Something’s Wrong

Welcome to the FAQ for module 5—something’s wrong. The following questions include video and/or written answers and are also included in the guide for your leader. You may like to raise these questions during your group time, and we also place them here for you to explore and re-explore at your leisure.

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Q 1a. Did God create evil?

Ep 5 Q 1a
Short answer:
No. Firstly, God is completely perfect and pure and cannot create evil. Secondly, evil is not a ‘thing’ and therefore was never created.

 

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Discussion:
There are two reasons why God did not create evil:

1. God is completely perfect and pure. Therefore he cannot make evil, do evil or encourage evil. The Bible uses the word ‘holy’ to speak about God’s perfection and purity, and this is why we find this sentence about God—“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:3). A prophet in the Bible once wrote about God, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing (Habakkuk 1:13).

2. Evil is not a created thing. Things are created but evil is not a thing; therefore, it is uncreated. If it is uncreated, God cannot have created it. When we say evil is not a ‘thing’, we mean it’s not a tangible, physical object that we can take and put it in a cabinet on display, any more than we can capture a thought and put that on display.

But of course, we now want to ask the next question: If evil is not a thing, what is it? Evil is better understood as a bad relationship between otherwise good things. Something is evil when it stands in a wrong relationship to something else. We commit evil when we violate God’s boundaries and put two good things in a bad relationship. Perhaps these examples will help explain this:

a. Sexual Immorality. God made our bodies. Our bodies are good. God made us male and female. The Bible says that God planned human reproduction and sexual fulfilment in the context of marriage. That means reproduction and sexual fulfilment outside of marriage are wrong. The bodies are good in themselves but, if they are in a bad relationship, the act is said to be evil.

b. Theft. Money is good. The coins are well made, perfectly round and of good metal with a good imprint. They represent value accurately. We work to earn money to enable us to live. The thief’s hand is good. It works well. The bones and muscles and nerves are in perfect working order. The fingers are strong and nimble. But when the thief takes our good money and puts it in his good hand, it is a bad relationship. The money does not belong there. An act of evil (theft) has taken place.

c. Murder. The gun is good. It is made of good metal, is well designed, well crafted, the barrel is perfectly straight, the trigger is perfectly balanced and the gun can fire the bullet perfectly well. The hand that holds it is good. The head it is aimed at is also good. It is well connected to the body, the blood is flowing and the brain is working; the eyes can see, the ears can hear and the mouth can talk. But when the good gun is aimed and fired at the good head, it is a bad relationship. An act of evil (murder) has taken place.

d. Lies. The words are good. They are perfectly adequate means of communication. They can be well combined and show perfect grammar. Put together, they make good sense and can convey the intended meaning. But if the good words fail to match reality because they are crafted to deceive, they are a lie. Once formulated, a lie has been conceived. Once it has been communicated, a lie has been told.

 

Q 1b. Why did God permit evil?

Ep 5 Q 1b
Short answer:
Because God is good, he must have permitted evil to exist so that a greater good would come from it. There are at least two ways that a greater good could come:

1. God permitted evil to display his greatness.
2. God permitted evil so he could destroy it forever.

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Discussion:
God did not create evil because he is holy, nor could he create evil because evil is not a ‘thing’ (see Q 1a above). God, in his wisdom, permitted evil to exist. But why would a loving, good and all-powerful God even permit evil? The reason must be that it was the best way to bring about an even greater good. But what good could possibly be ‘that good’ that God would permit something so awful as evil to exist? There are two possible answers:

1. God permitted evil to show his greatness. A diamond always looks its brightest when it is placed against the backdrop of black velvet. Sitting against this black background, the diamond sparkles like never before. This illustration is a little like God and evil. If there were no sin, we would never be able to:

a. Experience the wonder of God’s forgiveness
b. See God’s patience in the face of persistent sin
c. See God’s limitless love for the truly ‘unlovely’
d. Appreciate the light of God’s holiness against the darkness of sin
e. Know God’s merciful help to those in misery
f. Appreciate God’s wisdom in face of extreme problems.

Incredibly, in God’s great genius, he frustrates the purpose of evil by making it the occasion for his greater glory to shine!

