Satan has launched at attack on Eden, seeking to tempt Adam and Eve to disobey God’s one command, he casts doubt on God’s truthfulness and goodness. How will they respond?
Read Genesis 3:5-8
The woman observes three things about the fruit. It looks good, it is suitable food – suggesting it is likely to taste good – and it has a benefit, it will give her a form of wisdom. The serpent’s intent is to make the forbidden thing desirable and he achieves that aim. The woman takes fruit to eat and gives some to her husband. He eats as well. Note, that often the story is told as though Adam is absent and shows up later. It is clear here however that he is present for the temptation. Though we might suggest he gives the appearance of being physically present but mentally/emotionally absent. Certainly, he fails not just by doing what he should not, by eating the fruit but by failing to do what he should, he fails to protect. The woman fails to act as helper, instead of standing together against the attack, they allow each other to fall (v6).
Now, we see the consequences. Yes, as the serpent promised, their eyes are opened but with a negative result. They see their nakedness and this is a cause of vulnerability and shame so they attempt to make clothes. There is an ironic detail here in that they rely on leaves, hardly likely to provide suitable and effective garments (v7). It’s evening now, “the cool of the day”, and they hear God coming to spend time with them and their next response along with shame is fear, they attempt to hide from God (v8).
God in the garden
Anthropomorphic language is used to describe God walking in the garden. We know that God is infinite and everywhere, that he is Spirit, without body parts. However, the point is that God makes himself manifestly present to Adam and Eve so that they can hear him and see him. We might describe this as a “theophany” when God appears in human form and indeed we may do well to consider this to be God The Son.
What has this to do with us?
First, we need to properly understand sin and the cause of the human condition. Paul in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 will point towards Adam’s sin in some way being representative and on behalf of us all, so that we too sin in Adam. He mirrors this with us being obedient, righteous and justified in Christ, the second Adam.
Secondly, we can learn much from this about our daily engagement with temptation and its specific nature. Satan’s aim is to take the very things God forbids for our good and make them look and sound attractive whilst distracting us from God’s good provision, protection and purpose. Sin brings, guilt, shame and fear.
Notice too how temptation seeks to attack the roles and relationships we have. Satan encourages us to seek equality with God, to be autonomous in our decisions instead of trusting and worshipping him. In Genesis 3 we see the creation order subverted. Instead of subduing and ruling the creature, Adam and Eve are subdued but it. Adam fails to take responsibility, to provide and protect. Eve fails in her duty to help and becomes a hindrance.
It is important to reflect on all of our relationships and ask whether or not they reflect God’s creation mandate and his redemptive work or whether they contradict them.