We were made to live in a garden, surrounded by God’s goodness.
What went wrong?
The Beginning of Suffering
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.” Genesis 3:1-10 (NIV)
Every time I read this, my heart breaks.
In choosing to eat from the tree, to acquire personal “knowledge” and “wisdom” apart from God, Adam and Eve immediately began to suffer the natural consequences of evil:
Decay and Death (verse 3)
They were created to know and experience God’s goodness alone. Knowing Evil was a poison that once entering their souls, suffocated their spirits with doubt, mistrust, shame, fear, and all manner of evil. As drinking poison effects a person at the cellular level, so knowing evil altered their very DNA and immediately began acting out as rebellion against their Creator. Rebellion imprinted on their souls, thereafter passed down from generation to generation.
Shame (see verse 7)
Before eating the fruit, their understanding of “good” came from the unchanging goodness of God’s character. However, now, their sense of “good” would be based upon personal preference and circumstance. Ever-changing wisdom of man, rather than the unchanging character of God.
Their sense of “good” now saw shame in what God had made, so they covered their nakedness by sowing fig leaves to cover themselves in an attempt at providing their own goodness.
Fear (verses 8-10)
Evil is antithetical to Good – always has been, and always will be. In listening to the serpent (Satan in disguise) and eating the fruit, Adam and Eve (as well as their offspring) became captive to Satan and sin, blinding them to God’s goodness. Now aligned with the enemy of God, they feared the one who had made them. God hadn’t changed, they had.
Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Romans 6:16 (NLT)
Are We Any Different Today?
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time,gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. Ephesians 2:1-3 (NIV)
On our own, we can’t restore what was lost; but God can.
The plan of restoration began even before Adam and Eve ate the fruit. And so the rest of this week, we will look at God’s restoration plan through the series, “Amazing Grace” in discussing “Who Is Jesus?”
This discussion was very difficult to write, and so took me much longer than normal to pen. Hence finishing up last week’s post this week. These truths are so pivotal to understanding suffering in our lives and in the world; I didn’t want to mess it up.
Again, I love discussion!
With love and prayers,