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Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly and you will east dust all the days of your life.

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

(Genesis 3:1–7; 14–15; 21–24)

This part of the story begins the human struggle, the suffering and pain, and the destruction of the harmony and peace that once existed. As we read it, something in us hurts. We wish—now that we have experienced our own sin and struggle—that Adam and Eve would have trusted God’s goodness instead of believing the serpent’s lies. We wish that we would trust God’s goodness. We long for wholeness in ourselves, in our relationships, and in our world. Even in the midst of Adam and Eve’s bold disobedience, though, God foreshadowed his plan of redemption by declaring that he would take care of evil and inviting Adam and Eve back into relationship with him by providing them clothes with the skins of an animal.

Reflection Questions

  • Imagine yourself as a bystander in this scene in the garden. What would you want to say to Adam and Eve as they began to fall for the serpent’s lies?
  • After reading this passage, what do you know to be true of God? (List out what he did and what his actions reveal about him.) Why do you think it’s important to remember and recount the fall as part of the story?
  • Reflect on a time you were tempted to distrust God’s goodness—that he had your best interests in mind. What lies did you believe? What was actually true?

Prayer

God, forgive me for the times I have distrusted your goodness and given into the lie that you don’t have my best interests in mind as you guide and lead me. Help me to know your truth, especially in moments of temptation or weakness. Remind me of your goodness and give me the strength to trust you. Amen.