What's the purpose of an investigation? In an objective sense, it's a (hopefully) systematic examination of facts that includes observations and draws a conclusion. When an investigation is done, whoever is conducting it may say they want to "discover the truth... uncover facts, or get to the bottom of this," whatever that might mean.
I tend to be a bit cynical about investigations, especially if there's an agenda. The motivation becomes a search to discover a certain truth. In other words, it becomes a search for who to blame more than seeking some objective truth.
The crazy thing is, we play the blame game a lot, either to place blame, shift it, or dodge it altogether. Why? It comes naturally!
The next episode
Over the past two weeks, I've looked at the beginning of all stories in a simple way. First, we looked at the Creation story, which culminated in the creation of people in God's image.
Next, I considered how what started as innocence in paradise ended in shame, along with why this happened.
But all of this is only the beginning of God's story of redemption. This post will focus on what comes next—shame, blame, and the consequences of a choice by the first woman and man.
Where are you?
After eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, the man and woman—Adam and Eve (Gen 3:20-21)—realized they were naked, experienced shame, and tried to cover their shame.
God came through the garden paradise and expected to see His most prized creations. But they hid from God. The Lord called out to the man, "Where are you?" So, Adam explained they were hiding because they were naked. They were ashamed.
God's next question zeroed in on their problem. "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"
A very personal relationship
Let's pause in the story to consider the nature of this situation. The relationship between God and the man and woman was personal. They communicated to one another directly.
The man and woman each had a personal independent and free will, yet they knew God for who He was—their Creator and the Creator of all things.
Their freedom was only limited by one command—not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of, as I call it, the FOMO tree.
Once Adam and Eve's distrust of God and their choice to ignore God's command was discovered, a cascade of consequences began. The primary consequence was a change in their relationship with God.
The blame game
As soon as God asks Adam if he ate of the forbidden tree, he blames Eve, "The woman whom you gave to be with me...." (Gen 3:12)
Do you see how quickly the man shifts the blame (responsibility) back onto God and the woman.?
The woman is also quick to blame the serpent, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." Now, what she said was true, but she was quick to deflect blame just as the man did (Gen 3:13).
The serpent didn't have this option and God deals with him first.
Before diving into the cascade of consequences, it's important to note that God also suffers a consequence from all of this. His beautiful creation was disrupted and only He could set things right again.
Within the consequences that follow, a prophetic promise of redemption is included.
The first consequence is putting a curse on the serpent. From this point on the serpent would have to crawl on its belly and "eat dust" (Gen 3:14). So, apparently, the serpent went from being clever to being cursed—a snake below all other creatures.
Also, there would be an ongoing conflict with the woman's offspring (seed) and the serpent's offspring. The serpent's head would be crushed after he bruised the heel of the woman's offspring (Gen 3:15).
The woman's three-fold consequence starts with pain, increased pain when giving birth to children. I've watched my wife give birth to our four children and I can confirm that this consequence continues.
The other consequences go together. Here's what the text says—
Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. (Gen 3:16 ESV)
The original language (Hebrew) indicates that it's more like—
"You will want to rule your husband, but he will rule over you." (similar to Gen 4:7)
Because the man gave into the woman and ate the fruit, the very ground he was taken from in creation would now be cursed (Gen 3:17). In a sense, this is where all environmental problems began (Rom 8:19-22).
Now the ground would be infested with thorns and thistles and painful work. He worked in the garden before, but now things would be different. No more paradise watered by God. Now his work would be watered with his own sweat (Gen 3:18-19).
The curse of eating the fruit of the forbidden tree would be death. This is what God commanded the man before the woman existed (Gen 2:17). It's here the continuing cycle of birth and death began—
...for you are dust, and to dust you shall return. (Gen 3:19)
How did God suffer consequences? He had to cover Adam and Eve's nakedness and shame with the first animal sacrifice (Gen 3:21).
Then the Triune Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—had to banish the man and woman and their offspring from the garden they once ruled.
And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” (Gen 3:22 NIV)
God posted a great angel with a flaming sword at the east end the garden of Eden, to guard the way to the tree of life.
Not only was God's beautiful paradise spoiled, so also was the very personal relationship He had with Adam and Eve.
The promise of redemption
If the man and woman ate of the tree of life, they and all other generations would be condemned to a life of shame and endless death with no hope of redemption.
The light at the end of the tunnel of the cycle of birth and death is found in the curse of the serpent—
I will put animosity between you and the woman— between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will crush his heel. (Gen 3:15 TLV)
When Jesus was crucified on the cross, it appeared all had been lost. The Messiah was killed and His followers and others thought that was the end.
The serpent (the devil) deceived Judas Iscariot into betraying Jesus so He would be crucified, but there's more to this prophetic promise. "He will crush your head."
This is what God said to the serpent and it came to pass through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Col 2:13-15).
His glorious resurrection restored hope beyond death and opened the door of redemption for all humanity!
Do you realize when you look for blame or defend and justify yourself?
Have you personally experienced God's redemptive love in your life?
This week is often referred to as Holy Week. We look ahead to Good Friday in remembrance of Jesus' death on the cross and to Easter Sunday—Resurrection Sunday.
Easter is our reminder of God's redemption—our rescue by Him from the sentence of eternal death and the promise of eternal life—through a personal trust relationship with the Lord.