Genesis Part 1-2 (The first account the universe)

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PART ONE

The first account: the universe

Commentary

The opening chapter of the book of Genesis has drawn us a picture of the beautiful world the Creator designed and put together at the beginning of time. You can’t read the description of that world without comparing it with the world in which we live. Every day’s newspaper, it seems, brings us an additional dose of bad news—about things like crooked business and terrorist
attacks and bone cancer. Questions that must rise in the mind of every thinking person are: What happened? What happened to change God’s perfect world into our bandaged and bleeding world?

This is the question Moses answers in the first of the ten accounts, or histories, that make up the book of Genesis. The story that this first account has to tell is not a completely happy one. It begins by describing the loving relationship that existed between the Creator and his highest creatures. The Creator’s love is demonstrated by all he did to make Adam and Eve happy. But these foremost creatures of God rebelled against God’s goodwill. By so doing, they cut themselves loose from God and dragged down the entire human race—and even the creature world—with them into an existence of frustration and decay—and death.

These creatures could break off a beautiful relationship with God, but they were not able to repair and restore that relationship. This first account, the account of heaven and earth, therefore, proceeds to show how God, in an amazing display of his free and faithful love, promised to restore his human creatures to the position of honor the Creator had originally intended for them.

Some Bible students view chapter 2 as a second creation account, written by an author different from the one who wrote chapter 1 and in conflict with certain details mentioned in chapter 1. This view, however, is unacceptable for several reasons. It destroys the unity of the book
of Genesis, pitting one portion against another. And it ignores the author’s ten-part outline for the book. Chapter 1 is a chronological narrative; chapter 2 is not. Instead chapter 2 selects a number of items from the creation week (a man, a garden, two trees, and a woman) for special emphasis, thereby providing necessary background for chapter 3. Together with chapters 3 and 4 it shows what happened to the perfect world described in chapter 1.

Genesis Chapter 2, verses 4 through 6
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens—and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground—

Commentary

The first of Moses’ ten accounts begins by drawing a lovely picture of the relationship that existed between the Creator and his first children. It shows us a God intent on making them happy.

In verses 4 and 5, Moses introduces us to a new name for God. The Hebrew name consists of the four consonants Y H W H, originally pronounced Yahweh. Throughout the Old Testament, this is the name that distinguishes the God of Israel from the idols of surrounding nations. The Greek
translation of the Old Testament translates Yahweh as kyrios, meaning “Lord.” To enable the reader of the English Bible to distinguish between this special Yahweh name and the other divine name that means “Lord and Master,” English Bibles consistently spell the translation of Yahweh
with capital letters, LORD.

In a conversation with Moses at Mount Sinai centuries later, God explained the meaning of the name Yahweh. Here was his explanation: “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Exodus Chapter 34, verses 6 and 7).

Yahweh, then, the LORD, is the special name of Israel’s covenant God. It’s God’s Old Testament Savior name. It stresses especially these two qualities about God: his absolute self-sufficiency, or independence, and his absolute constancy. The LORD is the God of free and faithful love. Moses combines the name Yahweh, the LORD, with Elohim, God’s Creator-name. In his treatment of Adam and Eve, God displayed his faithful mercy as well as his awe inspiring power.

One of the consequences of the fall into sin was that God told Adam: “Cursed is the ground because of you. . . . It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field” (3:17,18). The expression “plants of the field,” the same expression used in 2:5, must refer to the cereal grains, which man, after the fall, was to cultivate and use to make his bread. This leads to the conclusion that prior to the fall, these grains were not on the earth in the same form in which we know them. Moses notes that as yet it had not rained on earth. In the absence of rainfall, a system of springs kept rising from the earth to provide the moisture that the trees and plants needed. (Incidentally, we don’t know how long that rainlessness on earth continued. The possibility that it may have lasted until the time of the flood will be treated in connection with chapter 7.)

Genesis Chapter 2, verses 7 through 9
the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Commentary

God formed man from the ground by a separate creative act. The words in these verses are clear, and they are significant. They provide a problem for those who try to reconcile the biblical account with evolution and who claim that you and I developed from the animals. Moses supplements what he had told us in chapter 1 about the creation of the human race. The Hebrew verb (“The LORD God formed . . . ”) describes the activity of a potter. Its use here emphasizes the personal interest and care that the Creator demonstrated in fashioning this highest of his creatures.

