When people talk about the events described in Genesis 3, two particular plot points inevitably come up for question. The biggest one is obviously the conversation with a talking reptile. And the other is Eve’s (and especially Adam’s) passive and then active capitulation to it. Some of that questioning probably comes from the presumption that there is some length of time between Adam’s song of praise in chapter 2 and the arrival of the snake in the beginning of chapter 3. The romantic in me would love to believe that this was so – that Adam and Eve enjoyed at least a day or two of perfect intimacy with God and one another in, well, every possible sense. But the realists among us—those who’ve read ahead and know how the story unfolds—will be excused for arguing that the time between chapters 2 and 3 was probably only minutes. If this is the case, it offers a far more reasonable explanation for why both Eve and Adam seem so relatively nonplussed when a serpent starts engaging them in a little Q and A. Consumed by the glory around them, and especially the glory staring back at them, it’s possible that they are simply too preoccupied to take much notice of where that quiet voice was coming from.
How crafty indeed, then, is the serpent’s strategy to take the perfect inclinations of Eve’s heart in worship and being and turn them inside out. In just seconds, he draws her mind’s eye away from the expansiveness of all God has provided for her and onto the one small thing being withheld. Then, he infuses that one thing with a universe of meaning. It had never occurred to her to question any of God’s purposes. But suddenly there was a question and an answer and, better yet, an opportunity. Eve would be able to see more than she could presently see, know more than she was permitted to know, become even more than she already was. With her gaze now wrested from the generous expanse of all she’d been given and bound to the one thing she had not, Eve’s eyes were not being opened, as the serpent has promised. They were being blinded. And so were Adam’s.
Eve takes the fruit from the tree, eats it, and then turns to Adam and gives him the fruit to eat as well. And in the first of an eternity of ironies, this act of dependence, of receiving life, becomes an act of sinful independence and the beginning of death.
Cut off from their source of life and the right object of their worship, Adam and Eve now look for life and worship from other things. Including each other. Adam no longer sees in the glory of Eve the glory of God’s life giving, life nourishing character. He sees her as an ultimate source of nourishment in herself. Eve no longer sees in the glory of Adam the glory of the generative power of God, but as a god himself. Each will demand from the other what they were created to get only from God. Each will pour out on the other and themselves the consequences of those impossible demands. The image bearers have become both the idol and the idolator.
Separated from God, when we gaze at ourselves, we sense our glory but are blind to its source. We see its daily fading and can’t bear to accept it, let alone comprehend the reason for it. When we see men gaze at us, we see glory and worship, and we reflexively absorb it. From the first lie heard and received by our mother Eve, a hundred thousand more grow.
If I’m thinner, he’ll look at me.
If I’m fatter, he’ll stop looking at me.
If I have sex with him, he’ll stay with me.
If I let him hurt me, he won’t leave me.
My body is nothing.
My body is everything.
Just as the lie Eve believed birthed a thousand tragic consequences, so the lies we believe birth their own. Pornography, abuse, cutting, starvation diets – all of it consequences of worship gone wrong and sight turned into blindness.
Oh wretched women that we are, who will save us from our blindness and from these bodies of death?
Thanks be to God, through our Lord Jesus Christ…..
(To be concluded….)