Was God Justified and Merciful?

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Genesis 3:8-19

God commanded happiness amid devastation and created good things. When he created man and saw it was not good for the man to be alone, he created woman. He then trusted his good things into the hands of the first man and woman. When he completed his work, he said it was “very good” and rested.

I find God’s observations about his creation puzzling. God saw everything as good. Was he blind to the bad in the serpent, in Adam and in Eve? I don’t think so. According to Revelation the lamb (Jesus) was “slain from the foundation of the world.”[1] Another translation says the lamb was slaughtered before the creation of the world.[2]

There is no point in debating whether or not God knew Adam and Eve would sin before he created them. But one thing is certain; he knew they could sin and had a backup plan to save them before he created them. He also did everything possible to prevent them from sinning. There was one forbidden tree in a garden filled with trees that were “pleasant to the sight, and good for food.”[3]

God knew what happened when he walked into the garden to find Adam and Eve covered in fig leaves. Before he judged their sin he gave them something they denied him—an opportunity to explain. Self-justification filled their explanations. The man blamed God for giving him the woman. The woman blamed the serpent for deceiving her. The serpent, whose slander about God led to the fiasco was not given an opportunity to speak.

God decreed the serpent to crawl on his belly and eat dust for the rest of his life, which indicates the serpent initially walked upright. He also promised to destroy the power in the serpent’s slander through the seed of a woman. That seed became the man we call Jesus.

The woman would bring Jesus, the seed of human salvation, into the world with great pain for God made the pains of childbirth severe. In addition to multiplying the pain of childbirth, the man she encouraged to sin against God became her ruler.

The knowledge gained through eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge would make her ruler arrogant. There is no greater misery than being ruled by an arrogant person. From that day to this woman cries victim when she suffers under man’s arrogance. But she is only eating the fruit of her own way and will do so until the arrogance in woman is broken.

Adam’s sin provoked God to decree a curse. But God did not curse Adam. He cursed the ground making Adam’s life harder. No longer would the ground easily produce lush fruit to nourish his body. Adam would eat by the sweat of his brow among thorns and thistles until he died.

God could have killed them all. He let them live, but they would bear the consequence of their sin. If any of them repented for the evil they did we don’t have a record. We have a record they blamed God and each other without remorse. God gave them good things. They thanked him by believing the worst of him and trusted the word of the serpent without proof. God’s judgments against them were justified and merciful.

[1] Revelation 13:8

[2] God’s Word Translation

[3] Genesis 2:9

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