This post is the third and last in our series “Everyday Evidences of Adam & Eve’s Fall.” Thus far we’ve identified the evidences associated with God’s judgments upon the serpent/Satan and Eve. By way of a reminder, those evidences are: snakes still slither on their bellies, the world’s lost people (the seed of Satan) are still enemies against Jesus (the Seed of the woman), labor pain is still a part of childbirth, and wives still have an inner desire to rule over their husbands. Also, in terms of historical evidence, Satan dealt Jesus a painful blow by working through lost people to get Him crucified, but Jesus dealt Satan an even greater blow by making that death a substitutionary sacrifice for mankind’s sins and by resurrecting.
Now we come to the everyday evidences associated with God’s judgment upon Adam. There are three of them. We’ll take them one at a time.
First, God told Adam that the ground was now cursed for Adam’s sake. Adam’s job in the Garden of Eden had always been to “work it” (N.I.V.) and “take care of it” (N.I.V.) (Genesis 2:15). Other translations translate the Hebrew as: “cultivate,” “till,” “keep,” “watch over,” “care for,” “dress,” or “keep.” You get the idea. Adam’s job was to care for the Garden of Eden in such a way as to not only keep it in top form as a lovely garden but also to harvest food from it.
Before Adam’s sin there were no thorns and thistles in the Garden of Eden or upon the rest of the earth. As a result of his sin, however, thorns and thistles would now be a part of the package. Centuries later the apostle Paul would write that all of creation was “subjected to futility” (Romans 8:20, N.K.J.V.), that it is now under “the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21, N.K.J.V.), and that it currently “groans and labors” like a woman experiencing birth pangs (Romans 8:22, N.K.J.V.). If you’ve ever tried to raise a garden or keep a yard looking good, you know that even today the earth’s soil can be downright uncooperative. We don’t have to plant thorns, thistles, weeds, etc. They grow and multiply just fine on their own.
We might ask, “Were the thorns and thistles a dormant part of the earth’s originally created mix of soil? Or did God create them brand new in the wake of Adam’s sin?” The Bible doesn’t tell us. In my opinion, though, the most likely explanation for their beginning is that when the earth was “subjected to futility,” certain plant species mutated and degenerated from their originally intended designs and became thorns and thistles. I say this because Genesis 1:31 tells us that prior to Adam and Eve’s sin God looked upon everything that He had made and found it all very good.
Second, as another part of God’s judgment upon Adam’s sin, God told him that sweat would now be associated with him eating bread (Genesis 3:19). It is important to note that the act of work itself was not the result of God’s judgment against sin. As I pointed out earlier, even Adam’s pre-sin days were marked by him working the Garden of Eden and taking care of it. Likewise, Eve was his helper (Genesis 2:18), to say nothing of the fact that she was also slated to bring forth children and do the work of mothering them.
No, the judgment wasn’t that Adam would now have to work. The judgment was that the work would now be much harder for him, hard enough to produce sweat on his forehead. The harvests from his farming would still provide food (“bread’) for him and his family, but cultivating those harvests and collecting them would now require much more physical exertion on his part. Anyone who has ever broken into a sweat while working can confirm that this particular evidence of Adam’s fall is still very much on display today.
Third, God informed Adam that because of his sin he was now destined to experience physical death (Genesis 3:19). God described Adam’s death as him returning to the dust from which he had been created (Genesis 2:7). This death would be the fulfillment of God’s warning concerning the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: “…in the day you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17, N.K.J.V.).
Hebrew scholars tell us that a more literal translation of the Hebrew of Genesis 2:17 would read: “…in the day you eat of it dying you shall die.” This shows us that God’s warning about the fruit was never intended to threaten a sudden death for Adam and Eve. Instead, the moment they ate of the forbidden fruit the aging process would be begun in their bodies, and that aging process would eventually culminate in death. In Adam’s case, the physical death would take 930 years (Genesis 5:5), but it would happen just as God promised.
But it wouldn’t just be Adam who would die. Anyone who came from his body would also die. That included Eve, whom God made from one of Adam’s ribs (Genesis 2:21-23). It also included all of his sexually reproduced descendants — an entire human race’s worth. Sin entered the world through Adam, and death entered the world through sin (Romans 5:12). Consequently, death was spread to each member of the human race by Adam. As 1 Corinthians 15:22 sums it up: “…in Adam all die” (N.K.J.V.).
