Last Saturday I celebrated my 60th birthday with my family, my 3 beautiful kids asked a bunch of people to send in a video. It was very encouraging, it was like I was at my own funeral, it also felt quite unreal because I know me, I know this is not the whole truth.
Genesis 1 and 2 is so beautiful and true but it's not the whole truth, we need Genesis 3. It explains this life marked by sin and suffering, depression and death, wars and worries, boredom and broken relationship. Without Genesis 3 you will never understand life nor Gods plan for this world.
Adam and Eve are placed in Eden with no sin, no shame, no fear, right with God, right with each other and right with creation. They have no reason to doubt God. Enter Satan, we are not told why the serpent is in the garden.
Now the serpent was craftier than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. ~Genesis 3:1a (NIV)
From Revelation 12 we know that this serpent is Satan:
When wisdom is in evil hands it becomes cunning. Satan cunningly sow’s seeds of doubt, these doubts lie behind every sin. The first doubt, that God is not good that he doesn’t want their good. The doubt that God is not good - Satan begins with a question.
He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” ~Genesis 3:1b (NIV)
That is not of course what God said. Adam and Eve could eat from every tree except one. God is put in a bad light, He is made to look mean. Eve should have said “Get behind me Satan!” But she allows herself to be led by another voice. A voice from a part of creation that she was to rule over.
Remember friends whoever is speaking they are just another created being.
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.’” ~Genesis 3:2-3 (NIV)
Eve corrects the Serpent but she starts to play his game. Eve said that she would die even if she touched the Tree of Good and Evil. Not true. Typical of religion - which adds to the word of God. She makes God seem harsh. Once you make God a kill joy it gives you permission to turn away from him.
One thing Eve did get right, eating of the tree will involve death, not because it was an evil tree, if they loved God they would obey him, which means, this one tree is off limits. Notice that Eve uses the same name that Satan uses for God, she does not use the personal name of the Lord God, she keeps God at a distance…Like people who talk of God but do not mention Jesus. Doubting Gods goodness now becomes doubting God's word. What started off as a question ends up as a straight up lie.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. ~Genesis 3:4 (NIV)
In other words:
Think about the stupidity of sin. What has Satan ever done to deserve be listened to? Nothing!
What has God ever done that makes you want to reject him? Nothing!
Now Satan claims that God is holding Eve back from her experiencing her full potential.
“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 3:5 (NIV)
"You see, lady, God is trying to rip you off. You eat of that tree and you will be like God, you get to decide for yourself what is good and evil, right and wrong, we now have 7 Billion humans playing god. Its god-like but it’s not godly."
Notice that Satan never once tells Eve to eat, he is not stupid.The power of suggestion, like movies, sitcoms and songs, they rarely preach, they just assume and suggest. These Satanic lies wrapped up in half-truths now rolling around in her head, Eve looks again at the tree and all of a sudden she feels like she is missing out, that God is withholding blessings. What advertisers do to us Satan does to Eve. He makes you dissatisfied with what you have, dissatisfied with your life, your choices, your spouse, your house, your car, your job, your faith.
You're missing out.
Single, wishing you were married. Married, wishing you were married to someone else. Poor man wants to be a rich man,rich man wants to be king, king ain't satisfied till he is ruling everything. Eve was missing out on so much.
The woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom. ~Genesis 3:6 (NIV)
Every part of her will miss out. Her appetite, its good for food, her imagination, its pleasing to the eye, her mind, it would make her wise.
Let’s imagine what went on in Eve's mind:
Eve now becomes wise in her own eyes, deciding for herself what is right and wrong. Eve grabs for equality with God, instead of letting God tell her what is good, she now decides for herself.
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. ~Genesis 3:6 (NIV)
She saw, she took and she gave, she is behaving like God. It was God who saw all that he had made, it was God who took Adam and placed him in the Garden, it was God who gave Woman to Adam. Eve then compounds her sin, and gives it to Adam, the one she was created to help is hindered, not that Adam was out riding horses when it all happened. The man who named the animals failed to name the sin of Satan. Adam says nothing, does nothing and just went along with Eve.
