Genesis 3.22-24-Adam and Eve's Expulsion from the Garden of Eden

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Genesis: Genesis 3:22-24-Adam and Eve’s Expulsion from the Garden of Eden-Lesson # 19

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Wednesday August 31, 2005

Genesis: Genesis 3:22-24-Adam and Eve’s Expulsion from the Garden of Eden

Lesson # 19

Turn in your Bibles to Genesis 3:20.

This evening we will study Genesis 3:22-24 and thereby complete our study of Genesis 3.

In Genesis 3:22-24, Moses records for us the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:20, “Now the man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.”

Genesis 3:21, “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.”

Genesis 3:22, “Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.’”

“Us” is a reference to the Trinity who held a council and acknowledged that man knew good and evil.

Adam and his wife knew good and evil in the sense that they now were able to distinguish through experience the distinction between that which is good, obedience to God and evil, disobedience to God and independence from Him, whereas prior to their Fall, they knew by experience only God’s goodness.

Unlike Adam, God does not know evil through experience but rather He is aware of it because He is omniscient.

Eating from the tree of life would not have given Adam eternal life, which is received as a gift of God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone (Jn. 3:16-18; Eph. 2:8-9).

But rather eating from the tree of life would have perpetuated the life of his physical body since the soul is created to live forever and according to Genesis 3:22, eating from this tree results in living forever.

Eating from the tree of life would have prevented the deterioration and decay of their physical bodies, which God wanted to replace with resurrection bodies.

Satan wanted Adam to eat from the tree of life after eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil since that would have perpetuated Adam’s fallen nature.

Therefore, God employed elect angels to ensure that Adam and his wife did not eat from the tree of life.

Genesis 3:23, “therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.”

Genesis 3:24, “So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”

It seems harsh and cruel of God that He expelled Adam and his wife out of the Garden of Eden but in reality, God again was demonstrating His love, His care and concern for them.

If God did not immediately drive Adam and his wife out of the Garden of Eden Satan would have tempted them or they would because of their sin nature be tempted to eat from the tree of life, which would have resulted in their living perpetually in their fallen state.

God was protecting them and delivering them from temptation that would have catastrophic implications for them and which He could not resolve.

The Lord expelled Adam and his wife from the Garden of Eden to prevent access to the tree of life and to teach them that God’s holiness cannot tolerate sinners in His presence, which both the tree of life and the Garden were symbols of.

Sinners cannot have access to a holy God unless a way has been made possible and that way would be made possible through the death of the Last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:18, “for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.”

Ephesians 3:12, “in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.”

Hebrews 10:19, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus.”

Hebrews 10:20, “by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh.”

The “cherubim” are elect angels who assigned the task of guarding the divine unapproachable presence and holiness of God, which is symbolized by the tree of life in the Garden of Eden.

In Scripture, the cherubim vindicate the divine righteousness (Ex. 26:1; 36:8) the divine mercy (Ex. 25:22; 37:9) and divine government (1 Sam. 4:4; Ps. 80:1; Ezek. 1:22).

In the holy of holies in the Tabernacle in Israel, the Shekinah Glory took residence above the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant between the two cherubim who sat on either side representing the righteousness and justice of God.

The “flaming sword, which turned in every direction to guard the tree of life” is a symbol of God’s holiness and judgment.

The term “holiness” has become an obscure term.

Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines holiness, “the quality or state of being holy; sanctity.”

They define “sanctity”, “sacred or hallowed character.”

One of the definitions that Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary gives for the adjective “holy” is, “entitled to worship or profound religious reverence because of divine character or origin or connection with God or divinity.”

Therefore, holiness pertains to the absolute perfection of the divine character.

The flaming sword protecting the presence of the Lord in the Garden of Eden is a symbol of God’s holiness meaning the absolute eternal perfection of the character of the Triune God.

One of the definitions for the noun “character” that Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary provides that applies to the context of our passage is the following: “the aggregate of features and traits that form the apparent individual nature of some person or thing.”

Therefore, we can say that the holiness of God is the aggregate of perfect divine attributes that form the nature of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Thus, God’s holiness is related to all of His divine attributes.

