The first book of bible leads us into the creation of earth and humankind but also shows the disobedience that follows with the free will of humankind. Here is what was said in Ezekiel “You used to be a model of perfection, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty; you were in Eden, in the garden of God. All kinds of gem formed your mantle… I made you a living creature with outstretched wings, as guardian, you were on the holy mountain of God… Your behavior was exemplary from the day you were created until guilt first appeared in you… Ezekiel 28:12-13a, 14, 15”
The first intrusion of sin that we read about in Gen. 3:1-7 is the serpent convincing Eve through “truthful words” to eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The serpent’s contradiction of God’s pronouncement of death should her and Adam eat from this tree raised the question as to whether God had their best interests at heart, and what else was he keeping from them. The issue of knowledge at its deepest level is an issue of trust (Birch 49).
When God confronts the humans about their disobedience, rather than owning their mistake they cast blame, first Adam blames Eve (vs. 12) and then indirectly Adam blames God. God’s response to the disobedience comes in three-fold: 1. The serpent for the rest of its days on earth will crawl on its belly eating the dust of the earth (3:14). 2. The woman’s penalty resulted in the difficulties and dangers of conceiving, carrying, and giving birth to children, as well as subordination to the man. (New Interpreter’s Study Bible pp.12) 3. Mans penalty for the disobedience was the stress and effort of growing crops in a cursed soil laden with thorns and thistles.
The second intrusion of sin that we read about comes in the form of sibling rivalry and murder brought upon Abel by Cain (Gen. 4:8). Just as Adam and Eve had been banished from the Garden of Eden, Cain too, would be banished from the fertile ground in which he tended to the land of the desert. The fertile ground that had once provided sustenance for Cain would now be infertile and tainted with the spilt blood of his brother Abel. Cain was given a “mark” by God which may have signified banishment or excommunication for him and his descendants, but also protected them from death. What is important to note is that the first murderer was not put to death but exiled from God’s presence. Ironically, the restless wanderer builds a city and this image mirrors the experience of and implied audience in exile (Fretheim pp.80).
Our third introduction to the intrusion of sin would be as humankind populated the land so did sin. Divine beings “the sons of God” come down to earth and engage in sexual unions with the “daughters of humans,” creating a super race of giant legendary warriors called “Nephilim” (Heb.: Fallen Ones) (New Interpreters Study Bible Volume One Commentary pp. 7). There are several interpretations as to who the “sons of God” are but many counts refer to the rebellious “Fallen Angel” as Satan or the devil who wages war on God’s people. However, this breach of boundary between heaven and earth is a sign of cosmic rupture and another threat to God’s created order. The breach of this boundary causes God to limit life spans of humans from an average of 800-900 years in (Gen. 5) to a maximum of 120 years (Gen. 6:3).
When we look at the new generation of Cain and see the diversification of human culture and vocations, we can’t help but to think that these are signs of God’s hidden activity and blessings. Unfortunately, La’mech who is a descendant of Cain exemplifies the continuing negative and violent side, with him violence has no limits. He (La’mech) professes to (Gen 4:23-25) kill anyone who strikes him seventy-sevenfold, murder has no limits with him. From this conflicted family of Adam and Eve also comes the lineage of Seth the youngest brother of Cain. While both negative and positive effects are portrayed in the timelines; Seth’s children lived separate from mankind in a pastoral life, they dedicated themselves to the service of God which is why I believe that Noah descended from the house of Seth. Noah was a righteous man and so were his ancestors.
One begins to wonder why God would flood the earth and destroy all living creatures on it, especially after he had worked so hard to create it. We find the last straw of God’s patience with sinful behavior came in (Gen. 6:1-4) when the “sons of God” crossed the heavenly boundaries and defiled the women of humans. “The cosmic effects of sin, gave new possibilities for violence and would be a natural lead in to the flood narrative. The entire cosmos is caught up in the effects of violence and is threatened with extinction” (Fretheim pp80-81).
The Yahwist’s themes for these four verses are the divinely-established limits of acceptable human behavior and the hazard of transgressing those limits. These verses can be confusing however; they are about a human race, descended from Adam, that unfortunately chose sin over God, and will continue to obey this sinful nature until it is destroyed. Evil has now taken on a demonic dimension and now requires God to step in and eliminate it, and so he does as this is the forefront to the flood of annihilation.
What I think we should glean from these beginning chapters in Genesis about God’s nature is that there is a point of no return in our rejection of God. God will not woo us forever; there is a point where He will say “no more.” For us today it is more important than ever for this world to say “yes, to Jesus” instead of waiting for another day. One thing is for sure we have no guarantees that God will give us another day, and our union with Him will be the best decision that we as sinful creatures could ever make.