Summary: The warning of death sits before all of us tonight. God has provided a way out of the death that awaits us but until we truly understand and take ownership of our brokenness and sinful nature we can not fully understand God’s gift of life.
Last week we left Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden just after creation. Everything that God had created was good, and in fact when it came to creating humans, you and I, He said it was very good. Looking around, the world was paradise. Everything was created perfectly. Mankind had everything that we could have ever wanted.
Genesis 2 tells us that there was no rain, which sounds really nice right about now. Springs came up form underground to water the land. Trees and plants produced fruits and foods of all different kinds that were just waiting to be picked and eaten. The animals were under the domain of man as Adam named each animal and lived in complete peace and without fear of all the beats, birds, and sea creatures.
Think about the life that Adam and Eve had to “put up with.” They had to watch over the garden, but yet didn’t have to do work to make things grow. They hung out with the animals and played with lion and puppies alike. They took walks with God in the garden and talked with Him face to face as a loving Father. They didn’t have to worry about death, or sickness, or pain! And then they had each other as they sat around naked all the time, talking, taking walks and making love. It was an amazing life that no one would complain about.
In all that was going on and in all that God gave to Adam and Eve in the garden there was one, only one, warning that God expressed to his creation. He said to 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 of its fruit, you are sure to die.” There are two important things to notice about God’s warning to Adam and Eve.
First, notice God doesn’t prevent them from eating of the tree of good and evil, he doesn’t chain the tree up and do everything he can to control the situation. Being God, if had wanted to, He could have forced Adam and Eve to obey but instead he just warns and leaves it in their hands to decide for themselves. It is here that we see the gift of free will and choice being given to us.
Second, think about why God is warning Adam and Eve. God tells them, “Don’t eat the fruit of this tree because you will surely die!” God is trying to protect Adam and Eve from something bad, to be more specific, he is trying to protect them from knowing evil. Until this point, they only knew God, goodness, and truth. God knew that knowing evil would bring about death.
This warning is much like a father telling his little girl to not touch the hot stove or to look both ways before crossing the street. The father is not trying to hide or keep something from his daughter but trying to protect her from knowing pain or hurt.
This Fatherly warning and gift of free will is really where sin begins in all of our lives. We all have a number of things that God warns us about or asks us to do in the Bible. These things or perceived “rules” are not to be a jerk or keep fun things from us but instead to protect us from the knowledge of evil, death, and dangerous things that are not good for us. These things are not forcefully kept from us, instead we are given a choice to be able ignore the warning or to accept it.
Having laid the foundation and background for our text tonight, let’s open our Bibles to Genesis 3:1-13 and read the all too familiar story about how Adam and Eve handle this warning from God. As we do so, let’s explore this thing called sin and how it plays out in our own lives. I would encourage you to keep your Bibles open as we walk through the text together.
***Read Genesis 3:1-5***
So this snake, which is actually Satan in disguise, approaches Eve in the Garden of Eden and challenges her to question what God told her. “Did God reeealy say you can’t eat fruit from the trees?” He even distorts what God really said just to get a response out of Eve. “No, it’s just the big tree in the middle we can’t touch or eat from. If we do, we will die.”
“You won’t die!” Satan snaps quickly with a laugh. “God is just holding back from you. He knows that if you ate from the tree you would be like Him. You’re not gunna let Him keep that from you, are you?”
What we see here is the beginning of temptation. Satan gets Eve to question the warning that God has given her and Adam. This process takes part in all of our lives in a number of different ways. Mostly it is the little voice in our heads that makes us question, challenge or justify something that goes against what God asks of us. “No one is looking, you can do it.” “Everybody does it, go for it.” “Just a little won’t hurt you.” “Just once isn’t going to kill you.” We all have had many, many thoughts just like this.