************ Sermon on Genesis 3:20; 4:1-2 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on February 6, 2011
Genesis 3:20; 4:1-2
"Eve, the Mother of All the Living"
I Creation Ordinances
A The first three chapters of Genesis are foundational. They tell us how Adam and Eve, their children, and you and I are to relate to God, to one another, and to the creation.
Let's first look at our relationship to God. Do you remember how God's work of creating ended? Listen to the description of the seventh day:
(Gen 2:2-3) By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. (3) And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.This, as you know, provides the basis for the fourth commandment (Ex 20:8-11). So, on the seventh day man is to rest as God rested. As we learn from the rest of the Bible, we are to rest from our labor so we can concentrate on God and His worship. With Adam and Eve, we are to worship God because He is our Creator; He is the One Who made us and formed us. And, we are to worship God because, in Christ, He is also the One Who saves us.
But Genesis 1-3 tells us there is more to our relationship with God than rest and worship. There is also obedience. Adam, and man, was called to obey God's decrees and commandments in what we know as the covenant of works.
(Gen 2:16-17) And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; (17) but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."In this covenant, God entered into an agreement with Adam as the representative of the human race. Obedience to this covenant means continued access to the Tree of Life while disobedience would result in death.
Next, we see our relationship to one another. Remember the first marriage? When no suitable partner for Adam could be found, God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; He took one of the man's ribs and from that rib God made woman. God then brought the woman to the man.
(Gen 2:23-25) The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman, ' for she was taken out of man." (24) For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (25) The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.Do you see how the first two humans related to one another? The first man and first woman complemented each other, they completed each other, they were united to one another. Theirs was a relationship marked by love, trust, harmony, and peace.
As we went through Genesis 2 do you remember what else we saw in this first marriage? We saw God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman. And, we saw that man is the spiritual head of the woman.
Finally, in Genesis 1-3 we also see man's relationship to the creation. God commanded His image-bearer to exercise dominion over the Creation:
(Gen 1:28) God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."We know this as the cultural mandate – man's call to subdue the creation in the name of God and to the glory of God. Related to this, do you remember the mandate given to Adam when God placed him in the perfection of the Garden? Man was commanded to work the Garden and take care of it (Gen 2:15).
Worship, the covenant of works, marriage, male spiritual headship, the cultural mandate, and work – we know these as creation ordinances. These are the ordinances that God has built into the very fabric of Creation. These are the ordinances that govern our relationship to God, to man, and to Creation both in this life and in the life to come – though they will be transformed in the life to come. These are the ordinances that govern our lives today. These are the ordinances that govern a little baby like Leah Amber Bekedam, a boy like Dennis Verhoeven Jr, and a young adult like Daniel Hildreth.
B Many people today view these creation ordinances with dismay.
You know today's attitude towards Sunday and obedience. Consider the initials or acronym TGIF – Thank God Its Friday. The attitude today is that Monday to Friday are the days in which I need to satisify and please others but the weekend is for me and my enjoyment. Well, no it isn't. Sunday is a gift of God and is to be devoted to God. As for obedience, no one wants to be told how to live – from the smallest child to the oldest adult. Each one of us, like Adam and Eve, want to decide what is right in our own eyes. Even some Christians and some churches view God's law as the Ten Suggestions rather than as the Ten Commandments – not realizing that they are a gift from God telling us how to live happily before Him.
God's gift of marriage is also under attack today. We all know about the push to redefine marriage. We all know about the push to legitimize gay and lesbian relations. It has reached the point where our Christian school – for its own protection – has to have rules for the Winter Formal that forbid two girls or two guys from attending together. Furthermore, no pastor today can afford to assume when it comes to weddings: I cannot assume I am being asked to marry a guy to a gal, I cannot assume that both partners have never been married before, I cannot assume that there are no children. Finally, I am sure you all realize that male spiritual headship is mocked and scorned and ignored today – even in some Christian homes where wives refuse to submit and men refuse to lead.
