The First Sin
1 The snake was sneakier than any of the other wild animals that the Lord God had made. One day it came to the woman and asked, “Did God tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?”
2The woman answered, “God said we could eat fruit from any tree in the garden, 3except the one in the middle. He told us not to eat fruit from that tree or even to touch it. If we do, we will die.”
4“No, you won't!” the snake replied. 5“God understands what will happen on the day you eat fruit from that tree. You will see what you have done, and you will know the difference between right and wrong, just as God does.”
6The woman stared at the fruit. It looked beautiful and tasty. She wanted the wisdom that it would give her, and she ate some of the fruit. Her husband was there with her, so she gave some to him, and he ate it too. 7At once they saw what they had done, and they realized they were naked. Then they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
8Late in the afternoon, when the breeze began to blow, the man and woman heard the Lord God walking in the garden. So they hid behind some trees.
Sin Brings a Curse
9The Lord God called out to the man and asked, “Where are you?”
10The man answered, “I was naked, and when I heard you walking through the garden, I was frightened and hid!”
11“How did you know you were naked?” God asked. “Did you eat any fruit from that tree in the middle of the garden?”
12“It was the woman you put here with me,” the man said. “She gave me some of the fruit, and I ate it.”
13 The Lord God then asked the woman, “What have you done?”
“The snake tricked me,” she answered, “and I ate some of that fruit.”
14So the Lord God said to the snake:
“Because of what you have done,
you will be the only animal
to suffer this curse—
For as long as you live,
you will crawl on your stomach
and eat dirt.
15 You and this woman
will hate each other;
your descendants and hers
will always be enemies.
One of hers will strike you
on the head,
and you will strike him
on the heel.”
16Then the Lord God said to the woman,
“You will suffer terribly
when you give birth.
But you will still desire
and he will rule over you.”
17 The Lord said to the man,
“You listened to your wife
and ate the fruit
I told you not to eat.
And so, the ground
will be under a curse
because of what you did.
As long as you live,
you will have to struggle
to grow enough food.
18Your food will be plants,
but the ground will produce
thorns and thistles.
19You will sweat all your life
to earn a living;
you were made out of soil,
and you will once again
turn into soil.”
20The man Adam named his wife Eve because she would become the mother of all who live.
21Then the Lord God made clothes out of animal skins for the man and his wife.
22 The Lord said, “They now know the difference between right and wrong, just as we do. But they must not be allowed to eat fruit from the tree that lets them live forever.” 23So the Lord God sent them out of the Garden of Eden, where they would have to work the ground from which the man had been made. 24Then God put winged creatures at the entrance to the garden and a flaming, flashing sword to guard the way to the life-giving tree.
When reading theStory yesterday, I asked you to take a moment and savour it. I hope you did because in the vast canon of scripture from Genesis to Revelation, it is only in these two readings that the story exists free from blemish. Genesis 1 concludes with “… it was very good” (v 31). Genesis 2 wraps up with “… they felt no shame” (v 25).
Today’s reading presents a tipping point in our brief history. So far God has appeared as creator of existence and all that is: light, matter, living plants and animals. Then he crowns creation with a creature fashioned in his own image: Man, both male and female, is made in the very image of God and he says, “It’s all good!”
Then things go badly wrong. Satan, posing as a serpent, continues his rebellion against God by tempting the woman, and by extension the man, to sin. He beguiles them to go against what God has commanded with the deceptive lie, “… that you will be like God…” (v 5). And who wouldn’t want that?
God created them to be with him in a love relationship by choice. He comes seeking them to walk with in the cool of the day, to enjoy them as he had created them to be. Now, by giving into the temptation to “be like God” (v 5) by which Satan means “be God”, they have lost their innocence. The splendour they bore as image bearers they now seek to hide as nakedness and shame. The quandary to consider is this: ultimately it is only through obedience that we glorify God, and I wonder if that is the purpose and meaning of all of creation.
Father, God of all, we hide from you in shame, yet you seek us out relentlessly. Forgive me, restore me and enable me to serve you in all that I do, through the power of Jesus and for the glory of your Name. Amen
James works as a visual artist. His current body of work is a series of metal wire sculptures called Prayer Machines which are whimsically ambiguous machine-like objects that give expression to mystery. “I love to share the gospel message, using art as a bridge, to encourage people in their relationship with Jesus.” He and Lynn have four young adult children. Publications Jim’s Grandiose Big Bible Picture Book (Bastian Books ,2007)