Sunday, October 13, 2013

Genesis 3 today.

The rest of Scripture looks back on the narrative of Genesis 3:1-7 as the origin of sin, and the explanation for mankind's fallen state. Obviously, we are no longer enjoying that perfect, unashamed fellowship with God! In Romans 5:12, the Apostle Paul points back to this as the event that brought sin into the world and spread it to all people. Sounds like humanity is doomed.

But this story is just the beginning. It introduces the main characters of history: God, man, and the devil. God and man have a relationship that is different from God and the devil. Man now needs a savior, and because man is made in God's image, God will be the One to supply the needs of man, intervening on his behalf to save him from the punishment of sin: Death.

Death is the fate of men without a savior. That is the truth that God declared about sin, and therefore it is indeed true! Though culture might try to feed us the lie that man is ultimately good, God has told us that man, apart from Him, is dead in his trespasses.

But that isn't the way it has to be! Paul also tells us in Romans 6 that it is possible for us once more to be alive to God and dead to sin. God did indeed provide for man's need for a savior, and through Christ's death and resurrection we again have the ability to choose God over self. We face the questions and doubts of Genesis 3 every day, and it is up to us whether or not we will take hold of the truth that is ours and choose God over craftiness, deceit, and self in the everyday.

The fall.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

The serpent's craftiness first planted the seed, grew it, and now it has produced the fruit of disobedience in the lives of the man and the woman. Eve decided to go with her own discernment, rather than heed the Word of God. Adam willfully sinned against the command that God had given him, and failed in his responsibility to be the keeper of his wife. 

The desirable fruit certainly did change things for Adam and Eve, but not in the way that they had hoped. Feebly trying to cover their guilt, they clothe themselves in fig leaves. But that would not be enough to hide their shame from their all knowing God. They chose to conform their thinking to the serpent's craftiness, rather than to the truth that the all wise Creator God had laid out for them. 

How often do we do the same thing? We choose our own way over God's way, though His is best, and we end up reaping the consequences. Good things are never brought about by sin! Any time we wander away from the truth that God has established, we are always going to be going in a direction that we were never meant to take our lives in. We are wandering away from our privilege of living the way that is God's best for us. Living our lives, studying His Word, making decisions based on His judgment, and walking in His will daily, all while giving the glory back to Him and enjoying Him. We only have the ability to do this when we know His Word, and walk in the truth that He has laid out for us.

Lies vs. Truth

But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

The serpent throws out a statement in blatant opposition to what God has already declared to be true. Now the woman has a choice: Believe God, or believe the serpent. The serpent continues to plant more doubt about God into the woman's heart as the story moves on toward her choice. As her faith is tested, the fate of humanity rests in the balance of her decision. 

We have truth claims that are in blatant opposition to what God has already declared to be true thrown at us all the time. Although it may not seem like our temptations and choices are as big of a deal as the original sin, they really are. Any sin against God is a serious offense. Like Eve, we too face the choice of believing God or believing lies every day. This is why it cannot be stressed enough that we know God's Word! When we know God's Word, we have the power of God on our side to resist the devil and his deceptions.  Eve already showed that she did not heed the Word of God, and thus things do not look promising in Paradise. The serpent's craftiness continued to grow the seed of doubt in her heart. Without the truth anchoring her down, she does not stand a chance. 

Too often though, we fail, because we do not claim the truth that is already ours. Will the woman rest in the truth of God, or be drawn in by deceit and discontent? 


And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'"

The woman's response does not reflect the richness of the privilege they were given. God had said that they may eat freely, to their heart's content, of any other tree in the garden. The serpent's craftiness was already working. The woman did not know or heed the Word of God well. Perhaps this was the reason that the serpent went to her, and not her husband, who the command had been given to. Either she or her husband added on to what God said, maybe suggesting that they already saw God's Word as up for interpretation.

This is what comes of not knowing God's Word. When we don't know God's Word, we are mistaken in our representation of Him. We go around in life making decisions based on our assumptions about God, rather than going off of the Truth that is there for us to apply to our lives. We assume that we know better, perhaps that we can make the decisions all on our own.

Yet God is the One who is all knowing and all wise. He is the One who put order into the universe. He is the One who is the Authority over all creation. What He has said is truth, even if it doesn't fit in with what we think is best for our lives, or if it makes us uncomfortable.

God is the One who knows what is best for us. He knew it from the beginning. Will Eve trust His judgment, or follow a different idea about the tree?

Crafty: subtle, shrewd, sly.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God has made.
He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any of any tree in the garden'?" 

We see that not all is well in Paradise. The serpent, generally regarded to be a symbol of Satan (the deceiver), is called "crafty." This word has negative connotations, signaling right off the bat that he is trying to work this situation to his own gain. Though he is trying to act like a god, we are also told that he was made. Though he is not all knowing or all wise, his craftiness is immediately put on display as he poses this deceiving question to the woman. His seed of deceit is planted in her heart. 

This situation sounds very familiar. Post-modernism (the belief that everyone has their own truth) is rampant in our culture, and with that idea comes the temptation to question what God has already said. 

Did God actually say that homosexuality is a sin?
Did God actually say that drinking alcohol in excess is wrong?
Did God actually say that sex outside of marriage is sinful? 

This is why we need to be studying the Word. We cannot know what God has actually said unless we read His Word. Whether the questions presented to us bring into doubt the righteous judgment of God, or twist something He has said, we cannot give an answer if we are not aware of what God has said. As Christ's representatives on earth, it is our responsibility to be living in the truth of all that God has declared in His Word. 

Our faith and trust in God's judgment is tested whenever we are presented with these types of questions by our culture, and even our friends. It's hard to stand up for the truth when everyone else is rewriting God's Word, but we know that God has given us His Word for a reason, and that persevering in truth is worth the fight! We know that God is good, and we know what He has said. Therefore, we ought to be able to spot deceitful questions when they are presented to us, and use the discernment that God gives to resist the temptation to conform our thinking to the world's. 

We will see if the woman knew God's Word, or if she chose to conform her thinking to the serpent's craftiness.


The book of Genesis opens up with the ancient Hebrew account of creation. The one, all 
powerful, all wise God decides to put order into the universe. He creates a whole world, then 
crowns it with Man, created in His own image. 

(This is a stark contrast to the other creation accounts from the Ancient Near East. It was generally believed that there were many gods, who were not all powerful or all knowing. They created man because they were unable to take care of themselves, and they needed someone to supply them with food through sacrifices. This was not so with the God of the Hebrews.)

To the man, He gifts the responsibility of stewarding creation. He places the man, Adam, in the perfect Garden of Eden, and gives to him a helper to correspond and have relationship with him. Adam names the woman Eve. Together, they are to tend the Garden, and are free to live giving glory back to God and living in perfect, unhindered relationship with Him. It is, in a word, paradise. Perfect environment, perfect God, perfect relationship. It seems that all would be well; where is there room for discontentment when you have all that you need?The man is given only one restriction: You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die. 

"Die" must have been an unfamiliar word. Now there is an opportunity for Adam and Eve to have faith and trust in God. But the other side of that occasion is the opportunity for doubt and disobedience. Will they find themselves to be totally satisfied with God and His judgment of the tree, or will they try to decide what is best on their own?