© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 20 September 2016
1B33. God’s love was expressed as His mercy to Adam and Eve that would also favour all future people:
(a) They did not immediately die physically
(b) God still interacted and communicated with them
(c) God let them retain many capabilities and still provided for them
1B33(title) God’s love was expressed as His mercy to Adam and Eve that would also favour all future people
God might seem to have subjected Adam and Eve to unmitigated judgment and rejection following the FALL. He had expressed His perfection and power by absolutely judging their disobedience and the evil of His Enemy. This would catastrophically affect all future people.
Yet that was not the whole picture. In the midst of these judgments, the third expression of God’s nature was not excluded. God had also shown mercy towards Adam and Eve. Although they were fallen and alienated from Him, God still valued and was kind to them.
“Mercy” can be defined as showing compassionate or kindly forbearance towards a person who is under one’s power.1 God was demonstrating His ongoing benevolent commitment TO Adam and Eve despite them having disobeyed His one requirement. He was showing that His love for them and for all of His creation was unchanging. It had not been withdrawn and continued to be expressed.
The following outlines in detail God’s acts of mercy towards Adam and Eve.
1B33(a) They did not immediately die physically
God had warned them of certain death when they disobeyed His one requirement. Yet physically this was delayed for a very long time after the FALL Gen 5:5 although spiritually it was immediately evident Gen 3:8. Surprisingly, God tolerated the extended existence of fallen, alienated people!
This could only be an expression of His love for them. In mercy He was allowing at least a deferred completion of His judgment (physical death). It also implied that their intended roles in accomplishing His primary purpose had not been abandoned although presently corrupted. So their continuing existence and God’s further merciful actions towards them were grounds for hope. The future of people might not be entirely dismal! It could involve something more than mere termination by physical death.
1B33(b) God still interacted and communicated with them
God’s first dialogue with Adam and Eve was an interrogation and declaration of judgments. Yet this showed that He was still prepared to interact with them in their imperfection rather than completely reject, abandon or destroy them.
1B33(c) God let them retain many capabilities and still provided for them
1B33(c)(i) God let them retain many capabilities
Eve would still be able to give birth to children, although now experiencing very severe pain as part of God’s judgment Gen 3:16a. Yet God’s mercy and kindness were later expressed because living babies were born and their mother survived Gen 4:1a,25a. So the future existence and multiplication of people was still possible, as the descendants of Adam and Eve.
In retaining these capabilities it could be said that they still had something of “the image of God”. But it was a dreadful reduction from what they had possessed before the FALL [1A9(b)].
1B33(c)(ii) God still provided food for them
They would still be able to get enough food to survive although this was now going to require painful toil Gen 3:17b-19a. This was another expression of God’s mercy.
1B33(c)(iii) God made clothes of skin for them
This was a startling act of God in the midst of His judgment! Gen 3:21. Adam and Eve had previously attempted to make coverings for themselves Gen 3:7b. There is even a note of humour in God replacing these flimsy, uncomfortable, inadequate and very temporary contraptions with something far more suitable and durable! Yet this would presumably have involved killing animals to provide the skins for their new clothes – another association with death and judgment.
God was acknowledging their shame and embarrassment when they realised they were naked. In mercy He took the initiative to ease their predicament! It almost looked like God was condoning their guilt by helping them live with its consequences. But really it was an act of mercy and a generous expression TO them of His favour and nature of love.
Arrow 1B32 -> 1B33
This arrow indicates a further series of God’s actions and their consequences. But in contrast to His judgments, the outcomes were expressions of God’s love. These acts of mercy were most unexpected in view of the wilful disobedience and guilt of Adam and Eve and God’s judgments upon them!
God was showing extraordinary kindness to them in the midst of their terrible failure, corruption, punishment and turmoil. This demonstrated that God still deeply valued them. Did this even indicate that He had intentions to somehow retrieve the post-FALL situation?! His love and primary purpose were unchanging, because that is His own nature.
On this basis the history of people on Earth was able to continue into Era 2, as set out in Charts 2A and 2B.
1. The Macquarie Dictionary, Revised Edition (Dee Why: Macquarie Library, 1985), page 1076.(Return to reading).