This might sound like an overstatement, but I promise it’s not: Chapter 3 of Genesis changes the entire trajectory of the human race.
It’s that important.
Because of chapter 3, we have the rest of the Bible.
Because of chapter 3, we get to see how we got to where we are today.
Chapter 3 has implications not only for the time period in which it was written, but for the rest of humanity.
Don’t believe me? Follow along.
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’?”
This is what Satan does. He brings doubt. Now, doubt isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it can be a very useful mechanism through which we ask questions and grow in our faith. But what Satan does here is turn a positive into a negative.
What God said was “You can eat of any tree in the garden; except for this one.” Then, what Satan does is say, “Did he really say not to eat of every tree?” He manipulates the situation.
Let’s continue on to verse 2.
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.”
This is what Satan wanted himself to begin with: to be like God. Now, he’s trying to manipulate Eve and use her as his pawn, as if to say, “Let’s be like God.”
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.
Note the way that Eve is tempted. It’s the exact same way that Jesus is tempted by Satan in Luke 4:3-13 when he’s done fasting for 40 days and 40 nights. Eve saw that it was good to eat, so she had lust of the eye. She had greed. She wanted to be wise. She wanted to be like God.
The difference between Adam and Eve’s temptation and Christ’s temptation is that Jesus lived a perfect life and died for us to cover for the mistakes of Adam and Eve, and us.
Let’s continue on.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”
17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
What have we learned from these first 19 verses? Sin destroys us. Adam and Even knew about evil, but they had never experienced it before. Once they experienced it, they became sinful beings, because they had a choice and they chose wrong.
Satan got them to focus on what was right in front of them, almost like an “impulse buy.” You ever finish your grocery shopping, then you’re standing in line and a pack of gum and an air freshener catch your eye at the last second? This is what Satan did. He distracted them, so their focus would be drawn to what was right in front of them, as if to say, “Surely you won’t die—right now.”
Isn’t that the same way it works with us? “A little bit of this won’t hurt me.” We tell ourselves this impulsive decision won’t impact anything but the present. But what we have to understand is that temporary satisfaction has eternal consequences.
You might think that sin isn’t affecting anyone or anything in your life right now. But I guarantee, sooner or later, it’s going to crush you and those you love.
That’s why if there’s sin in our lives, we have to take care of it. Because sin always leads to death and destruction.
As a Church, we tend to talk about certain sins all of the time, and other sins not at all. That way, we can make ourselves feel good and make everyone else feel bad.
But it’s important that we not lose sight of the fact that sin affects every single one of us, and until we get serious about it, it’s going to keep eating away at us.
Sin always leads to guilt and shame. We might block it out for awhile, but when we lay our heads down at the end of the day and we close our eyes, there’s always that little, unsettling voice: “Man, I really screwed it up today.”
The more trudge along in sin, the quieter the Holy Spirit gets. Sin escalates quickly, and before we know it, we’ve paid a penalty, and we can’t afford it.
Luckily, there’s more to Genesis 3.
20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.Here’s why those four verses matter: God gives grace and mercy. And we can see it here with Adam and Eve. Once Adam and Eve sinned, they realized they were naked before God. Before there was no guilt and shame, and then there was.
But to Adam and Eve, he showed mercy, by making them clothing. And he shows mercy and grace, by removing the Tree of Life.
Death was never part of the plan. And we can never grasp it, and we can never accept it. Death hurts us, because it’s not natural. Death was introduced after “The Fall.” God removed the Tree of Life so that we wouldn’t go on living our lives eternally separated from him.
In Romans 8:28, we learn that for those who love God, all things work together for good. Sometimes, God makes us stop so we can get to the root of the issue and deal with our sin, so that we won’t be separated from Him and His love.
Just because we accept Christ into our hearts, that doesn’t mean we’re safe from sin. We need to continually turn from sin and repent toward an all-knowing, all-loving God. God clothes us in the righteousness of Christ the same way he clothed Adam and Eve, so that we can have a real relationship with Him and feel no shame.
God is love, in that he showed us mercy and grace. What we need to ask ourselves is, are we trusting in the love of God?
Are we “impulse buying” or are long-term planning?