Genesis 3 is where we will start, Genesis 3:14-19: So the Lord God said to the serpent, “This is your punishment: You are singled out from among all the domestic and wild animals of the whole earth—to be cursed. You shall grovel in the dust as long as you live, crawling along on your belly. From now on you and the woman will be enemies, as will your offspring and hers. You will strike his heel, but he will crush your head.” Then God said to the woman, “You shall bear children in intense pain and suffering; yet even so, you shall welcome your husband’s affections, and he shall be your master.” And to Adam, God said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate the fruit when I told you not to, I have placed a curse upon the soil. All your life you will struggle to extract a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, and you shall eat its grasses. All your life you will sweat to master it, until your dying day. Then you will return to the ground from which you came. For you were made from the ground, and to the ground you will return.” And so sin came into the world, and then judgement against sin quickly followed. The world is under a curse because of Adam. This is so easy to see. This is a curse that God is calling down upon them. But not just them, the whole world, and everyone ever born into the world after them Galatians 3:10 says, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”. Now I know this verse is talking about the law of Moses and the commandments that come later on in the Bible. But God did give them a law there in the garden. Don’t eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—“ So there is a curse. Judgment has come into the world, and God has pronounced it. You are under a curse. The whole world is under a curse since Adam. But judgement against sin is not just eternal hell. Yes, it is the full and final penalty for it, but the judgment against sin is also the breaking of proper order. The breaking of shalom. Romans 8:20 says, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope” And this is God’s judgment. Could you imagine if the world was filled with sinners and everything still worked properly? We might not see any reason to repent. But as it is, everything, everywhere, all the time is pushing us towards repentance or at least showing us the need of it. It is only people’s hard hearts and spiritually blind minds that keep them from repenting. But the need of it, the need of a change of heart, and a change of mind is seen everyday. This is what I think subjected to futility means. It is meant to bring us to repentance. God subjected the world to brokenness, in hope, first and foremost that people would see their need for Jesus, to see that a world filled with people living their own way, at odds with God is not a good thing. That is at least one of the implications of this verse, that God subjected the world to futility, so that it would lead people to repentance, and faith in Christ, and a living in accordance with God’s ways. There is judgement against sin, so that people will not stay ok with sin. We are not meant to be ok with sin. We are not meant to buddy up with sin. And God is being loving in his judgment against sin, by not allowing us to just be comfortable with sin. Sin will never bring the joy and happiness that it promises, and that is a good thing. Could you imagine if you always got what you wanted. If you never had any problems. If everything always worked out alright, and you never saw your need for God, and then one day you died and went to hell. You see, sometimes problems are a good thing. They show us our need. And you can see this penalty against, this subjecting to futility, the effects of this judgment and curse right away. What are some of the ways we can see the effects of God’s judgment right away in Genesis chapter 3, 4 and 5. Men and women are going to want to buck against the created order. Women will want to rule over men, and men will want to let them. We see this in even the sin itself … in even the sin that lead up to the judgement. Listen to what God says to Adam, vs. 17, “And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life” In fact where was Adam? Eve failed first. But the blame is squarely placed on Adam’s shoulders. Romans 5:12 says “because one man sinned, sin came into the world” Men, that is sobering. If Jesus shows up at your house, which he should. If you are in Christ, Christ is with you always —— he is not asking your wife to give an account for how things are going in the house. Not that she will not have to give an account and not that she is not responsible. But men, we are to be the head of the house. We are to be leading our family in following God. Where was Adam when Eve was being taken away into temptation. Where was he protecting her, and guiding her. vs. 17 of chapter 3, is not only part of the sin that lead to the fall but it is also part of the curse. How else does the curse affect relationships? There is now strife and enmity, fighting between people. Listen to James 4:1-2, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel." Isn’t this such an explanation of what happened right away in chapter 4. vs. 1-8, “ In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” Cain spoke to Abel his brother.