Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Genesis 3 - Why Do We Always Believe the Lie?

Consider this; the most important chapter in the Bible.

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’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 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.’”
“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.”
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. 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.

Interesting. Who is this serpent? Moses tells us that he is more crafty than any of the animals God created. I am thinking that it is a cunning creature that has been possessed by a dark, malignant spirit that stands constantly in opposition to the Lord God and tries to destroy everything He creates. This spirit is none other than the adversary himself, Satan, Lucifer and Belial. This serpent is the material face of evil in a garden that is otherwise perfect.

What is the first thing this serpent does? He speaks to the woman (who has not yet been named Eve). His first words to her are that her creator is a liar. He questions what God has told them about eating from the trees of the garden. Eve immediately spills what she has learned, probably from her husband, that they must not eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then the serpent lays out the lie in full. Eating the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden will not cause death and will give godlike qualities.

This is the point where it would have been good for Adam to speak up or barring that, they both could have called on God to settle the issue. What happened though was that Adam just stood there while Eve considered the statements of this wise reptile and looked over this fruit. This forbidden fruit looked delicious. It was beautiful  and it might, it just might impart knowledge. What is wrong with that? Why would God want us to remain uninformed and simple? Why is He holding out on us? What is He afraid of? So she ate and she also shared with her husband. Neither one of them questioned the information they received. They simply believed it. 

Adam and Eve had one rule, one command given them by God to obey, but they could not do it. They did not think to discuss the issue with Him. They simply did what they wanted to do and ignored their creator.

Is this not what we have all been doing in some form since that time? I truly believe that most sins are committed in full knowledge of the fact that they are wrong. We do them, commit them, because we want too. We deliberately defy God.

The fact is that Adam and Eve already knew the difference between good and evil. God had told them about the tree and it's fruit. He said 'do not eat'. They knew eating the fruit of the tree was wrong. But they did it anyway. They knew what was and was not God's will. They knew the difference. They had knowledge of good and evil.

What they did not understand was the consequences of sin; fear of punishment and guilt.

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. 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.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Now there's a smart idea. Hide. Can you hide from God? No. Apparently the fruit was not as effective as promised. And when God finally catches up to them - finds them - they start the blame game. Adam blames God for giving him Eve. Eve blames the serpent and the serpent...well, he says nothing, but is most likely laughing quietly to himself and thinking, "game on". No one takes responsibility. No one tries to repent or begs for mercy. There is just a lot of stone faced buck passing. Denial is the rule of the day.

So in the face of all this hard heartedness, God does the only thing He can do. He renders judgement.

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
    with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
    and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.”
20 Adam[c] named his wife Eve,[d] because she would become the mother of all the living.
21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

God curses the serpent, the woman and the man. They all receive punishment and ultimately a death sentence for their unrepentant disobedience. But in the midst of this judgement, there is a twinkle of hope. God offers it as a future solution to the problems caused by the serpent and the defiance of God by His creations. It's in verse 15.

15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

The day will come when the progeny of the woman will yield the One that will crush the serpent (the adversary, Satan, Lucifer). In that day, the evil events of Genesis 3 will be undone and God's enemies will be put in submission, and those that wish to join with God for eternity will be able to approach Him. This progeny is Jesus and the time is now. He can help you get right with God. Right now, you stand before Him naked. Your sin is exposed and it cries out from the earth to Him demanding His justice. Wouldn't it be nice to avoid that justice? Jesus can make it happen.

Beyond that, I said in the previous blog post that this was the most important chapter in the Bible. I still believe that.

If the events of Genesis 3 had not happened, none of the rest of what happens in the Bible would have been relevant. Genesis 3 is the pivot point for the human race. Jesus is the One that returns the balance to our favor.