The words “he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” hint that there is a second component to a human being, besides his body. Genesis 1:26,27 has already supplied the details. With loving care and intelligent purpose, the Creator shaped a lump of earth into his highest creature and breathed the life principle into him. The writer is again emphasizing the distinctiveness and superior dignity of God’s human creatures, who received the Creator’s own breath. These words of Moses help us to understand what happens at death and why it’s natural to fear death. Death,
the separation of body and soul, is a violent intrusion into God’s good work of creation. Moses’ words, incidentally, are also a sobering reminder that we have precious little to boast of. What are we, after all, but dirt plus the breath of God?

The garden home God provided served a number of purposes for Adam. It satisfied his physical needs, his needs for food and shelter. It satisfied his emotional needs; Adam received mental stimulation as he studied the secrets of God’s creation and marveled at its beauty. And in this lovely home, God also provided kinship and love for Adam by creating a helper for him in the person of Eve.

Moses now directs our attention to two trees that God planted in the middle of the garden, where Adam and Eve could not fail to notice them. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil will be discussed in connection with verses 16 and 17. The other tree was the tree of life. Not much is said about it, since it never got to serve the purpose God intended for it. It would have served its purpose if Adam and Eve had resisted Satan’s temptation. Judging from what God said in 3:22, the purpose of the tree of life was to confirm Adam and Eve in the possession of physical life. According to Revelation 2:7, when we one day live in God’s presence in heaven, we will eat of the tree of life, and nothing will ever be able to interrupt that perfect life.

Genesis Chapter 2, verses 10 through 14
A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there
is gold. 12(The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third
river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

Commentary

To appreciate this description of the garden home God prepared for his children, remember that Moses wrote this book for the Hebrews, who lived in a part of the world that has minimal water resources. A stream, apparently originating from some underground source in the garden, branched out at the edge of the garden and became four headwaters, providing an abundant water supply for the entire area.

Moses establishes a connection between the four rivers and several well-known rivers of his day. Havilah was most likely the coast of Arabia; Cush is south of Egypt, perhaps present-day Sudan. Since the great flood changed the face of the earth, however, the geographical details in these
verses cannot be used to pinpoint the precise location of the garden home.

Genesis Chapter 2, verses 15 through 17
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

Commentary

Sir James Barrie once said, “Doubtless the Almighty could have provided us with better fun than hard work, but I don’t know what it is.” Satisfying activity was one of the joys God’s highest creatures enjoyed in paradise. They could put all their abilities of mind and body to work for God. Living, as we do, in a culture that tends to view work as a necessary evil, we need this reminder that work is not something that entered the world because of the fall into sin. Work was part of God’s original intent for his human creatures.

Reference has been made to two special trees that the Lord God planted in the garden: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Moses now supplies us with additional information about the purpose of that second tree.

People who know how this story comes out have asked: Why did God have to put that tree with the forbidden fruit in the garden in the first place? Since Adam and Eve weren’t permitted to eat of its fruit, why put it there at all? Let the text speak for itself.

“You are free to eat from any tree of the garden.” God was not selfish in dealing with his highest creature. Adam had a wide range of foods to pick from, and the command to abstain from one tree was neither irritating nor burdensome.

But God did make it very clear: “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” When Adam received this command from God, he was, in the fullest sense of the term, alive. He was bound to God by the most intimate bond of love and trust. In the language of the Scripture, that’s being alive.

That bond would be broken if Adam refused to obey God. By that act he would separate himself from God. In the strong language of the Scripture, that’s being dead. And as evidence that this highest creature had cut himself off from his loving Creator, he would then also be subject to physical death, the separation of body and soul.

Since that tree had such fateful consequences for Adam and the entire human race, why did God plant it in the garden? Was it just to test Adam, to see what he would do when confronted with temptation? That cannot be a satisfactory explanation. All of chapter 2 speaks of what God did to make his children happy, and this special tree was no exception.

God never designed humans to be puppets or robots whom he regulates by pulling strings or pressing buttons. By placing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden, God was giving Adam the opportunity to obey God of his own free will. In so doing, God realized the risk involved, that Adam might choose to disobey him. When Adam came from the hand of his Creator, he was in a state of created innocence. By giving Adam the command not to eat, God was offering him the opportunity to progress from created innocence to conscious holiness. God wanted his highest creature to be holy by choice, not just by accident.

