The Great Pandemic
Bible Reading: Genesis chapter 3
By now we’ve all become well versed in pandemic matters. We know, for example, that Covid is highly transmissible and can be deadly. We know about social distancing, mask wearing, and vaccines. Sadly we all likely know someone who has had Covid or maybe even someone who has died from it. We should all take appropriate precautions to minimize our risk, but there’s another pandemic which is even more “transmissible.” It has a 100% mortality rate. We read about it in Genesis 3.
Contrary to God’s explicit command and despite His dire warning of the deadly consequences, the woman having been devil-deceived, partook of the forbidden fruit. Then she gave to her husband, and he ate also. They had experienced intimate fellowship with God and had been well provisioned in an idyllic paradise. But all of that would suddenly and radically change. Their eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together to make themselves loincloths—mankind’s first attempt to rectify the effects of his lost condition according to his own wisdom and by his own self efforts. In desperate fear, they hid from God. Spiritual death had entered into man’s existence. Physical death would likewise come soon enough (see Genesis chapters 4 and 5).
God declared a curse: on the serpent, on the woman, on Adam, and on the earth itself. Our predecessors could hardly have imagined the tragic and far-reaching consequences of their sin, for their sin unleashed a sin contagion upon all of humanity. Romans 5:12 explains: “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.” There you have it. The transmission rate for sin = 100% (all sinned). Likewise, the mortality rate for sin = 100% (death spread to all men). We are all born into this world with a nature to sin, deserving of death (Romans 3:23, 623).
There’s good news amidst the bad in this sad account. In cursing the serpent, God spoke of One who would come from the woman who would render a fatal wound to the serpent. This promise looked forward through the centuries to the incarnation of God’s Own Son who, through His own death, would destroy the devil (Hebrews 2:14). God was faithful to that promise! In spite of the man and woman’s tragic choice, and by way of contrast to their ill devised fig leaf clothing scheme, God Himself clothed Adam and Eve with garments of skin (Genesis 3:20-21). Those garments, provided by way of animal sacrifice, were prophetic of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God on a cross for sins. God’s truth, righteousness, and justice were all demonstrated in the judgment He bestowed, his love, grace, and mercy were likewise revealed in His provision for Adam and Eve. Though God is unchanging in His nature, He remains who He is no matter what we do, His interaction with fallen humanity gives opportunity for us to behold His attributes in ways we’d otherwise be unable to see.
Heavenly Father. Who can measure the loss, pain, and sorrow that was unleashed on that fateful day when sin entered into the world! And to this day we live in a broken world that groans under the weight of sin’s corruption. Help us to weigh our choices according to the tragic consequences suffered by our forebears. Thank you, Lord, that in your righteous judgment on our forebears, you also made promise of a future redeemer. In the majesty of your grace and mercy we find hope. In this broken world, may we be ever thankful for your provision of a Savior, who bore the weight of humanity’s sin and sorrow. Amen.