Consider, also, today's attitude towards the cultural mandate and work. Environmentalists scoff as the notion that man has been given dominion over the earth. They believe we have no more rights than any of the animals; in fact, many would say we humans have even less rights. Furthermore, many people today view work as God's punishment rather than as God's gift. Or, they view work as something to be done only to earn a paycheck. While it is true that certain aspects of our work are cursed, labor nonetheless remains a gift from God. Thus we are to toil enthusiastically for the sake of God's glory. We need to have the right attitude towards work and the use of our talents.
You all know the reason for these sinful attitudes towards God's creation ordinances. Man, as created, knew worship, the covenant of works, marriage, male spiritual headship, the cultural mandate, and work as blessings of God. But man, as fallen, began to look at these same blessings as curses and as restrictions that cramp one's lifestyle. All because of the fall into sin what started off as a blessing became seen as a curse.
Regardless of what we think or feel, the creation ordinances are gifts from God that tell us how we relate to God, to one another, and to the Creation. And, as I said earlier, they apply to Adam and Eve and their children, they apply to all of us today, and they apply to Leah Amber, Dennis Jr, and Daniel too.
II Eve, the Mother of All Living
A As you know, man broke and violated and despised the creation ordinances established by God. God's response was a three-fold judgment – upon the serpent, the woman, and the man. Each of the judgments involved two elements – a judgment upon a life function and a judgment upon a relationship. And, do you remember the consequence of the judgment? Man was driven out from the Garden, kicked out, banished (Gen 3:23-24). Remember what this symbolized? This symbolized spiritual death because man was removed from the presence of God and the Tree of Life. In fact, man had to be removed because God had warned man in the covenant of works that when he ate from the forbidden fruit he will surely die (Gen 2:17).
Now, within this context of judgment and death I want you to listen, again, to the second part of the curse upon the serpent:
(Gen 3:15) And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.God is cursing the serpent. But do you hear the implied promise made to the woman? God says she will have offspring. In the midst of death's punishment, the woman is promised offspring.
B Adam and Eve heard the judgment of God. But they must have also heard the blessing of God implicit in the curse. So what does Adam do right after the curse has been pronounced? Adam renames his wife. Remember what we said about naming in Genesis? The greater names the lesser. So, it is God Who names day and night, sky and land, and thereby shows He is Lord over them all (Gen 1). It is the man who gives names to all the livestock, the birds of the air, and all the beasts of the field (Gen 2:19-20) thereby showing God has given man dominion over the earth and everything in it. It is the man who also calls his suitable helper "woman" thereby showing he is the woman's head. And now, after the judgment, in another act of headship, the man calls the woman "Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living" (Gen 3:20). Adam and Eve, notice, are looking to the future. Their focus is life and not death.
C "Eve." "The mother of all the living." Quite a name. Quite a title. But what does this mean? Because, remember, names mean something in Genesis and in the Bible. Listen, now, to the opening two verses of Genesis 4:
(Gen 4:1-2) Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man." (2) Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.It is one whole century after the fall (cf Gen 5:3; 4:25) and Eve finally becomes pregnant and gives birth to Cain and then Abel. Can you even imagine waiting 100 years for a child? In his commentary, Calvin says Cain and Abel were probably twins. In this early period of human history, it appears that children were born in pairs.
Do you see what is happening in Genesis 4? Even though they have been driven from the Garden, Adam and Eve still begin to fulfill God's mandate to fill the earth (Gen 1:28). They are able to do this because Eve is the mother of all the living. From her every person and every family gets life. Not just Cain and Abel, but also Seth and other sons and daughters (Gen 4:26; 5:4). And through them Eve was also the mother of Noah and Moses and Solomon and Leah, Dennis Jr, and Daniel too. In fact, every member of the human race can trace their lineage back to Eve. She truly is "the mother of all the living" (Gen 3:20).
