This week, in our new EPIC series, we’re learning about Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden.  God created the world, then humans, and put them in the Garden of Eden essentially as gardeners, to tend and care for the garden.

We’re not going to prove whether or how God created the universe.  That’s another topic for another day.  This story isn’t about HOW God created, but about the meaning of it all, our purpose in it all, and where it went wrong.

In the world God created, humans were meant to know God personally, and enjoy his direct and loving care.  That comes across in this story as God had already planted great trees with all the fruit they could eat, which would apparently be enough for them to simply enjoy.  All they needed to do was tend the garden…and not eat one particular fruit – that which comes from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  God created them to only know good – even though the opposite, evil, existed.  He would handle evil for them, with his wisdom, which was his to give to the humans.  But the story goes downhill when a serpent enters:

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.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”  (Genesis 3:1-13 ESV)

Now, who is the serpent?  Is it Satan, or the Devil?  Well, he’s not called that here, it’s simply a serpent, but the clues are there.  He is doing what Satan would do – trying to derail God’s good work, good people.  Satan is behind this wherever it happens.  The way this story is told, a serpent makes a good vehicle for his terrible plan.  Maybe this is why so many people don’t like snakes.

He starts with a question – did God really say you shall not eat of any tree?  He is planting a little seed of doubt in her mind.  Is God really my friend?  Is his rule protecting me, or depriving me of joy?

One little question can sow all kinds of doubt in even the most confident person.  Do you know where your husband was last night?  Have you really thought this through?

He asks Eve because she wasn’t told directly by God, that we know of, not to eat the fruit.  She was told by her husband.  So there’s an extra layer of doubt.  Did that man actually tell me the truth, or is he lying?

So the woman, Eve, sees the tree, sees it’s good, and goes over the top in trying to protect herself from making a big mistake.  She doesn’t just tell the serpent God said not to eat it.  She adds something…that she can’t even touch the tree or she’ll die.  God never even said that.  The serpent has got her now.  She’s putting words in God’s mouth, as if he’s an evil ogre trying to keep her from enjoying life’s best fruit.  She’s not trusting God’s goodness anymore, she’s doubting it.  And so she eats the fruit.

What’s this fruit supposed to be?  An apple, pomegranate?  It doesn’t really matter – what matters is what it represents: the wisdom of God, to know good and evil.  It’s God’s wisdom, that is his to give, not theirs to take.  She tries to take it.  Created to know nothing but good, she uses her free will to try and become God.

The whole thing backfires.  She doesn’t become powerful, she realizes how weak and naked and vulnerable she is.  She and Adam immediately feel the need to cover up, with anything they can find.

Question: Share a recent experience with guilt – either your own, or a child’s, or someone else’s.  How does guilt feel?  What cures it?

Reminder: We are reading the Bible in sync as one community – so check out today’s reading at

Meeting with a Group?  Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide

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