He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” -Genesis 3:1
“Has God really said?” This reverberates through our lives today —around every corner is a challenge to God’s word. The comedian who blasphemes God and then says, “where’s the lightening?” The popular book that claims the Bible is all a made up lie? The college professor who says life came from nothing?
“Has God really said?”
Satan’s words to Eve attack God’s word the same way.
There is no record of Eve being told of this commandment by God —so we must assume Eve received the commandment from Adam, the same way we receive God’s Word through others.
“Did God really say that?”
Are the Scriptures for real? Were they carried through the centuries accurately, or were parts added, and subtracted?
“Did Adam really tell you what God said? He just wants all the power for himself.”
Is there a nub of truth in the Scriptures that’s been modified to give one person power over another? What about “liberation theology,” or “feminist theology,” or… ? How do we know people are telling us the truth?
“Did you really hear what God said? Maybe you just misunderstood, or maybe Adam misunderstood.”
Since everyone who reads the Scriptures comes out with a different understanding, how do you know your beliefs are right? Don’t you need a church, or a pastor, or someone with really special training, to explain the Scriptures to you?
Eve’s response? She modifies what God actually said —presumably in an attempt to show she really does know what God said, and as a weak attempt to defend God’s character. Satan pushes back, of course, attacking God’s character as well as God’s word.
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. -Genesis 3:4
Not only might God have spoken in a riddle, instead of plainly, and not only might you have misunderstood because you can’t understand, and not only is it possible something was lost in transmission, but you can’t trust God anyway.
There’s nothing more damaging to a relationship than a failure of trust.
What does Eve teach us?
First, that we need to learn what God said. This isn’t just about God’s commandments, but also his promises —we need to learn that we can trust God’s character, not just obey because we should obey.
Second, we need to trust what God says. Once we know God, we need to trust that his way is better than ours, his commandments aren’t radical but reasonable, and his truth is the real truth.
Christians often think about sin, avoiding sin, what sin does in their lives, etc. But we rarely think about the process of sin —how does temptation work? In this series of posts on reading Genesis 3:17 I’m going to talk about four different possible ways to see the process of Eve’s acceptance of Satan’s invitation to sin: obedience/disobedience, challenge to God, need/fulfillment, and the dialectic process.