Summary: This is our second study in this series. God describes our problem, how we got there and what it does to us. Once we begin to understand the problem and how devastating it is, perhaps we will begin to appreciate the solution.
We came from God. We were made to be like God. (As we studied last week).
So, what is the problem?
Genesis, again, holds the answer. Chapter 3 tells the story. Everything God made was good, very good. But then things change. There was this tree and this serpent. God had put Adam and Eve in a perfect place, a garden called Eden, where they could eat from any tree except one, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God said to Adam, “Do not eat from it, because in the day you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Adam and Eve are in the garden and the serpent comes along and a strange conversation ensues. He speaks to the woman. Did God say you shall not eat from any tree in the garden? Amazingly, Eve actually answers him. "We can eat from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ’You shall not eat from the tree that is in the midst of the garden, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’" Then the serpent replies, “You will not die. God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Don’t you wish Adam had jumped into action and said, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”? But no! He just stood there and watched as Eve took the bait.
Let’s sum up... God has spoken: Do not eat of the tree or you will die. The Serpent has spoken: Eat from the tree and you will not die but become like God. Now they have two messages, one from God and the other from the serpent. Who will they listen to? God who made them? Or this strange serpent who seems to know so much, and accuses God of lying and withholding something from them?
Do you hear voices that are contrary to God’s Word? I’m not talking about a mental disorder, I’m talking about influences that would invite you and entice you to taste forbidden fruit... Watch out! Who you look to for information and who you listen to for guidance determines more about your condition that you may realize.
But back to Genesis 3. We have an advantage here, don’t we? We get to be the audience of this event and overhear the conversations and actions. We already know this story. In fact, this story is so familiar that we can almost recite the words. But, strangely enough, when the tempter pulls it on us, for some reason we can tend to forget.
The serpent’s offer is that they will become like God if they eat. The truth is, they are already like God! He made them to be like him! They can’t become more like God by disobeying God! That’s twisted! Besides, if God is so bad that he lies and withholds good things from them, why do they want to be like him?
But, here comes the real point: The fruit looks good! And when I look to lust after the fruit, my heart becomes clouded and I lose that good judgment I have when I’m the audience watching Adam and Eve do the same thing. There’s a sparkle of delight in that fruit, one that blinds me from the light of truth. So, Eve stops thinking about God’s warning and starts thinking about her own wanting, her desire, her yearning for this new forbidden wisdom. Suddenly she decides. She reaches out for it. Was her heart beating faster? Was there excitement of anticipation in her hands? Was she nervous? She took the fruit, ate it, and gave to Adam who was with her, and he ate. And in that moment, the human family fell into sin and separation from God. Their eyes were opened, not in God’s likeness, but in shame and nakedness, fear and sin that would lead to death.
James describes this scene for us. James 1:13-17.
Sin separates us from God. Sin distorts and destroys God’s likeness in us. Listen to what happens next. They see their nakedness and try to cover themselves. Then they hear the sound of God coming… oh no! Not God! Hide! Hide from God! Run to the trees. Get away from his presence! Why? Sin separates us from God. It makes us hide from him.
But it does even more terrible things to us. Listen. Adam and Eve run from God and hide, but God calls to them: Where are you? Adam answers, I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked so I hid myself. God replies, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I told you not to eat?
Now. Freeze frame! Here’s Adam’s chance. God’s questions are clearly for Adam’s sake. Will Adam bow, broken and repentant before God? Will he confess his sin and seek God’s forgiveness? No. What if Adam had said, “Lord, I disobeyed you, I ate the fruit, and I didn’t protect the woman you gave me, please forgive us.” What do you suppose God would have done in that case? We will never know, will we.