Genesis 2:15-25

Eve was the first and only woman to come into the earth by creation from the side of a man. (Genesis 2:22) Adam named her Eve because her name means "mother of all living" and that is what she became. (Genesis 3:20)

God had a very definite reason for creating Eve. Previously, He had created many other living beings: birds, fish and animals of all kinds. He had brought them all to Adam so that he could name them. In Hebrew thinking, names were always more than just labels for someone. A name was intended to identify or describe some essential element of character. Genesis 2:20 records that none of the animals was suitable to be a "helper" or companion for Adam. He had studied each one and considered its characteristics but was unable to form a close relationship with any of them that matched the kind of relationship that God enjoyed with His Son and the Holy Spirit.

God declared that it was not right for Adam to be on his own in this way. (Genesis 2:18) So He created the most perfect companion for Adam, taken from the place closest to his heart. (Genesis 2:22) Eve was a human being, just like Adam, made in the image of God with intelligence, emotions and a spirit that responded to God's own Spirit. Physically, they were similar but different in their sexuality. Together they enhanced the ability of humanity to fill and subdue (manage) the earth and all its creatures. Eve had strengths and abilities that Adam lacked whilst he was able to provide protection and support for her in other ways. Like Adam, Eve had a personal relationship with her Father, God, and obeyed Him very willingly. Everything she saw around her was perfect. All the beauty was new and refreshing. The air she breathed was pure and unspoiled and the water she drank was clear and sparkling. Her marriage relationship was perfect and she had great joy, peace and love. Even the animals lived harmoniously with all others. Eve had everything she could ever want, far more abundantly than she could even think. (Ephesians 3:21)

Genesis 3:1-20

But, for love to be real, choices must be made. God wanted human beings to have the same depth of loving relationship that He enjoyed, but high standards carry heavy responsibilities. Could humanity pass the test? Would they recognise their limitations and look to God, their Father, for help or would they try to go it alone? The snake in Genesis represents humanity's adversary and so it was given the name "Satan" (meaning "adversary" or "enemy"). In chapter three, we read that the snake approached Eve and invited her to join its rebellion. But it was, we read, "more crafty than any of the other wild animals the LORD God had made". It was underhand and deceitful, casting doubt on God's love for her and Adam by questioning God's motives and honesty.

The snake's attack was directed towards the one rule that God had given to Adam & Eve. It concerned one particular tree, in the centre of the garden where they had been placed, which God said they were to leave alone. God hadn't given any explanation for this rule, but the snake is happy to supply one: "When you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil". (Genesis 3:5) This is the heart of the matter. Will Adam & Eve be content to trust that there are some things which are beyond their understanding, that their Father will look after for them, or will they be tempted to go it alone?

The fruit looks just as appetising as any of the other fruit they have tried; it looks perfectly safe to eat and their new friend has assured them that it's not poisonous; but wouldn't it be great to be like God Himself? Eve is convinced. She takes some fruit and eats it. Then she offers some to her husband who says nothing, sees no danger, takes no time to stop and think, but happily eats some as well.

Two trees

It quickly became apparent that knowing about both good and evil was a much greater burden than either of them had anticipated. The first change was in their relationship with one another. It was no longer a free and easy relationship; they started to hide things from each other and God. They became afraid of their Father and tried to run away from Him. When they were forced to face Him, they each blamed the other for their choices, but God held them each accountable for the decisions they had made. From that point on, Eve’s life became difficult and hard. She lost her home in paradise. Her perfect marriage became a trial because her husband ruled over her. As for her precious sons (who she had suffered great pain giving birth to), Cain eventually murdered his brother. The whole earth was under a curse and mankind realised that physical life was not for ever; worse than that, they had become spiritually separated from God. Death was indeed the consequence of eating from the tree that God had told them to leave alone.

Too late, they understood that eating fruit from "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" had prevented them from eating fruit from a second tree: "the tree of life". We all have the same choice to make today as Eve had. Do we eat from "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" or from "the tree of life"? What are the consequences of eating fruit from these trees?

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil

  • We know about God but we do not know Him personally. (1 John 1:6)
  • We have "stinking thinking". (Romans 8:6-8)
  • It produces death. (Psalm 38:4)
  • We are in danger from "hollow and deceptive philosophy". (Colossians 2:8)
  • We live by our own understanding, not by faith. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • We look for our own (unsuccessful) ways of atoning for sin. (Jeremiah 2:22)

The tree of life

  • We know God intimately. (Romans 8:16)
  • We live on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Proverbs 1:33)
  • We have to reprogram our thinking. (Romans 12:2)
  • We find spiritual life and peace. (John 14:15-27)
  • We are guided by faith, even when things don’t make sense. (John 14:12-13)
  • Jesus is our head. (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18)
  • We "lose our own mind", but "have the mind of Christ". (Philippians 2:5)
  • God speaks directly to us. (Hebrews 3:7-8)

Eating from the tree of life

When we are faced with a problem but choose to live by faith, we can go about resolving things in an entirely different way.

