Genesis 3; Psalms 12, 14, 38, 53

Adam and Eve’s sin in Genesis 3 resulted in spiritual isolation from the most necessary and basic human relationship, their relationship with God. They became self-conscious before Him (Gen 3:10) and consequences were in order. Eve and her descendants were assigned physical agony in childbirth (Gen 3:16). Adam and his descendants must work cursed soil and toil in their labor (Gen 3:17-18). And death entered the world (Gen 3:19). There were also horizontal effects to Adam and Eve’s sin. They had a sense of isolation due to the self-consciousness of their nakedness (Gen 3:7), they had a propensity to blame others for their own faults (Gen 3:12-13), and Eve experienced a desire to rule over her husband (Gen 3:16).

But the promise God made to the serpent in Gen 3:15, “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head and you will strike his heel,” sparks the redemptive plan into action. Forthcoming Scripture becomes a storyline explaining the consequences of sin and the power of God to reconcile sinners. Paul’s letter to the Romans provides a summary of redemptive themes that are set in motion by Adam and Eve’s sin. In Romans 3, Paul applied portions of Psalms 14 and 53 to both Jews and Gentiles—to show that humanity is unable to meet God’s standards of righteousness and should thus humble themselves and receive His righteousness in Christ. In Rom 5:12-21, Paul compared the power and consequences of Adam’s sin with the power and consequences of Christ’s death and resurrection. “The gift is not like the trespass,” Paul wrote (Rom 5:15a). Though by Adam’s sin, death reigned over all of humanity, in Christ, the anti-type of Adam, righteousness reigns over those united to Jesus (Rom 5:15b-17). Paul understood that through Adam’s sin, all of humanity was assigned to sin, made sinners (Rom 5:19a). But Christ’s victorious death and resurrection are of greater consequence: “Through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous,” Paul exclaimed (Rom 5:19b). Paul understood that when sin entered the world, death entered too. Jesus’ death reversed the consequence of Adam’s sin with the result that, “Just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:21; 1 Cor 15:45). In Romans 8, Paul wrote that the grace of eternal life would have liberating effects for all of creation. “For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it—in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption in the glorious freedom of God’s children” (Rom 8:19-21).

All of this is true because Jesus defeated the Devil, finally triumphing over him through death and resurrection. In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve were persuaded by Satan’s lies; in the wilderness, Jesus fought Satan with the truth of God’s word (Matt 4:1-11//Mark 1:12-13//Luke 4:1-13). Jesus cast out demons and displayed power over Satan’s domain (Matt 8:28-34//Mark 5:1-17//Luke 8:26-37). Jesus showed Himself to be the strongman coming to plunder the devil’s domain (Matt 12:22-30//Mark 3:22-27//Luke 11:14-23). As Jesus neared the day of His crucifixion, He said, “Now is the judgement of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out. As for Me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to Myself” (John 12:31-32). In being lifted up, Jesus atoned for the sins of His people, removing the devil’s weaponry against the church. Paul wrote that at the cross Jesus disarmed the rulers and authorities that would accuse those in Christ, triumphing over them in it (Col 2:11-15). The author of Hebrews wrote that the purpose of Jesus’ incarnation was so that He could fully identify with humanity and defeat the devil at the cross (Heb 2:14-15).

Though Satan is powerless to accuse believers before God, God yet allows the devil to chastise those who act in pride. James wrote, “Submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!” (Jas 4:7-8). And Peter warned his readers saying, “Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your brothers in the world” (1 Pet 5:8-9). In the Revelation, John wrote that God will allow Satan to deceive the nations and gather them for war against God’s people (Rev 13:1-8; 19:19-20; 20:7-9) before finally being thrown into the lake of fire forever (Rev 20:10).