2. God permitted evil so he could destroy it forever. By allowing evil to come into existence, God could deal with it and destroy it. And when evil is destroyed forever, God will make a new world for us… the best of all worlds… where evil can never again raise its ugly head because God has dealt with it and got rid of it. This new world will be full of people who choose only good and, because of this, evil will never again be possible! Dr Norman Geisler put it this way: “A world where evil is not defeated is nowhere near as good as a world where it is defeated.”1

1 Norman L. Geisler, “God, Evil and Dispensations”, in Walvoord: A Tribute, ed. Donald K. Campbell (Chicago: Moody Press, 1982), 111–112.

 

Q 2a. Who is Satan?

Ep 5 Q 2
Short answer:
Satan is a real, personal being. Once an angel of God, he is now the chief of all the fallen angels we call demons or evil spirits. Satan’s consuming passion is to oppose God and destroy his purposes, which is why he is called ‘the Adversary’.

 

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Discussion:
Satan is mentioned in seven Old Testament books and in every book of the New Testament. He goes by various names: Morning Star (Isaiah 14:12), Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15), Beelzebub (Matthew 10:25), the Devil (1 Peter 5:8) and the Dragon… the Ancient Serpent (Revelation 12:9). The Bible speaks of Satan as:

1. A real personal being. The Bible refers to him as a person (that is, a being with a personality, intellect, will, etc.) (Job 1; Matthew 4:1–11). He is able to exercise his will (2 Timothy 2:26). He is highly intelligent (2 Corinthians 11:3).

2. A fallen angelic being. He was originally known as the ‘Morning Star’ (Isaiah 14:12)—in Latin, this name is ‘Lucifer’. He is said to have angelic followers (Matthew 25:41; Ephesians 6:11–12; Revelation 12:7, 9). He is the chief of these demonic beings (Matthew 12:24). Though scholars disagree about this interpretation, there is good reason to take Isaiah 14:12–15 and Ezekiel 28:11–19 as speaking of Satan, the real personality behind (or possessing) the ancient Kings of Babylon (Isaiah 14) and Tyre (Ezekiel 28). Ezekiel 28:1–10 is about the historical, visible, human ruler who is King of Tyre; Ezekiel 28:12–19 describes the supernatural, invisible, spiritual personality behind the King of Tyre. This invisible personality is said to be: a created (and therefore limited) being (Ezekiel 28:13, 15); once morally blameless (Ezekiel 28:12, 15); an angelic being (Ezekiel 28:14, 16) who once held an unequalled position (Ezekiel 28:14, 16) from which he is now barred (Ezekiel 28:16–19); and once full of wisdom and beauty (Ezekiel 28:12) but now totally wicked (Ezekiel 28:15) and destructive (Ezekiel 28:16).

 

Q 2b. How did a perfect angel, who lived in a perfect heaven, become evil?

Ep 5 Q 2
Short answer:
We are not told. But we know:

1. Everything must have a cause;
2. God did not cause Satan’s rebellion (see Q 1a above); so
3. Satan himself must have simply decided to rebel out of his own free will.

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Discussion:
Apparently, this evil did not come about through external temptation—there was nothing and no one outside of Satan to do the tempting. God did not and could not have tempted Satan or caused him to sin—because God never tempts anyone to sin. James 1:13 says, “no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone”. Somehow this evil spontaneously erupted inside Satan’s heart. Satan simply made a choice. The choice was horrendously wrong and evil was born.

 

Q 2c. What was Lucifer’s sin?

Ep 5 Q 2
Short answer:
We are not told that he broke a specific command, but we are told he became proud (Ezekiel 28:17) and refused to worship God and wanted to take God’s place.

 

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Discussion:
As a creature, Satan was under obligation to worship the Creator but Isaiah 14:13–14 and Ezekiel 28:17 indicate that Satan refused to worship God at some point. Notice there are five ‘I wills’ in Isaiah 14:13–14:

1. “I will ascend to the heavens”—conclusion: Satan wants to control heaven.

2. “I will raise my throne”—conclusion: Satan wants a position above angelic status.

3. “I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly”—conclusion: Satan wants to rule the earth.

4. “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds”—conclusion: Satan wants all the glory.

5. “I will make myself like the Most High”—conclusion: Satan wants to own the heavens and the earth.

 

Q 3. Why didn’t God imprison or destroy Satan the moment he rebelled?

Short answer:
The Bible says that God has set the day when he will lock Satan up forever and throw away the key (Revelation 20:7–10). God has appointed the right time for Satan’s final judgement and, when it comes, the severity of it will be completely justified. Meanwhile, Satan’s continued activity serves only to achieve God’s greater purposes.

