Summary: It’s easy for us to point the finger at Adam and Eve as the origin of the problem of sin, but all us fall short of God’s glory. But thanks be to God, our Lord does not abandon us in our disobedience!
Put yourself in Adam & Eve’s shoes for a moment…
God places you in the produce section of the grocery store, and says, “Today there are 436 varieties of produce available, but I don’t want you to eat the persimmons.” How hard could it be? There’s 435 other delicious and varied items to satisfy your desires.
Lemons, figs, olives, dates, mangoes, pomegranates, apricots, pluots, grapefruits…
You could eat a different fruit every day of the year, and still not get through them all. Who needs persimmons, anyway?
God places you in the middle of the Library of Congress, and says, “You can read any book in the building, but keep away from the book about the scientific analysis of moon rocks.” How hard could it be? You didn’t even know there was such a thing as the scientific analysis of moon rocks.
In the face of such a vast selection of alternatives, how could Adam and Eve get caught
with a mouthful of forbidden fruit?
We hear this familiar story, and there’s a part of us that wants to roll our eyes and say, “Duh! How dense can you two be? You’re given one rule, it seems pretty straightforward, and yet you can’t get it right!”
When else in life are you given just one rule? The next time that God gives rules to the Israelites, the list is up to ten.
Why couldn’t we live in a world with just one rule?
If only it were that simple… See the snake, say “No!” If only it were that simple.
We would be able to see the snake, identify the danger, and successfully avoid it.
We know it’s a lot more complicated than that in the real world.
In our day and age, we don’t always know the nature of the evil that we face. We live in a world where evil hides among the good, terrorists passing themselves off as innocent bystanders, or bombs strapped to children. Even on our side of the world, we are faced with situations where we want to do good, but it isn’t always clear what the best thing to do would be. God’s will isn’t always crystal clear in every situation.
One example: WWII – A battleship was responding to the distress signal of a sinking ship. When they arrived on the site, they found a raft full of survivors, with a German sub hiding below. If you’re the captain, what do you do? Do you attempt to rescue the life raft, leaving your vessel vulnerable to attack, or do you drop depth charges to sink the enemy sub, but kill those in the life raft at the same time?
Sometimes the trouble is that the temptation doesn’t come to us all at once. Rather, it comes in smaller, less-noticeable segments.
We try to prove our self-worth by throwing ourselves more and more into our work.
One drink here and there leads to a few drinks on a more regular basis, which leads to not being able to get through the day without a drink. The alcoholic doesn’t just sit down one day and decide to ruin their life. Instead, life situations slowly compound, and the effect of “just one drink” become less and less.
The drugs only work to further convince the addict that she is a helpless victim of the happenstance of life.
Sin isn’t always as simple as “God told me not to eat the forbidden fruit, but I did it anyway.”
Sin is not about a broken rule, but a broken relationship.
When Adam & Eve ate of the fruit, they were in essence telling God, “I have no need of you. I know what’s best for me! I am God of my own life.” They weren’t satisfied with all that God had given them. They wanted to be gods.
That was the tempter’s angle. “The fruit will make you wise. The fruit will put you on the same plane as God. The fruit will put you in control.”
The serpent wanted to force a wedge into the humans’ relationship with God. If they felt they knew better than God, then they wouldn’t look to God to provide for their needs.
The temptation of Adam and Eve is our temptation as well.
How often do we live our lives as though God does not exist?
How often do we live as though we can take care of ourselves, ignoring God’s wiser purpose for our lives?
Instead of listening to advice that someone else may give us, we get defensive and entrench ourselves further in to potentially destructive behaviors.
Instead of “honoring our father and mother,” how often do children disrespect their parents, and partake in unhealthy behavior, despite their parents’ advice?