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GENESIS 3:1-13,16
Series:  Till Death Do Us Part - Part One

Pastor Stephen Muncherian
June 17, 2012

You ever feel like that picture? 


Someone said, A man doesn’t know what happiness is until he’s married.   By then it’s too late.”  Oscar Wilde was quoted as saying, “The man who says his wife can’t take a joke, forgets that she took him…”


This morning - and for the next 2 Sundays - we’re going to be looking at marriage.  Right up front let’s agree together that marriage has its rough spots.  We’re not exactly polished people.  Our desire - looking at marriage - is to see more clearly God’s intent for marriage - and to see more clearly from God’s word how our marriages can keep getting better.


Hopefully - as we go through our study - some of what we’re looking at will sound familiar - either because you’ve seen this material before.  There is value in repetition.  Or, because you can turn to your spouse and say, “I’ve got this nailed.”  No, don’t do that.


If you’re not married what we’ll be looking at is important for you as well.  You might know someone who is married or you might get married someday.  Or, you might be picking up the pieces of a marriage.


What we’re looking at here focuses on why marriages work and why they don’t work.  Its never too late or too early to begin living by God’s principles that make marriage work.  So this information is either going to be helpful to you personally or to someone God may stick in your path that needs to know what God says about marriage.


Please turn with me to Genesis chapter 1.  We’re going to come to Genesis 3 in a moment - which is the passage of Scripture we want to focus on this morning.  But before we get to chapter 3 we need to see how chapter 3 fits to the big picture of what’s going on.


In Genesis 1 God is doing what?  Creating stuff.  Genesis 1 is where baseball is mentioned in the Bible.  “In the big inning.”  Old joke.  Really bad.  Collective groan.


We’re looking at The Creation.  Let’s say that together.  “The creation.”


God is creating the heavens and earth - the sun - the moon - 24 hour days - vegetation - fish - animals - birds.  For five days this goes on.  After each day of creation God steps back - looks at what He’s created and says, “Its all good.”  Day six - God creates cattle and the creeping things.  Steps back.  Looks at what He’s created and says, “Its all good.”  We’re together. Right?


Genesis 1 - look with me at verse 26:  Then God said - still on day six - then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after our likeness.  And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.


Who’s created in the image of God?  Man - generic - specifically male and female.  Both are equally the image of God.  A person can point out the obvious and not so obvious differences between male and female.  But the bottom line is that individually each - male and female - is created in God’s image.


Verse 28:  And God blessed them - the male and female image of God - 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.”

God gives man - male and female - four purposes in His - God’s - creation.


Purpose number one is what?  Be fruitful - Hebrew word “parah” meaning “to prosper.”  Which isn’t about accumulating a lot of stuff - wealth - so much as “be fruitful” is about the quality of life we enjoy. 


Live in such a way that God is going to be pleased with you.  That God will supply to you everything you need.  That God will bless your sandals off.  That you will enjoy the presence and pleasure of God in your life.


Purpose number two is what?  Multiply.  Hebrew word “rabah” meaning to become numerous.  Go out and populate the planet.  Parent well.  Raise offspring.  Teach them how to be successful.  Teach them what it means to live life with the living God.

Purpose number three is what?  Subdue.  Hebrew word “kabash” meaning to put under bondage.  Make the living things of this planet serve you.


Purpose number four:  Dominion.  The Hebrew word “radah.”  It means to dominate - to supervise - manage - steward - rule - what God’s created.  Dominate over the fish and birds and cattle and creeping things.


Notice with me - The first two purposes are relational.  They focus on who we are - the quality of our relationship lived out with God and how that relationship is passed on to future generations.  Purposes numbers three and four are vocational.  What we do in God’s creation on His behalf. 


Verse 29:  And God said, “Behold - “behold” in Hebrew is “hinah” which means…  Wake up and smell the coffee.  Pay attention to this.  This needs to shape how you live your life.  Don’t miss this.


Behold, I have given you - given who?  The male and female image of God.  I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit.  You shall have them for food.  And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.”  And it was so.


I’ve given all of what lives on this planet to you.  Top of the food chain baby.  Oh yeah.  Its all yours.


Grab this - “behold” - “hinah” - let it shape your thinking about marriage:  God gives to man - male and female - great purposes for our lives together - and God so desires for us to be successful at those purposes that as He laid the foundations of His creation He (S2E8) - God - has given to us everything we need in marriage - relationally - to be successful at His purposes - vocationally.


Purpose and success in marriage come from God.  Say that with me,  “Purpose and success in marriage come from God.”