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Discussion:
The Bible reveals an important principle: God’s judgement never comes until his wisdom declares the time is right. Like all his works, God’s judgement is perfect. When he judges, it is always with the right measure and at the right time. For example:

1. In Noah’s day, God withheld judgement until sin reached its full measure (Genesis 6:5–6, 11–13).
2. God withheld judgement on the Amorites until their sin reached its limit (Genesis 15:16).

In the meantime, Satan and his demons (fallen angels) are under God’s control (1 Kings 22:19–22; Job 1:6–12; Ephesians 1:21). When God brings Satan to his final judgement, it will be perfectly timed, perfectly executed and perfectly justified, and God will be praised.

 

Q 4. How did Satan get into the Garden of Eden?

Short answer:
We don’t know how Satan got into the garden. The Bible simply says he was there.

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Discussion:
It could be that Satan was on the earth before Adam was created, which is why (for good reasons) some English translations say that God instructed Adam to ‘guard’ the garden (Genesis 2:15), and then to rule over the rest of the earth and control it (Genesis 1:26–28).

 

Q 5. Was the serpent of Genesis 3 an actual animal and did it really speak?

Short answer:
Yes, the serpent was an actual animal that Satan took control of and used to approach Adam and Eve.

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Discussion:
There are good reasons for believing the serpent was an actual animal used by Satan:

1. The serpent is said to be one of the animals. Genesis 3:1 and 3:14 refer to this creature as one of the animals.

2. ‘Serpent’ (in Hebrew) is a normal word for an actual snake in the Old Testament (Genesis 3:1).

3. God cursed the actual serpent above all the wild animals (Genesis 3:14). This was separate from his curse on Satan himself (Genesis 3:15), indicating the animal itself was cursed because of its involvement.

4. The New Testament puts the serpent and Satan together in three texts: Revelation 12:9—“that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray”; Revelation 20:2—“that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan…”; and in Romans 16:20—“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet”. These clearly indicate that it was Satan that was in view in the curse of Genesis 3:15. This indicates Satan used the serpent in such a way that he became identified with the animal.

5. Satan (and his demons) are able to enter and/or control people and animals. Throughout the Bible, Satan uses people like Judas (John 13:27) or Peter (Matthew 16:23). Certainly demons can enter animals and control them (Matthew 8:28–34). So it is not at all impossible that Satan, the wisest of God’s angelic beings, should (in the absence of any other available human being) choose to use the serpent, the wisest of all the creatures God had made (Genesis 3:1), to approach Adam and Eve.

6. Genesis 3 says the serpent spoke (Genesis 3:1). The Bible records occasions when Satan took control of people (e.g. Judas (John 13:27)) and actually spoke through them (e.g. Peter (Matthew 16:23)). If demons can enter into animals (Matthew 8:28–34) then one presumes Satan can use them to speak, especially in the absence of another available human being. The New Testament is very clear that Satan was involved in this temptation (2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14). It’s not an outrageous idea. The moment the animal spoke, Adam and Eve should have ‘heard the alarm bells ringing’ and dismissed the animal immediately—after all, they had control over the animals (Genesis 1:26, 28) and could have sent the serpent away. More than that, Adam and Eve already knew animals were not their counterparts and could not have a rational conversation with them (Genesis 2:19–20). Accordingly, the alarm bells should have been ringing very loudly. We can think only that Eve kept listening in this remarkably bizarre situation because of Satan’s extreme ability to distract and deceive.

 

Q 6a. What is the significance of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?

Ep 5 Q 6
Short answer:
It was one of two trees in the middle of the garden that had special significance. The tree was the symbol of God’s moral authority—his right to determine what was good and what was evil. It was not to be eaten from (Genesis 2:17).

 

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Discussion:
We know the following about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil:

1. It was a real tree like all the others that grew out of the ground (Genesis 2:9).

2. It was an ordinary tree—it wasn’t full of magical powers. Neither was it poisonous. Like all the trees, it was good (Genesis 2:9). If animals ate the fruit, they would not have acquired wisdom, nor would they have died. The tree would have had no effect on animals.

