The serpent said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’.?” (Genesis 3:1) Of “any tree in the garden.” Really? What is the serpent doing here? What is the serpent’s goal? God had said, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden except for one. Except for that one. The one in the middle – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”The reality of what God had said and the serpent’s distortion of it are as different as night and day. In reality we have a generous God freely offering the abundance of his creation to us; in the serpent’s words we have a sadistic god dangling his fruit in our face while greedily hoarding the goods to himself. What is the serpent doing; He is destroying Eve’s faith in her creator. He is portraying her maker as callous, unkind, unreasonable. And he succeeded.
“You will not die” said the serpent. “For God knows that when you eat of it you will become like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:4-7
It wasn’t a difficult decision – not really. I mean, “she saw the fruit was good.” She saw the benefits. Why wouldn’t God want her to know good and evil? Will God really miss just one piece of fruit in a whole garden? I mean, God isn’t going to eat it anyway, is he?
What kind of decision was this that Adam and Eve made in the Garden? The command was so clear. God’s goodness so manifest. His abundance so evident. What sort of people would make this sort of decision?
You would. In fact you do each and every time you transgress God’s Word. Yeah we throw excuses up. “Did God really say that.” “Does this really apply.” “Isn’t that a little ridiculous.” You see the effects of the serpent’s work are still in play in our world. God’s Word and our reason are not always harmonious. Why? Because the words spoken by the serpent sunk deep down in Adam and Eve’s hearts and it poisoned their image of God. It destroyed their trust in Him. And we, born into their family, have inherited the same distrust and disregard for our God. We, born into their family, have inherited the same proclivity to trust in our own reason and to do things our own way.
You see we don’t sin just because some little dude in a red jumper suit eggs us on; we sin because ultimately we trust in ourselves and in our own reason more than we trust the God who created us.
That is why we need Christ. That is why God did not leave Adam and Eve to vanquish the serpent themselves (because God knew they would continue to listen to him rather than do so anyway) but rather promised that one day the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent.This day began when Jesus Christ became incarnate through the virgin Mary – when He entered our world as the seed of the woman. For in Jesus Christ God has vanquished the serpent, our ancient foe. In Jesus Christ God has entered into our sinful, rebellious family and brought us back to God. In Jesus Christ you are no longer the sinful man, women or child you know yourself to be, but rather the Holy, Redeemed, Child He has created you to be. Did God really say that? Yep, and He told us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, He (or she) is a new creation. The old has gone, the new is come.”
Thanks Luke. I have heard a lot of people apply the “Did God really say?” phrase to certain sins that others are committing. Those uses may be right, but you applied it to me, to all your readers. Nice use of Law and Gospel.