D "Eve." "The mother of all the living." Quite a name. Quite a title. Now, if Eve is the mother of all the living, what is Adam? Does this mean he is the father of all the living? The Bible does not say that. Instead, Adam is viewed as the father of sin and death. His name is "Adam" which recalls he comes from the ground and – in death – will return to the ground (Gen 2:7; 3:19). Listen to how Paul puts this in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15:
(Rom 5:12) Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned ...Keep in mind what we learned when we looked at the fall. We learned that Eve was deceived into sin while Adam sinned with his eyes wide open. Eve did not know what she was doing while Adam did know what he was doing (1 Tim 2:14). We learned that Adam failed miserably as the spiritual head of his family.
(1 Cor 15:22) For as in Adam all die ...
E "Eve." "The mother of all the living." Quite a name. Quite a title. This says something about Adam and Eve. This says something about their faith. In an act of faith, Adam names his wife "Eve ... the mother of all the living" even though he has just heard the judgment of God – a judgment which we know includes both physical and spiritual death. And, in an act of faith, notice what Eve says at the birth of Cain: "With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man" (Gen 4:1). Eve is the first mother. And she recognizes that her children are a gift of God. And she is expressing gratitude – like the Bekedams and Verhoevens – for the Lord's blessing of a child.
Adam and Eve have fallen. And, in them, the entire human race has fallen. Yet, theirs is a faith in God, His promises, and His providence.
There is in a Paris museum a famous picture called "The First Night Outside Paradise." Our first parents have been driven out of the Garden of Eden and are preparing to spend the first night in the desert beyond. In the distance can be discerned the figure of the angel with the flaming sword, but the eyes of the outcasts are not fixed on him. They are gazing far above his head, and there, outlined in light – faint, but unmistakable – the artist has painted a cross. In wondering awe their gaze is fastened on it.Whether they realize it or not, Adam and Eve were ultimately looking toward a Son Who will crush the serpent's head.
F "Eve." "The mother of all the living." Quite a name. Quite a title. We finally understand something strange about the curse upon Satan. Listen to the curse again:
(Gen 3:15) And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.The curse mentions the woman and her offspring. When we first looked at Genesis 3:15 I asked the question: Why the woman and not the man; why the offspring of the woman and not the offspring of the man? After all, isn't Adam the head of the woman? Shouldn't Adam be mentioned here because he came first and it was he who named the woman? So why the mention of the woman – and her offspring – instead of the man?
The woman is mentioned because the woman is "the mother of all the living." Because every member of the human race, including the promised Savior, traces their lineage back to her. Consider the genealogy in Matthew 1. It is clearly the family tree of Joseph. Yet, Jesus is identified not as the son of Joseph but as being born of Mary (Mt 1:16). Along the same line, Paul writes,
(Gal 4:4) But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law ... (cf Mt 1:23)The same kind of thinking is found in the Apostles' Creed which emphasizes Jesus' birth of the virgin Mary.
Genesis 3:15 not only mentions the woman's physical children but also her spiritual children. According to Genesis 3:15, it is Eve's spiritual offspring who fight against the offspring of Satan. Who are these offspring? They are Abel, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah. They are Moses, Elijah, David, Solomon. The spiritual offspring of the woman are all the covenant people of God, the children of Israel, the church – what we know as the bride of Christ. Again, Eve truly is the mother of all the living – of those who live in and because of Christ.
Let me end by asking if you are one of Eve's spiritual children? You are if you, like Leah and Dennis Jr, have been set apart by baptism as God's own children. You are if you, like Daniel, truly do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and confess Christ before men.
And how do you know for sure? The offspring of the woman are those who stand against the devil's schemes and extinguish his flaming arrows. The offspring of the woman oppose sin and evil. Unlike the people of Israel during the days of Elijah and Ahab, they do not try to serve both light and darkness, Christ and Belial, the temple of God and idols (1 Kings 18:20-21; 2 Cor 6:14-16). They are the people who arm themselves with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the shoes of the Gospel, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6).
So, let me ask again: with Leah and Dennis Jr and Daniel are you, by grace, one of Eve's spiritual children?
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