Summary: So often we ask the question WHY? Why is the world the way it is. Why does bad stuff happen, and happen to me? Genesis 3 is God’s answer to that question.
There are many questions we could ask. Such as... When you go to a cinema to watch a film, which arm rest is yours? And why do the ‘Alphabet Song’ and ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ have the same tune?’ And why is it that if you blow on a dog’s face he goes crazy, but if you take him for a drive in a car he wants to stick his head out the window? And why isn’t the number 11 pronounced onety one?
But there are bigger more serious questions, aren’t there. Why, if God made everything so good Genesis 1-2), is the world in such a mess now? Wars, disease, hardship, heartache, death, poverty, plane crashes, financial crises... And we may ask more pertinently, why is my life often painful and difficult? Genesis chapter 3 is God’s answer to these questions. It will take us from our question why, to two other questions – to the serpent’s question, and then to God’s.
You see, here in chapter 3 we have the first 2 questions in the Bible...
1. Verse 1: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’ ?”
Did God really say...? The serpent, in other words Satan, is doing 3 things that he always does, even today.
First he’s trying to get Eve confused about what God has said. The fact was, we see in 2:17 that Eve wasn’t there when God told Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam must have told Eve what God had said. But the devil is trying to confuse Eve by asking her if God had really prohibited ALL eating from trees in the garden. God of course had only said that the tree of knowledge of good and evil was out of bounds. But the serpent is twisting God’s words.
That’s very similar to what we see Satan do when he’s tempting Jesus in the desert. He says to Jesus, jump off the temple because God says in the Bible that the angels will stop you from being hurt (Mt4). That was a twisting of the Word of God. And Jesus knew it. And here, too, the serpent is trying to confuse Eve.
And he’ll try to confuse us, too. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when people are more confused about what God has said or hasn’t said.
Second, the serpent tries to get Eve to doubt what God has said. “You will not surely die”, he says. In other words, God is accused of lying, when actually it is the serpent who is lying though his teeth. Jesus would later call Satan “a liar and the father of lies”. (Jn8) And he’ll try to get you and me to doubt the truth of God’s Word, too.
Third, the serpent highlights the “pleasures” of not obeying God. He tells Eve, your eyes will be opened! You’ll be like God knowing good and evil! He’s showing Eve just half the story. And he does the same with you and me...
- The devil will show you the pleasures of illicit sex or pornography, but not the results of HIV/AIDS or broken hearts and families.
- The devil will show you the pleasures of a life spent pursuing money, but not the results of greed and debt and worry.
- The devil will show you the desirability of being independent and having whatever you want, of being your own God. But he won’t show you the results of that choice. He won’t show an eternity shut out from the presence of God.
He’ll try to confuse you about what God had said.
He’ll lie to you about what God has said.
And he’ll show you the “pleasures” of not obeying God.
So Eve makes a choice to listen to the serpent instead of to God. And let’s be clear about that. It wasn’t all the serpent’s fault. The Bible tells us that God won’t let anyone be tempted beyond what they can bear and will also provide a way out so that you can stand up to the temptation. (1 Corinthians 10:13). It’s not all the devil’s fault. It’s Adam and Eve’s choice.
So they eat, and...
V7, There is shame
V8, There is fear; they hide from God.
V12, There is a breakdown in their relationship. They started blaming each other.
Adam: It was the woman’s fault – the woman YOU God, put here with me!
Eve: it was the snakes fault...
V16, There would be painful childbirth.
V17, There would be backbreaking work.
V19, There would be death.
V23, They would be banished from the garden and God’s immediate presence.
Sin - the choice to be our own god - makes things go wrong.