By John Greco
The Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about what life was like for Adam and Eve after they were exiled from the garden of Eden. We know that Adam had to work a lot harder to provide food for his family (Genesis 3:17–18). We know that Eve experienced pain in childbirth, and her relationship with Adam was strained (v.16). We know that one son was murdered (4:8), while another son—the murderer—became a wanderer on the earth (v.12). In a very real sense, Adam and Eve lost two sons in one day. But beyond those details, the Bible doesn’t tell us what daily life was like for Adam and Eve.
We’re told Adam lived to the ripe old age of 930 (Genesis 5:5), and based on his age when his son Seth was born (v.3), which was some years after Eden became off-limits, we can deduce that Adam had more than eight hundred years to think and remember and regret the events of Genesis 3. I realize God had said the punishment for eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would be death (2:17), but somehow a centuries-long life of regret seems almost worse. Imagine feeling personally responsible for every broken thing in the world. Imagine rehearsing and replaying that moment of dread: “So the LORD God called out to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” (3:9). Imagine knowing, in a very real and tangible sense, that every heartache, every loss, and every tear in the world could have been avoided if only you would have trusted God. If only.
There was nothing Adam or Eve could do. What’s done is done, so to speak. But that doesn’t mean the world’s first couple was without hope. God could fix what they had broken. There had been a hint that God might do something about the curse of sin and death. He had promised a child would come to crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15). He had also provided skins to cover the nakedness Adam and Eve felt that day. Skins, of course, point to a sacrifice. Though the Bible doesn’t tell us what sort of skins they were, it seems a death was required to cover their shame.
Life for Adam and Eve after the fall took a lot of faith. They had glimpses of what God could do but didn’t quite know how or when He would bring relief to the world. But one thing was certain: they were powerless to fix their own plight. They needed to trust their Creator—the very thing they failed to do in the garden. Though our lives look very different, our situation is the same. We can do nothing in our own strength to remedy the curse of sin and death. Though we can see clearly with hindsight that the promised child was Jesus of Nazareth and the sacrifice we really needed was His death on the cross, we, like Adam and Eve before us, are still wholly dependent on our Maker.
Written by John Greco