Our passage today is Genesis 3.
When I was a child, they used to show Westerns on TV. The cowboys were always the good guys and the Indians were the bad guys. There was often a scene where the cowboys were on alert in case of an attack and one would say; ‘it’s too quiet’, this was usually followed by him being hit by an arrow. It’s a little like today’s passage, we know it was beautiful then and much of what we see now isn’t beautiful at all, so where did it all go wrong?
As with yesterday’s passage, there is so much material here that we can barely scratch the surface. These passages provide a framework to understand the whole of the Bible. Believe it or not, I am trying to be brief.
God gave Adam and Eve boundaries and he also gave them the ability to choose to obey or even disobey. Why did God allow them to sin? God made human beings in his image and his desire is for them to live in a relationship with him. He could have made people like robots to simply obey every command without question but what sort of relationship would that be? Children play with toys with recorded messages and with some of those, the toy will tell the child that they love them. It’s great for a while but there comes a point where the child is no longer interested in toys and will seek fulfilling relationships. God loved us enough to give us free will.
The passage doesn’t explicitly say that the snake is Satan but from elsewhere in the Scriptures, it’s clear that he is (Ezekiel 28:13, Revelation 12:9, 15, 20:2). The snake only speaks twice but he cuts right across the relationship between God and Adam and Eve. He begins by questioning the word of God; ‘Did God really say…’ (The first sin in the Bible) and then moves on to contradicting the command. There is a great deal in the description of the way the woman desired the fruit but it is obvious that she wanted to taste it. It’s important to say here, that they should have stopped there, and told the snake to slide away. Everyone is tempted, even the Lord Jesus, but the sin is to give in to temptation
The world is not messed up because someone ate an apple. Sin is to go against the word of God. They knew what God had said but did it anyway. They were both culpable, the woman seemed to be leading the way but the man was right there (3:6) and he wasn’t even deceived (1 Timothy 2:14), yet he took it with eyes wide open. Sin always separates and we can see it here, the saddest part of the whole sorry mess is the picture of Adam and Eve hiding among the trees while the Lord called ‘where are you?’ Sin had put a barrier between people and God.
“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:15)
There are consequences to sin, God had said it and of course, Satan had said there would be none but there were. We are living with the results of sin and the greatest of those is death. We have separated ourselves from the source of life so that death is inevitable and not just physical death, sin brings spiritual death – eternal separation from God. We tend to develop a relaxed attitude to sin but when we see it laid out as it is here, it is bleak and dreadful. I saw a minor traffic accident a few weeks ago; where I could see one car was going to crash into another. I was saying brake! Brake! But the driver didn’t see the other car until it was too late. It’s like that here, we can see what’s happening and we want to shout stop! Stop! But they can’t see it. We are not in any position to blame them as this is a path we have all walked. We have all sinned.
In the midst of the darkness, there’s a ray of light. In the curse, there’s a promise. The offspring of the woman would crush the snake’s head (3:15). It’s a promise that was fulfilled in Jesus and his victory on the cross where sin and death were defeated. I can’t help but see a parallel between complete human failure in the garden and another garden called Gethsemane, where Jesus emphatically triumphed. Hallelujah!
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live. (Stuart Townend and Keith Getty)