Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 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.’ ”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 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. 7 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.
8 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. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursedis the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. (Genesis 3:1-20)
Today we’re going way back to the beginning. Everything in the Bible hinges on God creating the world. Remember how he did it? On Day 1, God created … light! And God saw that the light was … good! On Day 2, God created … the sky! On Day 3, God created … dry land and plants. And God saw that it was … good! On Day 4, God created … the sun, moon, and stars. And God saw that it was … good! Starting to see a pattern? On Day 5, God created … birds and fish. And God saw that it was … good! On Day 6, God created … animals and people. And God saw all that he had made, and it was … not just good … very good! Downright perfect! A perfect world.
Is that what you see around you today? Do you look around and nod your head and say, “Very good! Downright perfect!” No. We live in a world in which people go to work and kill their coworkers. We live in a world where deadly viruses spread uncontrollably around the world. We live in a world where men abuse and mistreat women and children. Very good? No! Very bad!
So what happened? Today we have one of the foundational stories of the Bible. In fact, you can’t understand anything the Bible says—or anything you see in the world—unless you understand Genesis 3. It all started with a snake. Our perfect God has a horrible enemy: Satan. Satan—the devil—was once a beautiful angel, but he didn’t want to be just an angel. He wanted to be God. So he rebelled against God, and God cast him out of heaven. Satan was mad! He wanted to hurt God. He decided the best way to hurt God would be to hurt God’s people—Adam and Eve.
So the devil disguised himself as a snake and whispered to Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” Remember this: If a snake ever starts talking to you, get away as fast as you can! But remember this more: The devil is an expert at twisting God’s words. He twists God’s Word to make God seem unfair, even unbearable. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ What kind of God is that?” Satan’s still at it today. “Did God really say you can’t ever have sex? Did God really say money is an evil thing? What kind of God is that? Overbearing. Out of touch. Did God really say?” How can you answer that?
Eve knew: Use God’s Word! She responded by confidently repeating what God had really said. “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.’” How did Eve do? Great! She didn’t sin. She fought off the devil’s temptation by repeating God’s Word. Isn’t this what we want? We want to know God’s Word! The truth from God is what sets us free.
But here’s the problem: Does the devil just tempt us one time and then give up? No way! He’s persistent. He kept right on tempting. “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” As good as he is at twisting God’s Word, the devil is also an expert at making sin look good and God look bad. Imagine his slithery voice: “Does God really love you? If he does, why won’t he let you eat this juicy fruit? Poor you. God must not want you to be happy!” Ahhh! You hear that lie, don’t you? That whisper: “Does God really love you?” Eve started to wonder. Suddenly, she didn’t know.
And sin looked so good. “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.” In minutes, she went from faithfully repeating God’s words, “You must not eat fruit from the tree…”, to taking a big juicy bite. And where was Adam? He was right there with her. He sinned too. They chose fruit over God. What were they thinking? Well, what were you thinking? Doesn’t this same sad story play out every day in our lives? When the devil starts whispering, how well do you do? Sin looks so good.
But it always disappoints. Suddenly, everything changed. Here’s the first thing they noticed: “The eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked.” Something entered the world the moment Adam and Eve sinned: Shame. Shame. You know the feeling? They wanted to cover up, but it only got worse. Soon they heard God calling for them. I bet that used to be their favorite sound! Not anymore. “They hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” Suddenly, we can recognize their world. Shame. Hiding. Looks familiar, doesn’t it?
Except, does it work to hide from God? No way! God sees everything. Yet, God is incredibly patient. Like a parent who knows where their 3-year-old is hiding, because he can see his feet sticking out from under the chair, God gently called, “Where are you?” How’d Adam respond? “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” What a big, fat excuse! Actually, Adam flat out lied. Can you see a painful progression when people sin? First shame. Then hiding. Then excusing and lying. If you were God, how long before you exploded?
