You cannot get an honest confession out of a depraved man. Corruption is evasive. It is deceptive. It is self-protective. It is self-justifying and blame-shifting. The sinner doesn’t take responsibility for what he does even when you’ve got him in a corner.
When God corners Adam, this is what happens:
And the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave to me from the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12)
“You gave me this woman. She’s the problem,” Adam says. “And actually, You’re the problem, because You picked her.”
You know, that’s what sinners ultimately do. When their whole sinful world collapses in on them, they blame God. Adam insinuates that if God had never made Eve, this wouldn’t have happened.
It’s amazing how, in one day, this man and his wife have gone from praising God to blaming Him. But that’s the way it is with depravity. It always wants to see itself as a victim. “There’s really nothing wrong with me,” he said. “There’s something wrong with her and something really wrong with You.”
Depravity settles in with amazing speed and turns the lover of God into the hater of God.
And we are like that to this day. People hate to admit that they are sinners. And if they can’t get out if it, then they blame God for the circumstances surrounding the sin.
Adam and Eve are now void of any love for God. Adam doesn’t love God. Eve doesn’t love God. They resent God. They see God as a frightening figure who is going to bring about death. They see God as their judge, not their friend. They see God as the author of their sin, because it’s God who creates the circumstance in which they fall. And so they resent God. They want to be out of God’s presence. They want to keep their distance from Him.
They have no interest in God’s honor. They seek immediately, in a self-defensive response, to dishonor and indict Him. They have no interest in God’s glory. In the same way Adam deflects blame, Eve also deflects:
Then Yahweh God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:13)
Eve, too, tries to make herself the victim. She can’t deny that she ate, but she wants God to think she is a victim of circumstances, having been deceived by the serpent.
So we see that this is how depravity acts: It is a condition of the human soul in which there is disobedience to God, a lack of fellowship with God, the sentence of death, an unwillingness to acknowledge sin, and a concern only for the consequences of sin (not sin itself). It is a condition in which there is no desire to repent, and in which there is blame-shifting and a constant effort at self-justification and self-exaltation.
This is what Jeremiah said when he said,
The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
And the condition cannot be changed by the sinner. Adam and Eve were fallen. They were lost. They were guilty. They were impenitent. The depravity was so pervasive that they would not and could not repent. Paradise was lost. And the very last thing that a depraved sinner would ever do is own up to his sin before God, confessing his lost and undone condition. Even when the sinner is conscious of his wickedness, he seeks shelter behind his own self-righteousness and trusts in his own good works to counterbalance his evil. Or he redefines God in his own terms. Or like the atheists, he dismisses God altogether.
I think Adam and Eve felt — if I can say it that way — a sense of moral distance between themselves and God. He was holy; they were sinful. I think they felt that. I think the unregenerate feel that. But there’s no love for God there, so there’s no desire to restore that, only desire to run from God and indict Him for whatever is wrong in your life.
So, what’s the remedy? Folks, nobody would ever be saved unless God in sovereign grace shattered the bonds of that depravity. And that’s what He does when He awakens the dead to life.
Next time we’re going to see the judge passing sentence on the impenitent, depraved couple. And this judgment will then lead into the next glimmer of God’s grace: the promise of a savior.
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 2000, titled “Confrontation in Eden.”