Today, I am reading and commenting on Genesis 1-3.
As I read the account of creation I struggle with reconciling it with scientific knowledge. There are two reasons for this. First, the language used here is much more figurative than a modern writer would use to describe the same events. Second, a lot of “scientific knowledge” is built on things which were “learned” when the assumptions made by those who discovered the “knowledge” were things which we now know to be completely false (Darwin lived at a time when most atheists believed that the universe had no beginning but had always existed). Ultimately for me, my understanding of creation relies on two things. The scientific interpretation of how the world began rests on the assumption that there is no God, so there must be some other explanation for how the universe came to be. In other passages the Bible clearly teaches that death entered the world when Adam sinned. As a result, I find that this account is more useful in living my life than that which is put forth by “Science”.
I find the account of the first sin to be the most instructive part of today’s passage, and a great way to start the year. My focus today is on something I do not recall anyone teaching on this passage mentioning. The serpent started his attempt to seduce Eve into sin with a straw man argument. As a result he set the stage for Eve (and Adam, who we are told a few verses later was right beside her) to think that God’s commands were unreasonable. The serpent’s opening statement was, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” Well, we know full well that God said no such thing. Indeed, God had said that they could freely eat the fruit of every tree in the Garden, except for one. And Eve did indeed tell the serpent that. But by making his opening argument the serpent had planted the idea that God’s command might not be in the best interest of Adam and Eve. Which is the basis for his very next argument.
The serpent made the argument that God forbade Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in order to keep them from becoming as powerful as He was. The serpent claimed that God gave that commandment in order to oppress them. Eve saw that the forbidden fruit looked good and accepted the serpent’s argument. It is worth noting that Adam was standing right next to her and did not come to God’s defense. Further, it never occurred to Adam or Eve to take the serpent’s argument to God and ask Him for a response. Adam and Eve accepted the serpent’s argument that eating the fruit would make them like God and never considered that that might not be a good thing, nor did they consider whether it was true. They never considered that having knowledge of evil served no useful purpose. Until they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they did not need to know how to tell right from wrong because they did not know how to do wrong.