We’re together so far?  Okay - drop down with me to chapter 2 - starting at verse 15.  Chapter 2 is the slo-mo frame by frame - don’t miss this - highlights of chapter 1.  God filling in some missing details from chapter 1 that we need to pay closer attention to.


Chapter two is The Courtship of Adam and Eve.  Let’s say that together, “The courtship.”

Chapter 2 - verse 15: 
The Lord God took the man - who?  The man.  Singular.  Creation of male and female was a two step process.  Before the female is created - God takes man - and put him - the male - in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.  And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”


In chapter one - both male and female are created equally the image of God.  Both are given the great purposes of relation and vocation.  Both are given the tools of success.


In chapter two - the slo-mo version - we see that there’s a designed - purposeful - order to creation.  Adam comes first - then Eve.  Like the Godhead - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - all equally God - yet different in their roles.  Within that order - before the female is created - the male is given the command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.


Hold onto that:  male and female are equal in purpose yet different in their roles.


Verse 18:  Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”


“Fit” is the Hebrew “neged” meaning corresponding to.  Like a pair of shoes - one left shoe - one right shoe.  Each is reflective of the intent of their creator - the purpose for which they’ve been designed - to be a pair of shoes.  Both are individually different - left and right - and yet they correspond.  Each is made for the other.  Without the other there’s no pair.  To work well they need to work in tandem - in partnership - to fulfill their individual roles.


Without Eve - in marriage - Adam cannot do what God purposes.


Top Ten Reasons God Created Eve.


10. God worried that Adam would always be lost in the garden because men hate to ask for directions.

9. God knew that Adam would one day need someone to hand him the TV remote.

8. God knew that Adam would never buy a new fig leaf when his seat wore out and would therefore need Eve to get one for him.


7. God knew that Adam would never make a doctor's appointment for himself.

6. God knew that Adam would never remember which night was garbage night.


5. God knew that if the world was to be populated, men would never be able to handle childbearing.

4. As “Keeper of the Garden,” Adam would never remember where he put his tools.

3. The Scripture account of creation indicates Adam needed someone to blame his troubles on when God caught him hiding in the garden.

2. As the Bible says,
“It is not good for man to be alone!”


1. When God finished the creation of Adam, He stepped back, scratched His head and said, “I can do better than that.”


We know how this goes.  Right?  God brings all the animals by for Adam to name.  For Adam to realize that not one of those animals “fits” -  none of them corresponds - to him.  Then God takes Adam’s rib - from the side of Adam - forms Eve - who corresponds to Adam.  God brings Eve to Adam.


Verse 23:  Then the man said, “This is at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.  This is the real deal here.  This is what I’ve been desiring.  She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”  In plain English.  “Wow!!!”


One of the most awesome moments in a wedding is when a groom - standing up front at the altar - can look down the center aisle - to the head of the aisle - and see his fiancé for the first time - standing there - in white - revealed in all her glory.  To stand there and realize that this is the one that God has prepared for you and brought to you - to fit - to be your helper - suitable for each other.  There’s a definite “Wow!” factor in that.


Verse 24  Therefore - wherefore?  Because Male and female corresponding to each other - brought together by God for His purposes - a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.


One huge problem with gay marriage is that God has specific purposes for marriage - procreation and parenting being just two of them.  The way that God has designed for those purposes to be accomplished is with a man and a woman in marriage.  Not a male and male or a female and a female.  They just don’t correspond.  They do not “fit” relationally and vocationally.


For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and hold fast to his wife - some versions read “be joined” - the unique union of a man and women in marriage - and they shall become one flesh. 


Verse 25 - next verse - the meaning of “one flesh” - And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.


A husband and a wife are not just roommates - two people who happen to be living in the same building and raising kids together and occasionally having sex.  The reality of one flesh is a whole lot deeper than that.


There’s nothing between them - nothing held back - nothing to hide - no fear - just innocence and openness and trust - spiritually - emotionally - mentally - physically.  There’s nothing between them - no sin - no issues in their relationship.  They could stand there in total innocence and openness before each other and not feel the need to hide anything - naked without shame.  That’s one flesh.  Intimacy - oneness - on the deepest level.


Its an understatement to say that we are continually bombarded - at work  -at school - wherever - 24/7/365 - we are continually bombarded by the culture we live in - have repeatedly shoved in our face - the absolutely wrong message about sexuality and marriage - a lie about male/female relationships that is totally self-destructive.


Relationships today are about hooking up - sex - maybe for a night - maybe for something longer.  A couple falls in lust - has sex - moves in together - might decide to get married - maybe the female is pregnant - all of which works for a while - and then doesn’t.


