God, the great potter, took from the ground to form Adam’s flesh. After the Fall, God sends Adam out to wreak his living from the ground. Genesis 3:23 tells us, “Therefore the Lord God sent him (Adam) out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.” Bill Mounce argues that the verb “sent” in this verse, “In certain forms, this verb can carry the negative nuance of dismissal. For example, the Lord banishes (i.e., sends away) Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:23).”[1] VanGemeren pushes this idea from the couple to all of their descendants and says, “The alienation of the first human beings from God points to the reality of an alienated race, a reality that gives rise to the teaching of original sin.”[2] I expect that David expressed the idea of original sin in Psalm 51:5. He writes, “Behold; I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

“Adam and Eve began life in ideal conditions: an idyllic garden, plentiful food, a harmonious relationship with one another, and close fellowship with God. Due to sin, they lost their garden, were required to work to produce food, experienced interpersonal conflicts, and damaged their harmony with God. These consequences of Adam’s sin still affect us today.”[3] The banishment of Adam and Eve is ours. The expulsion from the presence of God and every good thing in the Garden of Eden to make our way in the world by the sweat of our brow is also ours. But God still loves his children. He loves Adam and Eve and you and me! We have a way out! That way is death. This sounds harsh, but “God’s action here is not vindictive or punitive; it is protective. God clothed Adam and Eve to hide their shame. He drove them out of Eden to protect them from further harm. God acted out of love. Then, God’s plan of redemption and restoration begins to unfold—a plan not designed after the Fall but before creation (1 Peter 1:20). God loves humankind so much that He chose to create us even knowing the heartache it would cause Him to redeem us.”[4] It appears that the serpent, Satan, won the war, but it was only a battle lost that would be overturned in the end.

The restoration of God’s people had always been the climax of God’s plan. We see types of our redemption in Jesus throughout the Old Testament. The story of David and the restoration of his son Absalom is one of them. The woman of Tekoa says some interesting things to King David regarding his banishment of his son Absalom. In 2 Samuel 14:14, she says, “We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.” From our perspective, the means God uses is the death, burial, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus. He died to pay the penalty for our sins. Through faith in Him, we too can experience that same restoration. MacLaren writes, “If you think that that is too bold a thing to say, remember who it was that taught us that the father fell on the neck of the returning prodigal, and kissed him; and that the rapture of his joy was the token and measure of the reality of his regret, and that it was the father to whom the prodigal son was ‘lost.’ Deep as is the mystery, let nothing, dear brethren, rob us of the plain fact that God’s love moves all around the worst, the unworthiest, the most rebellious in the far-off land, and ‘desires not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his iniquity and live.’”[5]

[1] Mounce, William D. 2006. In Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words, 52. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] VanGemeren, Willem, ed. 1997. In New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis, 2:89. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

[3] Got Questions Ministries. 2002–2013. Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Got Questions Ministries. 2002–2013. Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] MacLaren, Alexander. 2009. Expositions of Holy Scripture: 2 Samuel–2 Kings 7. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.