3. It was special because it was a symbol. Even though it was a real tree, it had special meaning, like a monument. A monument is a real thing, and an ordinary thing made of concrete or stone, etc.—but it is also a special symbol. It stands for something. But what? It did not stand for the ability to understand the difference between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’—Adam and Eve already had this ability. They could understand the difference between right and wrong before they ate from this tree. After all, as Eve explained to Satan, they already knew they shouldn’t eat of this tree (Genesis 3:2–3). So it must have been something more than the ability to understand the difference between good and evil. We suggest that this tree stood for God’s moral authority—the right to determine what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’. How do we know this? Notice three things:

a. Satan realised that, if Adam and Eve ate from that tree, they would be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5)—in other words, they would make their own decisions about what was right or wrong.

b. While all trees, including this one, were “pleasing to the eye and good for food” (Genesis 2:9), Satan had convinced Eve that this tree would offer her something more—wisdom (Genesis 3:6). What wisdom? The wisdom to determine what was right and what was wrong.

c. After Adam and Eve had eaten from this tree, God himself said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:22). God was saying humanity had overstepped its boundaries and had become like him—the final authority on what was good and what was evil. This was humanity’s attempt to displace God and elevate themselves to the place of absolute moral authority.

 

Q 6b. Was the Tree of Knowledge really necessary? Wasn’t God setting Adam and Eve up to fail?

Ep 5 Q 6
Short answer:
God was not setting Adam and Eve up to fail but the possibility for failure was a necessary part of their development.

 

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Discussion:
When Adam and Eve were created, they still had to undergo personal development:

1. Adam and Eve needed to develop morally. Adam and Eve were not created holy in the absolute sense; otherwise, like God, they could never have sinned. Neither were Adam and Eve created evil. Rather, they were created in the state of innocence—but an unconfirmed and untested innocence. This does not mean that Adam and Eve were not morally responsible at the moment of creation, because we know that they were created with a conscience (Romans 2:14–15). However, it seems that the good they did (i.e. naming the animals, caring for the garden, etc.), they did naturally and innocently rather than having to make a conscious judgement to do good instead of doing evil. God’s command not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge meant that Adam and Eve had to make a clear, conscious and deliberate choice of good. It was part of their moral development. If Adam and Eve had made the correct choice, they would have moved up into confirmed holiness (from which point on they would have been sinless). In making the wrong choice, they moved down into confirmed corruption (from which point on, they became sinful people).

2. Adam and Eve needed to develop relationally. Love is bound up with choice—if it’s forced, it is not love. A robot programmed to say “I love you” does not, of course, love anything. Love is a freely chosen action and robots cannot choose. Humanity’s greatest duty is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart… soul… mind” (Matthew 22:36–38). Loving a superior is different from loving an equal. Children show love by being obedient to their parents. Humans show love for God by being obedient. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). This choice would enable Adam and Eve to show their love for God.

3. Adam and Eve needed to develop volitionally. Because humanity was made in the image of God, this included a measure of sovereignty and self-determination. Adam and Eve needed to be free to choose who they would be. They could not be other than human, less than human or more than human, but they could choose what kind of human they would be. So this choice between becoming holy and becoming sinful was a necessary one.

4. Adam and Eve needed to develop spiritually. This choice enabled Adam and Eve to make a decision about their spiritual allegiance—would they go with God or would they go with Satan? Because the choice presented by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a necessary one, God was not laying a trap or teasing his creatures. It was an essential part of Adam and Eve’s development.

 

Q 7. What was the Tree of Life?

Short answer:
The Tree of Life was one of two trees in the middle of the Garden of Eden that had special significance. It represented God’s gift of immortal/eternal life.

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Discussion:
There are four good reasons to believe the Tree of Life offered eternal and immortal life:

1. A textual reason. The words “live forever” (Genesis 3:22) mean to have continual existence and are often used in the Old Testament to refer to earthly existence. God put in extreme safeguards after Adam and Eve sinned to stop them from eating from the Tree of Life. God did that because they had already rebelled and were under the penalty of death. Consequently, they were not permitted to eat from the Tree of Life.

2. A logical reason. The two trees are set in contrast to each other (Genesis 2:9). If eating from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge would result in certain death (Genesis 2:17)—in all its dimensions: spiritual, physical and eternal—then, by contrast, to eat from the Tree of Life would result in abundant life—in all its dimensions: spiritual, physical and eternal.

3. A biblical reason. The ‘Tree of Life’ appears again in Revelation 22:2, 14 and 19. Genesis 3 and Revelation 22 are connected in this way: Genesis chapters 1–3 are the ‘introduction’ to the biblical story and Revelation 22 is the ‘conclusion’ to the biblical story. Both passages speak of an earthly paradise. Since the Tree of Life in Revelation 22 clearly represents eternal and immortal life, it must also be true of the Tree of Life in Genesis 3.

