Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. Then Yahweh God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and He clothed them.
Then Yahweh God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us to know good and evil; and now, lest he send forth his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever”—therefore Yahweh God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
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. (Genesis 3:20-24)
What you have here in this amazing little section is the introduction of salvation and redemption. Here is the true protoevangelium, the first promise of the gospel unfolded.
What you have here, then, is the introduction of the great doctrinal heart of salvation. And isn’t it wonderful that it happens in the third chapter, where man falls and death reigns? It is immediately after the curse that the Holy Spirit of God inspires Moses to write the record of redemption in its first expression.
Let’s start with this: If there is to be salvation for the sinner, there must be faith. Salvation, all through Scripture, from here to the very end of redemptive history, is always by faith. At no time was anyone ever saved by works. Even here in Genesis 3, salvation is clearly by faith.
What do we mean by that? We mean simply believing whatever God has said. Obviously, at this point in redemptive history God hadn’t said everything He was going to say. But faith requires that you believed His Word to whatever extent He had revealed it.
Now, let me ask you a question. Did Adam and Eve always believe that whatever God had said was true? No. Up to a point they did. Then Satan came into their world, and Satan tempted them to believe that God had not told them the truth. Satan said to them, “Ah, you shall not surely die.” God said, “The day you eat of the tree you’re going to die.” Satan said, “God’s a liar,” and Adam and Eve believed Satan. The serpent led them to conclude that God was not honest and not to be trusted.
But immediately, Adam and Even exercise faith. They turn from having trusted Satan to trusting God. Look at verse 20:
Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.
This is a testimony to Adam’s faith. Adam named his wife Eve. You know what that means? It means life.
Why would he name her “life” if they were under the sentence of death? God had just imposed death on them. And he turns right around and names his wife “life.”
Now, remember that God had said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth.” What God was saying to them was they were going to reproduce. But they might well have thought that because of death entering into the scene, that was never going to happen – they would just die and it would all be over.
But then God had said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed,” talking to Satan. “He shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise him on the heel.”
“Her seed.” This means she is still going to have children. That’s all Adam had to go on: That his wife would have children, life would come from her, and one of those who would come from her would crush the serpent’s head.
On the basis of that promise of God, he names his wife “life.” That’s an act of faith. What Adam is essentially saying is, “I believe God.” At the time that he named her, she was the mother of nobody. He’s exercising faith in God about what he cannot see. Isn’t that amazing?
This is the great promise of the gospel, that God will bring one who will destroy Satan. Adam believed it. Eve was the mother of absolutely nobody, but he believed that out of her would come a Savior to destroy Satan and rescue man from the devil’s tyranny.
Let me tell you something. As you progress through the Old and New testaments, at any point, saving faith only requires that you believe all that God has said. And from here on, God has said that He will provide the conqueror of Satan, who will restore paradise and rescue the sinner.
Remember that Hebrews 11:1-2 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval.”
Adam was the first man of faith. And I would add this: Such faith can’t really exist without repentance. And so I believe inherent in his faith was repentance. If he was going to say, “God, I believe you,” he was essentially saying, “I no longer believe Satan.” He was saying, “I need a deliverer. I need someone to come and crush the serpent’s head.”
Once he was only a believer in God. Then he became a believer in Satan. Now he is truly a believer in God and he’s rejected the enemy of his soul. And now he believes God for the destruction of the devil.
That’s the essence of saving faith, isn’t it? It’s believing that God is the Savior, that God’s promise is true, that He is going to rescue us from sin, and that He is going to destroy the enemy of our souls. According to Habakkuk 2:4, “The righteous will live by his faith.” And so here we see this wonderful dawning of redemption.
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 2000, titled “The Promise of Redemption, Part 1.”
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