[d] And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. And so sin and the awful effects of God’s judgement against sin are happening right away. As long as people live at odds with God, things will not go right with people. This is both the effects of sin and also the effects of God’s judgment against sin. As long as people are in their sin, things will not go right, and as long as people are in the their sin, God will not allow things to go right because to do so would go against who he is as God. It is impossible to experience the peace and blessing of God apart from God. God will not allow it, and it is impossible. What are some of the other effects we see of sin in the first couple of chapters? Work is all of a sudden going to be hard. Work is a part of the original creation. Work is not a result of the fall. Genesis 1:28, “ And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” That idea of subdue and have dominion … that takes effort, that takes work. But I have a feeling it was going to be joyful … because God called it a blessing. Childbearing is all of a sudden going to be painful. Childbearing was always a part of creation. They were supposed to be fruitful and multiply. But I am thinking at first it wasn't going to be as painful as it is now. Death —- chapter 5 … yes, people lived a long time. This person lived to this long and then fathered so and so and then died when they were 900 yrs old … and over and over it goes. There is a glimpse of hope in vs. 24 —- Enoch, he did not die. But for the most part, ever since then, everybody ever born in the world eventually dies. And then there is a death like separation from God —- they were told to leave the Garden of Eden. In the Garden of Eden they walked with God and talked with God. They were in the place where he dwelt. They were in the place of his blessing. But they were told to leave. So their is a breaking of relationship with God. So their is a relationship with God, but it is not the same. Friends, everyone is in a relationship with God, it’s just that peoples relationship with God without first repentance and a surrendering to him is a broken relationship … it is a relationship that they are an enemy to him … now it mean they are just indifferent or just do not care about who God is … but the bottom line is, not caring about who God is, is being his enemy. Using the breath in our lungs to breath and the blood in our veins to live and not giving him glory and honor for it, is stealing. We were created by God and for God and to not do so, is a crime. So yes, everybody is in a relationship with him - it is just that most people’s relationships are broken and we see what the effects are going to be right away —- when Adam and Eve are made to leave the garden. And so why did God allow this to happen? He didn’t have to create us. Couldn't he have created us differently? Why did he create us at all if he knew we were going to sin? Of course, there is mystery here. But at the end of the day, there are only two options for everything that happens in God’s world. He either allows things to happen, or he causes things to happen. But he rules over it all. All we can know is if he causes something to happen there is good reason for it, and if he allows something to happen there is good reason for it. I read an article by Joni Eareckson Tada once, and she said one of the theological underpinnings of her life has become: “God permits what he hates to accomplish what he loves.” And that's the fall. God allowed the fall. God allowed sin to come into the world, knowing that his righteous judgment would come against it, knowing that one day, and many days in between, he would allow more despicable evil to happen to accomplish what he loves. God hated the torture, injustice, and treason that led to the crucifixion. Yet he permitted it so that the world’s worst murder could become the world’s only salvation. All the permitting throughout all of history has led to the pinnacle of all of history. The cross of Christ. And we have to trust God that there is a reason for this. God was pleased to crush his only son, that is what Isaiah 53:10 says, and we have to believe there is a reason for this. But why did God have to allow the fall to happen in order to have a people for himself? I mean, he could have just created man, and he would have had a people who would worship him and glorify him and live for him and represent him. Why didn’t he just leave it like that? And I often hear arguments. The most common one being free will. That in order for their serving him to be genuine they had to have the option to not serve him. In order for it to be a real choice to love and obey him they had to have just as much a real option to not love and obey him. Well, that sounds real good on the surface. But what about in heaven, when things are finally all made right and sin is no more. In heaven we will not have no option to not love and obey God. In heaven there will be no more sin. There will be no more option to rebel and choose wrong. In fact, I have a sneaky suspicion, that is what will make heaven, heaven - no more sin. No more option to sin. Sin will not even be an inclination in us whatsoever. We will have no more desire to sin at all. Having the exact opposite option available is not what makes an option valid or not