“but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen 2:17 NKJ)
To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, `You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. (Gen 3:16-21 NKJ)
Most of our understanding of Genesis comes from the interpretation by Augustine in the fifth century and by John Calvin in the sixteenth century, and we have some of the Greek philosophy of Plato, Augustine was a disciple of Plato before his conversion, and Calvin introduces his thoughts on election and predestination. This week we’re going to read the story afresh as though we had never read it before.
So Adam and his wife were told by God that if they were to eat of the fruit of the tree, they would die. The Hebrew text does talk about spiritual death; it refers to the penalty for disobedience. It shouldn’t have been a problem since that had everything they could have wanted. Everything was in perfect harmony. However, as soon as they eat the fruit there is a cataclysmic change that takes place.
1. They are naked and ashamed—the natural reaction to guilt.
2. They hid from God—they knew they had wronged God, and they knew the penalty for crossing God’s boundaries.
3. They tried to cover their nakedness. Though the covering it was not adequate, it shows that man was able to acknowledge his transgression and guilt and tried to fix it.
4. There is no love here, no mutual trust, no sharing, no mutual accountability; there is only guilt, blaming, trying to avoid responsibility, even to the point of endangering relationships within the community.
It’s amazing how that we know what God wants, and yet we walk the other way.