Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Fall of Man (Gen.3).

From Genesis 2 we learn that God had created a beautiful garden for mankind to take care of and live in God’s presence. Man, as God’s image, was to expand God’s reign throughout the earth by doing ‘God’s will on the earth’. He was to work the garden, fill the earth with God’s images, and create a ‘God-glorifying’ world. This brings us to the 'Story of the fall of man' from Genesis 3. Watch the video or listen to the story and then read the comments below.
The mysterious serpent was the craftiest animal and surprisingly able to speak. The serpent also knew the terms of God’s relationship with His image. The serpent challenged the woman regarding God’s prohibition not to eat from the ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ (Gen.2:17). The serpent questions God’s good intention and made it seem laughable that God would prevent them from eating from any tree in the garden. This got Eve to focus on what God had forbidden rather than on all the privileges and responsibilities God gave them (3:1-3).

The serpent engaged the woman in a conversation about how God was withholding good from them. Eve said that they would die if they ate from the tree, but the serpent said they wouldn’t die. The serpent claimed God was restricting them because God knew that if they ate from the tree they would be like God; knowing good and evil. So the serpent accused God of deliberately withholding good from them.  

Eve entertained the serpent’s accusation against God, and saw the fruit of the tree as desirable source of wisdom apart from God and God’s word. She took the fruit and ate and gave some to her husband who was with her. Adam was right there but he remained silent as Eve discussed the serpent’s accusations about God. Eve ignored God’s prohibition and she ate and Adam took some of the fruit from her and ate himself. Adam failed to protect Eve from the serpent’s deception and so together the tested Eve’s hypothesis that the fruit of the tree was good for acquiring wisdom and they went against God’s word (3:4-6).

Their eyes were opened to their nakedness so they covered themselves and hid in the trees when they heard God. God comes looking for Adam and while God knew what had happened he was giving Adam opportunity to confess what he had done. But Adam only acknowledged that he was afraid so he hid from God. God said, “Have you eaten from the tree I told you not to eat?” Again God’s not asking for information but is giving Adam opportunity to acknowledge his guilt. Yet, Adam blames the woman and God by saying that he ate because of the woman God had given Adam gave him the fruit. Adam justified his role claiming that it was the woman given him by God who was to blame for the incident (3:7, 10-12).

Now God seeks out Eve to give her the opportunity to confess. But Eve also justifies her actions by shifting blame to the serpent that deceived her and by implication God who let it happen. God simply curses the serpent to crawl on his belly and eat dust. The serpent successfully brought down man, but God promises that a man, a seed of the woman, will come who will crush the serpent. As God pronounces judgment he also announces that a ‘saving hero’ will crush the serpents head and God will initiate an enmity towards the serpent in the hearts of some of the woman’s seed. The coming hero will receive a strike at his heels but he will deliver a fatal blow to the serpent’s head (3:13-15).

God tells the woman that her pain in childbearing would increase and that she will desire her husband who would rule over her. Eve would play a vital role in filling God’s world with God’s images but now she would experience relational conflict and increased pain in childbirth. Because Adam stood by and listened to his wife and the serpent question God’s word and then ate the forbidden fruit, God ‘cursed’ the ground.  The ground will produce food for Adam but ‘thorns and thistles’ also. They will eat food but through painful toil and the sweat of man’s brow until he returns to the ground because man is dust and to dust he shall return (3:16-19).

The Lord clothed them with garments of skin and drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. He placed an angel with a flaming sword east of the Garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of life. As punishment they were expelled from the special place where God dwelt with and spoke with His ‘royal representatives’. Then God placed an angel with a flaming sword east of the Garden of Eden to guard them from the fruit from the tree of life (3:21-24). In their fallen state, apart from God, they would have to wait for someone, namely Jesus, to come and crush the serpent and restore access to the tree of life (Gen.3:15, Rev.22:2, 19). 

No comments: