A narrative meditation upon the imputation of Christ’s active and passive obedience, from Gen. 2:8–3:24. Audio from a sermon based on this post is available.
They were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.
They are in the midst of a garden paradise, recipients of the bountiful goodness of the Lord God. He had created them and placed them there with a blessing: ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’
Near to where they stand is the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Before the woman had been created, the Lord God had commanded the man concerning that latter tree, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’
Also in the garden is a serpent. He is more cunning than any beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
The serpent speaks. The woman listens.
‘Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’
An ostensibly innocuous question. And the woman has the answer, so she thinks.
She converses with the serpent.
‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”’
The woman overstates the prohibition.
Perhaps this is her error, or perhaps it was the fault of her husband when he relayed to her the Lord God’s command.
One of them, certainly, had added a hedge to God’s word – one tiny addition. For God had commanded the man not to eat of the tree’s fruit, but He had said nothing about not touching it.
(How easily we add to what God has spoken.)
With that one addition – oh how small and seemingly insignificant! – the woman opens the door to her adversary the Devil.
The serpent, liar and murderous deceiver that he is, assures the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’
And so the woman entertains temptation and gazes at the tree.
What a beautiful tree! How good it would be for food!
Enticed by her desire to become wise like God, she reaches out and takes its fruit.
(See, she is unharmed! The serpent was right! Surely there is no danger here.)
Having suffered no consequence from touching the fruit, she eats it. In contravention of God’s command, a fatal act.
The woman also gives to her husband, who is with her.
(Why has he not intervened to keep her from harm? Does he not see the danger?)
The man had heard the clear words of God’s voice forbidding him to eat this fruit. He had heard the Lord God’s prescient warning, ‘For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’.
In wilful, unbelieving rebellion against his Creator, the man raises the fruit to his lips and eats.