And now, things go badly. Genesis 1 and 2 left us with a world in good shape. In fact, God had said it was “very good.”
Then people turn loose and start making poor decisions. It starts with Adam and Eve being convinced that God didn’t mean what He said about the fruit. There is where we often go wrong. It is a dangerous thing to assume that God did not mean what He said, whether by adding to it or taking away from it.
Or by attempting to explain it away. While the value of deep research into the linguistics and backgrounds of Scripture is inestimable, we must be cautious when someone tells us that what the text says plainly isn’t what it means, in fact it’s the opposite. This is the lie Satan started with, and it’s a lie that recurs to this day.
Then, things get worse. It does seem that this is the nature of human history—we always find a way to make it worse. Treason against God gives way to murder, murder adds cover-ups and deception, and the community is shattered by the end of Genesis 4.
I would make note of a couple of things here:
First, our obedience as Christians is due to God first. If we are not obedient to Him, then our relationship with God will suffer. In fact, before we come to Christ, our relationship to God is in even worse shape. It is sundered, cut apart. When that fails, we have little left to lean on.
The second, though, is this: our relationships with each other are also critical and can be destroyed by sin. These relationships fall after our relationship to God, but they fall just the same.
You see this in the progression from Genesis 3 to Genesis 4, as sin eats up first Adam and Eve’s relationship with God and then destroys their family. The message is clear: we need each other and we need God, and we must avoid sin’s destruction of those relationships.