Adam throws Eve under the bus

Category : Genesis, faith

Sadly, throughout much of history, Eve has been blamed for eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and causing Adam & Eve to be kicked out of the garden.  This has been used to justify a lot of things against women.  Certainly Eve bears responsibility for eating the fruit.  She knew just as well as Adam that God had forbidden it.

But who’s fault was the “fall” really?

Look closer at Genesis 3: 6-12. Adam was standing right next to Eve.  At any point he could have stepped in and said, “you know Serpent, that’s not really what God said.”  He could have even said, “Eve, I have a bad feeling about this.  Let’s ask God next time we see him.”

Almost anything Adam would have done would have been better than what he did.  Which was nothing.

Adam stood by and watched.  He gave up all the authority God had given him and simply sat by.

Adam knew all along what was at stake.  But it was easier for him to sit by.  Oh, and for the record, at Adam’s first chance to tell the truth to God, he threw Eve under the bus.  Would things have turned out differently if Adam had said, “God, this is my fault, I didn’t do anything.  I knew better.  I’m sorry.  Forgive me.”  Who know’s.  But Adam chose to be passive the whole time – and for that, he was kicked out of the Garden.

This is part two in a five part series on the dangers of passivity in the kingdom. It was also featured as part of “The Daily” a short devotional geared toward helping people develop regular habits of reading the Bible.  If you would like to subscribe to The Daily, you can do so here. Photo provided by flickr user Barbra L. Hanson.

the dangers of passivity – Adam & Eve

Category : Genesis, faith

We live in a world where there’s a lot of choices.  Who should I marry?  Is this job right for me? Can I really eat a dozen donuts? In the midst of all of that, we can easily wonder what we should do.  We can become frozen by our fears, our doubts, and even the excitement of what’s to come.  Frankly we can wish for a “simpler time” or “clear choices.”

But would that really help?

Adam & Eve had it all.  They had an awesome place to live.  Probably some sweet beach front property.  They loved their jobs (naming animals and taking care of Eden).  And Eve was literally created for Adam.  (There was no need to rely on e-harmony to figure out that one).  Life was pretty good.

But they still found themselves struggling with a choice: to eat the fruit or not.  Instead of actively choosing to follow God, they passively stood by and listened to the serpent.  “Of course God didn’t really mean that you’d die” he said.  They knew better.  But it was easier (and more exciting) to go along with the serpent than take an active stand.  And by giving up their choice for passivity – they made the worst possible decision.  And thus, were kicked out of the garden.

Nothing good ever happens when we passively sit in God’s Kingdom.

This is part one in a five part series on the dangers of passivity in the kingdom. It was also featured as part of “The Daily” a short devotional geared toward helping people develop regular habits of reading the Bible.  If you would like to subscribe to The Daily, you can do so here.  Photo provided by flickr user Barbra L. Hanson.

Adam and Eve and original sin

Category : Genesis, God, different, failure, faith, sin

……….

And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2: 16-17)

Adam and Eve had one rule: don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

That’s it.

And although that was the only rule, they just couldn’t help themselves.  They went ahead and did it anyway.  Sometimes I wonder how quickly it took before they made it to the fruit.  Part of me thinks it happened right away.  I know that when I’m told I can’t do something, that’s the one thing I want to do.  Is that an attitude I inherited from Adam?  Or has it just always been part of who we are as a species?  I don’t know.  But I know that urge is strong.  So maybe they got dropped off in the garden and then started eating forbidden fruit right away.

On the other hand, Adam had a lot of work to do.  There were a lot of animals to be named.  Adam of course did a good job with that.  Well, maybe with the exception of “platypus.”  So perhaps he was just too busy to go off eating forbidden fruit.

Eventually though, Adam and Eve turned toward that tree.  The one thing they weren’t allowed to touch they went after.  Satan knew exactly how to attack them.  He convinced them that God was holding out on them.  So they ate that fruit, and we’ve been paying for it ever since.

It can be easy to believe God wants us to be perfect.  But I’m not sure that’s his goal.  Perfection would mean we were God ourselves (because God is perfect).  And I don’t think that’s what God is going for.  God’s commands to Adam and Eve weren’t about perfection, they were about freedom.  They were about doing whatever they wanted – with one exception.

In fact, God’s first words to Adam were “you are free”.

Yet Adam and Eve still committed sin.  The original sin.  And we’ve never stopped sinning.  If Adam and Eve only had one thing they couldn’t do, what chance do you and I have to not sin?  The answer is “none.”  We will sin no matter how hard we try not to.

There’s part of me that is bothered by that realization.  I want to be perfect and not sin.  But that’s missing the point.  Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, perfection isn’t an issue.  We are perfect through him.  God isn’t expecting us to be more perfect.  He’s created a way to experience perfection while still making mistakes.

