By Jared Oliphint
“…who was with her”
There is a little phrase in Genesis 3 that at times is passed over: “…she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her…” (Gen. 3:6). From these four words, six observations stand out:
Like many others who read Genesis 3, you may play out a fantasy scenario in your mind of bursting onto the epoch-defining scene yelling “No!” right before Adam eats the fruit, saving the day. I imagine that every day of his 930-year life, Adam may have created a similar fantasy where he intervenes for his wife. Though much of the focus surrounding this event involves Adam taking a bite out of fruit, an integral aspect to our first parents’ earth-shattering downfall was Adam’s full scale neglect as a husband. His lack of physical and spiritual protection for his wife in those moments leading up to consuming the forbidden fruit is heartbreaking and maddening.
The unexpected end of this tragic story is forecast by God himself as an ultimately victorious ending through the familiar protoeuangelion, the “first gospel” in Gen. 3:15:
“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.”
But even before the wooden cross is driven into the top of the skull of Golgotha (John 19:17), even before the last Adam pays the death penalty of the first Adam and defeats Satan and death’s sting through his resurrection, a redemption of that first husband’s failure occurs not in the comfortable conditions of a garden but in a harsh wilderness. Christ, having no food in contrast to Adam’s garden abundance, was tempted by Satan in a familiar scene. While suffering the effects of a cursed ground, Christ protected his bride, the Church. Instead of doubting God’s words, or even deliberately misinterpreting them as Satan did (Luke 4:10-11), Christ as head of the church used God’s words and their authority against the devil. Though he had witnessed his bride (Old Testament Israel) reject him again (Num. 14:1-4) and again (1 Kings 12), his protection for her, as promised (Gen. 12:2-3; Hos. 6:2, etc.), was unwavering.
As husbands fallen in Adam and still wrestling with the “old man” (Rom 6:6; 1 Cor 15:22), we are assured that we have even now been raised with the head of the church (Rom. 6:4; Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1), our protector. In Christ we do not have to repeat the same marital mistakes Adam made, and through him we are able to care for and protect our wife spiritually and physically. While we spend a bit of time here in the wilderness on this side of the new heavens and the new earth, we are privileged to serve our wives by protecting them from harm, and in doing so we are serving the One who is continually protecting us.
Jared Oliphint is a ThM student at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, a contributor to Reformed Forum, and Regional Coordinator for WTS and member at Sovereign Grace PCA in Charlotte, NC. Follow him on Twitter: @JaredOliphint.
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