So, when last we talked about this topic, I believe I left off with how, when I started to prepare to teach on Genesis 1-3, I was interested, but not invested. So, Josh, you may ask, how did you become so invested in this story? Well, that dear friend, is what we are here to talk about today.
For those unfamiliar with the story, here's where we find ourselves: In Genesis 1, God creates everything. Everything including us. And according to Him, it was all sweet. That is, until he got to us, then it was very sweet. What follows in Genesis 2 is a more detailed account of God creating the first person, Adam, and then his wife, Eve. The Bible says in verse 25, that God created Adam and Eve naked, and they felt no shame.
So this is the first place where my attention was grabbed. Why did God create them naked? Why is it that they were not embarrassed or felt no shame because of that?
Let's tackle the naked issue first. Yes, God created Adam and eve physically naked. But were they JUST physically nude? My guess is no. I think that their physical nakedness was an outward sign of an inward condition.
At this point in their life, Adam and Eve had nothing to hide. (Let that sink in.)
They had nothing to hide from God or from each other. Their relationship with God and with each other was completely open. They shared everything. They were free to completely be who God made them to be.
Have you ever had a friend who you could just completely be yourself around? How does that feel? It's like taking in that first big gulp of breath as you come up from under water. It's just that refreshing. Adam and Eve had that every minute of every day with each other and with God. It must have been amazing...
So God puts them in a garden that he planted and gives them a job, a diet, and a rule.
Job: Take care of everything that I have created.
Rob Bell says that we can see here that it is in the nature of a person to be an environmentalism.
Diet: At this point God limits Adam and Eve to a vegetarian diet. He says that they can eat from any fruit-bearing tree or seed-bearing plant. It isn't until after the flood in Genesis 7 that God grants them permission to eat animals.
Rule: Eat from every tree except "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil".
What's cool here; is that God doesn't just give them a rule, but he tells them why he's giving them this rule. He says to them that if they eat from this tree, or even touch it, they will die.
So far we know that Adam and Eve live in paradise. It's paradise for three reasons:
1. They have an intimate, close, completely free, naked relationship with the maker of the entirety of existence.
2. They have a healthy, sharing, nothing-to-hide naked relationship with each other.
3. God had provided everything that they could ever need in very close physical proximity to them.
In Genesis 3 we can really see where choosing our way over God's way can cost us.
So Eve is tricked by the serpent into eating the fruit from the forbidden tree. He convinces her that God doesn't want her to eat it, not because she will die, but because God knows it will make her just like him. And God doesn't want that. So Eve eats the fruit. She gives some to Adam, and he eats it.
The Bible says that, as soon as they eat the fruit, their eyes were opened, they realized that they were naked, and they covered themselves with fig leaves.
This is the first time in human history that people hid from each other. We haven't stopped yet...
So, the Bible says that they heard the sound of God coming through the garden. So they hide. Again. This is the first time in history that people tried to hide from God.
I'm so glad people have changed.
So God calls out for them, "Where are you?" God is searching for them, he's seeking them out.
So Adam pops out and says, "We heard you coming. But we were naked, so we got scared. So we hid."
And God asks a question that for some reason continues to echo through my thoughts. "Who told you that you were naked?"
So Adam says to God, "The woman that YOU put here gave me the fruit."
Adam blames someone else for his sin. His mistake. Does that sound like us?
So God asks Eve, "What have you done?"
Eve says to God, "The serpent tricked me!" Eve made an excuse for her sin. Does that sound like us?
So God disciplines Adam and Eve by banishing them from Paradise. They lost the garden, but what's even sadder is that, because they chose to go their way instead of God's, they lost that naked relationship they had with God and with each other.
We've been trying to get back to that ever since...
I became so heavily invested in these stories because I see my self in them. We like to think that we're better than Adam and Eve. That we would have done different. We would never have disobeyed and lost something so precious. Yes we would. We do everyday. We make that same choice everyday. We hide. We lie. We blame others. We make excuses. This is our story.
This is why God began work to bring back that naked relationship.
This is why God sent Jesus...