If you don’t know the story about Adam and Eve and their run-in with a serpent, you might want to grab the nearest Bible and start reading. If you don’t, the rest of this post might not make sense.
Bear with me for a moment, because I want you to be mentally prepared to look at an old story in a new way.
Here’s a question for you: How many of each animal went on the ark?
Think you know? Did you say two? Well, you’re wrong. Read Genesis 7:2-3 and then tell me. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Okay, so there were 7 pairs of clean animals and either 2 or 2 pairs of each unclean animal. (The way the Hebrew is structured, I lean toward 2 pair. But I wasn’t there. I don’t know.) Either way, there were more than just 2 of each animal. AND Noah knew what clean and unclean was waaayyyy before Leviticus.
See? You’ve already learned something.
Now. Here we go.
Just in case you’re a little rusty, let me back up and do a little review for you.
God told Adam* to eat of every tree in the garden, but not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Right after God tells him this, He has Adam name every living creature and see which one he will pick for his counterpart. He can’t find one. So, God has him fall into a deep sleep and creates Eve out of his rib.
Now, Adam realized the thing about the fruit was important, because it was the only fruit he couldn’t eat. He didn’t want to even touch it…he wanted to make sure he did what God said. I guess he tells Eve not to eat from – or even touch – the tree with the special fruit. OR he scares her so bad about eating it that she resolves not to even touch it. Either way, God didn’t say they couldn’t touch the fruit. That rule was added by one of them*.
The very next part is about about the serpent, or nahash, which the Bible says is the “craftiest” of all the creatures. Some translations say “most cunning”, “most subtle”, or “wisest”. We also know that the serpent can talk and that, for the time being anyway, he walks. Kinda sounds…like a human.
Moving on…the serpent then gets Eve to say that she can’t eat from , or even touch, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The serpent tells Eve something like: “If you eat the fruit, you’ll be like God and know the difference between good and evil.” This is not a lie. What the serpent says is true. Read Genesis 3:22.
Now my question is this: Would you punish your child if they did something they didn’t know was wrong? No. You wouldn’t. You don’t punish someone for doing something they didn’t know was wrong. God, the merciful being he is, wouldn’t either. But in this story, everyone was punished. Severely. Adam, Eve, and the serpent were punished for life. And not just them…all the generations after them. You and I, even.
God told them not to eat from the tree, so they knew they should not eat from the tree. The serpent knew they were not supposed to eat from the tree. Everyone knew it was wrong to eat from the tree. They were even adding rules to what God said to avoid being around the tree. So…what would be the big deal if they ate from the tree if they already had an idea of right and wrong?
Well, I think it might be that their knowledge of right and wrong and good and evil changed. Right/Wrong and Good/Evil are different. If you view things as right and wrong, that’s putting a “nice filter” on disobeying rules or societal norms. If you view things as good and evil, and apply that to your eternal salvation…that’s a lot deeper. That’s how God views it, right? Lying to someone isn’t just “wrong” in God’s eyes – it’s evil.
Can you see where I’m going with this?
Now, I may be totally wrong. It happens. Daily. But I think to make it seem like Adam and Eve didn’t know that what they were doing was wrong, puts the story in the wrong light. They knew. And we know they knew because they were punished. Again, if they knew about about right and wrong, then what would be the big deal about eating from the tree? It had to give them an insight they didn’t have…it had to push their knowledge of just how big God was and what the consequences would be of them not obeying Him.
Just think about it.
*Here’s some other things to think about:
– Adam is called “the man” and Eve (Chava) is called “the woman” until AFTER they eat the fruit. Why? What does that mean about their relationship with God?
– Adam not even touching the tree was, perhaps, the first fence law. Now “fence laws” get a bad rap – they aren’t bad. They are there to protect something that is important. The thing you have to remember is that the fence is not more important than what you are protecting. We do this with our kids all the time. I’m sure you can think of 3,452,941 examples of this.
– That’s all. This isn’t a sermon, silly. Just trying to make you think a little. Have a good one!
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