Immediately after creation, mankind’s relationships were in perfect harmony, both with each other and with God. There was no fear and nothing to hide because there was openness and purity in these relationships. God never disappoints us when we rely on him to satisfy our needs.
Sadly, this never stops us from wanting more. Even when all of our needs met, we still hear a voice that tells us its not enough. This voice can heighten our insecurities or inflame our pride, but it slowly causes us to doubt God’s ability to provide for us. Once this doubt enters our minds we become vulnerable to temptation. This strategy is apparent in the discourse between Eve and the serpent.
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The serpent used half-truths and lies to create doubt surrounding God’s motives. Next, he exploited her insecurities to create a desire for more knowledge. Finally, he encouraged her selfish ambitions by telling her she would be like God. Satan continues to use the same tactics on us today. Tempted by our own desires, the forbidden becomes more and more attractive. Hearts filled with coveting easily succumb to temptation.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Like Eve, some of us are led astray by pride and ambition. We desire knowledge and power that is not ours to possess. Others, like Adam, are led astray by the lure of pleasure and human acceptance. When we face temptation we are presented with a choice: please God or please ourselves. Love of God is exhibited through obedience, while love of self is evident in disobedience. Adam and Eve wanted to enhance what God provided for them. They wanted to take control and determine their own needs. But it was all a lie, and it cost them everything. Disobeying God only leads to brokenness.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.Genesis 3:7-8
The innocence and peace that Adam and Eve had once enjoyed was lost forever. Instead it was replaced guilt, shame, and fear. They had voluntarily given up their harmonious relationship with God. Realizing this, they instead felt the fear of God, knowing that they deserved His wrath for their disobedience.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”Genesis 3:8-10
Human nature remains the same across time. When we’re afraid we want to hide, but there is no where we can hide from God. When we’ve been caught, our next impulse is to minimize our guilt by blaming someone else.
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”Genesis 3:11-13
But regardless of our excuses or external pressures, God still holds us accountable for our choices. God executes perfect judgement, and consequences always follow. God cursed the serpent because his actions revealed his pre-medicated malice toward mankind (Genesis 3:14-15). God did not curse Adam and Eve, but mankind was forever changed. In this one act of rebellion, they had thrown away their lives of peace and protection. Now their roles, which were once easy and natural for them, would be painful and difficult (Genesis 3:16-19). Sin affected the relationship between man and woman and between mankind and God, building walls of distrust and doubt.
Their act of rebellion had also changed their hearts. The trust was broken. From that point forward, the human heart would be inclined toward sin and selfishness. A path that ultimately leads to death. In fact, the first death occurs when God provides animal skins to cover their bodies. As sin and death have entered the world, it is clear that man cannot live forever.
And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.Genesis 3:22-23
What can we take away from this? First, we must acknowledge out selfish sinful natures. Following God no longer comes naturally. Obedience to God requires a concerted effort to resist our sinful impulses. Where did Adam and Eve go wrong? They took God’s goodness for granted, expecting that they would continue in his favor. A lack of gratitude is the first step toward discontentment. As we begin to feel entitled to God’s blessings, discontentment grows when we aren’t given all we desire. Discontentment causes us to covet what others have, and coveting leads to sin. However, when we look at our lives with eyes of gratitude, our perspective completely changes. Even during our hardest times, God has always been and will always be the provider of our needs. In the midst of every storm in life, there are always blessings we should remember with gratitude and thanksgiving. When we count these blessings we see that we have been given more than we realize, namely the gift of salvation. When we focus on God’s goodness, the desires of the world pale by comparison. I am tired of the world telling me what I need to be happy; all I really need is God.