When our first parents sinned, a pattern of responsibility- and consequence-bearing was set in motion for the whole history of mankind.
You will recall the tragic story, I am sure. Eve was tempted by the serpent, took the fruit and ate it. Adam stood by as a passive observer of the whole interaction (Genesis 3:6). Our first father, Adam, should have crushed the head of the serpent there and then. But God, in His foreordination, determined that another Adam was to come who would do that job.
Nevertheless, because our federal head1 did not take responsibility to protect and guard our first mother, death and sin passed to us all (Romans 5:12).
Our response to this story is not to whine and complain that we were not there when it happened. Rather, our response is to understand and accept the world as we have received it. Death and sin are unfortunate realities. This is part of God’s preordained design for our humanity. We experience death and sin and suffering because of what happened that fateful day some 1,600 years before the Flood in that garden, east of Eden (Genesis 2:8).
You will recall that, when the time of God’s visit came, He did not furiously stomp out of heaven to read Eve the riot act. What did Adam and Eve hear when God came to visit?2 “Adam, where are you?”
God did not confront Eve first, did He? He confronted Adam! But was that fair? Adam didn’t eat the fruit first. It wasn’t his fault that Eve picked the fruit—she did it! She should be punished first! He was just an “innocent” bystander. It was like a drive-by fruit-picking!
Yet, God called out to Adam first, “Adam, where are you?”
I have been listening to Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage3 sermon series and the point is made over and over again, for men, that “it may not be your fault, but it is your responsibility.” Men like authority. But authority only flows to those who take responsibility!4
The purpose of this article is to call out our men, “Where are you?” Are you present and active in the nurture and care of your wife’s soul? Are you present and active in the nurture and education of your children? Are you standing by watching your wife pick the fruit and then waiting for her to assess its goodness and health for you and your family? Are you actively grabbing yourself and getting up from your chair in order to discipline the children, or are you leaving your wife to do it? Are you turning off the TV or computer when sinful smut or inappropriate content is streamed into your home? Men, where are you? Brothers, pray for me as I pray for you!
I confess that I want to gently move my Eve away from the tree. Lord, help me to lead her in the garden! I want to pay more careful attention to the kind of fruit that I am allowing us to eat. Lord, help me to be active in what shapes my wife and children’s worldview! I want to decide which trees ought to be chopped down and which serpentine influences ought to be crushed. Lord, give me courage to stand against temptation as I guard my home!
Imagine if Adam decided to serve Eve that day instead of standing by, waiting for her to “fruit feed” him. Imagine if Adam was keenly observant as to the tree to which they were getting too close. Imagine if Adam was leading Eve to get ready for the appointment with God in the cool of the day instead of idly accompanying her.
Men, fathers, husbands and grandfathers—please!—let us be intentionally active in serving our wives, children and grandchildren. Let us be the responsibility-bearers for our families.
I am so thankful that, two thousand years ago, in another garden, Jesus wrestled in prayer as He submitted to His Father’s will to take responsibility for my sin, even though none of my sin was His fault. He drank the wine of the fruit that was trampled out in God’s fury, He literally took the tree that brought our curse, carried it on His back and was nailed to it so that the head of the serpent would be crushed as He became my new Federal Head.
May we follow our second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), and not the first. The fruit of the passive first is hard to swallow and brings death. The fruit of the active second is sweet and life-giving to ourselves and those around us!
Men, where are you?
- Federal headship refers to the representation of a group united under a federation or covenant. For example, a country’s president may be seen as the federal head of the nation, representing and speaking on its behalf before the rest of the world. As R. C. Sproul puts it, “Just as a federal government has a chief spokesman who is the head of the nation, so Adam was the federal head of mankind.” ↩
- They heard “the voice of the LORD God walking” (Genesis 3:8 KJV). How can a voice walk? I wonder if the “voice of the LORD God” walking was not in fact the same “word of God” that became flesh and walked amongst us? ↩
- http://marshill.com/media/real-marriage/sermons ↩
- http://www.dougwils.com/What-I-Learned-In-Narnia/True-Authority-Is-Obedient.html ↩