Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “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.”
(Genesis 3:1-5 ESV)
I’ve caught a little heat concerning my ideas about Genesis. It’s to be expected. So, the above is the beginning of that infamous scene in the garden. We all know the story. Eve takes the fruit and eats it and Adam thus sins and brings upon us a sin nature that is only fixed by Christ‘s life, death, resurrection, and ascension. (Simplified version. It’s only one paragraph, after all.)
Well…Kind of. Something that intrigues me about Scripture is how intricate it is. If you aren’t paying extremely close attention, it’s easy to miss important messages that God inbeds within. For instance, Eve misquotes God. God never says not to touch this tree upon pain of death. His injunction is to not eat from it. And God says that when they do, they will die. (Gen. 2:16,17). The point is that Eve adds to God’s Words and creates an opening for the adversary to exploit. Which, of course, he does.The addition is not great but it’s like the mantra of the Packer’s running backs under Vince Lombardi, “Just three inches of daylight” and BOOM! That’s why I’m being extremely careful in these posts of late. And it’s why I’m making them in the first place. God’s genius is in the details and the effects are as subtle as they are profound.
So, what happened according to the text is that the serpent convinced Eve to disregard God’s will by eating the fruit of the tree in order to become wise like God. Then she hands some fruit to Adam and he eats some too.
This is where we need to be diligent about the text. This is where it is said that Adam sinned by eating the fruit, condemning the world to sin/in sin. Go to Genesis Chapter 3, though, and take a slow, close look. First, Eve misquotes God. Then she listens to the adversary, and only after that does she eat the fruit. Adam let’s himself be guided by Eve and then disobeys God’s injunction against eating this fruit. In both cases, some one other than God is listened to and then they disobeyed.
Gasp! I know. That’s subtly different from what we have all learned but it’s exactly what happens in the story. And it brings to mind passages like “that which does not proceed from faith is sin,” (Romans 14:23b) because faith is essentially trusting God in all one does. By definition, if some one other than God is our guide, then we are sinning. (This doesn’t mean that we do not search out others for discernment of God’s will, but this is not what happens in this story either.) The point is that since Eve’s and Adam’s lack of faith led to their disobedience, faith must precede obedience. This being the case, I think it’s fair to say that (Biblically speaking) faith takes primacy over obedience.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Read God’s words to Adam in His Word:
And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
(Genesis 3:17 ESV, emphasis added)
God’s primary issue with Adam is obviously that he listened to his wife instead of to Him. Adam lacked faith in other words and his disobedience followed. Therefore this can be called the origin of sin because even though the lack of faith is the bigger issue, the sin followed the faithlessness.
More on all this later, but I try to keep these blogs brief.
Read all the articles in this thought provoking, original series:
I welcome your comments and questions.