Tracing the Development of Sin
“You will be like God” (Gen. 3:5). This was the original temptation, the archetypal seduction aimed at our first parents by the Serpent. Created as vice-regents with dominion over the earth, Adam and Eve wanted more. They reached for autonomy, stretching greedy arms toward the throne of God, only to fall headlong into the abyss of evil.
Expulsion from Eden was their fate. They could not go back. Paradise was lost. An angel with a flaming sword stood guard at the gateway to the garden. This is the first reference in Scripture to a weapon of any sort. Before God gave the “power of the sword” to men, He gave it to the angel to patrol and guard the border west of Nod.
With the fall came a rapid expansion of sin. One son of Adam and Eve murdered his brother, introducing fratricide to human history. Then came Lamech, who celebrated warfare in his famous “sword song” (Genesis 4:23–24). Man used his nascent technology to turn the tools of farming into implements of war. The plowshare became a sword, and the call to subdue the earth was distorted into a conspiracy to conquer one’s brother. The means of production became the means of destruction, and human technology and scientific discovery were used not to honor God but to assault Him, by attacking His creation and His image-bearers.
Then God said no to the expansion of corruption and brought the flood, a storm of judgment upon the earth, a deluge to clean the planet.
How is the first temptation, “You will be like God,” evident in temptations you have faced or are facing? What should be your response?
Passages for Further Study
- Genesis 3:4–5
- Genesis 3:22–24
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