Advent Day 1: Genesis 3:8-15

Hi UP Members!

Our first Advent reading is Genesis 3:18-15:

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. So the LORD God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

And he said, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”

Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man replied, “The woman you gave to be with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate.”

So the LORD God asked the woman, “What have you done?”

And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

So the LORD God said to the serpent:
Because you have done this,
you are cursed more than any livestock
and more than any wild animal.
You will move on your belly
and eat dust all the days of your life.
I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.

When I consider this passage, I am surprised by God’s restraint.

His beautiful Creation. The abundance of the Garden of Eden. The perfection of Adam and Eve.

All marred by their sin.

Now they are hiding, afraid, and ashamed.

Does God smite them? Send them straight to hell?

Surprisingly, God approaches them. He talks with them. He invites them into conversation. And yes, he pronounces curses. There is a consequence to sin.

But in doing so, he also offers hope. How?

First, let me share a story from my childhood. If we were winning a race, you might hear the taunt, “eat my dust!” It was a way of saying, “You’re defeated.”

The serpent’s “big win” is met with immediate defeat. God consigns him to eat dust.

More relevant to the cultural context of Genesis than my childhood, The IVP Bible Background Commentary notes:

The depiction of dust or dirt for food is typical of descriptions of the netherworld in ancient literature…Dust fills the mouth of the corpse, but dust will also fill the mouth of the serpent as it crawls along the ground.

Second, we are promised that an offspring of Eve will strike the serpent’s head.

In Mark 1, Jesus encounters a man with an unclean spirit. This man cries out,

“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”

The serpent has remembered this promise. Through this man, we see that Satan knows that Jesus is the promised seed who has come to destroy him.

And how did this happen?

Remarkably, the same God who pronounced these curses became the one who rescued us from them.

As we read in Colossians 2:14-15,

He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him.

Personal Reflection and Community Discussion Questions:

  1. Advent is a time of preparation and waiting. God’s people had… a long wait from the time of this promise to Adam and Eve until the arrival of Jesus. What’s the difference between waiting with hope… and without hope?

  2. God provides us with hope through making promises and his own sacrificial fulfillment of them. How does knowing God’s identity give us hope?

You are encouraged to share other reflections on these passages.

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This passage is known as the ‘proto-evangelion’ or the first/earliest form of the gospel. Here is the first promise of a messiah - the one who would save and restore.
Some things that struck me as I reflected on this passage today:

The first question of God - “Where are you?”
Adam and Eve were now hidden from God but God was still searching for them, calling out for them. He is aware of their physical location but is calling out for their hearts. He is a loving father and he still continues to look for his lost sheep that have strayed.

The third question of God - " What have you done?"
Again, God knew what Eve had done, but this seems to imply a broken heart - God’s broken heart, like a Father looking at his little daughter who has broken a precious vase and saying, "What have you done, my daughter? " There really is no good answer to this. The only good response is one of confession and repentence and coming back to the one we have hurt.
God’s heart is still broken by the messes that we have made with our lives. His heart is broken because it is a heart that loves.

And yet, this is a passage not of despair but of hope. God sees the mess, He sees that man cannot do anything to make amends, but He is ready with the solution - the Messiah, the one who was chosen before creation itself and revealed at the proper time.
1 Peter 1:20 - He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (NIV)


As I reflect on Genesis and us being of God’s creation, I’ve realized how important it is that we know God’s character for ourselves. Being created in his image, it is only in him that we can be fufilled. Therefore knowing his character enables us to trust in his promises and provision.

Waiting with hope is knowing that there is a purpose and end to the wait. God sustains and teaches us in seasons of waiting, how to wait and what to do as we wait. This is in contrast to waiting without any sense of purpose and with our own strength. With God’s strength, we know that our wait will result in Godly outcomes rather than short term earthly ones.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverb 13:12

In our God our ultimate hope is sustained :blush:


I’m trying to think about what waiting without hope is. Is there such a thing? If there is, it must be a numb feeling of being paused, as if one were waiting for something, but not believing there is anything to wait for. By considering this, the place of waiting with hope is in sharp contrast: one of joy, even in the struggle.

Romans 8:22 says

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

When we think of advent, and this time of waiting, it is like labour pains. We don’t have to look far around us to see the earth groans and struggles. Yet, just as a woman in labour has pains, she also knows that there will be new life springing forth. There is such hope in the waiting and the labouring. The curses that God pronounced in Genesis 3 are what the earth endures now, but the salvation He brought forth has released us now and we will experience the full freedom of that eventually. There is tremendous joy and peace of heart to dwell on this as we wait.


You have hit the nail on the head about hope. It is the expectation of something good. If there is nothing good to look forward to waiting is just a drudgery at best. How wonderful is waiting if there is something wonderful expected as a result of that waiting!