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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, November 11, 2007
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17).

There is a great deal of talk today about imbalanced ecology and global warming. When former Vice President Al Gore speaks about global warming it may seem that he is talking about something connected to the burning of gasoline and other fossil fuels since the 1940’s or 50’s. But the problem actually goes back to antiquity, when man first sinned in the Garden of Eden, and God said,

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17).

The Geneva Bible’s note on Genesis 3:17 says, “The transgression of God’s commandment was the cause that both mankind and all other creatures were subject to the curse” (The Geneva Bible, 1599 edition, Tolle Lege Press, 2006 reprint, note on Genesis 3:17).

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17).

That curse is the true cause of global warming, imbalanced ecology, overpopulation, famines, pestilences, floods, earthquakes, disease, death and all other problems facing mankind at this hour of history.

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17).

Luther said, “On account of Adam’s sin God first cursed the earth so that, as St. Paul writes in Romans 8:20, 21, the creature [creation] was made subject to vanity…it is under God’s curse” (Martin Luther, Th.D., Luther’s Commentary on Genesis, Zondervan Publishing House, 1958 reprint, volume I, p. 83). Tonight we will focus on the negative aspects of that curse, and then on its reversal by the Lord Jesus Christ.

I. First, the curse itself.

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17).

Another name for that curse is the “Second Law of Thermodynamics” – the law of entropy. The four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Frost perfectly illustrated that law in his celebrated poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day,

Nothing gold can stay.

   (Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” Robert Frost’s

      Poems, Washington Square Press, 1971, p. 227).

That is a poetic description of the Second Law of Thermodynamics – the relentless and unending loss of useful energy, and of life itself.

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17).

Dr. Henry M. Morris said,

Thus, the entire “creature [creation] was made subject to vanity” [Romans 8:20]. The earth began to “wax old like a garment” [Psalm 102:26] and ultimately “shall perish” [Hebrews 1:11]. Since all flesh is made of earth’s physical elements it is also subject to the law of decay and death…It is universal experience that all things, living and non-living, eventually wear out, run down, grow old, decay, and pass into the dust.
       This condition is so universal that it was formalized about a hundred years ago…into a fundamental scientific law, now called the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This law states that all [things]…tend to become degraded and disordered… [This means that all material things] whether watches or suns, eventually wear out. Organisms grow old and die…in many cases [species] have resulted in deterioration or extinction of the species itself…the deterioration of the environment has often led to species extinction.
       This, then, is the true origin of the strange law of disorder and decay, the universally applicable, all-important Second Law of Thermodynamics. Herein is the secret of all that’s wrong with the world. Man [sinned, and his sin] has brought God’s curse on the earth (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Genesis Flood, Baker Book House, 1986 edition, pp. 126-127).

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17).

If Adam had not fallen into sin, says Dr. Morris, “animal life would have remained constant…Now, however, God’s personal presence [was] withdrawn… adding further to the testimony that the world [would now travail] in pain, awaiting its coming Redeemer” (Morris, ibid., p. 126).

But the universe did not remain “constant.” At the Fall of man, in the Garden of Eden, the Second Law of Thermodynamics began to operate, and the entire created universe, including the world, began to “run down,” and there is no way to reverse this tendency. Dr. C. L. Cagan pointed out that the German physicist Ludwig Boltzmann (1844-1906) concluded, by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, “that some day there will be no available energy left in the [universe]. All the stars will be burned to nuclear ashes and life will be impossible. The whole universe will be empty space, containing only a very sparse sprinkling of dead matter and drifting particles. This lifeless state will continue forever, because nothing will be able to survive in its empty, ashen mist” (C. L. Cagan, Ph.D., From Darwin to Design, Whitaker House, 2006, p. 95).

Dr. Boltzmann spent decades studying the mechanics of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. He came to the conclusion that the universe is doomed to a fate that he called “heat death.” His view is now accepted by most scientists. Dr. Cagan said,

Since Boltzmann was not a Christian, he saw no way to escape from the [effects of the Second Law of Thermodynamics]. He saw no hope…for the ages to come. He became so depressed over this that he finally committed suicide (ibid.).