With the sin comes the fear and shame. God goes first to Adam.
But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so, I hid.” ~Genesis 3:9-10 (NIV)
Once Adam and Eve would have been excited to hear that God was walking in the garden, now they are dead scared, they hid among the trees, they hid behind fig leaves. They hide behind their excuses, they hide from each other, they hide from God. We have been hiding ever since. We know there is something deeply wrong with each of us. Can you see yourself here?
Adam hides behind excuses.
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” ~Genesis 3:12 (NIV)
Man does what we men do best, BLAME. First the silence of Adam, then the hiding from God and finally, the blame shifting. Brothers, I see my sin in Adam and Adams sin in me.
Imagine a different story.
As Eve was listening to the serpent Adam said “Eve please don't listen Satan is trying to rip you off.” but Adam remained passive and silent.
Imagine as Eve went to reach out for the tree, Adam gently held her and says ‘I beg you Eve don't do it -for our sake and for Gods sake.”
Imagine as Eve handed over the fruit to Adam he just said “Darling, I will not share in your sin, God has only ever been good to us.”
Imagine after he ate he led his wife by falling to his knees and cried out “Have mercy on us for we have sinned against you Lord”
NO, for Adam there is just the silence, hiding, excuses and then the blaming.
How many times has Sandy, my wife, asked me about something and I'm half listening but I say yes to end the conversation then it blows up and I blame her.
I remember my parents both laughing at me sliding in the back yard after heavy rain fall. When I hurt myself, my Dad turns to Mum and says “Why did you let him play in backyard?”
Blaming is not just a male problem.
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” ~Genesis 3:13 (NIV)
Eve’s deception is complete. Adam blames Eve and she blames the serpent. I was tricked again, it’s not my fault. The order of creation is turned upside down and we have been buck passing ever since.
Do you know the Christian version of this?
When we blame Adam and Eve for the fall we blame God for putting Satan in the garden. We blame God for creating us knowing we would sin and we blame God for making Adam our representative. The story of Adam and Eve is the story of humanity, the blame is laid totally at the feet of humans.
This is our story as well.
The temptations to lust for more, the doubt that God will keep his word, the lie that God is ripping us of, the running away from God, the hiding from God, the blaming that its everyone's fault but mine. Its not the devil made me do it.
And now the judgment, God takes us and himself very seriously, understand this, when God reimposes his will over a rebel, it always comes with a quota of pain. The snake is cursed and the women will suffer child birth. I asked one mother ‘How was the birth?’ "It was horrendous"
The battle of the sexes begins here.
Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” ~Genesis 2:16c (NIV)
Woman's temptation is to overrule her man and Man's temptation will be abuse his women. The ground is cursed and work scared with pain and frustration. Worst of all, we are all ejected from the garden and return to the dust of the earth. This is the great holocaust. This one sin introduces sin and death to every human.
But where sin increased Grace abounds all the more.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” ~Genesis 3:15 (NIV)
It speaks of a war to end all wars between a son of Adam and Satan. Its fought in another garden, The Garden of Gethsemane in which Jesus the Son of Man cries out, “Not my will but yours be done.”
And there on another tree of life our forgiveness is purchased by the obedience of Jesus
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” ~1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)
There is a way back into a better garden. A paradise where there is no Satan and no sin. You may think it’s unfair that Adams sin impacts you. If you think it’s unfair that Adams sin made you a sinner, then it’s unfair that Jesus obedience can make you a forgiven saint.
Only 2 people have made a difference in this world, the rest of us are footnotes. You become a child of Adam by birth, you become a child of God by faith.
We confess that we are like our first parents, Adam and Eve.
We have listened to the lies of Satan.
We have doubted your goodness Lord and rebelled.
We have doubted your word and sinned against you.
We have kept you at a distance.
Forgive us for hiding from you, and blaming others.
Today we own our sin, and throw ourselves upon your mercy.
Thank you, Lord Jesus for your obedience on the cross;
For bearing our sins and taking our blame.
Thank you, for letting us back into your presence.
Help us to resist the lies of Satan.
For you are good, and you are trustworthy.
In Jesus name, Amen