Please Pass the Pomegranate. Understanding the Nature of Sin in Genesis 3.

August 16, 2017 · 640 words · 4 minute read Thought   Sin   Adam and Eve   Satan   Eden   Genesis   Old Testament  

Just three chapters into the narrative of God's redemptive plan, we find Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, clothed with fig leaves, and damning themselves and their children to a life separated from God. There are two observations about the story in Genesis 3 that I wish to make which will help us better understand the nature of sin.

“The Devil Made Me Do It”?

First, consider who or what was involved in making Eve sin. One of the answers is clearly Satan in the form of the serpent (see Genesis 3:1). It is Satan who asks the infamous question “Hath God said…” and causes Eve to doubt the words of God. It is important to recognize, however, that Satan is not the only thing that drives Eve to sin. Notice Genesis 3:6:

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 desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

Driven by Satan to consider the fruit and question the validity of God’s words, something occurs within Eve herself that drives her to take the fateful bite. In this very first act of sin, Satan is certainly on stage guiding men to reject God, but we cannot blame it all on Satan. While Satan opened the door for lustful thoughts which rebel against God, it was Eve, lead by the lust in her heart, who strode confidently through the recently opened door.

Was God Holding Back?

The second observation from Genesis 3 which sheds some light on the essence of sin is that sin is willful and direct rebellion against God (regardless of whether we recognize it as such or not). Observe what is said in Genesis 2:9:

Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

It is not as though the trees in the Garden from which Adam and Eve could eat were sub-par relative to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is not like being given a bowl of cauliflower and being told not to eat the freshly-baked apple pie sitting on the kitchen counter. All of the trees from which Adam and Eve could eat were “pleasing to the sight and good for food”. God wasn’t holding out on Adam and Eve. He had generously provided everything they needed.

Consider, then, the gravity of Eve’s thoughts in Genesis 3:6. When Eve thinks to herself that “the tree [of the knowledge of good and evil] was good for food” and “a delight to the eyes”, Eve is surrounded by other trees that, according to God, match that same description (see Genesis 2:9). When she thinks to herself that the tree is “desirable to make one wise”, we must not forget that God was in the habit of walking in the Garden and, likely, interacting with Adam and Eve (see Genesis 3:8-9). This means that Adam and Eve would have had fellowship with God Himself; the source of all wisdom. Thus, the very things that were drawing Eve to the forbidden fruit were already provided for her by God. She just wanted those things apart from God.

I argue that in Genesis 3:6, Eve is essentially making the claim that satisfaction, beauty, and wisdom exist apart from God and outside the boundaries He has set. What is more, she demonstrates by her choice to take the fruit that the things which exist outside of the boundaries set by God are even more desirable than that which God has provided. In this sense, Eve’s first sin, and every sin since then, is more than just disobedience; it is sincere, willful, and strategic rejection of God, His provision, and His authority. The converse is that part of what it means to follow God is to find satisfaction in Him and what He has provided, but more on that later.