Why do we do the stupid things we do? Why would Adam and Eve eat from the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden? Why do I continue to trust in my own abilities and not God’s direction and commands?
I ask those questions whenever I read Genesis 3, the story of Adam’s and Eve’s choice to disobey God. The story is often called “The Fall” since it describes humanity’s fall from God’s loving, eternal presence, yet I prefer the title “The Rebellion” since it is our human tendency to rebel against God’s commands. We rebel when we place ourselves in the center of our lives, and not God. We listen to the crafty voice of the serpent that says “you will not die, but will find pleasure, riches, knowledge, significance, or fame” if we yield to our own temptations. The story of Adam and Eve’s rebellion is our story of rebellion; our human choice to sin. And if we try to blame anyone or anything else, we are only echoing their response when God confronted them afterwards. Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent (Genesis 3:11-13).
The Bible introduces sin and brokenness as an essential piece of our humanity. Though the biblical story begins with humanity created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), the image is quickly twist and stained by our rebellion. The next eight chapters of Genesis highlights how the infection of sin penetrates all of life: Cain murders Able, The Flood, and the Tower of Babel. Each story hammering home the sinful quality of humanity.
Yet each story also shows elements of God’s mercy and grace. After Adam and Eve rebel, God provides them with animal skins for clothing. After Cain murders his brother, God provides a place of sanctuary for him. As God contemplates destroying the sinful world with a flood (Genesis 6), God provides a new beginning through Noah and his family. And after God scatters the people when they build the idolatrous Tower of Babel, God selects Abraham to become a blessing to all people (Genesis 12).
Even our rebellion will not stop God from loving us.
Lord Jesus, have mercy upon us.
oh that Tree! that highest of all morals of man.
oh that Fruit for the Tree! that embeds to man
oh that knowledge of Good and Evil! that questions God. “where did you come from?”