Tag Archives: garden of Eden

God Strolled in His Garden

Studies in Genesis 3

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. (Genesis 3:8)

God enjoys His creation.

Some have suggested God is not present, having created and then left His creation to its own devises. They say, if there is a God, He wound up the universe and is letting it run down. That He is uninvolved. This verse shows the absurdity of such a belief. God does not create to then ignore. He is fully involved in His creation.

There are wonders in the universe only He will ever see. We can imagine these wonders, yet our imaginations are puny and miniscule compared to the eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent reality which is God. While this verse does not specifically state God shows emotional enjoyment in what He has done there is a strong implication in the words used that He feels such enjoyment.

God strolled in His garden during a comfortable and enjoyable time of day. Perhaps, there was a slight breeze bending the grasses and rustling the leaves. Nearby, the river flowed. The sun was setting, probably casting beautiful colors across the sky. His senses, unimaginably greater than ours, knew every sight, sound, smell, feel, taste and more than we can ever know. He used His sense to their fullest, eternal capacity.

Nor should we assume this was the first-time God strolled through His garden. He created man in His image for relationship. What better time to meet and talk and be with each other than as the days’ work winds down and a night of peace and rest awaits. He was always with them and His image in them may have given them a constant awareness of His presence, which makes their rebellion more grievous.

God knew what those created in His image had done. He watched Eve discuss the superstitious argument with the Deceiver. He knew her thoughts and motivations as she decided to rebel. He knew where the man was and what he was doing. He knew the Deceiver was in the garden inhabiting a snake and giving the creature a voice. He watched Eve pluck the fruit and take a bite and then watched as she gave the fruit to her husband who also took a bite. He was fully aware of their feelings and desire to hide behind a covering. He knows everything. He knew He was going to pronounce judgment which grieved Him.

And still He walked in the garden in the cool of the day enjoying His creation.

Active Rebellion

Studies in Genesis 3

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. (Genesis 3:6 ESV)

Being tempted by the Deceiver, or temptation in general, is not the same as willful disobedience. Eve made a conscious decision to eat that which was forbidden and then offer it to Adam, who made a conscious decision to eat that which was forbidden. Temptation is not sin. Deciding to act upon the temptation followed by active rebellion is sin.

We are given Eve’s rationale for eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis 3:6. First, the tree was good for food. Secondly, it was a delight to the eyes. Finally, eating the fruit would make her wise.

We know that the tree was good for food. Every tree in the garden grew fruit that was good for food. This is how God created the trees in the garden. We also know every tree He created was pleasant to the sight. Every tree in the garden was both beautiful and its fruit was nutritious.

“And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9 ESV).

The first two points in her train of thought are correct. It is the third excuse, influenced by the lies of the Deceiver, which invalidate her conclusion and make her disobedience an act of rebellion. She believed the superstitious lie presented to her without thinking about God or feeling the moral tug to obey her Creator.

“Wise” means to be prudent, circumspect, or to prosper. It also means to give attention to, to consider, ponder, to have insight and comprehension. In this circumstance, her rationale was neither prudent nor circumspect. She gave the illusion of carefully examining all of the evidence but left out one important detail, which should have been the deal breaker. She ignored God’s command, disregarding His words. She listened to a creature instead of the Creator.

God is specific in His command and the consequences of disobedience. The Deceiver showed disregard for both the words of God and the consequences of disobedience. By listening to the Deceiver and deciding to rebel Adam and Eve also showed disregard for God and the consequences given by Him. Rebellion will cost her and Adam life, both physical and eternal. By disregarding God and His words and focusing on their immediate selves and circumstances, they showed no prudence or comprehension of what is happening.

Accurate Answer

Studies in Genesis 3

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.’” Genesis 3:2-3 ESV

We do not know how long Adam and Eve lived in the garden. Let us not make the assumption it is either a long or short period of time. But there was enough time for both to think through the prohibition of God.

When whatever squatted in the serpent asked the question “Did God actually say, ‘You   shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Eve initially responded correctly. Of course they could eat from the trees. There is only one tree’s fruit which they are prohibited from eating. There are several things wrong with her answer, though. Had her response been the actual words of God it would have stopped the lie completely. Although, most of her answer is true, part of it is not true and none of it is accurate.

God did say every fruit from every tree was good for food and could be eaten. “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food” (Genesis 1:29 ESV). This statement includes the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. There was nothing wrong with the fruit. It was not poisonous. Eating the fruit would not kill the body. Nothing God created was dangerous to Adam and Eve.

It is the act of disobedience that will bring the condemnation of God. They were designed for relationship and disobedience would break that relationship. They were given the image of God and disobedience would corrupt the vessel containing the image but could not corrupt the image itself. His image cannot be corrupted any more than He can be corrupted. However, the person with the image can become bent and broken, twisting their view of His image into something not true.

