Are God’s Judgments Merciful?

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Read Genesis 3

God told Adam he would die if he ate from the tree of knowledge, but death was not immediate. Adam lived 930 years after he ate the forbidden fruit. To God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.[1]  From his perspective, Adam died in the day he ate of the forbidden tree.

Adam and Eve learned the hard way the consequences of sin may be delayed but not stopped.[2] God’s actions should have told them death would not be immediate. After he judged them, he clothed them. The leaves they had attempted to cover themselves with were inadequate. Leaves would not protect their skin from the thorns and thistles the earth would now produce. God shed the blood of an animal to provide leather clothing. Even though God decreed the thorns and thistles, he took action to protect the ones who deserved thorns and thistles.

After God judged their sin and softened the consequences, he made a perplexing statement. “The man has now become like one of us knowing good and evil.”[3]

Adam and Eve already bore the image of God. They were already “like one of us.” Their sin added an attribute of God. They became more like God. Yet thousands of years of human history prove we are nothing like God. The paradox teaches us an important lesson. There is no one like God. We can look like God and possess all of his attributes, and we would still destroy ourselves and everyone around us.

God’s next statement sounds harsh, but it’s filled with mercy. He said, “He [Adam] must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” The Bible calls death an enemy that will be conquered. But death is also a friend that frees us from lives of misery and pain that our sins create to wait for a better day.

[1] 2 Peter 3:8

[2] Genesis 5:5

[3] Genesis 3:22

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