When God created humans, he placed them in a Garden. They had an idyllic life, full of beauty, peace, productivity, purpose, and fellowship with their Creator. They were also in-tune with creation itself, with the earth and the animals. They were fully connected to each other and the universe around them. They had it all — except one thing. One thing was held back from them, and that one thing is what obsessed them. And ultimately let to their expulsion from paradise.
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-24
God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to tend it and watch over it. They had everything they needed. God told them, “You may eat from any of the trees in the garden. They are all here for you to enjoy. But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you will surely die.”
The serpent was the most crafty of all the creatures God had made. One day he crept up to Eve and asked, “Did God really say that you cannot eat from any of the trees in the garden?”
“Of course not,” Eve replied. “We may eat from any of the trees we want except for the one at the center of the garden. God said if we eat that fruit, or even touch it, we will die.”
“Surely not,” the serpent said. “You won’t really die. If you eat that fruit, your eyes will be opened and you will become like God. You’ll actually know the difference between good and evil.”
The woman took another look at the fruit. It was beautiful, looked good to eat, and she desired the wisdom that it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it, and then gave Adam some of it too. Right at the moment they ate the fruit, their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked. So they quickly tied some fig leaves together to cover themselves.
Later that evening, they heard God walking in the garden, so they hid themselves in fear. But God called out to them, “Where are you?”
Adam replied, “When we heard you walking, we hid because we were naked.”
“Who told you that you are naked?” God asked. “Did you eat the fruit I commanded you not to eat?”
“I did. But the woman you created to be with me gave it to me,” Adam answered. Eve countered, “Yes, but the serpent tricked me into eating it.”
Then God spoke to the serpent. “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any other animal. You will crawl on your belly, and there will be enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. You will strike at his heel, and he will strike your head.”
Then God declared that as a consequence of their actions, the woman would have great pains during childbirth, and that she would desire her husband but he would rule over her. The ground would be cursed because Adam chose to listen to his wife instead of God. It would resist him, and only by sweat and hard work would it produce food for him. And they would now die and return to dust from which they were created. Then God made garments from skins, and clothed them.
Afterwards God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing good and evil. If they eat from the tree of life, they will live forever.” So God banished them from the garden to work the ground from which they had come, and set an angelic guard to prevent them from returning and eating from the tree of life.
- Gen 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
- Gen 3:16 “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
- Tree of Life • Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil • The Fall • Childbirth pains
Discussion & Life Lessons
- Adam and Eve had it all. What made them dissatisfied, and focus on the one thing they didn’t/shouldn’t have?
- God walked with them in the cool of the day. What does this simple detail reveal about God’s desire for us, for your own life personally? When we add this detail to being “created in his image,” does this suggest anything about why humans were created or what purpose we serve?
- Right from the beginning, we see God calling out to humanity: “Where are you?” What does this indicate about his character, about how he views us — even when we do things we think he doesn’t approve of?
- The serpent generally gets the bad wrap for this whole incident. But what was the real source of temptation? What was so compelling to Eve about this “forbidden fruit”?
- How did the serpent try to deceive Eve? What did the serpent hope to achieve by tempting Eve?
- Adam went along with Eve’s decision. What does this say about him? What lesson do we learn about personal dynamics from this? What about the influence your own “suitable helper” may have on you?
- When Adam and Eve made their decision, God did not intervene. Why didn’t God stop them? Does this shed any light on that universal question, “Where is God when bad things happen?”
- Choices have consequences, often that go beyond just ourselves. Do you think Adam and Eve ever considered the implications of what they were doing, or how it might affect everything around them? What are the implications for our own lives?
- When confronted with their actions, each played the blame-game. How do we do the same thing when our decisions go wrong? Did it make any difference?
- Notice when Adam tries to shift blame to Eve, he calls her “the woman you gave to be with me.” He doesn’t say “the woman you gave me.” What is the difference between these two statements?
- God provided Adam and Eve with clothes, even after they disobeyed him. What does this say about his nature?
- God expelled them from the garden to prevent them from eating from the Tree of Life. Why? What do you think would happen if they continued to have access?
- There is a promise of redemption here, a turn-around. The serpent would be defeated by Eve’s offspring. Do you think this is a valid reference to Jesus? Also compare Jesus’ statement that we would “tread on serpents and scorpions” (Lk 10:19)
- What does the overall story tell us about the character of God? What does it say about us?