Young people today - perhaps more so than any previous generation - young people today are more experienced - more assertive - more confident - feel more entitled - and yet are more miserable than ever before.  They keep coming up empty.


What’s left in the wake of our social enlightenment is a growing sub-culture - soon to be the dominant culture - of broken single parent homes - of children living with someone they’re probably not biologically related to.  Broken people - wounded.  People who stumble into marriage unprepared and with no clue of the purposes and success and depth of intimacy that God has purposed for marriage


What is brain rocking to consider is that they have no clue that there can be anything different.  And yet - deep down - knowing the emptiness of how they’re living - they desperately crave what God offers here in Genesis. 


I would suggest one other thought here.  Before we get too smug.  The church doesn't seem to be doing much better.  Way too many Christian young people have attitudes about sex and marriage that might be slightly better than what’s around us.  Christian marriages fail with about the same consistency as what’s around us.  Certainly we’re not immune to our struggles in marriage.  We are missing so much of what God’s offers us. 


Grab this for yourself - married - will get married - know someone who is married - God creating - preparing - bringing Adam and Eve together for his awesome purposes.  Courtship - as a preparation for marriage - courtship isn’t about Adam and Eve.  Courtship isn’t about us.


Courtship - and so marriage - is about God - what God intends marriage to be - about what God desires to bless us with - for what He purposes for us to do as His image - suitable for each other.


God’s reality of courtship and marriage is what leads to the life long “wow” factor - the intimacy and oneness - of a married couple standing naked and innocent before each other without shame.


Let’s go on to chapter 3 - starting at verse 1 - which is the passage we’re actually looking at this morning.  Chapter 3 begins The Honeymoon.  Let’s say that together, “The honeymoon.”


Verse 1:  Now - meaning that we’ve left the slo-mo highlights of chapter two and we’re picking up back where chapter one left off - now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field that the Lord God had made.  He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’”  And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the Garden, but God said, ’You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 


In Genesis 2 - order of creation - Adam first then Eve - God commands Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - apparently located in the center of the garden.  Adam - in his role as first created - passed that command on to Eve - who tells the Serpent what God said.


Verse 4:  But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.


Have you noticed that there are differences between men and women?  Men can read smaller print than women.  Women can hear better.  Male hospital patients fall out of bed twice as often as female hospital patients.


Someone compared men to waffles.  Have you heard this?  Men arrange things in little boxes in our minds.  We compartmentalize our thinking.  Which is why its hard for us to multitask - watch football and listen to our wives at the same time.  But if we’re focused on a task.  We’re focused.  Stubbornly unstoppable. 


The number one drive of man is to provide and to protect.  When a waffle minded man is in the provide and protect box he’s going to do that really well because he’s not going to be aware of anything in any other box.  Protect and provide.  Stay on task.

Women have been compared to spaghetti.  Have you heard that?  Everything in a woman’s mind - their thinking is intertwined - interrelated.  Which is why women are good at multi-tasking.  They take in and process everything simultaneously - sorting through a lot of information and feelings and processing all that and moving forward through life.  All of which is very relational.  Valuing how things and people connect.


The number one drive of a women is to love - to create and experience closeness that provides security.  Which is why women make awesome mothers.  Almost like someone designed it that way.


God has blessed us - male and female - with differences so that together in marriage we can fulfill the purposes for which God has created us.


Eve is processing this conversation with the serpent.  The suggestions of the serpent.  The quality of the fruit as food - that it would satisfy one’s hunger and physical needs.  The beauty of the fruit - its attractive - something to be desired.  The value in gaining wisdom by eating the fruit.  She’s processing all that.  I’m pushing the text a bit here - but she’s driving at love - security - increased relationship - maybe with the serpent - maybe with God - certainly with Adam.


Where’s Adam?  She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.  Adam - standing there is focused on - who knows?  He may have been wondering if dominion meant bar-b-qued serpent.  Provide and protect.


When the discussion comes down to the wire Adam punts - fails to protect - to take the lead in obeying God’s command.  “Great discussion Eve.  But, bottom line God said don’t eat that.  Let’s go.”  And Eve - not being protected by Adam - Eve takes over leadership and provides food for Adam.  “Adam.  Eat the fruit.”


Adam’s act of disobedience to God’s command “Don’t eat” we know is The Fall - the entrance of sin into the human race - the consequence of which is death - eternal punishment and separation from God.  Which is a discussion for a different time.


What we want to see today is how sin turns the honeymooners against each other.  This pair into despair.  Because of sin - the differences become weaknesses - not strengths.


