God told Adam not to eat any fruit from a certain tree (Gen 2:17), and Eve’s knowledge of the command means Adam conveyed it to his wife also (3:2-3). After Adam and Eve disobeyed by eating anyway, God confronted them (3:8-13), judged them (3:16-19), and exiled them (3:23-24).
No do-over, no second chance. Have you ever found it strange that one act of disobedience meant the end of their stay in Eden? Why couldn’t God just turn a blind eye, throw a flag on the play and restart?
Because God keeps his word. Adam heard the warning: “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:17b). And die they did–first spiritually, then physically.
But let’s be clear about the alternative scenario. If God promised to judge traitors who then suffered no consequence for disobedience, he would break his own word. He would be unrighteous, unfaithful. And that’s not good news for sinners!
So while giving Adam and Eve a do-over might seem like an appealing notion, reject it outright. God would never act in a way that is beneath what it means to be God. Such a god would be no hope at all and couldn’t be trusted to offer deliverance if it was ever needed.
God followed through on his promise to judge Adam and Eve because he keeps his word. An unrighteous and unreliable deity is not good news! Who could find lasting refuge in a fickle god? Who could build their lives securely on the shifting foundations of an untrustworthy ruler?
God’s commitment to his own name and glory is essential to his being God. But a righteous God holds sinners accountable, which is bad news for us since we all fall into that category. God breaking his word, then, would be bad news, but God keeping his word is bad news for us in another sense.
The only hope for sinners is that this Righteous and Faithful Judge…is also merciful. Full of compassion. Long-suffering. Our only hope is that the Just Judge is also a Gracious Redeemer. And indeed that is who he is!
Behold God’s revelation to Moses: “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exod 34:6).