A ruler over sin
Updated: Jan 18, 2022
When God judged Adam, Eve, and the serpent for their sin, He told Eve that “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee (Gen 3:16)”. As with other aspects of the curse, this was not a total change from the original conditions, but rather an amending to include adversity. For example, Adam was already supposed to work. He was to dress and keep the garden (Gen 2:15). The curse was not work itself. It was arduous and fruitless labor (Gen 3:17-19). Eve’s curse was not the leadership of her husband under God. That was always God’s plan for marriage. The basis for man being the head of the home was the order of creation, not the curse (1Tim 2:9-15). The curse only added difficulty and conflict to it. God did not initiate “the war between the sexes”. Sin did.
After Adam and Eve left the garden, they had two sons named Cain and Abel (Gen 4). Cain killed his brother and was punished by God for it. God told Cain before the murder that if he did well, he would be accepted; but if not “sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him (Gen 4:7)”. Notice the same two words – desire and rule appear in this verse as they did in Genesis 3:16. God warned Cain that sin was crouched (lieth) at the door waiting for an opportunity to pounce like a lion (1Pet 5:8). Notice that sin is personified and is described as having desire. Just as Eve’s desire would be unto her husband, sin’s desire would be unto Cain. Just as Adam was to rule over Eve, Cain would rule over sin. God originally created Adam and Eve as His co-regents over the creation on the earth (Gen 1:28). However, when they chose sin, they abdicated their place in God and were forced to leave the garden. Instead of presiding over paradise under God, they became supervisors and patriarchs of a fallen, sinful world (Rom 5:12-19, Rom 8:19-23, 1Cor 15:20-22 & 45). Instead of Cain inheriting “the throne” from his father, he became a ruler over sin. God set them up for success and warned them of the consequences of sin, but they chose disobedience. When Isaiah prophesied of the devastating results of the sins of Israel, he said it would get so bad that a man would ask his relative, "Thou hast clothing, be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand (Is 3:6)". We prefer to think of the devil as the ruler over sin, but he cannot force us to do it. He can only tempt us and attempt to deceive us. We make our own choices.
This does not seem like a very encouraging thought, but we cannot fully appreciate what Jesus Christ did for us unless we also fully appreciate the devastation of sin. Awareness of sin is an essential ingredient in repentance (2Cor 7:9-10). Once we do what Adam, Eve, and Cain failed to do and take full personal responsibility before God, we can also do another thing they failed to do – begin the process of moving from ruling over the mess we made as well as heading toward the eternal consequences of it and into the place God meant for us to be in. The blood of Jesus Christ not only gives us remission of our past mistakes, it puts us into a position with God now, and if we remain faithful we will enter into His eternal kingdom to reign as kings and priests like He originally planned for us before the foundation of the world (Dan 7:27, Col 1:13, 1Pet 2:9, 2Pet 1:11, Rev 1:5-6, Rev 5:9-10). The salvation of Jesus Christ will completely restore everything that was lost in the garden and in our own lives (Rev 21-22).