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  • Joe Steenholdt

Genesis 3:1-13 - A Polluted Source

What’s wrong with the world today?

Read / Listen

Read Genesis 3:1-13

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 7

Q. [If God created man good,] Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?

A. From the fall and disobedience of our first parents,

Adam and Eve, in Paradise.

This fall has so poisoned our nature

that we are born sinners—

corrupt from conception on.



From Q&A 6 and Genesis 1 and 2, we learned that God is not the culprit of the corruption of human nature. Q&A 7 and Genesis 3 then direct us to the source of sin: the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve.

As we consider all the ways God created things good and how humans were to know and love God, we start to understand how far sin has caused us to fall.

Genesis 3 is a sharp turn from the first two chapters. The garden now has an intruder: a crafty serpent has snuck in to plant the first seeds of deception in the world. Adam and Eve took the bait and questioned God’s word and wisdom, and instead believed the serpent’s lie and willfully disobeyed. They breached their covenant relationship with God and brought the curse of sin and death into the world.

In July of 2010, in a small creek not far from my hometown in Southwest Michigan, a massive oil leak was discovered spilling into this tributary that flowed into the larger Kalamazoo River from a ruptured pipeline. The pollution had already contaminated a 30-mile stretch of the river as it seeped into the nearby riverbanks and wetlands. The clean-up project was immense, including excavating portions of the contaminated creek and wetlands with new fill.

One spill affected everything else downstream of it.

Likewise, sin started with one source and polluted all humans born after that. Paul illustrates this in Romans 5:12, “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.” No one has escaped the contamination that started in the garden.

Dig Deeper

Often when we think about the world’s problems, we are quick to point fingers and look for blame anywhere but our own heart. As a newspaper once asked, ‘what’s wrong with the world today?’ A famous author wrote a simple response in only a few words:

‘Dear Sir:

I am.


G. K. Chesterton.’

The good news is that even if we are all guilty beginning with that first transgression in the garden, Romans 5:18–19 reveals the solution,

Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Be honest with the sin in your own life, the wrongs you have done to others, and the bad habits you struggle to quit.

Then ask God for forgiveness and trust in Jesus Christ, who took the condemnation of those sins on the cross and gave in exchange his obedience and righteousness so that we can attain the everlasting happiness of living in peace with God.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: A holy God who speaks the truth and keeps His promises

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for forgiveness for the sins you have committed this week and for the strength to turn from them and toward God.



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Mark 14


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