Jesse Tree 2. “Original Sin”

Scripture: Gen 3:1–19

Sin Is Disobedience

CHILDREN’S VERSIONIf you  would like to do this with smaller children, a version suitable for them can be had here.

Sin of Adam and Eve
Lucas Iacobsz van Leiden, “Sin of Adam and Eve” (ca. 1508–1533)

God created everything perfect, and because of God’s common grace, much of the beauty of his creation still survives in spite of divine judgment on sin. It’s surprising to hear discussion of what the nature of Adam and Eve’s sin must have been. I’ve heard pride, lust of the eye, and so forth. The simple answer is that it was disobedience. God had given them broad latitude in the garden of Eden, outlawing precisely one tree out of all his creation:

The LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” (Gen 2:16–17)

It seems like even the tree of life would have been a permitted tree before disobedience. But with Satanic enticement, Eve ate from the forbidden tree; then she became Satan’s agent and got Adam to eat from the forbidden tree. Adam should have stood at that tree and come to the knowledge of good and evil by judging the evil seducer rather than falling under the serpent’s enticement and learning of evil by becoming evil.

Sin Has Deadly Consequences

Adam and Eve
Phillip Medhurst, Adam and Eve cloth themeselves (Gen 3:7)

The Bible depicts an immediate loss of intimacy on two levels. Adam and Eve became ashamed of their nakedness before each other—something that never bothered them in their innocence before disobedience (Gen 2:25; 3:7). Worse, their shame made them want to hide from God as well (Gen 3:8).

God made judicial inquires, asking what they had done. Instead of confessing their sins and repenting, they only made excuses. Adam blamed it all on his wife Eve: “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit.” And then Eve blamed the serpent for tricking her (Gen 3:12–13).

But God blamed them both for disobeying him. He told them that this sin would trouble them—and right at the point of the creation mandate. They were to fill the earth, and for Eve and her daughters throughout the ages, that would mean childbirth. The judgment on sin touched her right there. Adam was to rule and subdue the earth; however, the the only crown the earth would bring him would be thorns and thistles (Gen 3:16–18), and the ground would conquer Adam—dust to dust.

Out of Eden
Adam and Eve are driven out of the garden, in Charles Foster: Story of the Bible in Pictures, 1873.

But we can be so glad of divine grace, from the coverings God provided to Adam and Eve, to the promise that the woman’s offspring would crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15). Thank God the story continues with God’s gracious provision through Jesus Christ our Lord. When Jesus met with the same enticer in his wilderness temptations, he succeeded where Adam had failed. He overcame the serpentine enticer by obedience and reverence for God’s Word.

Adam’s sin brought sin into the world, and with it came death and judgment (Rom 5:12–21). But “Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come” (Rom 5:14). One man’s sin brought death, “But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:15).

Questions, Reflections, and Commitments

  • What do you think might have been the result if Adam and Eve had gone straight to the tree of life and eaten from it while it was still a permitted tree, rather than heading for the forbidden tree and eating it?
  • Reflect on the double force of Paul’s argument in Romans 5:12–21, which is summarized as follows: “Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.”

Ornament for the day

  • Click here to download cross-stitch patterns for all the daily ornaments.
  • Click here to download a simple coloring book for all the daily ornaments.

Author: Dale A. Brueggemann

1 thought on “Jesse Tree 2. “Original Sin”

  1. Reading Fleming Rutledge, Advent during this Advent season and saw this comment that’s relevant to this day’s post:

    The fundamental difference, then, is that between judgment and condemnation. The Advent season helps us to understand this, but we need to be intentional about facing up to the way that the season locates us. There have been many attempts, in recent years, to soften the message of Advent, and not just in the commercial world where Advent calendars are sold. I have personally been present when new names for the candles of the four Sundays of Advent have been proposed along the lines of Peace, Joy, Love, and Hope. This presents quite a contrast with the medieval Advent themes of death, judgment, heaven, and hell—in that order! As we have seen, hope is a central key to the meaning of Advent, but hope is a very meager concept if it is not measured against the malevolence and godlessness of the forces that assail the creation and its creatures every day in “this present evil age” (Gal. 1:4). The New Testament cosmology will orient us properly in our conflict with these forces.

    Fleming Rutledge, Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2018), 23.

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