In the beginning. . . God created a garden that had every fruit tree, every berry bush, every food-producing plant. He decorated the garden with flowers. He was preparing a wonderland for the crown of His creation: man. He provided a mist from the ground to water everything. There were streams of fresh water for refreshment. There were rivers teeming with all kinds of fish. There were woodland animals and fowls in the air, a cocophany of sound to delight the ears. And when God had finished His earthly paradise, He pronounced it good and created two people to populate it and care for it. Everything was blissful and filled with wonder and joy–until. . .
One day a serpent arrived, cunning and crafty, a sly, cunning conman. His specialty was creating doubt about God and His word. When God left Adam and Eve in the garden there was only one rule they had to follow: just one: “Thou mayest eat of every tree in the garden; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which is planted in the middle of the garden, ye shall not eat. For in the day that ye eat thereof ye shall surely die.”
Adam and Eve had intended to obey. They loved God and He loved them. They had everything they could possibly want, including a close relationship with their Creator, who came to the garden every day and talked with them. But when the serpent arrived, he approached Eve first. He started the conversation. He looked her in the eye and said, “Did God tell you that you could eat of any tree in the garden?” He already knew the answer but he wanted to see what Eve would say. Eve replied, “We may eat of every tree in the garden, except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God said if we could neither eat of that tree, nor touch it, lest we die.”
I can almost hear that serpent’s laugh. “You shall not surely die. God knows that when you eat of that fruit, you will then know everything He knows. You will know good from evil. You will be like God.” Then he slithered away to watch the outcome of the little drama he started.
Adam believed God when He said they would die if they ate of that tree. Eve gave some of the fruit to Adam and they both ate. Adam (I believe) knew his wife was going to die and he didn’t want to be left alone. He loved her. So he ate the fruit with her. Once they ate the fruit they became aware of their nakedness and they sewed fig leaves to cover themselves. This was before they began having children. They were ashamed of their nakedness, even though there was no one else to see except themselves.
God came in the cool of the evening and cried out for them. Finally Adam answered, and said they were hiding. “Why are you hiding?” God asked. God knew, but it is important for us to confess our sins before we can receive forgiveness. “Because we were naked we hid ourselves,” Adam said.
God killed an animal, the first death in God’s creation, in order to make clothing of skins for Adam and Eve. Maybe He had to kill two animals; we don’t know. God first turned to the serpent and said, “Because you have done this (caused Eve to doubt God’s word, thus creating eternal havoc on earth), you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life, and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between her seed and thy seed,it shall bruise they head and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Then He looked at Eve and said, “And I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” This was the penalty for allowing herself to be deceived. It was not just for Eve, but for all women thereafter, because, regardless of intelligence and rationale, women are more easily influenced by their emotions than men.
Then God turned to Adam and said, “Because thou hast hearkened (listened) to your wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it ring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, til thou return unto the ground;for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Every illness, every trial, every problem we have in this life, is a result of our sin nature, which we are all born with, because of the first man and woman. God didn’t cause it; man did. But God has the antidote, the solution, the love, care, compassion, grace, and mercy to take care of all of it. He first provided it in the garden when He made the clothing of animal skins for Adam and Eve. He continuallly showed his grace and mercy throughout the Old Testament to the people who chose to love, worship and obey Him. As Creator, does He not have the right to bless those who love Him? How many of us show the same love and compassion to children outside our family as we do to our own children?
God sent His only BEGOTTEN son to take our punishment, and die on a cruel cross so that we could have access to God once more, and have fellowship with our Creator. God made a way. What we do with it is our decision. If everything was perfect we would all be so puffed up with ourselves we would see no need of a Savior and we would not acknowledge God. He allows us to have trouble so we will turn to Him for help. He is the one who has the all the answers, and He is the one most able to comfort us and strengthen us in times of trouble.