Sin Destroys Our Relationships
First, sin destroys our relationship with God. As we have seen, upon learning that they were naked, Adam and Eve hid from God: “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (v. 10). I believe the natural response for an unrepentant sinner is to hide from or avoid any encounter with God. For Adam and Eve, it was a very physical response, as they hid from God who was present in the garden.
Today in our congregation we are still hiding and avoiding God. We hide by avoiding intimate encounters through corporate worship, Bible study, and personal prayer. But we also hide ourselves by not allowing God access to the depths of our spirit. Psalm 139:23 pleads, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Radical transformation takes place only when we allow God the Spirit full and unrestricted access to our entire body, soul and spirit. Can you imagine how powerful and effective the Church’s ministry would be today if all of its members who claim to have faith in Jesus Christ would give full access to Him and allow the transformation to be complete? No more secret sins! No more hidden lusts, or jealousy, or pride. If you gave God full access at this very moment, what would He find in you, that you have kept very private?
Second, sin destroys our relationship with others. In the moment they ate of the fruit, the Bible tells us, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked” (v. 7a). Sin did not just impact them individually; it impacted them collectively as well. Adam didn’t only realize that he was naked, he realized that they were naked. How men and women viewed one another, or more globally, how humans viewed one another forever changed in that moment in the garden. Purity and innocence was replaced with impure thoughts and motives. Humans began to see one another no longer as God’s co-creation, but rather as objects of pleasure, competitors, and even as enemies; far from God’s design in the garden.
Are there conflicts in the church? In our congregation? Show me conflict in the church today, and I will show you the result of broken relationships dating back to the beginning of creation. Can we once again look at one another as God’s creation—in innocence and purity?
Finally, sin destroys our relationship with ourselves. In verse 7 the emphasis is on “them” and “they.” In verse 10, it shifts to “I”: “I heard you…,” “I was afraid…,” “…I hid.” Adam and Eve were created in the Imago Dei, or the “Image of God.” They were pure and blameless. Then sin entered in. In a moment in time, Adam’s self-image changed. He felt shame, perhaps even unworthy to be in the presence of God. This broken self-image has only escalated over time. As humans, we have so little respect for ourselves individually that we desecrate this holy temple that God created to be His dwelling place. We desecrate the temple through impure thoughts and immoral actions. We hide our shame through addictive behaviors. We place such little value on our lives that many choose to end their lives, rather than to live them.
I believe the apostle Paul saw this in his day as well. He witnessed the desecration of the temple, which is the body, and he responded to it. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 he wrote, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” The relationship we have with ourselves was destroyed in the garden, but as Paul says, it was bought back “at a price.” Therefore we should honor God with our bodies today.