Something has gone wrong. Terribly. All God created he called good (Genesis 1:4,10,12,18,21,25) and very good (Genesis 1:31). He put the man he made, and soon the woman he made, in a garden in Eden (Genesis 2:8)–so lush that even today “Eden” produces mental pictures of paradise.
But except for a week at a Caribbean resort, life’s no longer a paradise. Eden’s been lost. What went wrong? Genesis 3 tells the story. You probably know it. But will you open your Bible and read it? . . .
If you did you read a story about a talking serpent who shrewdly seduced the woman into distrusting and disobeying God. The Lord had earlier given the man the fruit of every tree, but put one off limits under penalty of death (Genesis 2:17). The serpent denied that to the woman. “You won’t die. In fact, when you eat it, you’ll be like God. And God knows it (Genesis 3:4,5). Standing in paradise, gazing at the tree, the woman thought how good the fruit would taste, how beautiful it looked and how wise she would become. She ate. She gave some to her husband standing with her. He ate.
It was like drinking a magic potion–but the effect was unexpected. Suddenly they were ashamed and afraid of the Lord. When he showed up and gave them chance to confess, they brazenly blamed each other. Adam: “The woman you gave me gave me the fruit.” Eve: “The serpent tricked me” (Genesis 3:12,13). Nobody left in line for the serpent to blame. Don’t feel sorry for him, though–the serpent was Satan (Revelation 12:9). God judged them all guilty and sentenced them all (Genesis 3:14-19).
That’s what went wrong. ” . . . sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). We’ve all repeated the story.
Would-be intellectuals mock this fable-like narrative. But their answer to “what went wrong?” is a non-answer: Suffering is part of life. The fittest survive only for a time. Then we die and disappear. No God. No sin. No hope. Deists, who believe God did create the world, claim he left us to fend for ourselves. Think we’ll cure cancer? Stop wars? Find an organic drug in Asia to beat mortality? No much hope there either. Can anything fix things? How about better education or more technology or effective, efficient government? Yeah, right!
How different the Genesis worldview from ours! What went wrong is sin against the Creator. Therefore, our only hope for a fix comes from our Creator. In his curse on the serpent (Satan), he gave it to us, mysterious though it sounds. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). At some untold future time beyond the beginning, “the woman” would give birth to a son who would “bruise” the head of the serpent (Satan). Then the Lord kicked the man and woman out of Eden.
That’s where we live–outside paradise, cut off from our Creator by our Creator. Our only hope rests on his mysterious promise. Good news! The day of hope has dawned! ” . . . when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman . . . to redeem [us] . . . so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4). The woman’s offspring has come–and is coming again. He’s the One through whom the Creator will fix everything. He’s the One who can set us free and reconcile us to the God who banished us.
Jesus is the way back to paradise.