  • We can start by getting God’s thoughts on our situation. (Isaiah 55:8) We do this by "entering His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise" (Psalm 100) In other words, we deliberately turn away from the relentless, often emotional, tirade of thoughts and feelings about the problem and remind ourselves of who God is and how much He loves us. We remind ourselves of what He has done (1 John 3:4-6) and has promised to do in our own lives. Gradually, we find ourselves turning away from the problem and focusing instead on God. Then, when we come to a place of peace, we can worship God for Who He is and we experience "fullness of joy". (Psalm 16:11) At that point, the Holy Spirit can begin to show us God’s thoughts and direction. The demonic forces of the enemy will run from the presence of almighty God and leave us alone.
  • We then have to receive God’s word just like a seed in pregnancy: receive it, feed it, nurture it, protect it, speak life over it and, in the fullness of time, it will appear in the physical realm. At the beginning of pregnancy, nothing seems to change much, but there is a lot happening out of normal sight. If we have doubts, we can even use that to our advantage. When the voice of the enemy whispers that nothing is happening, or that everything is going wrong, we can remember that no truth comes out of his mouth. If we want the truth, we should look for the promises laid out for us in God's word.
  • Move from one position of faith to the next. (James 1:5-8) When we are double-minded (because the word of God tells us one thing and our situation tells us another), we need to continue trusting His word and to continue worshipping Him. Eventually, we shall come to the place where our mind is completely renewed and we start to think spiritually in every area of our lives. (Romans 12:2) Then we shall be "eating from the tree of life" - in just the same way that Jesus lived His life on earth. Because God is continually wanting to strengthen our ability to live by faith, we can expect to meet problems regularly. This is not a failing on our part but an encouraging sign that God is very much at work in our lives. For the same reason, we can expect that not all our problems are going to be resolved immediately (or even within a few days or weeks). Sometimes, God may test our faith over a long period of time. Let's resolve to persevere and not give up!

An analysis of sin taking root

Some sinful behaviours can happen when we are catapulted into a situation for which we have been totally unprepared and react without thinking or taking time to ask God for help. Other sins may follow a slow but deadly progression. For example:

  1. We hear somebody question or misquote what God has said. (Genesis 3:1)
  2. We reply and enter into discussion (or argument) with the person. (Genesis 3:2)
  3. Ideas or suggestions are made that effectively add to what God has actually said. (Genesis 3:3)
  4. At some point, the enemy's influence becomes apparent as what God has said is directly contradicted. (Genesis 3:4)
  5. The enemy suggests some eminently reasonable justification for us to act independently. (Genesis 3:5)
  6. A strong appeal is made to our senses or, perhaps, our reasoning - whatever plays to our strengths. (Genesis 3:6)
  7. Once a decision has been taken and a sin committed, there are always consequences. (Genesis 3:6)
  8. Very often, others are drawn in and also affected by our sin. (Genesis 3:6-10)
  9. There can be an immediate temptation to "hide" from God by not praying, reading His word or going to church. (Genesis 3:8)
  10. When faced with the consequences of our action, we often start playing the "blame game". (Genesis 3:12-13)
  11. There is always loss as a result of sin. (Genesis 3:23-24)
  12. But remember! Jesus’ victory is available to us at every step. (Genesis 3:15)

The truth will set us free

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)

"Therefore, if any are in Christ, they are new creations; the old has gone; the new has come. All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)

"He does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For, as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the East is from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:10-12)

"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be strong, take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:13-14)

"I will heal their waywardness. I will love them lavishly. My anger is played out." (Hosea 14:4 - The Message version)

"The foolishness of man subverts his way [ruins his affairs]; then his heart is resentful and frets against the Lord." (Proverbs 19:3 - Amplified version)

"For who has known or understood the mind [the counsels and purposes] of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ [the Messiah] and do hold the thoughts [feelings and purposes] of His heart." (1 Corinthians 2:16 - Amplified version)

"In Him we have redemption [deliverance and salvation] through His blood, the remission [forgiveness] of our offences [shortcomings and trespasses], in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favour, which He lavished upon us in every kind of wisdom and understanding [practical insight and prudence]." (Ephesians 1:7-8 - Amplified version)

"You have been given fullness in Christ. When you were dead in your sins, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins. And, having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (Colossians 2:9-15)

"For if because of one man’s trespass [lapse, offence] death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace [unmerited favour] and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the man Jesus Christ [the Messiah, the Anointed One]. Well then, as one man’s trespass [one man’s false step and falling away] led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for everyone." (Romans 5:17-18 - Amplified version)

"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6)

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