Episode 11: The Fall

Eden, Earth – Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day 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, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
So the LORD God said to the serpent:
“ Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“ Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.

Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.

In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”
And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Life with Lively: This Devotional Presented In Technicolor

A couple of months ago while on “vacation,” I introduced Damon to one of the greatest TV shows of all time.    You may remember in past blogs I’ve talked about my step-son’s visit to the hospital with a ruptured appendix.  As anyone who has ever spent much time in a hospital can attest, most hospitals do not get the premium cable package.  Personally, I think when you consider how much you pay during a hospital say, they should go ahead and pop for the premium package, but that’s another subject.

One afternoon I was flipping channels and came upon the classic “I Dream of Jeannie.”  These were classic, first season, black and white episodes.  The first episode opened with Nelson and Healey in their military uniforms walking the halls of NASA and discussing the next space experiment.  Damon was hooked. (Anything involving the military in any way gets his attention.)  Next, Jeannie appeared and complicated the situation and the episode unfolded.  We watched the show every afternoon until he finally got to come home.

That brings us to this past Saturday.  Our local college team has decided that actually playing is over-rated and so I was flipping channels trying to find something to watch.  I came across the show, this time it was one of the episodes from the final season.  This one was in color.  Damon came walking through the house and saw the TV.  “Does Jeannie always wear a pink outfit?” he asked.

“Yeah.  Why?”

“I had just pictured it as purple.”  He said then he went outside to play with his friends.  I got to thinking about what he said.  When things are only black and white, we begin to imagine what the colors could be.  Our own preferences define the color pallet.

God started out in black and white.  He laid out his laws very simple and plain.  Eat this.  Do not eat this.  Each and every one of his commandments have been that simple.  The problem is we are sinners.  We don’t like dealing in absolutes.  So for centuries, we have been trying to add Technicolor to God’s commandments.  Look at the original sin:

In Genesis 2:16-17 God set out a very simple and straight-forward command:  And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” Very to the point wouldn’t you say?  Eat from this specific tree and you will die.

But looks what happens when Eve and the Serpent get some crayons and try to tinker with God’s command.

Gen 3: 1-6: Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’ “

“No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate [it]; she also gave [some] to her husband, [who was] with her, and he ate [it].

Do you see how the Serpent began to manipulate God’s word to serve his own purpose?  Do you see how he even went so far as to get Eve in on the “color commentary”?   Even Adam had a roll in this.  God had spoken directly to him about the tree and the fruit, but while Eve and the Serpent debated theology, he stood there silent.  Did he interrupt the conversation and set them straight on what God really had told him?  No.  He just stood there and let them paint their picture of what God’s commands “really” meant.

Throughout time, this tradition of interpreting God’s word has continued.  God spoke his commands and then “spiritual pundits” would take to the streets proclaiming what God really meant.

Finally after years of waiting, God trumped them all and introduced Hi-Def 3D.  He sent his Son to be a mediator for us.  Through Jesus, we now have a clear understanding of God’s intentions.  Through Jesus we no longer have to rely on those “color commentators” to decide if we are living right and wrong.   One of my favorite images in the bible is found in Matthew 27: 50 and 51.

Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split.

The curtain talked about here is the symbolic barrier that separated God from the people.  The high priests were the only persons allowed to go behind the curtain.  Anyone else was considered “unworthy” of being in direct contact with God.

However, the moment that Jesus died for our sins, that way of thinking became obsolete.  The curtain was ripped in two, just like our separation from God.    Jesus removed the barrier that sin had built between us.  He renewed the relationship that God had intended in the Garden of Eden.

That’s what makes Christianity so great.  While so many religions are based on what some dead “prophet” interpreted as “the way.”  Christianity is based on “The Way” (John 14:6) reaching down, and becoming personally involved with us.

Now the task before us is to share Christ.  We can’t be like Eve and let flashy talk confuse us, and we cannot be like Adam, standing silent and allowing ourselves to be lead into sin.  We are to use that personal relationship with God, to get to know God; so that we are not lead into confusion and tricked into following someone else’s version of religion.