Let Us Make Man in Our Image: A Series on the Imago Dei, Part 3

This is the third post of a four-part series. Click here to view part 2.

III. Male and Female After the Fall

Primarily, one must look at the initial boundaries in the Garden of Eden concerning Adam and Eve’s obedience.  God had given them plenty of good food to eat.  They had various trees which bore fruit good to eat and delightful to look at.  There was one tree, however, in which God gave strict commands.  This tree was off limits.  It was the means by which Adam and Eve could further obey and bring glory to God.  They were given the privilege to eat of all the fruit of the garden and they were given the prohibition to not eat of the one tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:15-17 ESV)  God had laid out His desire very clearly, the day you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you will surely die.  This command is very intense and very clear.  This command was given to Adam not Eve.  He was in charge and the head of the human race.  Robert Culver comments on the intense language God used in His instruction concerning the forbidden tree, he writes:

Much theological writing misses the especially sharp, intensive, grammatical modes and fierce tone of these two verses (Gen. 2:16, 17), viz.: (1) of all the words for God’s instructions to human beings, the word ‘commanded’ (Heb. Tsawah) is the strongest.  It never occurs except in the intensive stem, either piel (act.) or pual (pass.).  When, as here, followed by a preposition ‘al, above, over, upon, against, the phrase means to command strictly.  We can almost visualize Elohim shaking the finger at Adam and saying ‘Do not!’[1]

The serpent knew just how to attack.  He “slithered” his way into the garden and immediately found Eve.  His method proved effective; make evil sound good, make God seem restrictive, and cause Eve to question God’s Word.  He did just that.  She was caught off guard without Adam standing in the gap for her.  She was left vulnerable and the evil serpent capitalized on the situation.  He began to explain to Eve the fruit was really there for her good, it would be good to eat, good to look at, and even go far in cause her to know things she does not currently know (Genesis 3:1-6).

Eve listened to the serpent and ate from the forbidden tree.  She then turned and gave some to Adam who was with her.  He also ate the fruit that God had strictly forbidden (Genesis 3:6).  What really happened that day was that the serpent had corrupted Adam and Eve’s thinking and heart before they were corrupted physically.  In other words, they entertained the thought of eating long before they ate.  We read in the Book of James, what really happened,

14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death
. (James 1:14-15 ESV)

This is the flow chart for human sin.  It happens the same way every time.  Mankind will be lured into sin because of some lustful thought he entertains.  When sin is what he secretly longs for, it does not take much temptation to cause him to commit the thing he longs to do anyway.  Such is the sad story of Adam and Eve, and us.

IV. Male and Female Under the Curse

The immediate consequence of the sin of Adam and Eve (known as the Fall) is, as God promised, death (Genesis 2:17).  Death now comes upon all men as a result of Adam’s sin.  The sentence of death is the plague in which we all are subject.  Even in this first act of utter rebellion God shows compassion and mercy as man did not die immediately.  Physical death, however, will claim each and every human given enough time.

Another aspect of the death Adam and Eve incurred is spiritual death.  Spiritual death is to be viewed as alienation from God (Ephesians 2:5; 4:18).  This is the death that every person is born into.  This is what Jesus spoke of when He interviewed Nicodemus.  He explained to Nicodemus that he had to be born again to see God’s Kingdom (John 3).  The new birth is critical because as a result of man’s first birth, all are born under our original head; namely, Adam.  Spiritual death also means that our original parents suffered the consequence of the penalty of being separated from God.  Their souls were now corrupt and this resulted in eternal death.  A. A. Hodge writes,

In the covenant relation which Adam sustained to God the penalty of the covenant of works was incurred, i. e., death, including, (1) mortality of the body, (2) corruption of the soul, (3) sentence of eternal death.[2]

In addition to death, both physically and spiritually, Adam and Eve suffered other immediate curses by God for their disobedience.  To Eve, God specifically announces two curses: First, He said that she would suffer in childbearing.  Giving birth would now be a painful experience for her and all women who would follow.  At the height of the woman’s self-fulfillment she will experience agony.  Second, she would suffer a breach in the one-flesh union.  No longer would her marriage relationship be one of harmony but it would now be a struggle.  Her role of helper would be overtaken by her intense desire to rule over her husband and overthrow him and to place herself as the authority.

Adam also suffered because of his disobedience.  God plainly tells Adam that because he listened to his wife and ate of the tree that God forbid cursed will be the ground. Harvesting food will no longer be easy, it will now be excruciating work and even involve pain (Genesis 3:17-19).  Adam went from being a gardener, as it were, pruning to a farmer, preparing the ground, fighting off weeds, and praying to God for a harvest.  Relief will only come to man when he dies.  So here too we see that death has entered the world because of sin.  Adam’s curse will last all the days of his life (Romans 5:12).  No longer is the Garden of Eden a place of peace, comfort, and security, but a place of pain and toil.  Victor Hamilton, in his commentary on Genesis writes,

The penalty for Adam’s disobedience and Cain’s fratricide is not death but expulsion and wandering, i.e., removal from safety of the garden and exposure to a life of severity and uncertainty.[3]

Brian Evans is the preaching elder and overseer at Grace Community Church in Waverly, Ohio. Brian holds a holds a B.A. in Pastoral Ministry from Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, an M.A. in Biblical Counseling from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and an M.Div. from Whitefield Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Th.D. from Whitefield in Biblical Counseling.


[1]  Robert Culver, Systematic Theology: Biblical & Historical (Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publishing House, 2005), 306

[2] A. A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology (Chatham, Great Britain: Banner of Truth, 1991), 323

[3] Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing House, 1990), 204

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: