Making important decisions without considering the consequences is foolish and dangerous, yet people do this every day. And many times they end up regretting the choices and realize too late that there are irrevocable consequences. Their hopes and dreams are shattered, and there’s no turning back. This is exactly what happened to Adam and Eve when they foolishly chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden.
All our actions have consequences; therefore, we should carefully consider the ramifications of our choices before we act. The story of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in Genesis chapter three warns us about the consequences of ignoring God and His commands and choosing to yield to temptation. Consider these consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden:
It put them at odds with nature (Gen. 3:16-19). Because Adam sinned, the ground was cursed. No longer would he experience the productivity of the Garden of Eden but would have to toil and contend with thorns and thistles to bring forth food. As a result of her sin, God told Eve He’d greatly multiply her pain in childbirth. The entire natural order changed after they sinned, and life was no longer as easy as it had been.
It put them at odds with each other (Gen. 3:6-13). After eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened, and they knew they were naked. Something within their spirits died, and they now saw each other in a different way and felt shame. They attempted to cover their nakedness with fig leaves and futilely tried to hide from God behind the trees. Then when the Lord questioned them about their sin, Adam blamed Eve, and she blamed the serpent. Their relationship with each other was changed and marred by sin.
It put them at odds with God (Gen. 3:7-8). Before sinning, Adam and Eve loved the Lord, but now they were afraid and tried to hide from Him because they felt guilty and ashamed. One bite of the forbidden fruit had ruined their relationship with their Creator. The consequences for their disobedience brought a curse upon the ground, a struggle to provide for themselves, pain and suffering, and eventual death (vv. 17-19). They were separated from the Lord both spiritually and physically as He drove them out of the Garden of Eden to begin life in a cursed environment.
It put their children at odds with each other (Gen. 4:1-8). Adam and Eve’s sin didn’t end with them but was passed on to their children. Sin is never an isolated event because the consequences always extend to touch others in some way or another. Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain, who was a farmer, and Abel, who was a shepherd. When they both came to offer sacrifices to the Lord, Cain brought the fruit of the ground, but Abel offered an animal from his flock.
Shortly after Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord had made it clear that fig leaves could not cover sin, but only the blood of an animal that He killed to cover them with garments made of skin. God demonstrated that the price of sin is death and that the shedding of blood is essential for the forgiveness of sin. Therefore the only way to approach Him in worship was with a blood sacrifice.
Cain knew what the Lord demanded, but instead of trading his produce with Abel in exchange for a lamb, he brought a bloodless sacrifice. When the Lord didn’t accept it, he became angry and jealous of his brother and killed him.
Sin is progressive in nature and intensifies with time. First Eve sinned by eating the fruit, then she gave it to Adam who also ate, and now sin had spread to their entire family, resulting in the murder of one son by the other. Romans 6:23 proved true: “The wages of sin is death.”
We never know where the consequences of sin will lead. Although we may try to hide our sin, it cannot be contained and will just worsen. The only solution for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ, which blots it out.
It put all mankind at odds with God (Gen. 3:22-24). Adam and Eve’s disobedience cost them their future. They were driven by the Lord out of the Garden of Eden; therefore, they would not eat from the Tree of Life, but live in their sinful condition, separated from God for the rest of their lives. But God provided skins from an animal killed on their behalf to demonstrate that forgiveness comes through shed blood. It was a symbol foreshadowing how God would send His perfect Son to the cross to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin with His death.
By faith in God’s promise of forgiveness through the shed blood, Adam and Eve were forgiven, but the consequences of their sin remained. They still had to leave the Garden of Eden, make a living by the sweat of their brow while dealing with thorns and thistles, and live with each other as sinful human beings.
Sin continued to increase with time, and by Noah’s day, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). Only Noah found favor in His eyes because he alone was a righteous man who walked with God (v. 8). Everyone else, except Noah and his family, was killed by the Lord in a worldwide flood.
Sin still wrecks our lives. The results may not be seen immediately or even in a few years, but sooner or later, the consequences will come. The only way to deal with sin is to admit to ourselves and the Lord that we have disobeyed Him. We must confess our sins, agreeing with God that they are an act of disobedience against Him and asking Him to forgive us on the basis of the shed blood of His Son on the cross (1 John 1:9).
This article was originally published on June 23, 2017, and is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “The Consequences of Disobedience in the Garden of Eden” .