To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Once again, we see physical consequences for sin. The ground is cursed and it will be difficult to produce food. There will be thorns and thistles. He will have to work hard to get something to eat now. If you’ve ever seen Little House on the Prairie you can kind of get a picture here. Can’t you see Charles plowing a field, taking off his hat in the hot noonday sun and wiping the sweat from his brow? But in our everyday world, this isn’t something most of us experience. We just run down to the grocery store to get food. We don’t have to work the ground because someone else does it for us. If you have a garden, you might have some sense of the care and hard work that goes into growing your own food but for most of you it’s something you enjoy. Something that is special or extra…not something necessary to live.
What no one can escape though, is the second physical consequence…death. “…for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Before sin came into the world there was no death! This was a HUGE consequence, a huge price to pay for sin. Genesis 2:7 tells us that “the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” After sin came into the world, man would return to the ground and lose his life. This had to be shocking and confusing to Adam and Eve. This was the real kicker. Man wasn’t just going to have to work hard to survive, he would fail. He would die.
But there was a third physical consequence even worse than death. They were cast out of the Garden of Eden forever, no longer able to walk with God, separated from their Father. Both death and being cast out of the Garden symbolized a spiritual consequence that was much more devastating. Even worse than death and eviction. Separation from God. That’s what hell is my friends. Permanent separation from God. And we deserve it.
Yep, I brought it up. Hell. Listen, I want to assure you…there is phenomenally good news ahead. But we’ve got to fully understand how BAD the bad news is before we can begin to grasp just how amazingly GOOD the good news is. So stay with me because we’re almost there!