Tag Archives: sin

Responsibility

Studies in Genesis 3

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12 ESV)

How can we blame God for our rebellion? Can we blame God for the temptations which befall us?  God could have stopped the Deceiver from tempting the Woman but did not. God could have intervened in the discussion between the Deceiver and the woman, but did not. God could have made known His will, as she was reaching out, to not eat the fruit, but did not. When the man ate the fruit, God could have made Himself known and stopped him from eating, but did not.

Does this mean that because God did not do all of these things He is to blame for the actions of the Deceiver, the thought process and decision of the woman, or the unthinking actions of the man? Or, as creatures capable of making decisions, are each responsible for their own thinking, motivations, moral understanding and actions?

Part of being created in the image of God is the freedom to learn and act normally within the natural boundaries God set for the creature. Scripture does not suggest the Deceiver was created in the image of God. Scripture tells us Man was created in the image of God. With His image is the ability to act and behave like God, constrained only by the physical limitations of a created being. God gave His image so Man would know intimately their Creator, as well as having intellectual and moral knowledge of Him. Man would act in a manner which emulates God’s eternal character by knowing God intellectually, morally and intimately.

When the man blamed God and the woman for his rebellion, for his actions, he not only refused to take responsibility but his heart froze toward both his wife and God. Intimacy was destroyed. No longer could either God or the woman trust the man to make righteous decisions based on a wholesome moral understanding of right and wrong. The image of God in him did not change but his ability to know God and act in a manner which emulated God in the physical world was bent and broken. His obedience was natural to him. Now, rebellion and separation from others is natural. That which is bent cannot be unbent. It can be straightened but will always have been bent. That which is broken can be mended but will always have been broken.

Second Question

Studies in Genesis 3

He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:11 ESV)

God does not give the man a chance to answer the question “Who told you that you were naked?”  before moving onto the next question “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Both questions are simple and direct. Both questions require simple and direct answers. God wants an answer for both questions. Both questions are filled with anger and disappointment. God is not happy those created in His image rebelled against Him, hid from Him, and refuse to come into His presence.

I imagine God questioning the man and woman while they are still hiding. When God calls into His presence those who are spiritually healthy and righteous before Him will immediately stop what they are doing and give their full attention to Him. They will stand before Him in eager anticipation. On the other hand, those who are rebelling against Him will not, of their own volition, stand before Him. They will turn away from Him in fear, tempered with the overwhelming desire to run and hide. However, they will be forced into His presence and then kneel in terror at His wrath.

There is no indication in Scripture the man continued to hide from God during His questioning but their guilt, their fear, and the obvious desire to not be seen by God because of their nakedness, suggests they continued to hide from His presence. No one can hide from God’s presence. He is omnipresent. Trying to hide from God is a futile attempt to absolve oneself from the consequences of rebellion and a strong indicator of separation and a broken relationship.

God’s second question is even simpler than His first. “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:11 ESV). A simple “yes” would suffice. But their actions toward God and their nakedness leads them to a different answer. God told the man he was not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. His command was direct and unambiguous. Adam understood the command. Adam knew he had done that which God had forbidden. God knew the man had done that which He had forbidden. God’s question is meant for confession, to draw out of the man the acknowledgement of his moral transgression and lead him to repentance. God already determined the consequences of eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam will die, not only physically but spiritually. Yet God, the benevolent Creator, knows what He will do for Adam to redeem the relationship.

Adam must truthfully confess his sin and repent. God will forgive. But God will not stay sentencing and punishment. He cannot abide sin in His presence therefore something must be done to fulfill His required consequence of sin, which is death. God knows what He will do. But first is the finishing of the trial and the sentencing. Adam and Eve must answer the questions posed by God.

Who Told You?

Studies I Genesis 3

He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” (Genesis 3:11 ESV)

God continues asking questions, with the purpose of drawing a response out of Adam to force him to honestly face his rebellion. Yet, God’s questions reveal more about eternity than is apparent.

“Who told you” begins the next question. It is apparent God’s intent is to show Adam he needs to repent through confession. God knows everything, including the answer to this question. Still, there are four personalities present. God, the Creator of all. Adam and Eve, the first people, created in His image. The Deceiver, inhabiting the serpent, also a created being, but without the image of God, yet intelligent, with an emotional understanding of morality, and a will to act. As far as we know, the Deceiver did not have dominion over anything. His deception was a grasping at dominion.

No part of the conversation recorded between Eve and the Deceiver suggested they were naked. It is likely the conversation was not short but long, possibly over a period of days. We do not know. We do know, from the evidence, that Eve and Adam were prepared to rebel against God. Rebellion is never spontaneous.  Misdirected thought and emotion, a looking for alternatives by thinking about self, turning needs into wants, always comes before rebellion.

“Who” is a pronoun for persons. We know God did not tell them they were naked. He created them naked and did not want them wearing clothing. The Deceiver, as far as we know, may have told them they were naked. We do not know because that part of the conversation is not recorded. Did they tell themselves? Somehow, they learned they were unclothed, naked to the world, exposed and vulnerable. This is a consequence of sin and rebellion. Everyone sins and everyone hides because everyone feels vulnerable and exposed to the dangers of the world and others. Being exposed is shameful until the conscious is seared and deadened and what is shameful becomes something which brings pride.

If we cannot hide from God then we must somehow change the rules to either exclude God or make the rebellious act legitimate.

 

God’s Calling

Studies in Genesis 3

But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9 ESV)

God “called” to the first man, Adam, who is the representative of Man, all humans. To call means to summon, to invite, appoint, endow, and also to cry out, proclaim, to call by name. God did not ask where he was. He knew Adam was hiding among the trees. He also knew Adam had rebelled against Him by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God called to Adam to present himself before his Authority.

