3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
(Genesis 3:1-24 NIV)
In our last time together, we sat with Moses as he told of God calling His creation complete and celebrating by resting for a day. In chapter 2, Moses also recapped the pinnacle of God’s creation, people. Humans were made in God’s image, His likeness, both male and female (Adam and Eve).
We saw God put a boundary between humans and the rest of creation, with humans given the responsibility to rule over all the rest of creation. And that is why Adam couldn’t find an equal in any of the animals – you can’t find an equal among those you’re to rule over.
Similarly, God put a boundary between Himself and humanity. Humans had free reign over everything in the Garden of Eden, with the exception of one tree. And that one tree contained something that they didn’t need – the knowledge of good and evil. They only knew good in their sinless state – they had no reason to know evil. Humans had unbroken fellowship with God – they could talk to God anytime about anything.
And thus, we come to Chapter 3, the fall of humanity into sin.
Notice how crafty and deceitful the serpent (Satan) was in tempting Adam and Eve. He distorted something God set in place for the humans’ provision and protection, a boundary for their good, and twisted that boundary into something that looked bad, like God was holding out on Adam and Eve. Of course, the serpent failed to warn the humans of the consequences of taking the bait of temptation. They would only learn of those horrendous consequences after they had sinned.
Here we see God’s truth (don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) mixed with human reason (and don’t touch it), coupled with the enemy’s doubt (you won’t really die) and questioning (did God really say that?).
It’s important to note two things in this story of Adam and Eve’s original sin:
- Eve was guilty of the sin of commission – doing something God said not to do.
- Adam was guilty of the sin of omission – not speaking up when he saw what was going on, as he was right there beside Eve while the entire event took place.
And what was the outcome, the consequences of these sins? Guilt (the “eyes” of their consciences were opened to the evil they had just committed), and shame (they recognized their nakedness and tried to cover themselves up).
And this pattern continues even today as we sin and try to cover up our transgressions.
And how did God respond? Even though He knew Adam and Eve had sinned, He still sought them out.
Notice the flow of dialogue at this point:
- Loving questioning (God to Adam)
- Guilt and shame (Adam and Eve)
- Blame – (Adam pointing to Eve and to God for giving Eve to him)
- Blame passed (Eve to serpent)
- Curse (God to serpent)
- Pain (Eve – both physically in childbirth and relationally with Adam)
- Pain (Adam, in his work, through the cursing of the ground)
- Death (ultimately, to both of them)
At this point in the story, Adam gives his wife a name – Eve. Before, she was known as sustainer-beside-him, more of a role than a name. This was likely Adam comforting his wife, his sharing God’s mercy and grace with them both by not killing them instantly for their disobedience. As Moses points out in the story, “Eve” meant “mother of all the living”, reassuring her that life would go on, though harder than they had ever known.
Next, we see God stepping in and providing a covering for their sin and guilt through the blood sacrifice of an innocent animal. This would later be the pattern of God covering sin during the Old Testament, and the ultimate remission of sin for all humanity through the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Finally, God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden so they would not eat of the other tree mentioned in the Garden – the tree of life. They were allowed to eat of that tree before their sin; now, it was off limits. Life could only come from God, not from their own hand or effort or will.
Feel the weight of our sinfulness today, of the fall of humanity from Adam and Eve.
And feel the mercy and grace of God, far greater than the depth of our depravity and sin.