The original sin in the Garden of Eden was born out of a conversation that led to comparison.
I really want to pick up the story where we left off, so again, I implore you to catch up with last week’s convo if you haven’t already. Now, if we were sharing a table at our favorite coffee spot, I’d have my Bible open to Genesis 3 so that we could look at this together. But since we’re not real-life talking, you might want to pop open a tab on your computer or open your own Bible to follow along. I won’t be quoting all the verses here, but I do want us to talk about it. Ok…ready to jump back into this?
When last we spoke, the serpent in the Garden of Eden asked Eve, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). Eve responds in verses 2 and 3 by explaining what God actually said versus the way the serpent twisted the truth. Now, I have mixed emotions about this. First, I love that Eve knew God’s words enough to recognize this discrepancy. But also, God doesn’t need us to explain Him. This is why Jesus’ response to a similar prodding of the devil in Matthew 4 is so important. He didn’t engage with this tomfoolery. He simply restated the Word of God and that was that. But I digress… back to the garden…
Do you recall what God named the tree from which Adam and Eve were not to eat? It was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This shows how merciful God truly is. He knows all about the good and evil that is constantly at war in the supernatural. And He knows that warfare is too much for us in our frail, human condition to withstand. In His mercy, He never wanted us to have to engage in that. We were created to delight in Him and linger with Him in perfection, not to fight. He has angel armies for that. He didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat from this tree because He didn’t want them to have to bear the weight of the knowledge of the battle between good and evil.
God doesn’t need us to explain Him.
Yet now, here we are, engaged in a fight none of us chose.
When difficulty comes our way, let’s not believe the lie that God is unkind. No, it was His love for us that tried to keep us from evil. It is because of His great love that Jesus bore our sin, that we would no longer be separated from Him. And it is His love for us that continues to fight evil on our behalf. He never withholds from us because He isn’t generous. Rather, He protects us by withholding that which will harm us.
Now we’ve made it to verses 4 and 5, the pinnacle of the story. This is the tipping point. The serpent declares God to be a liar, tells Eve she will not be destroyed, that God only said that because He did not want us to share in His divinity. He makes our Father out to be a selfish child. But the key is in verse 5: “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
And there we have it. Eve – who has, along with her husband, enjoyed daily walks and talks with God – really knows her Creator. And yet, verse 6 states that “The woman was convinced.” Her desire for what she saw in that tree overtook her desire for her God. She traded her permanent paradise for the temporary pleasure of what her eyes saw, or rather, the perceived power of what she saw.
Now, here we are, engaged in a fight none of us chose.
You might be wondering, “Ok I get it, but we were talking about comparison, not fruit…make it make sense.” Fair enough.
What does all this have to do with comparison? One word changed it all: your eyes will be opened and you will be like God. In this context, “like” can be defined in the following ways: having similar characteristics of; similar to; in the same manner as; comparable to… and there it is. “Like” in this context is a term of comparison.
With the serpent’s promise to be like God, a desire was born within Eve to be someone other than who she was, someone other than the person God had created her to be. So in the end, Eve falls victim to the destructive effects of comparison in verse 6. And we have all been fighting this battle ever since. But that’s not the only point of deception.
Earlier I referenced that the serpent in the garden twisted the truth of God’s words. In our reality today, Satan still does this. He loves to wrap his lies up in God’s truth, making it difficult to discern which voice we should be heeding. This is why the Holy Spirit is so, so, so important in our lives. We need Him to help us discern the voice of our Father from the voice of our enemy.
But the lies that the serpent spoke to Eve weren’t just in regards to the tree and which fruit was legal. Take a look at Genesis 1:27 in the NIV: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Now look back at the serpent’s words to Eve: “you will be like God.”
One question here: if Adam and Eve were already created in the image of God, according to the Word of God, then why did they need to be made like God? Comparison will deceive you into believing you have to strive to attain that which has already been woven into your very creation.
Comparison will deceive you into believing you have to strive to attain that which has already been woven into your very creation.