And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.(Genesis 3: 17-19)
Adam had earlier plead before the judge tat he ate of the tree because “the woman,you gave me…gave me of the tree and I did eat”, as if that would be a mitigating factor in His crime. But in the sentence upon Adam, the LORD cites the fact that because Adam listened to her and not to God as an aggravation of his transgression.
“Because you hearkened unto the voice of your wife…” all these terrible things will come to pass.
Note also how the LORD words it, “You did eat of the tree which I commanded thee not to eat…”, framing Adam’s sin as a blatant transgression, and as a despite of the authority of God himself. Adam was not deceived, he simply defied the Word of God. Adam is a rebel.
Therefore into all of the areas which pertain to Adam specifically comes sorrow, care, and frustrating futility.
The ground which was originally designed to yield to his cultivation, bringing forth its abundance, would now resist his efforts. Thorns and thistles are an apt representation of the ever multiplying , relentless and fruitless complications man would now labor under to coax a living under the now hostile soil.
Animals have become apprehensive, fearful and even hostile, flowers begin to fade , and fruit rots on the vine, as it becomes painfully obvious that this earth can no longer be home. The age of decay and death has commenced, as a result of Adam’s sin.
Romans tells us that it was God himself who subjected the creation to vanity, and that He did it in hope. The bondage to decay, as Romans also calls it, was imposed upon the creation so that man would not be able to try to build a life here without God. God wants man to turn to him and to be fitted for the New Creation.
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.(Romans 8:19-21)
Ecclesiastes also reveals that Divine judgement is the cause of the curse of vanity in this world. The preacher expounds upon the “the crookedness that cannot be made straight” in this life,which prevents fallen man from being able to create a lasting, satisfactory civilization. Ever since the fall there is something perverse about man, we are crooked and conflicted, for we have “eternity in our hearts” but are natural and subject to death. This is the “burden of God”.
Adam’s sin had a far greater impact than Eve’s for by his sin we were estranged from our very environment, as well as from our God. Adam’s sin was so impacting it caused the whole of Adam’s race to become transgressors. His sin corrupted our very nature, for the whole of the human race was said to be “in Adam”.
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.(Romans 5:18-19)
The final pronouncement of the consequence of Adam’s was the grim sentence of physical death. Adam would toil in the cursed fields, living by the very “sweat of his brow” until… .
Until what? Until you return to the ground. We work until we die. Thats it? What a bitter letdown for the man who began in such regal potential! He was made to be regent, Lord of the earth, He was the acme of Creation and walked and worked with the most high God, only to end as an empty shell? Lowered into the dirt to rot?
This was the sentence given by the judge to the transgressor; spoken in a play on words. “For dust(Adam) you are and unto dust(Adamah) you shall return”.
For this reason the sons of Adam have never been able to accept death as natural. Death is deeply feared because of the innate knowledge that it is a penalty from God, and that it rally isn’t the end of man-made in God’s Image.
Man’s separation would be complete, from His God, his wife, his environment, from his people, his work, and finally the separation of his own being, from body and soul. The wages of sin is death…but aren’t you glad that because of the seed of the woman, there is a promise that death is not the last word of this chapter? Skip ahead four verses…the last word is Life!