Lent, Year A, Week 1
Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7
Listen to the passage here:
I inherited a few tools from my Grandpa’s garage that still make absolutely no sense to me. The pliers with the weird hook. The wrench you squeeze to make two points jut out from the side. The weird turkey baster. I’m not sure if Grandpa was a mechanic or a turn-of-the-century dentist.
Yeah, I know what a screwdriver and a wrench are for, but to this day I’m still baffled by these weird upper-echelon tools. What they are meant to do is beyond me. I don’t use them per se. I just… look at them, shrug my shoulders, and move on to familiar and less handy territory. These brilliant tools are lost on my blissful ignorance, which I’m fine with.
If we don’t know what something is for, we miss out on brilliance and function. That’s what makes this passage from Genesis so important: by remembering our history from the beginning, we get a better understanding of just how brilliant the Gospel is. Until we know the problem, the solution seems out of place. Unless we come to grips with the sin of humanity, the Gospel has no context.
Think about this in relation to Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7. What, exactly, is the “problem” that the Gospel “fixes”?
2:15 – The Lord places us and purposes us. God, perhaps using his finger and thumb in a little pinching motion, puts Adam in the garden. Adam’s purpose is to work the garden and to take care of it. Back then, as now, people are designed to get things done. My hunch is that we’ve all had enough of the snow shoveling and would like a break, thank you, but most people have a really hard time doing absolutely nothing for long periods of time. Before and After pictures inspire us for a reason. As odd as it sounds, God has created us for the joyful maintenance of His creation. How often do you see the word “joyful” next to the word “maintenance”? To our fallen world ears, this sounds like laborious busywork, but in God’s perfect world, this was the essence of our existence: fellowship and co-creation/co-management with Him.
2:16 – God has created a perfect world, which includes human beings created in His image. God has free will; humans have free will. God gives us free will but also provides guard rails: enjoy the garden, but do not eat from the tree of good and evil. If you do, you’re toast. There’s no doubt that Adam knew the rules. In his free will, he was able to choose between obedience and disobedience. God has not created robots that are programmed to say yes. He has created humans who are able to choose the yes or the no. This is important.
3:1 – Here comes the serpent. The serpent is made by God. In fact, the serpent is a crafty beast, able to really pull a fast one on Adam & Eve merely by asking a few questions. “Did God really say…?” Note that Satan did not ask “what did God say?” Satan the snake knows the Word of God and will even quote it as a way of getting in.
3:2-3 – Eve tells the Serpent (as if he doesn’t know) the two sides of God’s command: enjoy all of it… except for this one. Eve quotes the consequence given by God: touch this and die. The claim of ignorance — “I didn’t know!” — simply won’t work in this scenario.
3:4 – The serpent twists the Word.
3:5 – The serpent speaks for God and makes Him sound like He’s holding back. The line of thinking goes like this: “Why would God do this to us? Is it because He doesn’t want us to have it as good as Him? Is it because He’s keeping secrets from us? I thought He was on my side!” From this Genesis 3 day on, we have been trying to attain equality with God. (Even Jesus didn’t do that— see Philippians 2:5-11).
3:6 – The woman saw. Her eyes were already opening. She could’ve run, but she saw what could be gained. Nutrition? Pleasure? Wisdom? Doesn’t God want these things for us? Adam took the bait, too. in their free will, they brought sin into the bloodline and into the world.
3:7 – Their eyes were opened. You would think that they would look around and see another dimension in God’s creation. You’d think that it would be like the Matrix, where Neo sees the DOS screen. You’d think that the heavens would open up and they would be able to jump from planet to planet in some kind of surreal adventure that couldn’t be experienced because God was holding back.
Indeed their eyes were opened… to their exposure. They felt the first twinge of shame and guilt, two elements that were never meant to exist on this earth. Their eyes were opened, and the first thing Adam and Eve did was make coverings for themselves.
Hear the fall of humanity as creation is fractured.
Remember: this is not how the story ends.