This post is one in a series of posts on a Bible study I am doing titled Heaven by Randy Alcorn and Dave McCleskey. The focus of this study is to get a Biblical view of what heaven is really like.
It amazes me when I read God’s Word how unified it is. Although it was written by many different people over a span of many hundreds of years, it speaks the same message throughout, from beginning to end. And nothing exemplifies this unity more than the beginning of the story in Genesis and the end of the story in Revelation. A lot of what happens at the beginning of Genesis is reversed in Revelation, thanks to the redemptive work of Jesus. When God first created the world, His creation was perfect, though He allowed for the potential for evil by giving us free will (see Genesis 1-2). Mankind, through Adam, sinned and received its first judgment – the curse (see Genesis 3). In the end, Christ’s return and last judgment brings an end to the curse and unifies all creation (see Revelation 20-21). Today’s study looked at what exactly the curse was that was given to mankind and all creation, and then shows how Jesus lifted that curse, and what it will mean for us in the future.
In Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve have eaten from the tree of knowledge of good an evil (sinned), God proclaims a curse against Satan, against mankind, and against all creation. These are the verses:
- Curse on Satan – v. 14-15: “So the LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 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.’ ” As I’ve written about before, this last part is a direct prophecy about the work of Christ – He will forever end Satan’s power over the earth by dying (which is the serpent striking His heel), and resurrecting, effectively conquering death and the grave (which is the crushing blow to the serpent’s head).
- Curse on Eve (and all women following) – v. 16: “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.’ ” The curse brought pain in childbirth, and placed the woman in submission to her husband.
- Curse on Adam (and all mankind) – v. 17-19: “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.’ ” Prior to the curse, Adam and Eve had their food provided for them from the trees of the Garden, but now Adam would have to work the earth for his food. God also introduced physical death because of their sin.
Removing the Curse
In Revelation 22:3, when describing the New Earth, it says “No longer will there be any curse.” The curse that came through sin was lifted because of Jesus. Though Adam had sinned, and because of His sin all mankind was cursed, because Christ did not sin, yet died willingly anyway, He has provided a way for the curse to be lifted. Romans 5:12 says “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned…” That chapter goes on to say “For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (v. 15). So, as you can see, Christ has already done the work necessary for the defeat of Satan and for the lift of the curse. His death and resurrection provided the way for this to occur, but the full scope of His victory has not yet been manifested on earth. It won’t be until He returns to earth that His work will be complete.
What This Means For Our Future
When the curse is completely removed (when Jesus returns to earth), we will no longer have to “painful[ly] toil” over the earth, but will be able to take care of the earth in a satisfying manner. The earth will no longer provide “thorns and thistles” as a way to defy our hard work. And we will no longer have to worry about death – Jesus conquered death by dying on the cross and rising to life again, therefore we are given eternal life on the New Earth.
On top of lifting the curse, Christ will also “bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head…” (Ephesians 1:10). Alcorn emphasizes that “all things” is all-inclusive – nothing is left out. There will be universal unity in all of creation, and this culminates with the merging of the realm of Heaven with that of Earth in Revelation 21. That chapter describes the New Heaven and New Earth, and says that the Heavenly city of the New Jerusalem will descend from Heaven, and that God will then dwell among men. So Heaven and Earth will be one, and God and man will be forever united in Jesus.
Click HERE to see the next post in this series.