When we consider the final results of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, we are not just thinking about melting icebergs and the extinction of polar bears and penguins. When we see the effects of the Second Law of Thermodynamics operating inflexibly in the earth and in the solar system, we’re thinking about the end of the whole universe. The Bible teaches that all of this decay has its roots in the Fall of man, recorded in the third chapter of Genesis.

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17).

In the end, the Bible teaches that this curse will result in universal doom,

“In the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Peter 3:10).

Dr. Morris said,

Possibly this will be a global atomic fission reaction (note the word “dissolved” in II Peter 3:11), or else simply a vast explosive disintegration involving transformation of the chemical energy of the elements into heat, light and sound energy (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Defender’s Study Bible, World Publishing, 1995, note on II Peter 3:10).

Will the universe end in a cold wasteland, or in a fiery conflagration? The poet Robert Frost answered that question like this,

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire,

I hold with those who favor fire…

   (Robert Frost, “Fire and Ice,” ibid., p. 242).

The Bible comes down on the side of Robert Frost. The universe will end. All life as we know it will end. And all of this will be the direct or indirect result of Adam’s sin, the Fall of man, of which God said,

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17).

But the Bible doesn’t end there, and that leads us to the second point of this sermon.

II. Second, the reversal of the curse through Christ.

The Geneva Bible said, “The transgression of God’s commandment was the cause that both mankind and all other creatures were subject to the curse” (ibid.). But that is where Jesus Christ comes into the picture. The Bible’s account of Christ is called the “Gospel” – which literally means the “good news”! It is “good news” to know that Jesus Christ came to save a ruined world, filled with ruined people!

The Bible teaches that Christ can redeem man from the curse, by bearing his sin on the Cross. The Scripture says,

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13).

Christ bore the curse Himself when He died on the Cross in agony and Blood. Dr. Morris said,

Christ…has been made the curse for us (Galatians 3:13). He was the “man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3); acquainted with more grief than any other man, He was wounded, bruised and chastised for us (Isaiah 53:5), and indeed wore the very thorns of the curse for us as His crown (Mark 15:17); in the agony of His labor, He sweat as it were drops of blood (Luke 22:44), and “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears” (Hebrews 5:7). And, finally, God brought Him into the “dust of death” (Psalm 22:15). Therefore, because He bore all the curse Himself for us [when we are converted, we have the hope of Heaven]… “and there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him,” Revelation 22:3 (Morris, ibid., p. 127).

Christ not only paid the penalty by bearing the curse of man’s sin – He rose from the dead – triumphant over the curse!

“Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it”
      (Acts 2:24).

And the Bible teaches that Christ is coming again! At the Second Coming, Christ will reverse the curse of Adam’s sin, and the world will be renewed by Him!

At Christmas time, few people think of the meaning of the third stanza of Dr. Watts’ famous hymn, “Joy to the World.”

No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found,

Far as the curse is found,

Far as, far as the curse is found.

   (“Joy to the World!” by Isaac Watts, D.D., 1674-1748).

But I hope you will pay attention to those words. I hope that you will come to Christ so the curse can be removed from you; so the wrath of God can be propitiated; so your soul can be saved from judgment and Hell by Jesus!

May you come to Him by faith! May you have the curse of sin removed by Jesus Christ! May you have life through His holy name! Amen.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Genesis 3:14-19.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Joy to the World!” (by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).




by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake” (Genesis 3:17).

I.   First, the curse itself, Romans 8:20; Psalm 102:26;
Hebrews 11:1; II Peter 3:10.

II.  Second, the reversal of the curse through Christ,
Galatians 3:13; Isaiah 53:3, 5; Mark 15:17; Luke 22:44;
Hebrews 5:7; Psalm 22:15; Revelation 22:3; Acts 2:24.