Did they end up in heaven or hell?
Photo by Davide Cantelli on Unsplash
We all know the story (you can find it in Genesis 3). Adam and Eve are walking around in the Garden of Eden, and they meet up with this serpent who asks them an interesting question:
?Did God really say, ?You must not eat from any tree in the garden??? (Genesis 3:1, NIV)
It?s interesting because it twists God?s words (in Genesis 2:16?17) and tests Eve?s knowledge of them (she fails the test, because she adds something God never said ? ?you must not touch it? ? in her response to the serpent in verse 3 of chapter 3). And, of course, everything goes downhill from there.
It?s easy to assume that because these were the first two people who ever sinned ? and the ones by which sin entered into the world for posterity ? and because they lived way before Jesus did (who is the source of our salvation and entry into heaven), they did not make it into heaven themselves. Indeed, if you look at Hebrews 11, the Great Hall of Faith chapter, you?ll see that neither one of their names is mentioned?but their son?s name is. I?ll talk more about that in a minute.
It?s important to note that Adam and Eve?s sin didn?t take God by surprise. He already had a plan in mind for how He was going to work everything out for their (and our) benefit:
?And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.? (Genesis 3:15, NIV)
That?s God talking to the serpent?about Eve and the One who would come through her line of descendants to be the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.
I think that when Adam and Eve heard God say that, they believed Him. We know that, when God told people things in the Old Testament, and they believed Him, He credited it to them as righteousness (see Genesis 15:6). Maybe He explained more to them while He was making them clothes from the skins of dead animals. The Bible tells us that:
?without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22, NIV)?
We know there was a shedding of blood that day, and I believe there was also forgiveness.
God covered them with the bloody skins of animals, just as He covers us with the blood of Jesus.
Adam and Eve taught their children to be faithful
Remember that one of Adam and Eve?s children is mentioned in Hebrews 11. That was Abel, who:
?brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.? (Hebrews 11:4, NIV)
This was the same Abel who was killed by his brother, who got angry when God didn?t accept his sacrifice (Genesis 4:5). And he got even angrier when God confronted him about it.
Neither Abel nor his brother had ever been to the Garden of Eden, where their parents walked with God in perfect fellowship. But their parents surely still remembered, and they probably told their children stories about those glory days ? living in the presence of their Creator.
Cain, at least, seems to know who God is. He doesn?t seem at all surprised that God is talking to him. He?s just belligerent and defiant because God didn?t accept his act of ?faith.?
How would he know God expected an offering, anyway, if no one had told him about it?
I bet Adam and Eve spent the rest of their earthly lives trying to make up for their foolish act of disobedience.
And that probably included trying to lead their children to worship God through sacrifices. Too bad that teaching didn?t include the specifics about the need for a blood sacrifice. Or maybe it did, and Cain just didn?t pay attention. After all, he didn?t even listen to God.
Cain was bent on following in his parents? sinful footsteps, not their righteous ones.
The third son
After Cain killed Abel, Adam and Eve gave birth to a third son, who Eve called ?Seth? because in her words:
?God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.? (Genesis 4:25, NIV)
And I think, in her heart, Eve knew that it was about more than just giving her another son? it was about fulfilling His Genesis 3:15 promise.
Jesus came through Seth?s line, not Cain?s. Cain?s descendants were all wiped out with everyone else except Noah and his family in the Great Flood (Genesis 6?9). Noah was Seth?s 6th great-grandson (Genesis 5:4?29). And he was Jesus? 65th great-grandfather (Luke 3:23?26).
Adam and Eve couldn?t have known all that while they were still alive on this earth. But they did know God. They believed God, and I?m pretty sure God credited that to them as righteousness, despite their many flaws.
After all, He does that for us when we turn back to Him.