In the Creation Story in Genesis 1 God created a good and perfect world populated by vegetation, animals, and human beings. Genesis 2 is perhaps a continuation of the Creation Story–possibly the next chapter in God’s already created order–describing the first people God chose to work His redemptive plans and purposes for all of humanity.
Genesis 3 is a creation story of sorts as it describes the formation of a different kind of world from God’s good and perfect creation–a new world order contrived by human beings. Genesis 3 describes the beginning of evil among humanity and it prognosticates the cosmic conflict between good and evil played out on the stage of this world.
In fact, this cosmic conflict may be the main point of the Creation Story in Genesis 1-3.
Again, it’s important that we don’t impose our scientific way of thinking onto the story. We should receive it simply for the redemptive message it delivers, regardless of how allegorically or literally we personally believe the message is expressed.
The “good” world that God created in Genesis 1 becomes corrupted with “evil” in Genesis 3 because of Adam and Eve’s individual and shared defiance of God and His created order.
Human beings through the exercise of their God-given free will altered the design of the created order from a sacred space to a secular reality, from a world that extols the sufficiency of the Creator to perpetuate His creation to a world that venerates the sufficiency of humanity to perpetuate itself (see Genesis 6:5).
God revealed this cosmic conflict when He pronounced a curse upon the serpent in Genesis 3:15 after he had craftily deceived Eve to eat from the forbidden tree. Now, the analogy in this verse is not necessarily comparing a fatal head injury to a minor foot or leg wound. While “crushing the head” undoubtedly refers to a mortal blow, a snake bite is potentially a mortal blow.
The analogy is certain death versus possible death. But, it is a curse that holds out promise for blessing for all people–certain death versus the possibility of restoration of the created order and eternal life for human beings.
And, that’s the ultimate choice that every single human being who ever lives must make!
The consequence for their act of defiance was that God restricted Adam and Eve’s access to the Tree of Life! Without access to the Tree of Life, it is certain death. But, God declares in Genesis 3:15 that there’s a prospect for restoration, reconciliation and eternal life.
So, God revealed Himself to humanity in the person of Jesus Christ as the way to eternal life: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:1-4, NIV).
When you choose to follow Jesus and serve and worship Him, you choose eternal life, you obtain unrestricted access to the Tree of Life.
So, the Creation Story is not only a chronicle of creation, it’s also an apocalyptic apologue. The same story that tells how it all began also suggests how it all will end.
This world, this created order, this once-upon-a-time sacred space, will be replaced with a new created order where God will again reside among His people.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4, NIV)