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The Shock of Seeing Your Own Sin

The serpent's prediction that, "Your eyes will be opened," was creepy-accurate in more ways than one.

Genesis 3:11-13 (ESV)

He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Compared to Adam, Eve sounds like St. Francis of Assisi. Adam sounds like a 5 year old boy trying to talk his way out of a broken cookie jar lying on the kitchen floor.

Eve actually gives a pretty straight answer – and a humble one at that. This adds to the contrast between Adam’s sin and Eve’s. Yes, Eve fell into sin too, but given that Adam (who presumably told her about the command in the first place) was with her the whole time, her error was partly in trusting Adam and the serpent – who were both dreadfully untrustworthy.

But there’s another clue here that’s easy to miss, yet important to understanding what just happened. How did Eve figure out that the serpent had deceived her? Nobody told her that the serpent’s words were deceptive. Besides, her eyes were opened exactly as the serpent predicted they’d be.

But as soon as Eve’s eyes were opened, she knew that something was very, very wrong. She knew that she was naked and fear and shame overwhelmed her. She has defied a direct command from God and, since she now knows good and evil, she knows that what she did was evil.

The serpent’s deception wasn’t in the details; it was in the general idea that it’s feasible to disobey God’s command to not eat the fruit. Now, Eve’s trust in the serpent’s words, “You will not surely die,” is shot. She’s filled with stomach turning dread.

But in one way, Eve is now smarter than before.

She knows that what the serpent said was deceitful.

The fall was a disaster like no other. The sum total of the misery caused by the fall is unfathomable. And at the heart of the whole thing is pride.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. – Proverbs 16:18 (KJV)

Adam and Eve weren’t content with paradise. They wanted the one thing God withheld from them. That’s pride.

This is a catastrophe, but there’s more to it than just that. Mankind was changed in an important way. Something complicated happened. We’re not done with this issue.

The wreckage of sin is all around us. Sin ruins lives and it ruins families. Today let’s pray for the families. Family life could be an ocean of love and joy – if people would just let that happen.

But no, because we’re fallen we insist on trashing relationships. Pick a relationship to pray for (one of your own, or one you know of).

Ask God to fix the hurt – and the pride.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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