The First Infraction…. God established a law–You may not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil–and laid out the consequences–You will die. Crime and punishment. And you know the rest of the story: Girl listens to serpent. Girl eats fruit. Girl gives fruit to boy. Boy eats fruit. There are consequences. Yet, there is also mercy. God makes garments of skin for the couple to clothe them. Some commentators have suggested that in this act of clothing Adam and Eve, God makes the first animal sacrifice to forgive their transgression, foreshadowing the sacrificial system of the Old Testament and the death of Christ in the new covenant when God will forgive our iniquity and remember their sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34).
We are familiar with crime and punishment in our system of justice. However, we are less familiar with mercy in the midst of the process of punishment. In fact, we have shut the door to mercy through mandatory sentencing, “three strikes” laws, zero-tolerance policies (even for 6 year olds) and sentences that conclude with the phrase “without possibility of parole”.
What do you think about God’s fashion statement? What do you think of a penal system that does not include mercy?