The First Father – Father’s Day – June 21, 2020
This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.
Adam and Eve. We have learned about these two since we breathed our first breath. Even if you didn’t grow up in church, the story of Adam and Eve is one that you are familiar with.
If you were to walk out in the middle of the street and start asking random people who and Adam and Eve were, most likely you would get answers like: “The first man and woman on earth.” “The first people God made.” “The ones who ate the apple after the snake told them to.” Or “That story from the Bible about God creating the world.”
It all began on the 6th day of Creation. For some reason, God thought it would be a good idea to create “man.” Genesis 1:26-28 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’”
And God called this creation of male and female, “very good” (Gen. 1:31).
But things were about to take a drastic shift.
Genesis 3:1, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.” We’ve all seen enough movies to know that when the narrator begins a transitional phrase with something like, “Now the serpent was more crafty…”, it can’t be a good thing. You can already here the background music switching over from a sweet lullaby sound to the beginning of music that could easily be used in a horror movie. It’s the type of transitional phrase that let’s us know that things are about to go badly.
And badly, they did go.
As we know, the serpent tempted Eve with the beautiful fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And Eve fell for the temptation…taking a bite of the fruit…and then, to make matters worse, took some of the fruit and gave it to Adam to eat. This is what has since been known as the Fall of Man.
After eating the fruit their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked. I guess you could call this the first case of “Enlightenment Gone Wrong.” Adam and Eve had gained knowledge, but that knowledge would only place a wedge between them and God.
Genesis 3:8-10 – “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But 2
the Lord God called to them man, ‘Where are you?’ He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’”
There are so many jokes here that we could go with. Like it was the first game of hide and seek. Or first game of Marco Polo? God saying, “Marco,” and Adam responding with “Polo.”
But, unfortunately, this was no game and it was certainly no laughing matter. Adam and Eve had messed up. They had disobeyed God and they knew it which is what made matters worse.
You know how it is. When a little toddler does something they aren’t supposed to and they are corrected, we say something like, ‘They just don’t know any better.” But…let a teenager do the same thing, and once they are corrected, we say something like, ‘They know better than to have done that.’ This is where Adam and Eve found themselves with God. It was like God could have looked at them and said, ‘You knew better than to do that.’
But it was too late. They had already done it. They had already disobeyed God and there were consequences for those actions.
Their punishment? Genesis 3:16-19 – “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.’ To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat of it,” ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.’”
Then, as if that wasn’t punishment enough, “the Lord God banished [them] from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which [Adam] had been taken” (Gen. 3:23).
So, Adam and Eve began their life outside the Garden. “Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.’ Later she gave birth to his brother Abel” (Gen. 4:1-2).
Life outside the Garden was going fairly well. Adam and Eve had become parents. Abel was a shepherd and Cain was a farmer. I’m sure that mom and dad were proud of both of them. But it wouldn’t be long before trouble would enter the scene.
When Cain and Abel brought offerings to the Lord, “Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock”, but Cain brought just “some of the fruits from the soil as an offering” (vv. 3-4). Cain’s offering was not from the best he had and, therefore, God preferred Abel’s offering over Cain’s. This did not set well with Cain.
Out of anger, Cain led Abel into the field where Cain killed Abel.
“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I don’t know,’ [Cain] replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’” (v. 9).
And with that response, you know things are not going to end well.
The Lord banished Cain from his homeland telling Cain that he would “work the ground” and that the ground would “no longer yield its crops for [him]” (vv. 11-12).Like father, like son. Just as Adam had been banished from the Garden, Cain was banished from his homeland.
In the study that I’ve been doing with the other pastors, there is a chapter titled, “Face Your Shadow.”1 In the study, Scazzero explains that a person’s “shadow is the accumulation of untamed emotions, less-than-pure motives and thoughts that, while largely unconscious, strongly influence and shape your behaviors. It is the damaged but mostly hidden version of who you are.”2 A person’s shadow may come out through sinful actions or it may be shown through weaknesses and wounds.3
What we learned in discussing shadows, is that a lot of times, our shadows can be traced back to our family. It may stem from the way we were talked to or treated. Our shadow may be based on the actions of our parents or grandparents.