Verse 7:  “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked.  And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”


Effect of sin #1:    Sin enters the relationship and oneness is gone.  They have shame between them.  Issues.  Failure.  Unfulfilled needs and expectations.  They’re making loin coverings out of leaves.  Instead of openness - deep intimacy - knowing each other - they’re hiding from each other.


How often in marriage do we cover ourselves - hide from our spouses -  rather than expose what we’re feeling inside? 


Verse 8:  And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.


Effect of sin #2:  They’re hiding from God.  Running from His presence.  They know they’ve blown it.  They’re living in fear.  Fear of God.  Fear of death and what they may mean for them.


How brilliant is it to hide from the all knowing God - to hide behind a tree?  And yet how often do we hide behind trees?  Couples will find anything else to busy themselves with rather to come clean before God together and let God deal with the issues of their relationship.


Verse 9:  But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”  And he - Adam - said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”  He - God - said, “Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”  The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”  Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”


Effect of sin #3:  They’re hiding from themselves.  “The woman You gave me - she gave me the fruit.  Its the woman’s fault.  Its Your fault for bringing me the bone of my bones the flesh of my flesh.  Some suitable helper she turned out to be.”  “Its the serpent’s fault.”


In a sense Eve’s right.  The serpent put out the temptation.  But it was Eve and Adam who followed through.


Remember Flip Wilson?  That’ll date a few of us.  Remember Flip?  The Devil made me do it.


“If only my wife would do - whatever.”  “If only she wasn’t so…”  “If only he wouldn’t...”  “If he would just - whatever.”  “Why doesn’t God do something about….?”


It is so easy for us to duck responsibility for our own role - our own sin - in what’s gone wrong with the honeymoon.


Jump down with me to verse 16 - the last part of that verse.  From verses 14 to 19 God is going through a list of curses and effects of sin.  The last part of verse 16 is s kind of summary of these other three we just saw.


Verse 16 - last part - God said to Eve,  “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”  Literally - the Hebrew has this idea:  “Your desire is going to be to control your husband.  And He is going to exercise control over you.”


That one statement - focused on a relationship severely damaged by sin - is the bottom line reality of what we struggle with as husbands and wives.


Look at this cycle - the energizing cycle.  Karen and I got these at a seminar a few years back while we were at Mount Hermon.  These hopefully are familiar to some of you.  They really clarify what God says here.


The number one need of a man is - believe it or not - isn’t sex.  The number one need of a man is respect.  The number one drive of a man is to provide and protect.  As a husband is giving himself to do that providing and protecting thing - he needs the unconditional respect of his wife.


The number one need of a woman is what?  Love.  She desires love and relational security.  Security coming from a husband who will be there for her in the way she needs him to be there for her - unconditionally loving her.  That love provides the protection she needs to feel - what allows her to feel secure.


As the husband loves his wife it motivates her to respect him which motivates him to love her.  That builds one flesh - energizes us to do what God has purposed and enabled us to do.  Are we seeing that together?


Second cycle - the weakening cycle.  The opposite - what’s gone wrong with the honeymoon.   Without love - Adam protecting Eve from the serpent - Eve insecure - reacts without respect for Adam - takes leadership away from Adam who’s let her down - and Adam - not respected by Eve - because she’s taken his role of protect and provide - Adam reacts without love towards Eve.  Are we seeing that together?


Does it make reasonable sense how that just might tear apart one flesh - weaken us for what God has purposed and enabled us to do?


Two really brief thoughts of application.  Thinking about marriage. 


Number one:  God desires for us to be one flesh - to have the kind of depth of intimacy that energizes us to do what God has purposed for us to do.


Second thought:  The real enemy here - to the being the one flesh that we crave - the real enemy here is not our spouse.  Its the serpent.  Satan will do anything to get our focus off of God and God’s design and purpose for marriage.


We need to be honest - when we’re going around on the cycle that’s tearing us apart its because we’ve chosen to follow the suggestions of Satan - the serpent - to dabble in sin - the crud that he keeps putting gout there in the world we live in - rather than to come out from behind the tree and honestly open ourselves up to God for His healing and restoration.


On the flip side of your Message Notes is the Taking It Home section.  There are some suggestions of things to do and think about.  First, are these two questions to get us started.


First:  If you had to describe your marriage - which cycle are you going around on?


Second:  What is there in you - notice, not your spouse - what is there in you - what sin - that needs to be opened up to God - surrendered - confessed - that God needs to have control over - so that you can be turning on the energizing cycle?




1. For Men Only - and - For Women Only     Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn

2. Love and Respect - The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Most Needs     Dr. Emerson Eggerichs 

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright© 1960,1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.