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THE TIME OF CORRUPTION
AND THE NATURE OF SIN
(A STUDY OF GENESIS 3:1 - 9:29)
ONE OF THE "LET'S STUDY GOD'S WORD TOGETHER" SERIES
WITH:  FRANK L. HOFFMAN

Copyright: 2000 - The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation

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Chapter 5
God's Grace
Genesis 3:20-21

Probably the most important thing for us to understand as we enter this portion of our study is that God's grace still functions in the face of unrepented sin, for none of the participants in the disobedient act of eating of the forbidden fruit ever expressed any remorse for what they did.  They only tried to excuse it away.

Let's begin this portion of our study by looking at the verses before us:

20    Now the man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.

21    And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

At first glance, verse 20 appears to be out of context with the previous verses of God's judgement (our last chapter), but verse 21 does fit very well into the context of the previous verses for God clothed their naked bodies, or we could say He covered their visual awareness of their past sin (their knowledge of being naked (Genesis 3:7)).  Thus, the question remains, why would Adam give his wife a name at this time? 

The answer lies in the fact that in the Hebrew tradition, the head of the family was responsible for naming those under his authority, just as Adam named the animals in Genesis 2:20.  Prior to the curse on Eve to be ruled by her husband (Genesis 3:16), Adam and Eve were as equals, thus neither was in authority to name the other.

The common understanding of the meaning of the name Eve is living or life, or in the case of a mother, one who brings forth life.  In Ecclesastes 2:22 this same word is used to express what man has made from all his labors.  In essence, we could say, "what have our labors begotten?", or "what works have we given life to?"  Eve will become the mother of all the living, and as such she will fulfill the name she has been given. 

It is also interesting to note that Adam did not pick up on the originally assigned purpose of the creation of woman in naming her.  She was created to be his help-mate, yet Adam did not uses this name or even imply it.  I believe that it's because at that time Adam considered her anything but a helper, for because of her (Genesis 3:12) he would have to do more work (Genesis 3:17-19).  He was most likely still blaming her for his own actions, something that we all to often do to this very day.

Nevertheless, we are left with the contemplating question of whether Adam chose the name Eve, prophetically, because she would be the mother of all corrupted people.  Referring back to the questions from our Ecclesastes 2:22 passage, could we answer the questions: "what have our labors begotton?" or "what works have we given life to? by answering, "a life of sin and corruption", or "a life no longer in paradise (the Garden of Eden)." 

In the naming of Eve, Adam also shows a strong faith in God's promise of having children:1

From Genesis 1:28 - And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth..."

And even from the curse of Genesis 3:16 - "In pain you shall bring forth children".

H. C. Leupold suggests that true faith cannot exist without true repentance preceeding it, which would make the naming of Eve a form of repentance.2   This may be true if we compare it to Genesis 15:6 where Abram's belief was reckoned to him as righteousness.  But we have all seen many instances of people believing or having faith in something, but never repenting.  An evil and unrepentant person can fly an airplane and have faith in the instruments that guide his or her flight through the clouds.  We can have faith that water will flow out of our showers when we turn them on, and we can do this without having a repentant attitude.  We can believe that the sun will rise, but as Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:45, it will rise upon the righteous and the unrighteous.  Personally, I don't see any real evidence of true repentance being expressed thus far in our study.  God's grace is functioning in spite of the unrepentant sins.

Likewise, Adam seems to confirm this act of God's grace, too.   In Genesis 2:17 God told Adam that if he ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge he would surely die.  Then immediately preceeding our study verse God repeats the fact that Adam will physically die, for he (and and the living) would return to the dust of the earth.  They would now physically die, unlike their state of being prior to the eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  However, through his wife, the human race would continue to live on in physical form.  It would not die out because of the curse of death.  She would be the mother of all the physical generations to follow.  She would be Eve.

If we combine our previous thoughts, the naming of Eve could thus be seen as an acknowledgment of the curse of death and the blaming of his wife for giving him the fruit to eat.  She will be the mother of the physically living who are now cursed to die, as opposed to their previous state of being where there was no death.  If we look at the verse in this context, it is quite appropriately placed, and it ties together the next verse.

21    And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

As we begin to look at this verse, let's keep in mind verse 19 and the fact that when we die our bodies decompose and return to the dust of the earth.   Is this verse talking about outer garments (clothes), or is it speaking about our now physical bodies being covered in the skin we now have, or is it speaking of both?

Let's think about this question in terms of Jesus' state of being after His resurrection, when He said to Mary Magdalene, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father" (John 20:17).  Was the reason He said this because His physical body was not completely transformed into the spiritual form He was to have in heaven?  I believe it was, and this seems to be confirmed when we look at John 20:19, where Jesus just appears in the disciples' presence having seemingly passed through the walls of the building, which had its doors and windows closed.  His state of being looked and felt physical, but it was now able to pass through walls.  It was no longer in the physical form that we have.  He could also appear and disappear from physical sight, as He did here and with the men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:15 and 31).   Was the prior state of being of Adam and Eve like that of Jesus after His resurrection?  We're not specifically told one way or the other, so it remains a distinct possibility.

At the end of our discussion of Genesis 3:14 in the previous chapter, we made the satelment: "It is also a well known fact that snakes shed their skins every year as part of their normal sequence of growth.  It is also quite likely that this serpent also shed his skin at that time, too, because of the physical changes to its body."  Let's picture this in the sequense of what happened.  The serpent obviously ate of the fruit prior to enticing Eve.  The serpents form was changed to a physical one.  Following the curse, the physical form was also changed, which in turn brought about the shedding of its skin.

 


1 Exposition of Genesis, 177

2 Exposition of Genesis, 177-178

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