Read: Genesis 3
Adapted from Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God by Gloria Furman, © 2016, pp. 46-49. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.
Living by every word that comes from the mouth of God was Adam and Eve’s privileged task and ontology, or reality. God speaks, and mankind lives, by whatever it is that God has said. That’s reality. But you don’t have to read too far into Genesis until you are introduced to the message Confuser—God’s enemy. Satan wanted the story to be about him instead.
Satan entered the Serpent and Adam allowed him into God’s pristine garden, where no unholy thing dwelled. Adam allowed the Serpent to speak to Eve, his glorious coheir and vice-regent over all creation, and Satan hissed inklings of doubt into the woman’s ears, “Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?” (Gen. 3:1). The first hiss of doubt tricked the woman’s soul. Perhaps God’s words cannot be trusted. Perhaps there is a better word than God’s. Perhaps we should be the judge of God.
In Eve’s reply, we hear the arrogance of a legalist. She minimized the freedom God had given them to freely eat and answered the Serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:2). Next, she made up her own rule about not touching the fruit, and then she minimized God’s judgment from “You shall surely die,” to “Lest you shall die” (Gen. 3:3). Satan affirmed Eve’s doubts by saying, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4–5).
Meanwhile, Adam stood by, listening to God’s word being questioned, judged, twisted, and misapplied. He ought to have subdued the satanic Serpent and stepped on that snake’s head right then and there. Adam and Eve were already like God, and they trusted God to tell them what they needed to know. Who did this liar think he was, repudiating God and making his own counter-promises? Adam and Eve rejected God’s Word and rebelled against his rule.
How did God respond? God called out to his exposed, fallen children as they hid from him in the bushes. “Where are you?” God called to the man (Gen. 3:9). Can you hear God’s heartbeat of mercy in this question? In an act of mercy, he did not let them hide from him. God initiates.
We can read the dialogue between God and the man and the woman in Genesis 3:9–13. Their guilt is exposed in plain language, but instead of repenting before God, they blamed their rebellion on their circumstances. Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the Serpent. And so began the human legacy of avoiding the confession of our sin in a futile attempt to avoid the God who is everywhere and sees all things.
But God had mercy on us. Even in the pronouncement of his just judgments, we can hear God’s heartbeat of mercy. The Lord God cursed the Serpent and revealed his master plan to redeem his fallen children. Listen to this good news: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:15)
Did you hear the hope? Adam believed God’s promise of future grace, and in an act of faith he gave his wife a name that suited her. It was a name that was pregnant with hope: The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. (Gen. 3:20). Through her, the woman, the promised Serpent crusher would come!
1. Read Genesis 3. What lies do you think Eve believed about God? Are you living as if you functionally believing any of these lies?
2. Read Hebrews 2:14 and Revelation 20:1-3. How is this promise to Eve fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ? If you are in Christ, what hope does this give you about Satan and sin’s power over you now? And in eternity?