4. A theological reason. This tree offered physical immortality. God did not create Adam and Eve as immortal beings. Had God made them that way, then they would never have been able to die. But while God didn’t make them immortal, neither did he make them mortal, that is, beings who would naturally die. Death came only through sin (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12). Had Adam and Eve not sinned by taking from the forbidden tree, they would have taken from the Tree of Life and lived forever, because this tree provides endless life.

Had Adam eaten from the Tree of Life, he would have shared the fullness of God’s blessings in his physical body forever.

 

Q 8. If God is good, why is there so much death and suffering in the world? Will it ever end?

Ep 5 Q 8
Short answer:
God created a “very good” (Genesis 1:31) world where suffering and death did not exist. When Adam sinned against God, he and the planet suffered the consequences. Suffering and death came to the entire creation. But God promised to defeat evil (including suffering and death) and remove it forever!

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Discussion:
The Bible presents the story of suffering and death in the following way:

1. Suffering and death were not a part of the world that God created. The Bible begins its story with a good God creating a “very good” (Genesis 1:31) world. The whole of creation was in perfect harmony. Humans were created to be vegetarian (Genesis 1:29) and were to rule over all the earth (Genesis 1:28). Even animals lived in perfect harmony, as they ate only plants and not each other (Genesis 1:30).

2. Adam disobeyed God (sinned). The Bible continues its story with God giving the first human couple, Adam and Eve, free choice either to obey him by not eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil or to disobey him by eating from this tree. Tragically, they chose to take the evil option by eating from the forbidden tree (Romans 5:12).

3. Adam’s sin brought moral evil, suffering and death to every person. When Adam disobeyed, he introduced sin into the world. Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned”. Everyone descended from Adam is now born a sinner (Ephesians 2:1–3).

4. Adam’s sin brought natural evil—the earth is cursed. While the world is a wonderfully beautiful place (Psalm 19:1–6), the ugliness of disease, suffering and death is also evident. There are floods, devastating earthquakes and famines that destroy the places where we live (‘natural’ evil). When Adam sinned, the whole of creation was cursed by God (Genesis 3:17–19) and subjected to frustration and groaning (Romans 8:20–22). All the natural evil we see in the world is a result of Adam’s sin. That means the world is not always a good place; sometimes, it is very evil.

5. God promised to defeat evil, suffering and death. Genesis 3:15 says that while there will be “enmity” between Eve and Satan, one of Eve’s descendants (the Messiah) would crush the head of Satan, as a person stomps on the head of a snake, and Satan will be eliminated. Revelation 20:2–3 and 10 say that Satan will one day be removed from the world. And, when evil is removed, God will create a new universe that will never again contain evil, suffering and death. Evil, suffering and death will be gone forever!

 

Q 9. Why did Adam and Eve make clothes out of leaves?

Short answer:
They felt ashamed and needed to cover their wrongdoing.

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Discussion:
Genesis chapter 2 closes with these words: “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25). That means Adam and Eve were completely innocent—just like naked children who, in their innocence, feel no shame. Only after Adam and Eve sinned were they aware of their nakedness (Genesis 3:7) and their shame (Genesis 3:10) and their need to cover their wrongdoing.

 

Q 10. Why did God clothe Adam and Eve with animal skins?

Ep 5 Q 10 width=
Short answer:
When Adam and Eve sinned, they made coverings for themselves out of fig leaves (Genesis 3:7). They made those coverings because they felt guilt and shame at having sinned against God. God replaced those garments with garments of animal skin (Genesis 3:21), a provision based on the death of an animal.

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Discussion:

1. The garments of leaves (Genesis 3:7). The context certainly suggests that Adam and Eve are trying to cover their wrongdoing and make themselves acceptable to God. But it wasn’t working. Even though they had made aprons of leaves, Adam and Eve knew they were not acceptable to God and felt afraid of him (Genesis 3:7–10).