God does not ask anyone to do anything. Nowhere in Scripture will you find God asking for our obedience. Even in our rebellion God demands obedience. God does ask questions of those who are His. His questions are designed to teach us about Him and about ourselves before Him. While Adam was hiding from God, He began asking a series of questions designed to elicit specific answers.

“Where are you?”  This question is full of meaning and points to many other questions. Why are you hiding? Why aren’t you coming to greet me? What are you feeling? Are you afraid? How did you come to know fear?

Some have suggested God went in search of Adam after the rebellion. This is certainly possible. However, God knows everything and does not act quickly as we judge necessary timeliness. He stands outside of time while knowing all which occurs constrained by time. Nor, is God going to allow sin and rebellion to change Him or His actions. He knew before they sinned not only that they would rebel but what He was planning to do because of their disobedience. All God does is for His purpose, not ours. We are created to serve Him, yet His eternal nature is to serve without losing or compromising His authority and place.

God’s call to man, whether Adam or anyone else who has, does or will live, is a summons into His presence. It is not a request to come but a command to present oneself before God. Since God created Man for relationship, yet still has authority over Man, His call is to come and be with Him in a loving, intimate way. It is the nature of sin to be repulsed by God. With the act of rebellion by Man and the summons of God the war raging within Man because of sin is defined.

God’s image in Man is an irresistible striving to know and be with Him. Man’s now bent and corrupted nature is an overwhelming revulsion toward God and a terrifying desire to flee from Him. God’s image in Man is not corrupted because God cannot be corrupted. Yet, the vessel holding the image is broken and compromised and no longer wants that image. God’s image cannot be expunged from Man. It will always, forever in eternity, be there, driving Man toward his Maker. Unless Man is recreated, not fixed or patched but made new, the war between the corrupted flesh and the incorruptible nature of God, will rage out of control, even in eternity.

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.

Covering

Studies in Genesis 3

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Genesis 3:7 ESV

As soon as Adam and Eve realized they were “naked” they tried to make coverings for their bodies. They used leaves because of the abundance of material and because they did not know how to make cloth or that they could kill and animal and use its skin.

Why did they see a need to cover themselves? Here are two possible answers.

First, they may have been ashamed and wanted to cover themselves to hide their shame. God has already told us they “were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 ESV). When they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, what they expected to happen did not happen. Their eyes were opened but they were not changed or made better by the act. Eve expected something that would make her like God. Her superstitious expectation, fueled by the lies of the Deceiver, were unreasonable and could never be fulfilled. Adam, on the other hand, had no expectations. He ate because he wanted to eat.

For the first time, they felt guilt and shame and did not know how to react. So, they hid part of their bodies behind coverings. There was remorse but no repentance. Repentance comes from acknowledging guilt and the consequences of rebellion and then mentally and emotionally turning away from the act and motivation. Instead of admitting to each other what they had done was wrong, that they should not have eaten the fruit, they tried to cover over their sin and rebellion with a superficial, self-made fix.

Second, they may have wanted to undo what they had done but did not realize they could not. After their willful act, when their eyes were opened to a new and uncomfortable perspective, they may have wanted to go back to their original state and life. They did not know how. Perhaps they were beginning to realize they could not undo what had been done. Yet, their sin, their transgressions, needed covering.

It is the insanity of man to try to fix the unfixable. Only God can do the impossible. Once a transgression, a sin, is committed it cannot be undone. Yet, by the image of God in them, they inherently knew their sin needed covering. God did not create Man and give His image to turn His back on any person. Because of His love and desire for relationship He would cover their sin and restore their relationship with Him. But in His way and at His time and at a great cost to Him.

It is the gospel which declares God has done that which Man cannot do.

They Knew

Studies in Genesis 3

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. Genesis 3:7 ESV

Adam and Eve were naked, without clothing, because they did not need clothes. There was no spiritual, physical or social reason to cover themselves. Nor, was there a prohibition toward covering themselves. Yet, after they purposefully rebelled against God they “knew that they were naked” and decided to cover themselves.

God uses two different, closely related words for the translated word “naked.” In Genesis 3:7 (and in Genesis 3:10-11) the word means nudity. It is closely related to, but still different from, the word used in Genesis 2:25. “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 ESV). “Naked” means bare, unclothed. Both words, in Genesis 2:25 and 3:7, are related to a word which means to be crafty, subtle, shrewd or prudent.

There is a difference in their awareness. In Genesis 2, in their original, obedient before God state, they were unaware of any reason to have covering. After their rebellion, they almost immediately saw a need to cover themselves, because they saw they were naked. What was the perceived need and why did they think they needed to cover themselves?

Perhaps we can find and answer in the word “knew.”  First, they now knew about good and evil, but not under the direction of God. To “know” means to perceive, recognize, admit, acknowledge, confess, to understand through experience, to find out or reveal. To “know” may be either purely intellectual or intimate. Intimate knowledge involves the whole person, mind, emotions, including the moral understanding, will and spiritual being. Gaining such knowledge is progressive, growing from a small or minute comprehension to a more mature or complete understanding with time and experience. As soon as they rebelled they comprehended that they had done something against the direct, stated will of God. They now knew their action was evil and had no control, or dominion, over the consequences.

How long it took before the instinct to cover themselves arose is not stated. It could have been immediate or soon thereafter. Scripture suggests immediate comprehension. If so, their minds, hearts and beings were not disciplined to handle the terrifying consequence of knowing evil, especially in themselves. They were not designed for evil and the realization they had done something evil began rending them away from that with which they were familiar, their relationships with God, each other and the world in which they lived.