The Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground.
Few things are as demoralizing in parenting as when a child screams, “I hate you!” to a parent who has just offered loving correction. Whether it comes from a toddler or a teenager, these words reveal a rejection of a parent’s care and discipline. Loving parents have a small insight into how God must feel when we reject His guidelines and gifts.
Our study transitions today to look at characters in Genesis who were sojourning—whether literally or figuratively—either toward or away from God. We begin with Adam and Eve, who stopped seeing creation as gift and started to seek their every fulfillment through it (3:5). But God is our only source of life, and He did not make creation to replace Him.
The first consequence is a new fear of God, as they could not bear the thought of facing Him (vv. 8–10). With this relationship poisoned, their alienation infected all other aspects of their life. In 2:23 Adam rejoiced in Eve, but now he blamed her for everything (v. 12). Eve also refused responsibility (v. 13). The joy and freedom they enjoyed with each other had disappeared.
In losing intimacy with God and each other, they also lost their relationship to creation. God meant for Adam and Eve to bear His image by bringing forth life, but now they will both experience pain and hardship as they do this (vv. 16–18).
God’s judgment banished them, but verse 22 shows His motivation. Had they eaten from the tree of life, they would not die, and thus could not be redeemed. His love was the foundation of His judgment. God knew their tendency to deify creation, and their physical and spiritual exile from it would give them a chance to know Him again.
Apply the Word
Adam and Eve thought their sin ended the possibility of knowing God. But God pursued them and immediately planned for humanity’s redemption (3:15). Our sin will always have consequences, but just as God protected Eve from Satan, God’s love for us remains despite our sin. He longs to protect us and save us from our idolatry of the gift.