Adam and Eve Disobey
- Tell what Adam and Eve did to disobey God.
- Want to obey God.
- Thank God for loving us even though we sometimes disobey.
The seeds of this sad story can be found in chapter 2, where God sets some boundaries for Adam and Eve's life in the garden. God prohibits them from eating from a certain tree, mysteriously called "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Of course, next to it is the "tree of life," from which they can freely eat.
Why the prohibition? Isn't it a good thing to know good from evil? This prohibition points to the most important aspect of the relationship of human beings with God. We are not God. We do not know everything. Rather, we trust that what God gives us is for our good. God is good, and what God gives us is good.
An odd creature slithers his way into this pristine garden---the serpent. We don't know anything more about the serpent, and he is not designated as Satan here. This story shows us that evil, its origin and its purpose, is very mysterious. The important thing is that the serpent is a creature, like Adam and Eve are.
Note the insinuations the serpent makes about God. He makes the assumption, and passes it on to Adam and Eve, that by prohibiting this one thing, God is holding something back from them. Instead of just trusting and obeying God, they can be like God, knowing everything like God. Every word the serpent utters is aimed at undermining their trust in God's goodness. Finally, the fruit just looks too good, and Adam and Eve grab it and eat it.
At that moment the pristine life in God's garden falls apart. The first sign is Adam and Eve's recognition of their nakedness. Chapter 2 made the point that they were naked and not ashamed, but now they feel plenty of shame. Nakedness represents transparency and the possibility of evil intent. The big cover-up begins.
God strolls into the garden for his daily walk with his beloved couple. Instead of walking with God as usual, they hide. They are gripped by shame---not only because they have done something wrong, but because they are wrong. Something has happened to fundamentally change their place in God's world.
God calls them, and they come slinking out of the bushes. It's judgment time. Adam, Eve, and the serpent are all given words of judgment. In each case, the judgment means that their lives will never be the same. Pain, drudgery, domination, and alienation will now take the place of their carefree life in the garden.
But even as the darkness descends on the garden and Adam and Eve are sent far away ("east of Eden"), a ray of hope shines through. In judging the serpent, God promises enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent; the serpent will strike the heel of the woman's descendant, but the woman's seed will crush the serpent's head. What might that mean?
Next, God looks at this pair in their hasty cover of fig leaves, and he makes clothes for them out of animal skins. God covers their naked shame with sturdy garments as he sends them out of the garden. What might that mean?
We call this primal story "the fall." Just as the stories of Genesis 1 and 2 define the glorious possibilities of our life in the world, this story describes what we have become in our sinful rebellion against our Creator.
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