God saw right through the excuses. He always does. He gets right to the heart of the matter. “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” God gave Adam a chance to repent. So Adam said, “You’re right, God. I’m so sorry for what I did.” No, he didn’t! Instead, he said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” It’s good men never blame women today, right? Wrong! No one wants to accept responsibility. Eve wasn’t any better. She said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” All it took was a couple hours for the fingers to start pointing, the excuses to start flying, the sins to start multiplying.
This is our world, isn’t it? If you want to know why our world is the way it is, here it is. It’s sin. You and I sin. In fact, the more sinful Adam and Eve became, the more they look like us. Shame. Fear. Hiding. Lying. Blaming. Repeat. Shame. Fear. Hiding. Lying. Blaming. What happened to Adam and Eve has been repeated over and over again from generation to generation. We fall to temptation, sin again and again, and wreck God’s perfect world. Can you imagine the pain that fills God’s heart? We his people haven’t just broken one rule. We have broken God’s heart!
But part of us still wants to say, “It’s okay. Everybody sins. It’s not that bad.” That’s another one of Satan’s lies. Sin isn’t okay. Sin has consequences. God spelled them out. First for the snake. “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” Ever wondered why you hate snakes? Here’s why. There were consequences for snakes because of their role in the first sin. Snakes crawl in the dust and are hated more than any other animal. It’s true, isn’t it?
Then God turned to the woman. She was going to experience consequences from sin too. “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.” Pain in childbirth… Does it really hurt? Yes! If there were no sin, there’d be no pain. I wonder, though, if the other consequence of sin for women isn’t even more painful. “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Because of sin, there is pain in relationships, especially with men. Women seek relationships with men. You look for a husband. That’s good! But we men aren’t good anymore. We aren’t the selfless leaders God intended. Instead, we rule. That hurts.
Finally, God turned to Adam. “Cursed is the ground because of you…. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Work was going to be hard. “By the sweat of your brow…” True? Don’t be surprised. Work is hard. Until you die. “For dust you are and to dust you will return.” Adam was made from dust. Adam would return to dust. We see it all the time. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Adam, you, me—we’re going to die. The end!
At least that should be the end. But here’s the best part—look at verse 20: “Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.” Out of all that God had said—the convicting, the consequences, the death—what did Adam remember? The part we skipped over. Did you catch it? God said to the devil, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” From Eve was going to come life. Life in the midst of sin. Life in the midst of death. One of Eve’s descendants was going to crush the devil’s head. In an amazing display of faith on the worst day of his life, Adam caught on. He named his wife Eve—“Life,” because from her would come life.
You and I are blessed to see the end of the story. Who was that “Snake-Crusher”? Jesus! Jesus—the great, great, great, great… grandson of Eve—came to do all that we’ve failed to do. Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are, but he never sinned. Didn’t Jesus’ temptation in the desert sound like the devil tempting Adam and Eve? The devil twisted God’s Word. He made sin look good. “All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9). But did Jesus give in? No way! He answered every temptation with God’s Word. “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’” (Matthew 4:10).
Jesus came to do what we’ve failed to do, and then he died in our place to pay for everything we’ve done. That’s an interesting way to crush a snake, isn’t it? Jesus let himself be bit and crucified. He suffered every punishment for every sin, and then he rose from the dead to destroy death and the power of the devil. We heard, “Just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:18-19). Jesus gives us his righteousness and takes away our sin. It isn’t enough to understand where sin comes from. God wants you to understand where sin goes. God wants you to know where hope and life and forgiveness is found. In the Snake-Crusher. In Jesus!
In the midst of sin, there is forgiveness. In the midst of death, there is life. Because our God isn’t overbearing or out of touch. God is gracious and compassionate. Don’t let shame cloud your life. Don’t let fear silence God’s voice. You don’t have to hide from God. Or lie. Or blame others. Go to Jesus. He came to save you. He came to forgive you. When that snake tries talking to you, tell him to go back to where he came from. You’re with the Snake-Crusher. Your Savior Jesus.