Life began at the hands of the Living God amongst the stars, land, sea and sky, culminating in the birth of humanity. Adam, the father of the human race, enjoyed the first relationship in history with a woman, a partner made literally from his rib, and therefore as significant an other as can possibly be. God made certain that the two understood the benefits and boundaries of living in this new world; they were to enjoy all of the fruit of the garden including the Tree of Life, but the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not to be touched, for death would ensue if it was eaten. Then the Bible says that Satan, in the form of a serpent, called to Eve and enticed her to eat from that which was forbidden.
“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)
Eve remembered what God had said and relayed His words to Satan, the first account of a child of the Lord doing so in response to the devil. However, this enemy was very old and much wiser than the newly created Eve. He knew what it took to incite rebellion and seized the opportunity to plant seeds of pride, the hunger for power.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will BE LIKE GOD, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)
Many today have wondered at one time or another, myself included, how anyone could go on to take a bite of that fruit after God had expressly said not to. In her favor, we see from scripture that it was not automatic, as Eve was initially reluctant. It will also help to consider that this account is part of the most published book of all time and that most of us are well informed of the outcome of the coming act of sin. Eve, however, was in the infancy of the human experience, not a Bible to be found anywhere, nor paper for that matter. A talking serpent may as well have been as crazy to her as a talking, bipedal creature that she is told is her new “husband”, whatever that word means! The world was new as were the trials of right and wrong. Some may say that if that is the case, then it’s not fair for these “tests” to have been posed to Adam and Eve in the first place. Though we will discuss that topic in another post, and I admit as a mere mortal to not having all the answers, I will say this; human beings were created to enjoy and worship God. Every powerful testimony of salvation that I’ve ever heard from another person, in tears of great joy, all had one thing in common; pain and tribulation that God delivered them from. Their struggles produced character, maturity, and a heartfelt gratitude that they would not have had if they were the spoiled child that was never exposed to any hardship. These lovers of God are real, their worship and whispered hallelujahs to Him desperately honest; anything superficially sentimental or contrived having been burned away.
As for Eve, she was at a crossroads, and her final choice shows the deepest failing of the human heart that manifests in our world today; the desire to be God. Genesis says that after the serpent’s words, Eve saw that the fruit was good for eating, it became enticing to her. She ate and shared it with her husband, who also ate. It seems alarming that Adam so quickly relented, but one can imagine the power and intense closeness of this new bond that they shared. As soon as they disobeyed the Lord, choosing to trust the words of a stranger than their own Father, Genesis 3:7 says that their “eyes were opened” and they realized that they were naked. Innocence, at least as they knew it before in perfect communion with God, was now gone. They felt shame, sewing leaves together as clothing and hid when they heard the Lord’s footsteps approaching.
God’s anger was kindled, not only because of what was done, but because rather than take responsibility for these actions, Adam invented the blame game, which is still played with exceptional skill today;
And he (God) said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” – Genesis 3:11-12
Death found humanity; not exactly in the literal sense but in a “death” which was the tragic end of a face to face relationship with the Creator. Sin had entered the world, a force that was the direct opposition of the life-giving will of God. He was the source of all creation, and so being cut off from direct fellowship with that source meant; shortened lifespans when we would have been essentially immortal, a curse upon the ground and so a need to cultivate it amidst the harsh elements of a now imbalanced earth, and pain in child-birth. Concerned that, in mankind’s sinful state, the world would become an incredibly dark place if they continued to receive long years from the Tree of Life, Adam and Eve were told to leave the Garden of Eden. Cherubim, high ranking angels and not the child-like puti that many mistake them for, guarded the East entrance of Eden with a flaming sword. (Genesis 3:14-24)
One would think that after such a terrible, humbling experience that mankind would be ready to repent and seek the face of God. Unfortunately, we will see in part III of this series that such was not the case and that the Lord’s choice to expel mankind was for good reason.