In this week’s sermon we explored Genesis 3 and the tragic story of the fall. We considered the conversation between Eve and the serpent, and the way the serpent led up to his Big Lie in Gen. 3:4: “You will not surely die.”
Now right at that point, right after hearing the serpent flatly contradict the word of God, what should Eve have said, had she been thinking clearly?
She should have said, “Why are you talking to me about this? My husband is the one who heard the command from God. Let me go find him.”
But Eve didn’t do that. Instead, she allowed the serpent to assume leadership over her.
Eve also should have said, “Why should I believe you instead of God? Who are you? You’re an animal. I’m suppose to have dominion over you. Why should I listen to your version of the story instead of God’s? Why would I ever doubt that God has given me the truth?”
But Eve didn’t say that. Eve laid down her charge to have dominion over the animals. And she decided to listen to a source of truth other than God. And then she decided that she could weight and evaluate the claims of God herself. She decided to consider the possibility that God was either lying or didn’t know as much as this serpent. And she decided to trust herself, instead of God, as a reliable judge of these matters.
Eve should have said, “I trust God. I trust He loves me. I trust that He would not withhold anything good from me or command me to do anything not good for me.”
But she didn’t do that. She doubted God’s wisdom and love and care for her.
Eve should have said, “There is no way I can be more like God than I already am through my own attainments. God is the Creator. I’m something He created. It’s ridiculous to think that I could become like Him through things that I would do. And why would I want to? I’m content for Him to be God, and for me to be me.”
But she didn’t say that. She bought into the idea that she and God were equal players, and that she could work up to His level on her own. And that this was somehow a good idea to pursue. She wasn’t content to trust God. She wanted to be God.
Eve should have said, “God said not to do this. I may not understand everything perfectly, but I don’t want to disobey him. I don’t want to hurt my relationship with Him by doing what he doesn’t want me to do. And besides, that tree isn’t mine. It’s his. I don’t get to take something that doesn’t belong to me.”
But she didn’t. She gave no thought to God or how this would impact her relationship with Him. She disobeyed and she stole.
When you lay it out like that, when you really break down the levels of the decision that Eve was making here, it seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? It’s insane that she would survey all of this and say, “Nope, I’m going to do my thing. I’m going to trust this serpent instead of my Creator.”
But here’s the rub: she didn’t survey all of this and come to a logical conclusion. Sin doesn’t work that way. Nobody sins because of a logical assessment of the facts. Like we saw on Sunday, the answer to the question “what was she thinking?” is, “she wasn’t.” Verse 6 tells us that Eve was driven to eat the fruit because of lust. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate” (Genesis 3:6).
And so it was Eve’s desire for the fruit which made the serpent’s ridiculous lie seem believable—just like the sluggard of Proverbs 22:13, whose sinful desire to avoid work makes the fantasy of a lion in the street seem plausible. This is what Romans 1:18 calls “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.” It is the illogical, truth-twisting, soul-destroying sin we are all captive to—apart from the saving work of God in our heart.
May this knowledge of the subtlety of sin cause us to heed the powerful warning of Hebrews 3:12-13: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”