Now that we have walked through the first three chapters of Genesis, let us now turn to understand the sin of humanity and the penalty in relationship to the sin of man. And for us to review these matters, we must draw on the historical nature of man looking through the lens of the spiritual nature of God and his purpose for man.
But as we are about to take you on this journey of discovery, we must first understand by nature, we are a people of the dust, a people created from the dust of the earth who by God’s breath became living personalities apart from God, and yet bound to God who is the source of our lives. And what that means is this, although, we are individual beings connected to God, we as human beings are independent of God when it comes to our freewill, that is, our will to choose.
This can be seen in the relationship found in Genesis chapters two where God created man, and after creating man, he told him to avoid the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God put forward this knowledge to the man because he was created with the will to choose, he had the power to remain in God’s will, or walk away from God’s will. But although he had this freewill, God established boundaries he must not cross, and should he cross those boundaries, he will pay the ultimate penalty, the penalty of death.
Genesis 2:15-17 “LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eat thereof thou shalt surely die.”
Now, examining this penalty, one must ask the question, why was the penalty of death the option chosen by God as a result of man eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And to understand why this was the option chosen, we are to realize the position that was given to Adam.
Let us not forget, we are working our way into understanding this mystery behind the first four chapters of Genesis, and if we were able to accept this is the story of Adam who lived the experience, it will be possible for us to realize he is reporting on his position as a man created to be a part of God’s government, and as a member of God’s government, his choice to disobey God was an act of treason, and an attempt to circumvent God.
God had agreed to create man and have him rule over the works of his hands, and with this position comes a great deal of responsibility, great judgment, and great consequences should we fail to comply or follow through with the job we were given. So, when God made the man and placed him in the position as Lord over the works of his hands, he also warned Adam of the outcome of his choosing to disobey, because Adam was now a member of the governing body of God.
Genesis 1:26-27 And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Adam was in a position of authority, and because he was placed in such height position, Lucifer saw this as an opportunity to take the kingdom of God out of the hands of man. Because if Lucifer was able to convince Adam to join him in rebellion against God, he might be able to achieve his goal to be like God.
The scripture has revealed this was an old plan of Lucifer, and drawing from this historical data, Isaiah was able to prophecy by the Spirit of God the plan of Lucifer and the outcome of his plan in the future to come. Isaiah 14:12-15 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Highest. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
This was the promise God made to Lucifer when he judged him, he told Lucifer he will fail at every attempt to sit on the throne of the world that he might rule over the nations on earth because when Lucifer led Adam and his wife astray, he saw an opportunity to take rule over the kingdom of God to come. For when God told Adam to be fruitful and multiply, it was to bring this kingdom of people into the earth, and seeing that this was the plan of God, it was an opportunity for Lucifer to become like God, and for him to sit and rule over the nations.
But although Lucifer led Adam and Eve astray, God made this declaration, Genesis 3:14-15 “The LORD God said unto the serpent, because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
This declaration was God’s promise to be vigilant throughout the course of time into the future to ensure Lucifer would never be able to establish an eternal kingdom on earth in fulfilment of his plan, but will in the future once the seed of man will have multiplied bringing forth the people of the kingdom foreseen by God. God will bring down the government of Lucifer, a government Lucifer will attempt to establish through the seed of men.
This is the picture of the first four chapters of Genesis, and the reason the penalty of death was the choice on God’s part according to the foreknowledge of the future and in response to man’s rebellion against his authority. It was because God had set safeguards in place to prevent man from siding with Lucifer whose hope was to establish an eternal kingdom on earth in opposition to God’s authority.
Death was the safeguard because of the position of man, and the plan of Lucifer to become like God, therefore, when man chose to rebel, God took from man the opportunity to hold on to eternal life. Genesis 3:22-24 And the LORD God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore, the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So, he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.