Now, our shadow is not an excuse to go and do whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want. It’s not a license to go be sinful and then expect to get away with it because we can blame it on how we were raised. But determining our shadow can help us to move past some of our sinful nature. It’s a means of putting things we do or say into perspective.
When it came to Cain, I believe his shadow could be traced back to his parents. Just as his parents had not listened to God, Cain did not listen to God. In Genesis 4:7, God told Cain that “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Sin had crouched at Adam and Eve’s door while they were in the Garden, and they had fallen prey to it. Cain was faced with much the same situation, and unfortunately, Cain fell prey to sin as well. Like father, like son.
Now that is not to say that the responsibility of Cain’s actions fell solely on Adam’s shoulders. Cain was an adult who made an adult-sized decision that he would be held accountable for. But…it was Adam and Eve’s sinful actions that led to them being evicted from the Garden and forever changing the lives of their unborn children. The shadow of Adam and Eve’s sinfulness fell full on Cain.
Now, you may be saying, but it didn’t have the same affect on Abel. And that’s true. Abel did right in God’s eyes. Abel brought the first fruits of his best labors to the Lord. And it certainly wasn’t Abel’s fault that Cain got mad and killed him. But, because of the shadow that their father and mother had cast, Abel’s life ended at the hands of Cain. Both of their son’s lives had been touched by the shadow of their parents’ mistakes in different ways.
Which now brings us to the verses we read earlier this morning. “When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died” (Gen. 5:3-5).
After losing his first two sons, Adam was blessed to have Seth and other sons and daughters. While we would like to think that the shadow of Adam and Eve ended with Cain and Abel, that just simply isn’t the case.
If we read the remainder of Genesis 5, we see why it is that the scriptures name Adam’s son Seth and not the other children. Seth’s lineage eventually led to the birth of Noah. Yes…the very Noah who built the ark. Which if we quickly think about it means that the descendants of Adam and Eve through their other children ended up drowning during the flood. Adam and Eve’s shadows continued to give, and the shadows of their children gave to their children whose shadows gave to theirs and so on. It was a snowball effect that eventually led to God wiping the earth clean through a massive flood.
The first father sinned. And the first father’s sins shadowed his children aiding them in their own sins.
Again, I am not saying that how their parents acted gave Cain, Abel, Seth, and their siblings the right to get away with murder, literally. But, the actions, the sins, of their dad and mom did have an impact on their lives.
It’s Father’s Day. A day to celebrate dads everywhere. But fathers…it’s also a day for you to think about how you are affecting your children. (And this pertains to the mom’s too, but they already had their day.)
You cannot help but cast a shadow on your children. What will that shadow be? Will it be a shadow that encourages them to be better? Will it be a shadow that will lead them into a relationship with Jesus Christ? Or will it be a shadow that aids sin to sit outside their door?
As parents, we have been entrusted with great responsibility.
Every child is a child of God’s. Every child is a good and perfect gift from our Heavenly Father. And just as He said it was “very good” after He created Adam and Eve, He said it was “very good” after He created each of your children. In a way, you could say our children are on loan to us while we are on earth. They are being loaned to us to care for them on behalf of God. We have a great responsibility to love our children as God does.
So, I ask you again, What shadow are you casting on your children? Your children have the “potential for the best and the worst: from creating life to destroying life, from intimacy to jealousy and resentment, from invoking the name of the Lord to lying to God, from the development of the arts and culture to the use of human ingenuity for violent purposes, from living in the presence of God to alienation from God, from being at home to being displaced.”4
The first father left a devastating shadow on his children. What will the shadow be on your children?
- Scazzero, Peter. The Emotionally Healthy Leader. “Chapter 2: Face Your Shadow.” 51.
- Ibid., 55
- The New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume I, General & Old Testament Articles, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus. “Genesis.” 376.