Martin Luther used an illustration that makes God’s intent clear. “This tree of the knowledge of good and evil was Adam’s church, his altar, his pulpit. Here he was to yield to God the obedience he owed, to give recognition to the word and will of God, to give thanks to God, and to call upon God for aid against temptation.” That tree in the middle of the garden was Adam’s place to worship God. There he was reminded of God’s goodness to him; there he could thank God for his mercy; there he could respond by giving God glad obedience.

The Creator had endowed Adam with a free will, an inborn freedom to do what pleased God. God wanted him now to exercise that free will. If Adam had, the experience would have produced a knowledge of good and evil similar to that which God himself has. Adam’s intellect would have
become more keenly aware of what God wanted and what he didn’t want. His emotions would have found joy in the Creator’s will and would have convinced him of what a dreadful thing it would be to rebel against God. And Adam’s will would have consciously chosen to follow God’s command to have nothing to do with the forbidden fruit.

The institution of marriage

Genesis Chapter 2, verses 18 through 25
Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.

Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out
of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

Commentary

It was mentioned earlier that chapter 2 is not a second creation account but that it supplies additional details about the creation that we need to understand chapter 3. We’ve already learned about the garden of delight and about the two special trees. Now Moses supplies background information about the woman who played such a key role in the account of the fall.

It had never been the Creator’s intent to have Adam live alone. In the Creator’s view, this was “not good.” And so God designed a special creature whose role is described as “a helper suitable for him.” This is God’s order of creation: man was designed to be the head, woman to be his helper.

God did not force this companion on the man. God had created animals of all kinds and now brought them to Adam to have him name them. One reason for God doing this was to provide Adam an opportunity to share God’s thoughts about his loneliness and to develop a longing for the special gift God was about to give him.

As Adam selected appropriate names for each of the animals and birds, he noted that each of them had a mate. Adam also recognized that no animal was suited for intimate companionship with him. He had no one with whom he could share the joy of living in paradise. It was then that God caused him to fall into a deep sleep. While Adam was asleep, God took a bone from Adam’s body and by a special creative act formed it (Hebrew: “built it”) into a woman.

In his first recorded words, Adam expressed his joy over God’s gift who, like him, had been created in God’s image (Chapter 1, verse 27). Adam’s reaction to Eve shows that he possessed the image of God. Even though he’d been asleep, he understood where she had come from and what her relationship was to him. He rejoiced at this magnificent gift; he agreed with God that here was a helper suitable for him in every way.

This, then, was the first marriage. God designed a special creature from a part of Adam’s body and brought her to Adam. Adam received her as his wife, and she was willing to be his wife. That this blessed transaction was not a one-time thing but a basic divine establishment for the whole human race of all time becomes clear from God’s statement in verse 24, a statement that he apparently made through Adam: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be
united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

The marital relationship begins when two people freely pledge themselves unconditionally to each other and give evidence of this by breaking off a close family bond in order to establish a new one. To express their unconditional commitment, these two people enjoy a physical union that then becomes God’s way of passing on the gift of life to the next generation. In God’s view, sexual union is anything but casual. Marriage, then, is not a human arrangement or the product of human progress or social development. It is God’s idea, his gift to his highest creatures. It follows, then, that people do not have the right to set their own standards for marriage, to determine their own rules for terminating it, or to devise alternative lifestyles to replace it.

Adam and Eve enjoyed their new relationship. Even though they were naked, they felt no shame because they were in full control of their sexual impulses and expressed them in perfect love to God and in unselfish love to each other.

The first sin

We may be bothered by questions such as these: Why is there evil in the world? Why do people die of cancer? Why do terrorists bomb airports, killing and maiming innocent bystanders? Why do our nation’s divorce courts keep cranking out their ungodly statistics? Who would deliberately set man against man, husband against wife, management against labor and labor against management,
nation against nation? Surely this is not the way God designed life on earth to be.

Every day’s newspaper provides new evidence that we are not part of a nice, neat creation set in motion by a loving God. Instead, we’re part of a mutinous world where rebellion against God is the order of the day. The mutiny started when one of God’s angels rebelled against God. Since this evil angel realized he was powerless to harm God, he showed the mentality of a terrorist by taking innocent hostages. Genesis chapter 3 tells the tragic story of how this evil angel managed to get God’s children away from him.

The day God’s first children turned away from him, in an attitude of unbelief and defiance, has to be the saddest day in history. This chapter gives us the only answer though an incomplete one—to this question: Why is there evil in the world?