valid. People in heaven will be loving God and worshipping God fully. And it will be genuine. And there will never be a thought of not worshipping him and not only that, it will never get boring —- it will increase in wonderfulness for eternity. Not only that, but God never thinks of sinning. Within the Godhead there has been a perfect relationship forever and there will be forever. God the Father loves the Son perfectly. The Son loves the Father perfectly and the Holy Spirit has perfectly love for both the Father and the Son and they both for him. There has never been an option of un-perfect love in the midst of the fellowship of the Godhead, nor will there ever be. So in a lot of ways the Bible gives no answer to why God created man in such a way knowing they would sin. Maybe it is so we will see all of God’s glory in the cross. All of God’s attributes and all of his glory shine most fullest and most bright because of the cross. We see the greatness of his mercy because we see the greatness of his judgement. We see the greatness of his grace because of the greatness of his wrath. And so on and so forth. And maybe the way that God originally created the world was not ultimately the way he wants things to be. Why? Because the cross of Christ is the focal point of all of history. In other words, where things are headed will be better than where things started. Revelation 21 & 22 will be better than Genesis 1 & 2. Why? Because the Serpent will be totally subdued, and there will be no more sin, nor even the slightest chance for sin to ever reek havoc again. Jesus will be worshipped by his redeemed in Spirit and truth or all of eternity. There will be no free will in the new heavens and new earth, at least not in the way we today think of free will. And that's a good thing. After the final judgment, after all things are made right and sin is done away with for good, there will be no more option to choose sin again, for there will be no more desire to do so, and yet —— and yet for those who are in Christ - we will be the freest we could ever possibly imagine. True freedom doesn’t mean having the option to sin. Free will in it’s truest sense means having the ability to do what’s right, and in even a truer sense, it is doing what is right because you want to do what is right, and in it’s truest truest sense, it’s always doing what’s right because you want to and never ever desiring to do wrong. That’s heaven. The way the world was originally made is not the way God ultimately wants things, though he did create everything good. Maybe he created the world and everything in it the way he did, to ultimately deal with Satan. Maybe he created the world, knowing Satan would tempt man, that man would fall, knowing he would then work all of human history to the point of the cross, to ultimately defeat Satan and sin, redeem a people for himself, and that ultimately all of history would climax in perfectness. The way that God ultimately wants everything will one day happen, we know this. Again, this could be speculation. The Bible gives no exact answer. There is no exact chapter and verse we can go to in which God’s eternal decrees are laid out for all to see and read. God has revealed to us a lot, in fact, all we need to know, but not this. The Bible does tell us that God is in control, and it also tells us he cares. This is what we need more than anything. It would do no good, if God were sovereign and yet he didn’t care. And it would do no good, if he cared deeply about us but was not sovereign. Because there would be no ultimate hope we would be ok. The Bible does give us the best answer. The Bible’s story line from Chapter 3 and on, is showing us how God is dealing with the sin problem that has come into the world.. God’s word gives us certain hope that one day the awful consequences of the rebellion against God will be undone. That one day there will be no more sin, not even a desire to sin. And it tells us, he is doing it all for his glory. A couple weeks ago when preaching on Lazarus and his resurrection I asked the question “Why does God pinpoint his glory?” Why is God’s glory so most centrally focused on in the Bible. Well, one of the reasons is because of, so we who need it, will know where to turn. So, in a way, the Bible gives us an answer to this most difficult problem of evil. The problem of evil is actually the storyline of the Bible. Kill the dragon, get the girl. This was Adam’s job. He failed, but Jesus didn’t. The author of the story writes himself into the story, so he can become the hero of the story. The way things are meant to be, they will one day be. We can count in it. The Bible is clear. Revelation 21:1-8, 22-27 God’s people, the elect, are the bride of Christ. Satan is the dragon. Kill the dragon, get the girl. Take the gospel (what Jesus has done, is doing, and will do) by the power of the Spirit to the ends of the earth and command people to repent of their sin, and swear their allegiance (trust) to the true king and savior of the world; Jesus Christ. Those who do repent and believe are the elect (the bride of Christ) and are brought in on the same mission. This is history. This is our story. It’s ultimately His story. It’s a Battle saints. By God's grace it's a battle and we will win. Now go read Ephesians 6 and brace yourselves.