Genesis provides an image of the ideal marriage: One man. One woman. In a one-flesh relationship. For life. These four elements constitute the ideal, as Jesus reminds His followers (Matthew 19:4–5). Anything less, anything more, or anything other misses the ideal. In marriage two individuals, who once lived as “me,” come together as “we” in one flesh and one life. No earthly bond can match the intimacy of this divinely sanctioned union.
3 Of all the wild creatures the Eternal God had created, the serpent was the craftiest.
Serpent (to the woman): Is it true that God has forbidden you to eat fruits from the trees of the garden?
Eve: 2 No, serpent. God said we are free to eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. 3 We are granted access to any variety and all amounts of fruit with one exception: the fruit from the tree found in the center of the garden. God instructed us not to eat or touch the fruit of that tree or we would die.
Serpent: 4 Die? No, you’ll not die. God is playing games with you. 5 The truth is that God knows the day you eat the fruit from that tree you will awaken something powerful in you and become like Him: possessing knowledge of both good and evil.
6 The woman approached the tree, eyed its fruit, and coveted its mouth-watering, wisdom-granting beauty. She plucked a fruit from the tree and ate. She then offered the fruit to her husband who was close by, and he ate as well. 7 Suddenly their eyes were opened to a reality previously unknown. For the first time, they sensed their vulnerability and rushed to hide their naked bodies, stitching fig leaves into crude loincloths. 8 Then they heard the sound of the Eternal God walking in the cool misting shadows of the garden. The man and his wife took cover among the trees and hid from the Eternal God.
The story of humanity’s sin begins with a tree and ends on a tree: first, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and finally, the cross on which Jesus dies. The first tree offers fruit that leads to death, but the second offers a death that leads to eternal life.
God (calling to Adam): 9 Where are you?
Adam: 10 When I heard the sound of You coming in the garden, I was afraid because I am naked. So I hid from You.
God: 11 Who told you that you are naked? Have you eaten from the tree in the center of the garden, the very one I commanded you not to eat from?
Adam (pointing at the woman): 12 It was she! The woman You gave me as a companion put the fruit in my hands, and I ate it.
Since Adam and Eve, people have been blaming others for their mistakes. Adam has the audacity to blame God for his.
God (to the woman): 13 What have you done?
Eve: It was the serpent! He tricked me, and I ate.
14 God (to the serpent): What you have done carries great consequences.
Now you are cursed more than cattle or wild beasts.
You will writhe on your belly forever,
consuming the dust out of which man was made.
15 I will make you and your brood enemies
of the woman and all her children;
The woman’s child will stomp your head,
and you will strike his heel.
16 (to the woman) As a consequence of your actions,
I will increase your suffering—the pain of childbirth
And the sorrow of bringing forth the next generation.
You will desire your husband; but rather than a companion,
He will be the dominant partner.
17 (to the man) Because you followed your wife’s advice
instead of My command and ate of the tree
From which I had forbidden you to eat, cursed is the ground.
For the rest of your life,
You will fight for every crumb of food
from the crusty clump of clay I made you from.
18 As you labor, the ground will produce thorns and thistles,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 Your brow will sweat for your mouth to taste
even a morsel of bread until the day you return
To the very ground I made you from.
From dust you have come,
And to dust you shall return.
20 The man named his wife Eve because she was destined to become the mother of all living. 21 The Eternal God pieced together the skins of animals and made clothes for Adam and Eve to wear.
In Hebrew “Eve” sounds like the word meaning “life-giver.”
God: 22 Look, the human has become like one of Us, possessing the knowledge of good and evil. If We don’t do something, he will reach out his hand and take some of the fruit from the tree of life, eat it, and live forever.
23 So the Eternal God banished Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden and exiled humanity from paradise, sentencing humans to laborious lives working the very ground man came from. 24 After driving them out, He stationed winged guardians[a] at the east end of the garden of Eden and set up a sword of flames which alertly turned back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
- 3:24 Hebrew, cherubim