Yet, Eve twisted her view of God’s words when she didn’t identify the tree as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and then added they were not even supposed to touch the fruit of the tree. Adding the prohibition to not touch adds a false boundary to what God actually said. He did not say do not touch the fruit of the tree. He said do not eat it. They could place catch with the fruit if they wanted. Did Adam give her this extra boundary or did she come up with it herself. I’m not supposed to eat the fruit so I better not touch it to make sure I don’t eat it. We do not know who added the boundary. We do know it was either Adam ore Eve.

Yet, I think it more damaging that she did not identify the tree as that of the knowledge of good and evil. God was teaching them that there was good and there was evil and that they needed to know the difference. They needed to know what was good, obeying God, and what was evil, disobeying God. Had she identified the tree as that of the knowledge of good and evil she would have used that knowledge to counter the lie of the serpent. Removing the self-imposed boundary and identifying the actual tree would have placed her squarely within God’s known will.

Conversation

Studies in Genesis 3

Nowthe 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’?” Genesis 3:1 ESV

Eve is asked a question from a creature not made in the image of God, who cannot have a personal relationship with Him and who is subject to both God and Man. “Did God actually say” suggests God may not have said what Adam heard from God and what he told Eve God said.

The serpent does not refer to God by the name He has been using for Himself, LORD God, the self-existing One who rules because He is God. The serpent simply calls Him “God,” even suggesting He could be one of possibly many gods. Whatever is speaking through the serpent does not hold God in the highest regard but lowers Him, making Him less than who He is. Here is the essence of rebellion, claiming God is less and therefore, does not have full authority or control.

By implication, the serpent is suggesting to Eve God made a mistake, is not perfect, does not have control, has not done what He said He has done, and does not love her.

We do not get to know why the serpent suggests God is not God, or where the serpent came by the thought. We can assume from Scripture that Lucifer, a fallen angel, inhabited the serpent to cause destruction to God’s creation, but there is no way for Eve to know this. Eve knows only what she has learned since her creation, from Adam and from God. Some may suggest she and Adam were created with extensive knowledge of all things. If they were, her response to the serpent would have been completely different. They were created perfect but not complete, with an innate knowledge of God because of His image in them, and with speech, the ability to reason and name. But they were also created with the ability to learn and grow in knowledge of God, of each other and of the world in which they lived. Eve was confronted by a creature of God that exhibited characteristics that fell outside of her experience.

Engaging in a conversation is not wrong. Conversation is one way to learn from another. Relationship requires communication. Adam talked to Eve just as Eve talked to Adam. Both talked with God just as God talked with them. How do we know this? God had already talked to Adam about his responsibilities and limitations. God listened to Adam as he named the creatures and approved the names. Eve was not startled when the serpent began speaking to her. Yet, healthy conversations do not try to deceive but acknowledge truth and seek to explore truth and its ramifications. To begin a conversation with an untrue statement or to lead to a conclusion not based upon truth is deceptive. There is no place in God’s presence for deception.

Genesis 3

Studies in Genesis 3

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’?” Genesis 3:1 ESV

Once again, God tells us what happened but does not tell us all that happened. Adam and Eve are in paradise. Their home is a garden, the Garden of Eden, where all of their needs are met and there is no danger. They have work, companionship, purpose, and are governed by a benevolent God who has given them the responsibility of benevolently governing the world in which they live. They are at peace with God, with each other and with the creatures of the world. Only in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is there the possibility of evil. Having not eaten from the tree, because its fruit is forbidden by God, they do not know evil, either intellectually or intimately.

God introduces us to a creature, the serpent, whom He declares “crafty” or “subtle” more so than any other creature. In addition, this creature has a voice and is understandable by the humans. There are so many incongruities in this verse it would be easy to draw incorrect conclusions about what happened and why. We must take care to not read into the verse more than is there.

What do we know about the animals created by God? Did the animals created have a voice and intelligent language with the ability to think and reason? We do not know. Have they since become dumb? We do not know. Or have we become unable to understand them because of our condition? We do not know. We know Adam and Eve were give the image of God and that the animals were not. Humans and animals are not equals.

As God describes the serpent we learn that it exhibits intelligent and has the ability to reason. The word “crafty” (twice in Job) is also translated prudent (8 times in the Proverbs) and subtle. It can also mean cunning, sly and shrewd. It would appear the idea of the word is thinking of options that may not fall within the natural boundaries emplaced by God. Being crafty would mean pushing through and breaking the natural boundaries to gain that which is outside of one’s legitimate grasp. This serpent, created by God, seemed to have an inward tendency to sin and disobedience.

