Read This Week: Genesis 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’?” 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. Then, the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked. Genesis 3:1, 6-7 NIV
Genesis 3 brings us to that ultimate moment of devastation in the annals of human history. That seminal instance where everything changed and altered the trajectory of the world and everyone who would live in it. As impressive and remarkable as reading the first two chapters and taking in the magnificence of God’s creative initiation and designs for the universe, planet, animal kingdom, and humankind, it is equally as crushing and disturbing to read about the fall of man.
Adam and Eve had it all. They wanted for nothing. They had an undeterred and unbroken relationship with God, walking and communing with Him daily. They had an unthreatened dominion over the entire ecosystem and enjoyed the companionship of the animals and the nourishment of fertile vegetation. The air was pure and non-polluted, and they didn’t have to expend needless energy to get food, nor did they toil in their work. They experienced no pain, sadness, guilt, depression, injury, or hint of discord. They lived in the most desirable utopic situation. There was only one thing they couldn’t have; unfortunately, it always seems to be the one thing that becomes the catalyst for destruction.
God told Adam in the last chapter that he must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it, you will certainly die (2:17). The one thing – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All they had to do was stay away from that one tree. But as fate would have it, the one thing intersected with an evil force, and as is always the case, when they come together, it usually doesn’t end well. We saw in our study of Revelation the origins of Satan and that he was cast out of heaven and thrown down to the earth. His main goal is to oppose God in every way and make every effort to destroy and corrupt. Satan was already evil and a deceiver when he appeared to Eve in the Garden of Eden. So, he is speaking to her and manipulating her out of his vile, wicked character and agenda.
Because of his insidious and cunning desires, the enemy takes the form of a snake, approaches Eve, and turns God’s clear and unwavering command into an ambiguous and indefinite question. Verse 1 tells us that he said to the woman, Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden? That is all it took. Just turning a command to be obeyed into a question to be dismissed.
Since then, the question, Did God really say? has been the starting point of many slippery and detrimental slopes in life. Sometimes, it is all the enemy needs to create room for us to question the Lord’s authority, wisdom, and principles. This happened to Adam and Eve; that sliver of doubt led to the space where the one thing could gain the foothold that took them away from the word of God and from what was best for them.
Immediately, the situation changed once they both ate of the fruit. They knew they were naked, and it is more than fair to suggest they knew what they had lost. The effects of sin are never more devastating than in the moments when we realize it is not exactly what we thought it would be. But the most extraordinary thing about this whole sequence following the fall is God’s response. When he comes looking for them in the garden, his first question is not, what did you do? His first question is where are you? This initial question indicates God’s interest in them more than their behavior. He cared more about their hearts than their actions. He was chiefly concerned about being in relationship than exacting punishment.
Although God did have to punish Adam and Eve and hold them accountable for their rebellion, He remained faithful to them, and even at the end of the section, the Bible tells us that He made garments of skin for the man and his wife and clothed them. That’s the type of Father that He is. Even when our sin condition separates us from Him, and He has to discipline us as His children, His grace and mercy are reaching out to ask where we are and to clothe and provide for us. The one thing in our lives that causes us to stumble has never been and will never be more powerful than His love.