Summary: Understanding the story of sin in the Garden of Eden
There are certain sayings, or sage advice, that parents have been passing down from generation to generation. Lets' see how many you know? An apple a day..........? keeps the doctor away. Don't eat sweets before dinner, or you'll..........? lose your appetite. Don't swim for an hour after eating, or you'll.........? get cramps. Don't make me pull this....? car over. Money doesn't grow....? on trees. This morning we are going to see how fatherly advice given by GOD to Adam & Eve went unheeded and the terrible consequences it caused.
Two weeks ago, we read the first 11 verses of Romans chapter 5. This morning, we will start with Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— In Romans chapter 3:23 we were told that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Exactly three chapters later, in 6:23 Paul writes “For the wages of sin is death...(but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.)”
Paul does a great job in teaching that the law does not make a person righteous. He has then shown in great detail how salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Remember that the first century church had a high percentage of Jewish converts, so Paul doesn't go into much detail concerning the history of sin. The statements “All have sinned...&...the wages of sin is death” are powerful assertions that need further explanation. Paul's audience, being well versed in Jewish history, knew about sin, its origins & its implications. So we need to go back to Genesis chapter 3, to the beginning of sin. Please join me there, Gen 3:1-6.
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
This passage is a familiar Sunday School lesson for children, and most of us have heard or read this many times before. Rarely do adults go back to it for further study, though. There is much more here than what we were taught as kids. Since Moses wrote Genesis roughly 2,500 years after the events described happened, some of the finer details are missing.
The first thing mentioned is the serpent. I am terrified of snakes so I tend to focus on them. Several years ago, my wife & kids heard what they thought was a young girl outside of our house shrieking & screaming at the top of her lungs. They ran outside to see what was happening. I had just gotten home & stepped my left foot out of the vehicle on the driveway as a snake slithered over my foot. The shrieking girl they thought they heard was me.
The serpent was created by GOD. It says so right there in the first verse. As part of the creation, it was made good & perfect. I don't know if this snake symbolically personified Satan, or if Satan literally took the form of the snake. The text is not clear. I do know that Satan is directly linked to this serpent. Rev 20:2 “He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan....” So, whatever the actual form is, it is the voice & thoughts of the devil that we are dealing with here.
The next thought I have is Eves reaction to the snake. Or, actually, her lack of a reaction. After all, she is having a conversation with a snake!...... Was this a normal every day event? Did all animals in the garden of Eden talk, ….or was Eve possibly snacking on a few funny mushrooms growing in the garden? The text is not clear. What is clear is that Eve was oblivious to the danger she was in.
Temptation is not sin. Each of us face temptation everyday. The serpent did not force Eve to dis-obey GOD. There was not any physical contact nor were any threats made. Eves' action was done voluntarily. The excuse “The Devil Made Me Do It” doesn't hold water. But, the same tools the serpent used with Eve are still very much being used against us today.