There’s an event in the Bible that is often overlooked but is critical for understanding human nature and the condition of our world. That event is humanity’s fall into sin (Gen. 3).
In the very beginning God commanded the first man and woman to be fruitful and multiply, to rule over the earth and subdue it. With that mandate, God also gave one prohibition. The man and woman could eat from any tree of the garden but one (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).
Knowing full well what God’s plan was, the serpent set out to destroy it by leading first the woman and then the man astray. He began by challenging what God said, suggesting that He really didn’t mean that there would be a penalty for disobeying Him. Then he implied that God was not good, and that He was withholding something that the man and woman needed.
Satan uses the same strategy today. He wants us to believe that following God’s Word is unnecessary, and that doing so keeps us from experiencing a full life. But this is a trap that when entered into actually sets us back in our lives – and left unaddressed it leads to ruin.
As the encounter between the serpent and the woman unfolds, it is apparent that the man fails in his duty to guard the garden and protect his wife. And here we are reminded that husbands and fathers have a duty to keep abreast of what is going on in their household so they can best protect it.
The Bible also tells us that the woman was led astray through her eyes, and this too gives us an important lesson. Though we may be accustomed to giving priority to what we see (hence the phrase “seeing is believing”), we need to give a greater priority to what we hear, as we listen to the still small voice of God to guide us.
We also need patience. The woman knew that God said “no,” but her impatience and unwillingness to wait on God led her to forsake what He told her. Do we not find it hard to wait on God ourselves?
When the woman and man disobeyed God, they immediately died spiritually (physical death came later). Suddenly, they were separated from God and one another, and were at odds with the world.
With this came great shame. Their lives had been whole and complete, but in an instant their integrity was shattered. They tried to cover themselves and hide, but this proved ineffective. Not because the fig leaves were too small, but because they tried to relieve their shame without dealing with their guilt.
Multitudes still follow this same approach. When they know they’ve done wrong and feel shame, they seek to recover their own integrity in their own way. But what’s needed is to draw near to God, and let Him clothe us, and restore us and our confidence.
We are all born into this world bearing the nature of Adam, and it shows itself by our desire to follow our own feelings and reasoning, even though it leads to pain and shame. But by submitting ourselves in faith we are restored, and through Christ we become alive to God.
And herein lies our hope. Not just for ourselves, but for the entire fallen world.