The Two Paths in Life

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), January 2

A predator mars the beauty of the garden when he enters the garden. He speaks to the woman, not because she is weaker, but because her knowledge of God’s instructions is secondhand–communicated to her by Adam. Will she trust God’s goodness, honor God’s designated authoritative order, and defer to God’s revealed will, or will she act independently of her husband and her God? Will Adam exercise the dominion given to him over every living thing, including the serpent? Will Adam and Eve appropriate God’s truth regarding the prohibited tree?

The serpent deceives Eve. She chooses what her eyes see and what her stomach desires, opting to live independently of God. Neither Adam nor Eve trusts in God’s goodness and lives by God’s word. They eat the forbidden fruit. Thus the plot of the story begins.

Consequences of Adam and Eve’s independent living include:

  • Both man and woman are now more aware of self than they are of God; they hide from God.
  • God confronts the hiding couple; Adam blames God, Eve blames the serpent. Blame and shirking personal responsibility become a way of life, along with fear, shame and guilt.
  • God curses the serpent and promises to redeem man.
  • God outlines the consequences of man’s sin.
  • The couple are evicted from the garden, and God makes the first sacrifice.

We are all story-shaped—shaped by this story. Adam’s failure to live by faith when he refuses to appropriate God’s promise brings death. God confronts Adam and Eve’s sin and promises a redeemer. Adam’s failure is our failure, and God’s promise of redemption is our promise—to be appropriated by faith.

The story of the Bible continues to unfold with the birth of Cain and Abel.

Adam and Eve believe God and teach their sons about God, worship, sin, and redemption. Abel comes to God God’s way, offering the firstborn of his flock, and is accepted; Cain acts independently of God, seeking to define his own way to God, and is rejected. God, ever the Divine Gentleman, approaches Cain and offers him another chance, but Cain refuses and kills his brother.  God curses Cain, and Cain chooses to live outside of the presence of God, where violence and polygamy prevail.

What about God’s promise of redemption (Gen. 3:15)? One son is cursed and the other is dead. Never fear—a promise made by God is a promise fulfilled by God: “And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth. “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed” (4:25). Seth’s descendants continue down the road of faith and call upon the name of the Lord while Cain’s descendants ignore God and live independently of Him, continuing down the path of their own making.

UnknownTwo ways of walking thread their way throughout the remainder of the story of the Bible—walking by faith in the promises of God, or walking by sight. God desired that Adam and Eve trust His goodness and believe His word. Sadly, they chose to walk by sight, and all of their descendants received their DNA download of sin—a proud countenance and an independent spirit. God, however, paved another road on which men may walk—the way of faith and redemption. Abel believed God, acted accordingly, and was accepted by God. Cain believed in his own way and lived accordingly—outside of the presence of God.

God’s instructions before the Fall required that man believe that God is good and His word is true. God’s promises after the Fall demanded the same. Few trust in God’s Word and His goodness. Most don’t, and remain under the curse of Cain and in the way of Cain.

Question from today’s reading (Genesis 4-6:22; 1 Chronicles 1:1-4):

Describe the difference between life among Cain and Seth’s descendants and what this reveals about those who live in light of the promise of redemption and those who do not.