Bible Study – Genesis, Chapters 1 to 3 (Part 3 of 4)

Genesis 2:1-3 tells us that, after completing his work of Creation, God rested on the seventh day, blessed it, and made it holy.  Years later, the children of Israel would be commanded to refrain from work on the seventh day in imitation of God.  If we are created in His image, is there any sense in which we stifle the image of God in ourselves when we ignore this command?  Or to put it another way:  In what way does this command enable us to more fully live in God’s image?  For further reading about the Sabbath, see Catechism Nos. 345-9.

Dear God, Sundays are important because the Sabbath was inscribed into the order of creation.  By observing the Sabbath, I am corresponding to your wisdom and your will as it is expressed in the work of creation.  I create for six days, but I should spend the seventh day in rest.  In my rest, I offer up all the work of my previous six days to you.  This would be ideal, Lord.  My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.  Please help me observe the Sabbath, my Lord.

Review the command that God gave to Adam in Genesis 2:16-17; then read the exchange between the serpent and the woman in Genesis 3:1-4.

What was the serpent trying to accomplish?

The serpent was trying to get Adam and Eve to rebel against God by making them doubt that they were already like God because they were created in his image (Gen 1:27).

What strategy did he use?

The serpent’s strategy was to make Eve doubt God’s goodness.  He asked Eve, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?”  It’s a devious question because the answer (fruits from all trees can be eaten except one) led Eve to be curious why one particular tree was forbidden.  If I was in Eve’s shoes, I would wonder, “why would God let me eat from all trees, but withhold this one tree in the garden?  What’s so special about this tree?  Is God holding out on me?  Am I missing out on something because I can’t eat the fruit from this tree?”  The serpent then proceeds to feed Eve’s doubt.

In Genesis 3:4, the serpent calls God a liar — “You will not die,” he says — and proceeds to tell the woman why it will be to her benefit to disobey God.

What are these supposed benefits?

The serpent claims that she will be like God.  Following the same train of thought, if I was Eve, I would wonder, “God is holding out on me!  God said I was created in his image, but I’m not really like God because I don’t have the knowledge of good and evil.  The serpent is right: I won’t really die because God just said that to keep me from eating it.  The real reason why God didn’t want me to eat this fruit is because he didn’t want me to become like him.  Well then… I’ll show him.  I’ll eat the fruit and be God’s equal.  I’ll be a god myself.”

Do these benefits offer Eve anything she doesn’t already have?  What do they offer?

Dear God, this is the irony… the serpent offered what we already had.  Adam and Eve were already like you because you created them, you created us, in your image.  You were not holding out on us.  You were trying to protect us.  If we had knowledge of good and evil, then we would then also define what was good and evil.  God, you are the author of creation.  So, you define what is good and what is evil.  It is as if the characters in an author’s story suddenly took control of the pen/typewriter/computer and continued writing their own story without fully knowing the whole picture.  Only the author knows the purpose of writing the story, how the story should end.  Adam and Eve, by eating the forbidden fruit, hijacked the story of creation.

God, Adam and Eve didn’t need to have knowledge of good and evil because they were in a state of grace.  They would always do good because you filled them and covered them in grace.  They were the epitome of all the virtues [link to my blog entry on the virtues], but still had the freedom to sin.  This freedom was proven by their eating of the forbidden fruit.

God, praise be to the Holy Spirit for guiding me, I see that the serpent in Genesis did not offer god-hood.  He was offering self-love.  We are already like you, God, because we are created in your image.  Nevertheless, we still are your creatures, even though we are uniquely like you.  We are characters in your story; we are not the author of the story.

What immediate effects did Adam and Eve’s disobedience have that can be seen in their behavior?  What were the consequences of their sin?

Adam and Eve became aware of sexual attraction and the kinds of evil that can be done because of sexual attraction.  So, Adam and Eve no longer had the grace to always choose good.  Sexual sin was no longer repulsive to them — it looks like it might even be fun, interesting, new… but, they still knew sexual sin was wrong.  To avoid sexual sin, they had to stop being naked in front of each other.

God, Adam was supposed to protect Eve from the tricks of the serpent.  Adam was next to Eve during her whole conversation with the serpent, but he was silent (Gen 3:6).  He just ate whatever Eve gave him.  The sin of Adam was keeping silent when he should have spoken up.  He is the head of household, but Adam left the decision-making up to Eve.  Another immediate effect of losing grace was not taking responsibility.  God first asked Adam, because he is the head, but instead of taking responsibility, he blamed Eve and implied that it was God’s fault because he gave Eve to Adam (Gen 3:12).  Eve also did not take responsibility, but blamed the serpent.

The consequences of their sin were as follows:

    • The serpent is cursed among all animals and turned into a snake.  God also makes a special prophesy about the serpent’s offspring and the woman’s (Gen 3:15).
    • The woman will feel pain during childbirth.  She will desire her husband, but he will rule over her.
    • The man is held responsible.  God tells him that he should not have listened to his wife because God told him specifically not to eat of it.  As a result, the ground is cursed and man will have to work really hard just to put food on the table.  There will always be “thorns and thistles” in man’s work; things won’t go smoothly.  Man will suffer until he dies.

God, I find it interesting that the name “Eve” was not given to the woman until after their punishment.

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