I have had a busy and full weekend. I hope you have been blessed this Easter weekend and you were able to celebrate our Jesus and His victory over death (as we should every single day 😉 ). It is somewhat fitting that we should continue our study today with what is known through the biblical world as “The Fall”. Fitting in the fact that it is the Fall that necessitated Christ’s death in the first place. I hope you’ll follow along with us this week as we dive into Part IV: Session 2: The Fall.
Whether you realize it or not, you have felt the effects of the Fall today. We see the effects in the pain, brokenness, selfishness, and hopelessness that runs rampant in our world. Even within ourselves, we are in a constant battle between what is and what we know should be. “Every one of us has a profound sense that the world is not now as it was intended to be” (151). The world we know now doesn’t sound at all like the world we read about in the first two chapters of Genesis. So, what happened?
The Story Takes a Sudden Turn
It is easy to fall in love with the world we first read about where everything was “good”, but move on to the very next chapter and the story takes a sudden tragic turn and the world has not been the same since.
Chapter 3 introduces us to a new character, the serpent (Revelation 12:9 reveals this serpent to actually be Satan in disguise). He is crafty and conniving. Out of pure hatred, he decides to make “trouble in Paradise”. He begins to speak to Eve, to encourage her to question the word of God (tactics that he continues to use to this day). Even though God has blessed Adam and Eve with food a plenty, the serpent focuses Eve’s attention on the only one tree she is not allowed access to. Sound familiar? Even though God has blessed us with innumerous blessings, we tend to focus on what we don’t have rather than what we do. “Of course, life in the garden of Eden was full of good things enjoyed through the grace and presence of God. But Satan began to promise goodness apart from God. With this simple twist, the world that God created to be “very good” changed dramatically” (152).
Discussion Question #1: Read Genesis 3. Based on the first three chapters of Genesis, why was it such a big deal for Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?
Pay close attention to how Satan operates in this story. He doesn’t make threats, he doesn’t push outright rebellion, he doesn’t blatantly state that he is trying to ruin Man’s relationship with his Creator. He is very subtle, very sly. He doesn’t offer rotten fruit. He offers what seems good in the moment.
Another thing to mention is that Satan only enters creation as part of the creation. He doesn’t have unlimited power. Because he is not more powerful than our God, we should not fear him because of his power, however, we need to be very very wary of his skill with manipulation and deception.
This story not only gives a good look into the craft of Satan, but it also gives us a look into the heart of sin. At the heart of every sin is a rebellion against God, a declaration that we have a right to govern ourselves. Adam and Eve decided that they would reject God’s direction and take their own path.
Discussion Question #2: Analyze the sin in your life in light of the rebellion of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. Do you see the same tendency toward independence and rebellion in your actions? How so?
The World Became a Different Place
Now we have reached a major turning point in our story, a turn for the worse. With a simple misjudged choice, the world becomes drastically different. “The effects of the fall are also known as ‘the curse.’ In response to the sin of the first human beings, God cursed (1) the serpent, (2) Eve, (3) Adam, and (4) the rest of creation” (154). The creation who so desperately needs its Creator who it has, until now, enjoyed perfect communion with, is now separated from Him. The beautiful world that was built to so perfectly fulfill our needs now only yields under hard, laborious work. The garden that was home would no longer be accessible. The close, intimate relationship Adam enjoyed with Eve is now full of blame and mistrust.
Even if you have heard the story of the Fall many times before, take some time now to ponder the very real tragedy that happened here. Adam and Eve lost more than their innocence and their home. They lost a perfect relationship with God. Today we are so far from that perfection that we can hardly even imagine it.
Discussion Question #3: Think back to the world of Genesis 2. Spend a few minutes imagining what our world would look like without sin, if everything had stayed the way God intended it to be. Make some notes.
Discussion Question #4: Now consider the ways that sin has affected our world. How is our experience of the world shaped by the fall? Be specific and describe how it affects you today.
From Cain to Babel
The story doesn’t end in the garden, but we don’t see it get less tragic yet. The effects of sin continue to run rampant. Adam’s first offspring are effected when Cain kills Abel. This leads to more murder further down the road with Lamech. And the world continues to get more and more corrupt. So bad, in fact, that God decides to destroy the earth and everything on it in Genesis chapter 6. God spares only Noah and his family and the animals on the ark (read the story if you haven’t before, it’s a good one!).
Even though the flood caused world-wide devastation, Man doesn’t learn his lesson. In Genesis chapter 11, we see Man ignoring God’s supremacy again as they band together to build a city and a tower spectacular enough to make a name for themselves. God punished their arrogance by confusing their language and scattering them over the face of the earth. When we come to the end of chapter 11, things look pretty grim indeed.
Discussion Question #5: Think about the current state of the world. In what ways is humanity still caught in the rebellion that led to the flood and the tower of Babel?
Discussion Question #6: In what ways are you involved in this rebellion?
The Story Continues in Spite of Sin
Things get pretty messy because of Man’s rebellion, but God wasn’t willing to end the story here. He had a plan for redemption and renewal right from the beginning. If you take another look at Genesis chapter 3, right in the middle of God’s curse on creation, He makes a promise:
“And I will put enmity
Between you [the serpent] and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel” (Gen. 3:15 NASB).
This is actually the first prophecy or promise that alludes to the coming of Christ. God promises an encounter between Christ (the seed of a woman) and the serpent. The outcome is promised too, Christ wins.
In these first few chapters of Genesis we also see the first covenant God makes with His creation when He makes a promise to Noah. God uses covenants or promises to establish a relationship with His people and guidelines for that relationship. We will continue to see these types of covenants as we progress in the story. With Noah, God promises to save a people for Himself and promises to preserve creation no matter how corrupted it gets. God will save it. We will learn more about this plan later on, but we can see even in these first few chapters of Genesis God had a plan to save His creation.
Discussion Question #7: As you think back over Genesis 1–3 (and even the events we discussed from chapters 4–11), briefly describe how these chapters lay the groundwork for what is to come in the biblical story.
Discussion Question #8: How should our understanding of the first chapters of the Bible affect the way we view ourselves and the world around us?
We have a lot to consider this week. We have become a very corrupted race because of sin, but isn’t it wonderful to know that we have a God that wants to win us back and isn’t willing to give up on us no matter how bad things get? I hope you are blessed this week and don’t forget to give thanks to God for all that He is. Happy Easter!