Genesis Chapter 3, verse 1
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Commentary

The normal word order of the Hebrew sentence is inverted here. The writer wants to emphasize that a new figure, a snake, is the subject of the action. Since this was one of God’s creatures, its craftiness dare not be viewed as an evil quality. This intelligent animal was the one Satan chose to use as his instrument to drive a wedge between God and his children.

“He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say . . . ?’” Who is speaking here? Snakes don’t have vocal cords. The Lord Jesus identified the evil force behind the snake when he told his Jewish opponents: “You belong to your father, the devil. . . . He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. . . . He is a liar and the father of lies” (John Chapter 8, verse 44). Revelation Chapter 12, verse 9 and Chapter 20, verse 2 also call Satan “that ancient serpent.”

“Did God really say . . . ?” The question sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? “Eve, are you sure you got that straight?” Is it possible that a loving God would deny his highest creatures the pleasure of eating any kind of fruit in the garden? Satan’s question was, however, not an innocent one. His purpose was to raise doubt in Eve’s mind—doubt as to exactly what God had said as well as doubt about the fairness of God’s prohibition.

The first thing we note about Satan is that he operates in disguise. He pretended to be interested in Eve’s well being. He didn’t say to her (and he doesn’t say to us), “Come, I’ll teach you how to sin.” What he does say is this: “Let me help you to a happier, more exciting life. Surely God wants you to be happy. Why would he put this beautiful fruit on the tree if you weren’t supposed to eat it? God wants you to live life to the fullest. He’s different from what you think!”

Genesis Chapter 3, verses 2 and 3
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

Commentary

In Eve’s response we can detect the very beginnings of mankind’s fall into sin. She knew that snakes can’t talk. She knew also that animals have no sense of right and wrong. She should have recognized immediately that an evil spirit was involved here. And yet Eve entered into a discussion of God’s Word and God’s goodness with the snake. His insinuation that God was not being faithful to her is one she should immediately have rejected. This was going to be a costly conversation for Eve; she would end up paying an awful price.

Before looking at Eve’s answer to Satan, we might ask these questions: What good reason could God possibly have had for permitting his highest creature to be tempted? If he hadn’t permitted the devil to tempt Eve in the first place, couldn’t the tragedy of the fall into sin have been avoided? But by permitting his highest creatures to be tempted to sin, God was providing yet
another opportunity for them to glorify him—in this case, by consciously choosing good where the possibility of choosing evil existed.

When she answered the devil, Eve restated the broad permission God had granted (“Of all the trees of the garden you may eat freely . . .”), although it may be significant that she omitted the word “all.” And when she restated God’s prohibition, she added “neither shall you touch it.” Some have seen in these words an unwarranted addition to God’s original command. But it’s just as possible that Eve was paraphrasing God’s prohibition. Touching the fruit would be the prelude to eating it.

Genesis Chapter 3, verses 4 and 5
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Commentary

If up to this point Eve had imagined this was a harmless conversation, the next words of Satan must surely have shown her otherwise. For one thing, he denied the reality of the punishment God had threatened, calling God’s truthfulness into question.

And then Satan called God’s love into question. He put God’s prohibition in an ugly light. He pictured God, the giver of all good gifts, as selfish and envious rather than unbelievably gracious and generous. “God has forbidden you to eat the fruit only because he knows eating it would endow you with a secret knowledge, the knowledge that you can live without God. Eve, God doesn’t want you to discover the tremendous potential that lies in your human reason. Instead he wants to keep you ignorant.”

Satan offered Eve two alternatives, both of which should have been unacceptable to her: either God had not forbidden her to eat the fruit or he was not the loving God he pretended to be.

This is the basic lie of Satan: “God and his will are not really good. God has known all along that eating the fruit would make you his equals, and he doesn’t want that.”

God had been unbelievably generous to Adam and Eve, but there was one thing he had not given them—
equality with himself. They were not God. God had designed them to live under him, not alongside him. Here is the bait Satan dangled before Eve’s eyes, knowing that there were no earthly gifts he could offer her that God had not already given his beloved children. Satan had sowed two poisonous seeds in Eve’s heart. First, he persuaded her not to take God seriously. Second, he made her doubt God’s goodness. At that point Satan broke off the temptation. He waited to give his poison time to take effect.

It is an oversimplification, then, to say that Eve’s sin was disobedience. Her sin was unbelief. She refused to believe what God had said about himself. She doubted his love, choosing rather to believe Satan’s lie.

