"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" – John 3:16
Reading from the ESV bible
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
The book of Genesis is fundamental to the understanding of the rest of the bible. It was believed to be compiled/written by Moses. Genesis speaks of the beginnings of the heavens and the earth, of light and darkness, of seas and skies, of land and vegetation, of sun and moon and stars, of sea and air and land animals, of human beings, of sin and redemption, of blessing and cursing, of society and civilisation, of marriage and family, of art and craft and industry. The list could go on and on. The first two chapters in Genesis have depicted God’s perfect creation. The Fall starts from chapter three with the first sin being committed by Adam and Eve.
1. The serpent appeared in verse 1 is a symbol of antigod, the adversary of God and humanity called the Satan. He tried to make Adam and Eve doubt God’s sincerity by asking a question emphasizing God’s prohibition, not God’s provision: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”. He subtly changed God’s words to distort the truth making God appear harsh and restrictive.
2,3. Eve started to fall into the trap of the serpent and exaggerated what God said in her reply by adding further prohibition ‘Do not touch’ to God’s original command ‘Do not eat’: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” .
4. The serpent then tried to remove her fears by contradicting God’s word and providing her assurance “You will not surely die“.
5. He continued his temptation by telling them that they will be like God, ‘knowing good and evil‘ when they eat of the forbidden tree. ‘Knowing good and evil‘ in this context could be understood as taking God’s place in deciding what is good and evil.
6. Eve decided to eat the fruit from the tree. The justifications she had are 1) it is good food, 2) it is a delight to the eyes, and 3) it can make one wise. She gave priority to pragmatic values, aesthetic appearance, and sensual desires over God’s words.
Adam was with Eve in the garden. He also ate the fruit as Eve gave some to him. Adam didn’t say anything and took a passive role in this passage. But the fact that he ate the fruit shows that he either agreed with Eve’s reasoning, or chose to obey Eve rather than God’s words. He failed to lead his wife to godliness and hence failed in his role as a husband.
7. Their eyes were opened as a result of eating the fruit. Ironically their opened eyes brought them shame and guilt. Nakedness symbolises the feeling of being defenseless, weak, or humiliated. With the awareness of their sin, they were filled with guilt and shame in their nakedness. They covered themselves in fig leaves and later in verse 8 they hid themselves from the presence of God among trees. Being clothed by fig leaves symbolises the alienation from each other, while hiding among the trees shows the separation from God. The relationships with God and with each other have been broken. Adam and Eve experienced spiritual death as a result of their sin.
Similar to what Adam and Eve did in this passage, we often doubt God’s character. A simple example is when things don’t go smoothly in life as we want, we question ‘Why does bad things happen to me? Does God really love me? Is he really faithful?’. We also often take God’s place by trying to take control of our lives, and prioritising other values above God’s words. We sin in our thoughts, our words and our actions.
I highly doubt that there would be anyone in this world, except for Jesus, who has lived a perfect life. Before becoming a Christian, I used to be proud of myself being a ‘good’ person as I followed the laws, I obeyed my parents, I was nice to other people, I gave money to the needy, I studied well and my teacher loved me etc. But there were still dark corners in my heart, when I hurt others unintentionally with my words, when I had negative thoughts about others, or even when I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. In fact being proud of myself is a sin itself. Now when I have become a Christian, I struggle even more with my sins as I have become aware of them and my desire for changing has become stronger. Even though I may have changed for the better, I do sin again and again.
I would have become so depressed about myself if I hadn’t heard of the good news. Fortunately God knows us so well that he has a great plan for us from the beginning. He knows we can’t do it right ourselves and we will keep failing. So he decides to do it himself and do it for us. He sent his only son Jesus Christ to take the punishment for our sins through his death on the cross so that we can become righteous in his sight and have relationships with him again. Therefore we can live without the burden of our sins. Moreover, by having faith in Jesus, we have become the temple for God’s dwelling – the Holy Spirit lives in us and helps us become more and more holy like Jesus each day.