That’s just one of the many amazing and clever things God has done in his relationship with humanity.

Ultimately God is more interested in us growing closer to him than striving for perfection.  He knows that over time we will naturally sin less simply because we are connected with him.  This fact lives in tension with our culture.  We, as a society, believe in  the importance of “manning up.”  But that’s not what God wants.  He doesn’t want us to try harder.

The only thing that will do is cause us to fall down.

Sin may always be part of your life, but it doesn’t have to rule it.

knowledge of good and evil

2

Category : Genesis, God, living a life of faith, sin

……….

It seems that we are in a constant search for freedom.  We want to be free; we long to be free.  Yet we always seem to end up in bondage.  This weekend Steve McNair (who always seemed to have a knack of beating my beloved Steelers) was murdered.  The police aren’t saying exactly what happened, but from early reports it looks like it is a murder suicide (or possibly a double murder).  It also appears that McNair was having an affair with a young woman.

Now if this is all true (and it appears to be) my question is simple.  Why?  Why did McNair feel the need to be with someone other than his wife?  Was it because he felt trapped?  Was it because he wanted the freedom of sexuality?  Because it sure looks like what he got wasn’t freedom, but pain and suffering.

When God created Adam and Eve he gave them one command, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2: 16-17)

Adam and Eve had complete freedom.  They could have any fruit but one.  Yet they couldn’t resist that tree.  And they exchanged their freedom for suffering.

They thought God was holding out on them.  They thought that rule was silly, and just God being insecure and maybe even a jerk.  They thought they knew better than the person who created them.  They thought they could violate the one rule God set forth.

Have you noticed how we didn’t get knowledge of good, we just got knowledge of evil?

Adam and Eve already had complete freedom.  They already had a perfect relationship with God.  They were even soul mates.  They lived in comfort.  They were provided for.  They lived without fear and guilt.  What they got wasn’t knowledge of good – they already knew that just by looking around.  What they got was knowledge of what it means to suffer.

Steve McNair is no different than any of us.  We all sacrifice our freedom for temptations.  For some of us we give up freedom of heatlh to feed an eating disorder or drug addiction.  Some of us give up freedom of love to experience the bondage of lust and pornograhpy.  Whatever it is – we are all exactly like Steve McNair – vulnerable to temptation, because we think God is holding out on us.

As you go about your week, remember this story.  Don’t sacrifice your freedom for bondage.

retirement

Category : Genesis, God, bible, faith, taking action

  

Abraham was 75 years old when God showed up and said, leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)

Think about that for a second.  75.  Most of us are hoping to be long retired by then.  And here God was taking a man and changing the course of human history.  Apparently the excuse “I’m too old” or “I’m too tired” or even “Haven’t I worked hard enough already?” doesn’t hold much weight with God. 

doing it my way

Category : Genesis, God, faith, trust

  

It’s hard to trust God.  Partly because we don’t believe that the promises he makes us are going to happen.  “God’s a busy guy, he’s probably just distracted” we tell ourselves.

And so we do it our way.

We take matters into our own hands instead of waiting for what God has promised.  At least this is what happened to a guy named Abraham.  The Bible tells us Abraham and his wife couldn’t have children.  In fact they were actually too old to have children by the time God got around to making his promises. (Genesis 12:4)

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem like a promising start to me.

On top of that, it took 25 years for God to fulfill his promise.  But Abraham didn’t know it was going to take that long.  So after waiting about 10 years he got impatient.  (10 years is more than generous, right?)  And decided it would be a good idea to sleep with his servant.  A perfectly acceptable thing to do in that time.  But it wasn’t what God wanted him to do.

We want to do things our way, because at least we can see what we’re doing.  We figure where there’s movement there’s progress.  But that’s not really the case is it?  Sometimes all that movement means we’re just stuck on the treadmill and can’t get off.

So often forcing the issue with God makes things worse.  I’m sure Abraham thought it was a good idea to sleep with his servant.  This way at least he had some kind of heir.  Heck, his wife was the one who suggested it.  But this just isn’t the way we were designed to live.

And so there were consequences.

Interestingly the first person to be affected by this decision was his wife – who became jealous.  The second to be affected were the child and mother.  The third: Israel itself, because Ishmael and his sons “lived in hostility toward all their brothers.”  (Genesis 25:18)For those of you scoring at home, that’s pretty much the hat trick for bad decisions. 

Why is it that we try to force God’s hand?  We convince ourselves that we know better.  And we plow on ahead, even when, deep down, we know better. 

Sometimes we just have to take him at his word, and wait.

Which brings us back to the beginning: it’s hard to trust God.  Not just because we don’t trust God; because even when we trust him, waiting is so difficult for us.  Fortunately for us, God always follows through in his promises, just like he did for Abraham.