Genesis Chapter 3, verses 6 and 7

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for
food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Commentary

We can detect the change that took place in the entire personality of Eve. As long as she possessed the image of God, she knew everything God wanted her to know. Now her intellect told her that the tree was good for food and desirable for making her wise. Her emotions were misled; Eve no longer found joy in unblinking obedience to her Father’s Word. Her will, which had been in perfect harmony with God’s will, now led her to do what God had forbidden and to tell her husband to do the same. Eve permitted Satan’s lie to take possession of her mind, heart, and will.

We notice also that in the fall both Adam and Eve abandoned their God-given roles. Eve, designed by God to be a helper for the man, presumed to act as leader of the family—and spiritual leader, no less. And Adam, designed to be the spiritual head of the family, abandoned his leadership role and listened to his wife instead of to God.

Satan’s promise to Eve turned out to be a lie. She and Adam did not become like God. In another sense, however, Satan’s word did come true. Their eyes were opened
all right, except not in the beneficial way Satan had promised. They now knew good as something they had lost. And they now knew evil as something that controlled
them. For the first time in their lives, they felt a sense of shame at their nakedness. Adam and Eve realized they were no longer in full control of their sexual impulses. They were no longer able to direct them only according to God’s will and to his glory. They therefore made immediate, though ineffective, efforts to clothe themselves.

It’s instructive to note Satan’s method of operation when he tempted Eve, because his methods haven’t changed all that much down through the millennia of history. This is still his basic lie: God is not good. He’s withholding from you privileges that you, as an individual, are entitled to—the privilege, for example, of deciding for yourself what’s good for you. Satan still tempts us to turn God’s plans for us topsy-turvy by playing God. He leads us to imagine that we, after all, are in charge of our lives, that we are the masters of our fate, the captains of our soul.

Satan is still whispering “You will not surely die!” He has persuaded many to believe that hell does not exist and that after a person dies, he simply ceases to exist. If a person is strong enough to withstand that lie, Satan will offer the lie that God will give everybody a second chance after death. Still another variation on the “You will not die” theme is universalism, which argues that ultimately all people will be saved and nobody will be damned.

Genesis Chapter 3, verses 8 through 10
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Commentary

A feeling of shame was the first result Adam and Eve experienced because of their sin. There would be other results, and these became obvious when the Lord God
came into the garden. “The LORD God”—what an appropriate name! The divine visitor was the LORD, the Savior God, who lovingly sought out his fallen creatures and
revealed his faithful love. But Adam and Eve’s visitor was also God the Creator whose majesty had been attacked by his two highest creatures and who had come to show
them their guilt.

In their sin and shame, Adam and Eve were not looking for God, but he was looking for them. And how did they respond when they heard the sound of his footsteps? “They hid themselves.” The second result of their sin was fear, an emotion they’d never felt before. But they surely had good reason to feel it now. The garden had been a place of joyful fellowship with God, but now they ran from him and hid. Here, surely, are symptoms of a frightfully serious condition: foolishly imagining they could by their own efforts protect themselves from God’s punishment.

“Where are you?” Here is a call of anxious love. The
Savior-God was moving to restore his fallen children to himself. But these words are also a call of stern justice. The Creator was demanding an answer from his rebellious creatures. “What have you done that you should be hiding?”

Adam’s answer, “I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid,” is a half-truth. It is evasive and deceptive, and it shows the ugly effects of the damage sin causes.

Genesis Chapter 3, verses 11 through 13
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Commentary

The Bible says, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper” (Proverbs Chapter 28, verse 13). God therefore continued to question Adam, and his questions became more pointed as he sought to bring the sin of these two trembling sinners out into the open. “Have you eaten of the forbidden fruit?” Instead of accepting the blame for his action, Adam now sought to shift the blame to Eve—and even to God himself. Here, surely, is another result of sin. A lack of love for God will inevitably result in a lack of love for one’s fellow human being. And when the searchlight of God’s justice focused on Eve, she attempted to shift the blame to the serpent: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

In Eve’s answer we note something else that must have been distressing to God. Both she and Adam were concentrating on the sinful deed of eating. God was much more
concerned about the sinful attitude that produced the sinful deed. After all, sin does not begin with the hand but with the heart. Sin is just as deceptive in our lives today; we sense the results of our sins much more readily than the attitudes that produced the results.

As you read this tragic account, remember that this is your family history. You and I are sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. From our first parents, we too have learned to love ourselves and to fight for ourselves, even if that means disagreeing with the faithful God who has come to save us—for himself, for his family, and for an eternal home.

The End