The fact is that you are experiencing the aging process right now, and you can thank Adam for that everyday evidence of his fall. Likewise, unless you are a Christian who is alive at the moment of the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), you won’t make it out of this world alive. You can thank him for that everyday evidence, too.
I am happy to report, however, that Jesus has plans to remedy all the evidences of Adam’s sin. For starters, one day — following the Rapture and the seven years of the Tribulation Period — He will return to this earth and establish His 1,000 year kingdom upon it (Revelation 20:1-6). At that time He will revert the planet itself back to much of its original pristine condition. The wilderness and the wasteland will be glad (Isaiah 35:1). The desert will blossom like a rose (Isaiah 35:1-2). Waters will burst forth in the wilderness and streams will burst forth in the desert (Isaiah 35:6). Most specific to the issue of thorns and thistles, Isaiah 55:13 says of this kingdom age: “Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow…” (N.I.V.).
Following these 1,000 years, eternity will be ushered in as Christ’s earthly kingdom becomes His eternal one. Revelation chapters 21 and 22 teach that Christ’s eternal kingdom will feature a new heaven and a new earth, complete with a new eternal city called New Jerusalem. Will this “new” earth will be this one purged by fire and completely revitalized? Or will this planet be obliterated by the fire and a brand new one hung in its place? Well, there is a debate about that. (If you want to read more about that topic please read my post “The New Heaven, The New Earth, & The New Jerusalem.”) But the point here is that Revelation 22:3 explicitly says of the new heaven, the new earth, and the New Jerusalem: “And there shall be no more curse…” (N.K.J.V.)
That covers Jesus’ plan to remedy the evidences of Adam’s sin in regards to not only the curse upon planet earth but also work being taxing enough to produce sweat. But does Jesus have a plan to remedy the evidences of Adam’s sin in regards to physical death? Yes, He does. Just as Jesus arose in a glorified body fit for eternity, each believer will one day have his or her body glorified. 1 Corinthians 15:20 says that Christ has become the firstfruits of all deceased believers, and 1 Corinthians 15:22 says that just as in Adam all die, in Christ all shall be made alive.
Of course, it should be understood that there isn’t one great day when the bodies of all of history’s saved believers will undergo glorification. For example, the bodies of all the saved believers (Christians) from the church age will be glorified at the moment of the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), which occurs before the beginning of the Tribulation Period. (Deceased bodies will be resurrected, while the bodies of living Christians will not need to be resurrected.) Similarly, the bodies of all the believers from the Old Testament era will be resurrected and glorified at Christ’s Second Coming, which occurs at the end of the Tribulation Period (Daniel 12:1-3). Jesus referred to both of these waves of resurrections unto glorification as “the resurrection of life” (John 5:29, N.K.J.V.).
But the resurrections don’t stop there. Even the bodies of each of history’s lost people will undergo a resurrection, albeit not a resurrection unto glorification. These resurrections will occur after Christ’s 1,000 year reign (Revelation 20:4-6). The scene will be what the Bible calls “the Great White Throne Judgment” (Revelation 20:11-15). There, standing before Jesus, each of history’s lost billions will stand in a resurrected body, with the body being reunited with the soul that once inhabited it. Each person will then be cast body and soul into the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). Jesus called this resurrection “the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:29, N.K.J.V.).
And so I’ll wrap up this post and this series by asking you the same question that I’ve asked at the close of the previous two posts: Have you placed saving belief in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? If you have, then you can rest assured in the hope that one day you will be set free from all the damaging evidences of Adam & Eve’s fall into sin. But if you haven’t, then all the damaging evidences you have to deal with in this life will only be a warm up to evidences even more gruesome in eternity.
Yes, Adam fell into sin, and he took his entire race (including you) down with him. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Jesus — whom the Bible calls in 1 Corinthians 15:45 “the last Adam” — came to this earth, was born to a virgin (thus bypassing Adam’s tainted reproductive seed), lived a sinless life among Adam’s race, and died as the payment for each and every sin that Adam’s race had ever and would ever commit. Following that death, Jesus then arose from the dead and ascended back to heaven, from which He now offers salvation (forgiveness of sin) to each and every member of Adam’s fallen race.
And so, you see, the issue that we face now is really very simple. Each of us must ask himself or herself the question: “Am I associated with the first Adam or the last Adam?” As we have learned, the first Adam crippled us in multiple ways. These ways begin in this life and extend into the afterlife, even growing worse in the afterlife. But the last Adam offers to set all these ways right if we will only believe in Him as Savior. I’ve done that, and my sincere prayer is that you will as well.