Genesis 3:22-24 God’s Holiness Gives What We Deserve

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Gen. 3:22   Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand rand take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”

23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (emphasis added)


Adam and Eve’s sin of eating the fruit that God had commanded them not to (Gen.3:1–6) brought many painful consequences into the world.

  1. Shame and embarrassment (Genesis 3:7)
  2. Selfish relationships only focused on protecting themselves (Genesis 3:8–12)
  3. Pain for the woman in childbirth, and the marriage relationship (along with all others) will become about gaining control (Genesis 3:16)
  4. Life is now filled with hard work (Genesis 3:17–18)
  5. Physical death comes at the end of life (Genesis 3:19)
  6. And worst of all God sends them out of Eden (3:22–24)


To make sure we understand the seriousness of this judgment, God describes his sending out in two different ways.


The first word in 3:23 [1] gives the idea of sending someone away, but it has lots of different definitions [2]. In this case it takes the definition of “earnestly forsaking”, but God wants to make sure that we have a clear understanding of how seriously He takes sin..

That’s why he uses the word’s “drove out” in 3:24 which gives the idea of a forceful sending away [3]. In most cases it either refers to the Lord judging wicked nations (Deuteronomy 33:27, Joshua 24:18) or ending a marriage in divorce.

God chose to us a Hebrew word that’s often used describing divorce to explain just how seriously He took the rebellion of Adam and Eve, and share an important truth.

Sin Breaks the Heart of God

Now it’s easy to see the God of Genesis 3:23–24 who refuses to overlook sin and view Him as someone that just wants everyone to suffer…which is why we have Genesis 3:22.

You see we can get so wrapped up in the fact that God doesn’t give mercy or forgiveness that we can forget we DON’T DESERVE MERCY.


Editors note: To illustrate this point I am about to go on a rant, feel free to start reading after the rant has ended.

If working with children has taught me anything, it’s that parents or authority figures are doing a very poor job of explaining reality to them. By this I mean the simple idea of “if you do the right thing good things will happen, but if you don’t obey bad things will happen” are foreign, or looked upon as unfair.

For instance I often use things like candy as prizes for children who listen and obey during class time. You would be amazed at the amount of  kids who willingly admit to not listening or obeying but can’t comprehend why they don’t get a piece of candy at the end.

In a deeper sense this shows our cultures refusal to institute consequences for wrong actions. Now instead of “do the right thing and you’ll be rewarded”, it’s “try your best and you will be rewarded.” And eventually if we aren’t careful it becomes “just try and you will be rewarded.”

Okay end of rant…you can start reading again now.


Lets look at 3:22 for a moment shall we?

  1. Adam and Eve willingly chose to take the place of God (place of control instead of deity) instead of obeying Him
  2. They now were able to discern good and evil (make the rules themselves) but because of sins presence in their lives, they would always choose rebellion over disobedience
  3. In their current condition there was no hope [4]
  4. If they ate the fruit there would NEVER be any hope in their lives
  5. So God in His mercy cast them out


Now lets ask ourselves a serious question. Did Adam and Eve deserve to stay in the Garden of Eden (a place of perfection). No! They deserved to be forced out.


And here we see beauty in the Holiness of God…He is always fair.

When faced with God’s judgments we can make lots of complaints

It’s too difficult

It’s not merciful

It’s lasts too long

but we can never say it isn’t fair.

  1. the english spelling of this Hebrew Word is Shalach  ↩
  2. a primitive root; to send away, for, or out (in a great variety of applications):—x any wise, appoint, bring (on the way), cast (away, out), conduct, x earnestly, forsake, give (up), grow long, lay, leave, let depart (down, go, loose), push away, put (away, forth, in, out), reach forth, send (away, forth, out), set, shoot (forth, out), sow, spread, stretch forth (out).  ↩
  3. a primitive root; to drive out from a possession; especially to expatriate or divorce:—cast up (out), divorced (woman), drive away (forth, out), expel, x surely put away, trouble, thrust out.  ↩
  4. it would be constant cycle of sin, repentance of sin, and sinning again  ↩
  5. refuses to punish wrong actions  ↩

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