In our bickering about whether Genesis 3 is literally true or allegory, we miss the real Truth: either way, Genesis 3 is Our Story . . .
Once upon a time, my mom made the most amazing brownies. When they were cooking the whole house would smell like a big ol’ Hershey bar. My mouth would water in anticipation of the timer’s “Ding” that would signal the wait was almost over. Just a few minutes to cool, and then . . . chocolate nirvana!
One afternoon when I was in middle school mom pulled a pan of deliciousness out of the oven and put it on a dish towel laid out on the counter. I hovered nearby and waited to hear Just How Long I would have to wait. Mom picked up her purse, “I’ve got to run to the store.” Then she uttered the saddest words I knew, “Don’t touch these. I’m taking them to work tomorrow.” Then she added, “There’s plenty of other good stuff for you to snack on.”
Once upon a time, God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They had everything they would ever need, and, more than that, all that they could ever want. Almost. God only gave them one rule – “Don’t eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. You’ll die if you do.”
At some point after that, the Tempter came to Eve in the form of a snake. The writer of Genesis doesn’t tell us how long Adam and Eve were in the garden before this happened, but my guess is that if God made the rule in the morning, they were tempted to break it by that afternoon. That’s how we humans are.
Tempter-snake asked, “Did God really say you couldn’t eat any fruit?” Eve answered, “We can eat anything but the fruit from that one tree. God will kill us if we eat it.”
Soon after my mom left, my friend Dustin (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent) stopped by. The aroma hit him as soon as he walked in the door, “Brownies!” With their siren-song aroma and promise of cocoa ecstasy, the brownies drew him over to where they were cooling. “Let’s have some.”
“Your mom never lets you have anything!”
“There are some Pop Tarts in the pantry. And some Chips Ahoy. Anything else. Mom will kill me if we get into those brownies.”
“Your mom’s not going to kill you! She just wants to keep all the good stuff for her and her friends.”
“You’re not going to die if you eat that fruit,” Tempter-snake said. “God just doesn’t want you to be like, well, God. God wants to keep that good and evil knowledge to himself.”
Eve took another peek at the fruit on the taboo tree. It looked so tasty! And good and evil . . . she had no idea what that meant but why shouldn’t she and Adam know everything God knows?
So she picked one, and she took a bite.
Dustin spoke truth. I had a right to those brownies. Mom was just being selfish. They looked and smelled so yummy.
So I cut two out two brownie squares. I gave one to Dustin. And we ate. Gosh they were good!
Eve passed the fruit to Adam, who was right there with her. Yes, Adam was there all the time. He was just as culpable as Eve. (Sorry guys, it wasn’t all the woman’s fault!) Maybe more guilty, as he stood back and waited to see what would happen to Eve before he ate. (Just like a man, some of you women may be saying.)
Tempter-snake got out of there quick. Adam and Eve knew right away they’d messed up. For the first time ever, they knew what it meant to be embarrassed. They tried to hide themselves by sewing leaves together and wearing them.
Then they heard God coming. What had always before been a sweet anticipation had become another new sensation. It couldn’t be just the bit of fruit in their bellies that made their stomachs turn just then. As ridiculous as it was, they tried to hide from God in the lushness of the garden.
“Where are you?” God called out. Of course God knew the answer to that.
Dustin was out the back door as soon as we heard mom’s car pull into the driveway. I fled to my room, shut the door, and put on a Pink Floyd record. I covered my ears with headphones and tried to look nonchalant, lost in “Wish You Were Here.”
My mom knocked. “Are you in there?” Of course she knew the answer to that.
Adam peeked out of the underbrush. “Here I am. I heard you coming. But I was naked so I hid.”
“WHO TOLD YOU THAT YOU WERE NAKED?” It had never been an issue before. There had been no guilt to cover. “Did you eat from that tree I told you not to touch?”
“It was the woman . . . the woman you made to be with me. She gave it to me and I ate it.” You may think Adam was blaming Eve, but hear what he said again. “The woman you made . . .” Adam indicted God!
“Oh. Hi mom. I came in here because I didn’t want to get blamed for the brownies getting eaten.”
“And who ate them, gremlins?”
“Look, mom. You did such a great job making those brownies. They smelled soooo good. They were perfect. I couldn’t help it. You never should have left them there. You know I couldn’t resist.”
“So it’s my fault?”
“Dustin. It was Dustin’s idea. Dustin made me.”
God asked Eve what had happened.
“The devil made me do it,” Eve answered.
Neither God nor my mom bought the excuses or the fingers of blame. Adam, Eve, and I were all punished.
But we were also forgiven, and neither God nor mom stopped loving their children.
The worst punishment of all was for Tempter-snake. A Descendant of Adam and Eve’s would crush him and his sin-and-death power once and for all as He died on a cross. God would do this for us even though this is our story, the Truth of who we are.