Story of the Bible: The Fall

The first two chapters of the Bible give us a picture of a world that's perfectly designed by God and perfectly in line with his will and character. People live in the way they're meant to live, and all the ingredients of the natural world are in harmony.

But the writer of Genesis knows very well that this isn't the world we live in. He knows all about war, famine, hard labour, disease and death. There's a twist in the world, and it has to come from somewhere.

That picture of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit is full of meaning. Eve listens to the serpent asking, 'Did God say...?' – the first temptation is to doubt what God commands.

Things go from bad to worse. They try to hide from God. Adam blames Eve for what he's done, and Eve blames the serpent, when in fact, both of them are responsible. They even try to hide from each other: before the Fall, they are naked and not ashamed, but after it there's a barrier between male and female. It's after the Fall that Adam gives Eve a name, just as he's previously named the animals; it's a sign of him beginning to dominate her, as men have so often sinfully dominated women throughout history. 

Everything that happens in Genesis 3 happens all the time. People do wrong and try to blame other people for it. They're ashamed and try to hide. Relationships between men and women are fractured and dysfunctional. Most of all, people don't listen to what God says about how to live, imagining that they know better.

Eve saw 'how wonderful it would be to become wise' (verse 6) and ate the forbidden fruit. The best way to be wise is to pay attention to what God commands, and to accept that he knows best. But we're still at the beginning of the Bible story: as it continues to unfold, we find that God never abandons us and that he's always willing to forgive.

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