The holiness of God is simply the harmony of all His perfections or attributes.

Webster’s states that “character” refers especially to “moral qualities, ethical standards, principles and the like.”

If we paraphrase this too and give this a spiritual application, we would say that God’s holiness emphasizes His “perfect moral qualities, ethical standards and principles.”

The perfect character or holiness of God is the excellence of the divine nature.

It is the very antithesis to sin, evil, moral blemish or defilement.

The Word of God devotes many passages to the holiness of God since it is the excellency of His divine nature and because it was attacked by Satan in eternity past and continues to be attacked throughout human history, which is the appeal trial of Satan.

Holiness is used often to describe the Person of God.

Psalm 97:12, “Be glad in the LORD, you righteous ones, and give thanks to His holy name.”

The title “His Holy Name” refers to the perfect character of the Person of God.

This absolute perfection of God’s character is celebrated throughout the Scriptures.

Isaiah 6:3, “And one called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.’”

Revelation 4:8, “And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, ‘HOLY, HOLY, HOLY IS THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.’”

God swears by the perfect character of His person (Ps. 89:35) because that is a complete expression of Himself more than anything else.

The holiness or perfect character of God is the perfection of the glory of God and every Person of the Trinity and is the rule of all His actions and relationships with both men and angels.

The Lord Jesus Christ revealed the holiness or character of God during His 1st Advent.

John 1:18, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

The absolute perfection of God’s character was revealed perfectly at the Cross when the impeccable humanity nature of Christ received the imputation of every sin in human history-past, present and future as our Substitute and was judged for those sins by being separated in His perfect humanity from the Father for those last 3 hours on the Cross (Mt. 27:46).

The holiness of God was manifested at the Cross where the righteousness of God demanded that the sins of both mankind and angels be judged and the justice of God judged the impeccable humanity of Christ in hypostatic union as a substitute for these moral rational creatures of His.

So God’s abhorrence and intolerance of sin was manifested through the judgment of His impeccable Son.

The love of God was also manifested at the Cross through the Father’s judgment of His as a Substitute for all mankind (Rm. 5:6-8).

While God’s holiness demanded the judgment of sin, the holiness of God provided a substitutionary sacrifice for all mankind.

God’s holiness expresses His purity of His character or moral perfection and excellence.

Genesis 3:24, “So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”

The flaming sword symbolized to Adam and his wife and to their children that the absolute and innate holiness or perfect character of God can have nothing to do with sin or sinners unless a perfect sacrifice is provided to satisfy the perfect standards of God’s holiness.

God is totally separate from sin and sinners unless a way can be found to constitute them holy and that way has been provided based upon the merits of the impeccable Person and Finished Work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.

1 John 2:12, “I am providing information in writing at this particular time for the benefit of all of you, little children in view of the fact that for the benefit of all of you, your sins have been forgiven-past, present and future on the basis of His merit.”

The flaming sword protecting access to the tree of life in the Garden of Eden is a symbol of God’s holiness indicating that God does not and will not, nor will He ever in the future tolerate sin.

The sword is always used of war in the Bible, thus the flaming sword is a symbol that God’s holiness requires Him to be at war with sin and sinners.

The voluntary substitutionary spiritual death of the impeccable human nature of Jesus Christ has satisfied the demands of God’s holiness that sinners and sin be judged by receiving the imputation of every sin in human history-past, present and future and suffering spiritual death as the Substitute for sinners.

Christ’s death has reconciled fallen man to a holy God.

Colossians 1:21, “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds.”

Colossians 1:22, “yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”

The expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden symbolizes the total depravity of the human race, of which Adam is the federal head.

It denotes that the entire human race, which Adam is the federal head, are under real spiritual death meaning that they have no capacity to have fellowship with God and be in His presence.

The cherubim and the flaming sword protecting the presence and holiness of God was stationed in the east where the sun rises because the sun is used in Scripture for the Person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who would satisfy the demands of God’s holiness that sin and sinners be judging by dying for sin and in the place of sinners (John 1:9; Mal 4:2)

Malachi 4:2, “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”

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