s authority as the head of the home. There is this constant power struggle between the two.
- Man-Genesis 3:17-19. God’s charge to the man after creation found in Genesis 1:28-31, Genesis 2:15, 19. God gave man the responsibility to work and keep the garden and to name the animals. Once the animals were named that job was complete, but the working of the ground was a continual process. The man’s curse dealt specifically with this responsibility. There would be thorns and thistles or constant difficulties in the life of man as he struggled to provide for his family.
Each blessing or responsibility given in the beginning was turned into a difficulty because of sin. It became a constant reminder of the sin in their lives. Punishment for wrong doing is inevitable, unless you “get away with it.” One of my Dad’s favorite sayings is, “If he can live with it, I can live without it.” Can people live with their guilt? Or is it better to face the music and receive our punishment?