Never in a Vacuum


I hate being reminded of my mistakes. Even worse is being reminded of my sin. Can you imagine having all of humanity reminded of your worst mistake ever… say, advertised in Times Square, or better yet, recorded in the best-selling book EVER! In our passage today, we see the worst sin ever committed recorded for all to see. But we also witness that sin never happens in a vacuum. As enticing as the temptation of sin is to our own eyes, the result always has a cascading affect. Never is this seen more clearly—and never with more ramifications—than in this passage.

  • Think of the last time you sinned. Were you thinking of the consequences when you acted on that sin? How did it affect those around you?


14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
    cursed are you above all livestock
    and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
    and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
     in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
     in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


What starts as a personal, selfish desire can affect so many others around us. The result of Adam and Eve’s sin affected not just them, but all generations to follow after them.

  1. Make a list of the consequences of sin for each of the characters in this passage and note how you experience them in your life.
  2. In verse 15, the curse doesn’t just fall to Eve and the serpent (evil) but also their “offspring.” How long does the animosity (enmity) between their offspring last? What does that mean for us today?
  3. If “he” is the offspring of the woman, who is that? How does this relate to us, the church, and ultimately to Jesus (see Rom. 16:20)?
  4. Adam’s curse for eating what he was forbidden to eat was continual toil in everything he would eat from then on—becoming a daily reminder of the results of his sin. How do our “toils” in life remind us of our sinfulness and even our specific sins?


This passage is pretty depressing, and the pain of the consequences is pretty familiar to all of us! It is easy to feel the weight and effects of sin in our lives and get down on ourselves for the sins we have committed. But there is hope. We didn’t have a choice but to be born into sin’s shadow, but we do have a choice to live outside of its power. We can put our faith in “he” who will crush the head of temptation and evil, and who will remake creation and cancel the power of death.

  • Adam and Eve’s consequences were pretty serious to others. Ask God to give you eyes to see the effects of your sin on those around you. Do you need to seek their forgiveness for the pain or offense you caused them? Ask God to help you in those relationships.
  • If you have put your trust in Jesus for salvation, be reminded of hope! Thank God for freedom from the bondage of this curse (Heb. 2:14-15).
  • If you have not put your trust in Jesus to forgive you and free you from the consequences of sin, consider why. Would you ask God’s forgiveness today?