If we study the fall in Genesis 3, I think we’re going to notice that the seeds that are planted in that chapter are going to bear much fruit to flower over the progressive revelation of the Old Testament. And we may realize later, as readers, how much really is packed into this very small section of the Old Testament, and how impactful it really is for the later doctrines and teachings that we have.
An example of this would be, first of all, the hope for a Messiah. The Messianic hope of the Old Testament is something that drenches the Law, Prophets, and Writings, but it’s rooted in Genesis 3. Genesis 3:15 has sometimes been called “The Fountainhead of Messianic Prophecy.” And that’s absolutely right. We can rejoice at a promised redeemer and deliverer, and we need to notice how early that’s really given—right there in the context of the fall. Wrapped into that is a message of grace and promise of redemption.
We might also notice how the end of Genesis 3 focuses on clothing Adam and Eve with garments of skin. And then right after that, Cain and Abel are going to bring offerings, and the nation of Israel that comes from Jacob, they’re going to bring sacrifices to the Lord.
And we might see that foreshadowed right there in Genesis 3 is the giving of an offering—a sacrifice that the Lord provides—skins that he clothes the image bearers with. So right there in Genesis 3, we see flowering into later Scripture the hope that God is going to clothe his people. He’s going to bring them to himself by systems of offerings and substitutes. And right there in that chapter of the fall, that begins.
Mitchell Chase is the author of Short of Glory: A Biblical and Theological Exploration of the Fall.
What do we do if we find an apparent discrepancy between Genesis 1-3 and what modern scientists claim about the origin of the world?
The foundation stories of Genesis set the stage of the drama of Scripture in many ways.
Human persons have deep significance. We alone among the earthly creatures are made in the image of God.
Today we can read many interpretations of the book of Genesis, and even more interpretations focused on Genesis 1–3 or part of it. The interpretations do not agree.