4th May 2016
The first two chapters of the Bible tell the story of creation, the first couple, the Garden of Eden and the perfect world that God designed along with His high purpose for mankind. Chapter three tells us what went wrong in the garden and explains why our world is in its present condition. For many people, the story of the serpent tempting Eve and Adam to eat the forbidden fruit seems more like a fairy tale than actual history. Can we really take these chapters and the rest of the Bible seriously?
The Bible is the story of Redemption with a three-chapter introduction. Genesis 1-3 are more than nice stories to teach us moral lessons and principles. Jesus believed the account of Adam and Eve to be true (Mark 10:6-9) as did the Apostle Paul (Rom 5 and 2 Cor 11:3) and this gives us a sound basis to see Genesis as real events involving real people. Understanding what happened in Genesis 3 is important because without this background, the rest of the Bible makes no sense.
Here is a summary of what happened:
After placing Adam and Eve in the Garden, God told them “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die” (Gen 2:16-7 NLT). The serpent appears in Chapter three to convince them to break this one and only command. He did it in steps.
First, the serpent mocked the idea that God should place any restriction on them. The original meaning and tone of his words to Eve, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” (v. 1) are filled with scorn that questioned God’s motives. So before any action took place, the tempter began by creating an attitude of suspicion and mistrust.
Next, the tempter issued an outright challenge to what God had spoken, “You won’t die! . . . God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” (v. 4-5). The idea that God and His word cannot be trusted brought further confusion to Eve who “saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious. . .” So a scornful attitude of heart and a lie for the mind became the seeds of deception that resulted in sin.
Finally, came the act that brought a result beyond all calculation, “So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too” (v. 6). Sin entered the world and along with suffering, sickness, death and the disruption of every good thing that God had intended. Adam and Eve experienced shame and disconnection from God and went into hiding. In short, everything changed for the worse when sin happened.
When God came on the scene, He did three things that demonstrated His amazing grace thousands of years before Christ came. His heart of love and readiness to redeem the consequences of sin are seen in these three acts:
1) He looked for them when they were hiding (v. 9)
2) He made a promise to Eve that one of her offspring would defeat the serpent (v. 15)
3) He sacrificed animals to cover their nakedness (v. 21)
The Bible is not a series of disconnected stories, it is a single story about what went wrong with the human race and how God’s plan of redemption began to appear as soon as the original sin took place. Today, nothing has changed, as soon as a failure or sin takes place, God is on the scene to offer His solution: Jesus Christ, the second Adam who overcame Satan, sin and death in order to bring us salvation. Jesus is the seed of the woman who defeated Satan and this means that your biggest problem is an opportunity for Jesus to demonstrate His greatest victory. He has been turning bad endings into new beginnings ever since the Garden of Eden. Now is the perfect time to experience His power to redeem.
Salvation is here!