The third chapter of Genesis is extraordinarily foundational for the entire biblical storyline. We could spend days on it, meditating on its truth, examining all the nuances and implications. But since our goal here is to connect the dots to the gospel, that is what I will focus on.
Before Eve and then Adam took the fruit and gave into the temptation of the serpent, there was no need for a gospel. Humanity had no need of any particular good news; every last bit of news to that point was good! God walked regularly with the humans in the cool of day (3:8). What could be better than face time with God? What better news could Adam and Eve receive?
Their sin leads to their removal from Eden, leads them to be exiled from God’s presence. Though they had walked with him as you would a friend, now God would have to rightly deal with their sin. God’s curse now takes the place of his blessing; where once he said, “it was very good” (1:31), he now says, “you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (3:19). If ever humanity had a low point, this was it.
But after hearing God’s curses, Adam doesn’t seem to feel low. He’s quite optimistic, actually. The moment after he hears that he will die just as God said he would (2:17), he decides to name his wife Eve. It’s weird that she still doesn’t have a name at this point, but her name proves Adam’s surprising optimism. “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (3:20). The humans are doomed to die, destined to return to dust. But when the Judge hands down the death sentence upon his rebellious creatures, Adam names his wife “Life.” Why?
Because of the promise of 3:15. God curses the serpent, Satan, and tells him, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” The sinful woman’s offspring was the one who would crush the serpent’s head. When the worst news in all the universe was first delivered to God, he gave first expression to the good news, the greatest news in all history. When Adam and Eve failed, God immediately told them of another who would come and succeed on their behalf.
This heartbreaking chapter reveals God’s love and grace to us in Christ! No matter how bad things seem, no matter how difficult or dark the circumstances, we can trust that the good news is better than any other news we want to hear. God can take the worst of your worst and bring it about for your good. He even did this when the worst that could happen, happened. If God could take the unraveling of the goodness of his creation and turn that into good news, what can he do with your life and circumstances? The bad news is bad, but it makes the good news that God brings to us all the sweeter.