2. The garments of skin (Genesis 3:21).

a. Where the skins came from. While it’s true that animals were also cursed because of Adam’s sin (Genesis 3:14) and began to die as a result (Romans 8:19–21), these particular animals must have been deliberately killed—since insufficient time had passed for them to have died of natural causes.

b. Why the skins were provided. God judged Adam and Eve’s disobedience with death (Genesis 3:19). That’s why the leaves could never cover the guilt of sin—it required the payment of death. So God took the life of an animal and graciously used the skin of the animal as a covering to clothe Adam and Eve. It is important to understand that the provision of skins indicates that Adam and Eve were restored not to innocence and not to paradise, but to fellowship with God. They no longer needed to hide from God (cf. Genesis 3:7–10). But the return to paradise must await the new heaven and earth.

 

Q 11. Why should the whole human race suffer the consequences of Adam’s sin?

Short answer:
Put simply, it’s all about ‘representation’. Adam was the ‘official representative’ for the human race. When he acted in the Garden of Eden, he acted for the whole human race. The Bible addresses this subject in Romans 5:12–21 (see the discussion below).

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Discussion:
Adam was the ‘official representative’ for the human race. When he acted in the Garden of Eden, he acted for the whole human race. It’s called ‘representation’. This principle is still at work today—here are two examples:

1. Representation works in national politics. Most nations are led by legislative bodies; each of these is called something like the ‘House of Representatives’. The ‘representatives’ might be democratically elected or they might be appointed but they are representatives who make decisions for their whole country—and the decisions they make affect each one of us very much. If they make a decision to raise taxes, we have to pay more tax. If they make a decision that the nation is at war, then everyone in that nation is regarded as being ‘at war’.

2. Representation works in sports. If one member of the team scores, the whole team gets the point. If one member of the team disobeys a rule, the whole team is penalised—not just the offending player. Each ‘represents’ the whole team. And what each player does (good or bad) applies to the whole team.

When Adam sinned, he sinned ‘for us’, ‘on our behalf’, and his sin was counted against the whole human race. That’s why Paul said, “… the many died by the trespass of the one man” (Romans 5:15). “The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation” on the whole human family (Romans 5:16). Why? Because Adam was our representative.

At first glance, that might not seem fair. Why should everyone suffer because of the act of one man? Romans 5:12–21 explains God’s wisdom in arranging things this way. You see, in the same way God made Adam the representative of everyone connected to him (by nature), so too did God make Jesus to be the representative of everyone connected to him (by faith). Adam’s one act in the Garden of Eden brought everyone connected to him (by nature) into judgement. Jesus’ one act on the cross brings everyone connected to him (by faith) back to God. In other words, we ‘get saved’ the same way we ‘got lost’—by the act of one man. Was it our act that got us in trouble with God? No. Was it our act that makes us right with God? No. Adam’s one act in the Garden of Eden brought death to everyone connected to him. Jesus’ one act on the cross brings life to everyone connected to him (we will discuss how a person is rightly connected to Jesus in module 11—jump).

 

Q 12. Why is Eve cursed with “pains in childbearing” and what are those pains?

Short answer:
The pain is both physical (in childbirth) and emotional (in child-rearing). We are not told why Eve was subjected to physical pain in childbirth. Could it be possible that the pain Eve experiences as she brings a child into the world is a reminder that she helped bring sin into the world which is now a world of pain?

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Discussion:
In the curse, Eve is affected in her two most crucial roles: those of mother and wife. The physical pain in childbirth probably includes everything from the anxieties a woman has about becoming pregnant, to the physical discomforts of carrying the child, to the concerns over the health of the child in the womb, to the dangers of the birth process for both mother and child. Why physical pain in childbirth? Maybe, as suggested in the short answer above, the pain is to remind Eve that the world she brings her child into is itself a painful one—and she and her husband made it that way. Motherhood’s happiness is interrupted by times of sadness. This pain will overwhelm Eve all too quickly. Her sons’ bickering and jealousy will turn to resentment and hatred and then murder (Genesis 4).

 

Q 13. What is meant by “your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you”?

Short answer:
It means that there will be continual tension in the relationship between the man and the woman. Eve will try and dominate Adam and Adam will try to overpower Eve. Companionship is spoiled by the desire to control.

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Discussion:
It seems best to understand that Eve’s ‘desire’ for her husband is the desire to dominate and control him, just as sin desires to master (dominate, control) Cain (see Genesis 4:7 where the same word is used). And, just as Cain must gain the ‘upper hand’ over sin, so the husband will try to have the ‘upper hand’ over his wife sometimes in an oppressive and dictatorial way. The meaning is this: “you will have a tendency to dominate your husband and he will have a tendency to become a dictator over you”. Here begins the ‘battle of the sexes’.