Friday, April 16, 2010

Genesis 3 - The Fall of Man

Genesis 3

What it literally says - The woman is tempted by a serpent (or "the" serpent) to eat from the forbidden tree.  She does and shares the fruit with the man.  They then become ashamed of their nakedness and of their disobedience so they hide themselves with fig leaves and from God, who they hear walking through the garden.

God discovers what they've done, cursing the serpent, woman and man with harsher living.  Man and woman are then banished from the garden, which is now guarded by "cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life" (24).

What it says to me - There are a few things that sunk in more deeply today!

I had forgotten how crafty the serpent is, and it's exactly how Satan still acts.  Old Deluder's strength is persuasion in the most appealing ways, to influence, to tempt but not committing actual sins himself.  Of course what he's doing is wrong, causing someone to intentionally stumble, but slyly he always takes the indirect route by strongly suggesting the option of sinning because either we deserve it, or that what God says won't actually happen, or any number of ways to twist His Word (as evidenced sickeningly in his temptation of Jesus).  Actual demon possession aside, this is most often how "the serpent" works.  The best example here is him saying in verse 4 that she won't die from eating the fruit, or at least not immediately; death does come and Man's existence becomes limited.  The devil happens not to mention a lot of things, too, like consequences for example.

(Sidenote - The above picture, by Michelangelo, is interesting because of the serpent's shape that coils up into the form of a man, maybe Lucifer?  I've seen a couple other artistic interpretations like that.)

Oh, how many times I've blamed Adam and Eve for the troubles I've encountered, rubbing my hand through my hair and screaming "Adam!" a la Marlon Brando.  It's easy to blame them, but then I think I'm just like them!

God:  Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?
Adam:  Um ... *wide eyes, darting around* that woman you put here with me, um ... she, she, uh gave it to me, so ...
God:  Is this true, Eve?
Eve:  Yes, but ... I never would have thought about it if that (points finger with hand still gripping the fruit) serpent hadn't suggested it!  He lied to me!

It's so easy to pass the blame and I'm realizing how more I'm doing it as I grow older.  We're ultimately responsible for our own actions, no matter how strongly we may be influenced or "deceived."  Isn't it interesting, too, that even though God questions them He probably already knew what had happened?  Why does He still ask them?  God always allows the choice to obey or not, to confess or not; He isn't surprised by or unaware of anything.  It's our sinful and choose-able nature that bites us in the butt a lot, I think, not always "the serpent" (but I'm sure he loves it when we stumble).

We also have the earliest mention of Jesus in Scripture!  Verse15b, God to the serpent:  "he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."  I think I heard somewhere at sometime that this was a reference to Jesus, one of those double-meaning poetic writings.

Verse 21 seemed to have been written for the first time this morning because I don't remember it!  Before Adam and Eve leave the garden, God "made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them."  God makes them clothes!  He's caring and just, knowing our needs in every situation, even in ones He never wanted us in.  Man had to be banished, but God didn't stay hanging out in Eden to leave him wandering alone.  He's everywhere.

I never really thought about God's love and care in these first three chapters as much as I have this week.  Usually I read them as historical or mythological stories, but you can still find God's personality amidst the dramatic shift from Man's being in paradise to struggling for it.

Also, if we want to find the Garden of Eden, all we need to look for is cherubim and a flaming sword (24) ... shouldn't be too hard to miss ...

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