Tim Keller on the Fall in Genesis 3

It’s a little dangerous to recommend a sermon on Genesis from Tim Keller the week that Keith, Dave, and Shay are launching a series on Genesis. However, it’s important to remember that any pressure and high expectations that will be placed on them…are placed on them. Not me. I’m sure they can handle it and more importantly I’m off the hook entirely.

Keller is pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City, author of many books which we have recommended, and a wonderful preacher of God’s Word. What follows are some stolen thoughts from him on Genesis 3.

First, the text (in abbreviated format).

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”…But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”…(so) she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths…

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

A few thoughts, mostly from Keller:

1. Sin started not with an action, but with a belief. Satan calls into question God’s goodness. “Did he really say?” And then he calls into question God’s trustworthiness. “You won’t die, he is just trying to constrain you, he doesn’t want you to broaden your horizons.” He’s tempting Eve with the idea that if you obey God you’re missing out on something, that you’ll never really be happy. Glad I don’t struggle with that one.

2. “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God…” is a summary of the rest of human existence post-fall. We’ve become hiders. We hide from each other, we hide from friends, we hide because we’re ashamed or afraid of what people will say about us or think about us. We hide from the light and we hide from God because we can’t pretend with him.

3. Even though we’re hiders, God still saves. And not because we seek him out, but because he seeks us even when we hide. “But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” But for him revealing Himself to us we would have no hope.

4. In the garden of Eden Adam and Eve struggled with obeying about a tree. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus struggled with obeying about a tree – called a cross.

Adam and Eve were in a sinless, painless, bright, and glorious garden. The promise was “if you obey you’ll live.” And they took the fruit and ate it, and death and decay entered our lives.

Jesus was in a dark and ominous garden. The promise was “if you obey you’ll be killed…but they’ll live.” And he climbed that tree of death for him, and it became a tree of life for us.

The entire sermon will cost you $2.50. But it’ll impact your soul more than that candy bar or Starbucks coffee.

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