There are no other instances of such actions and activities by any animal in Scripture or in nature. This is not a normal animal. There are stories, all fictions, of people being able to communicate with animals or intellectually understand animals. All of these stories, in some way, elevate the animal to the level of the human, or lower the human to the level of the animal. Yet, when God created He made Man greater than the animals.

In the beginning the serpent was not evil in and of itself. Everything God created was good in His eyes. Since the creatures under Adam’s authority were not given the image of God they were not given the ability to decide right from wrong.  God’s creatures instinctually obey Him because of the nature they were originally given. They also instinctually obeyed Adam and Eve as their authority, made so by God. Neither was afraid of the other. This flies in the face of what we are seeing in this verse. The serpent was naturally crafty but its craftiness was not sinful. It’s question to Eve revealed not it’s nature but the nature of something outside of it which was now in it. The innocent subtlety of the serpent was turned away from God. That which was speaking to Eve was not the serpent but something in the serpent, allowed by God to tempt the human.

More Than Food

Studies in Genesis 2

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17 ESV)

There is a tree of life. There is not a tree of death. Nor is there a tree of decision. God gave Adam the freedom to choose and permission to eat from any tree in the garden but one. God commanded Adam to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He did not say to Adam stay away from the tree. He didn’t say to Adam that he didn’t have to take care of the tree. The Garden was Adam’s home and he was responsible for everything in his home. His total responsibilities were given him by God. Adam was first and foremost responsible to God and under His authority.

God uses the word “eat” four times in these two verses. Most translations will show only three times. Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat (eat). But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou may not eat of it. For in the day that you eat you surely die (die)” (Gen 2:16-17 Authorized edited by gfw). To “eat” means to consume or devour for food, to cause to eat. God is telling Adam the fruit of every tree in the garden may be eaten or devoured to sustain his life. The trees are God’s, given to Adam to take care of and use for their intended purpose.

If we view “die die” as both natural death and then execution, or a second death, so we should view “eat, eat” as both natural consumption of necessary food and a second eating. God gave Adam food to consume beyond the physical. There is a second food for him to eat, implying there is life beyond the physical, just as there is a death beyond the physical.

Adam was supposed to eventually eat from the tree of life. He is already alive and he eats from the fruit of the trees to keep living. Just as there is a second death, a death other than physical, so there is life beyond physical life. Since every tree of the garden was beautiful to look at and good for food, I believe, without having absolute verifiable evidence, God would eventually give Adam permission to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If every tree is good for food, sustaining the body then there would come a time, at God’s discretion and according to His purpose, when Adam would be ready for such knowledge.

There was only good in the Garden. This does not mean there was no evil in creation. Creation is more than the earth in the physical universe. Adam needed preparation and training to face evil when it was time. His training begins with obedience to the command of God. Don’t eat was not a request.

Work and Keep

Studies in Genesis 2

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15 ESV)

God “took” the Man He created by laying hold of him, or fetching him from one place and depositing him in another. God carried man with deliberate intent from where ever he was initially created and brought into existence and placed, not just in the Garden, but in his home. God “put” man down, settled him into his own place.

This is not the first time we see the function of Man to “work” the garden. God tells us that part of Man’s purpose is to “work the ground”. “When … there was no man to work the ground” (Genesis 2:5 ESV). In these verses “work” is a verb and means to till, or turn the ground and make it ready and productive. By implication, God wants the ground to serve Man. “Keep” is another verb and means to watch over, to be attentive, wait for that which grows from the ground. Thus, man is to work by preparing the ground to produce and then to attentively watch what grows in order to learn how to make future growth better. Just as God fully participates in His creation, so man fully participates in a world over which he has authority and dominion.

God’s use a different word to describe His “work” of creation. Three times in Genesis 2:2-3 He uses a word which means that which He does as a natural consequence of who He is. Work is more than an occupation or simply something done. His work is integral to who He is.

Man’s work is evidence of the image of God and the design, purpose and intent of God for him. Part of the image of God given is the ability to think and reason and then to act willfully on the decisions and conclusions drawn. Man is able to learn and grow in knowledge and ability. One of the implications of working and keeping the garden is man’s ability to patiently observe and be aware of what is occurring, to experiment and make changes to the place, process in order to achieve a different outcome.

Man’s work is a direct representation of God’s work. In creation God took that which He created out of nothing and formed matter into perfectly useful stuff intricately designed to sustain life. Life is minutely complex and balanced. Creation is good, perfect, moving toward fullness and completion, beautiful and useful, infinitely varied yet understandable by those with the image of God. Man grows in a knowledge of God as man keeps and fashions, observes and learns how to imitate what God has done by fashioning that which is useful and beautiful. This is Man’s work.

Man was created to do that which is integral to the image of God and is natural and inherent. Man does that which God designed him to do.