The worse the decision is that someone makes the greater the allure of two false promises: it is not that bad or bad at all followed by it was too bad for redemption in tandem with further notion that it is not that bad to deny culpability or displace it.
We see that further as we look at the fall in Eden. I usually like to go with brevity for a blog format. It seems that this time the passage of scripture calls for a large portion to be unpacked at once.
Genesis 3:8 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
The evening breeze” is important when we refresh ourselves on Jewish thought about the day cycle. In their mindset, one the night comes, the new 24-hour cycle begins. As the new day comes in, it is a good idea to be real with God. To do an honest examination of ones conscience is to allow God to meet us in our vulnerability in real engagement and thus real engagement.
9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
As noted in the last blog, the temptation to sin was in part based on God not having their interest at heart. In the fallen nature mindset where sin is perpetuated in the individual what is assumed is an inevitability in how “fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4). “Because I was naked” is an additional part of sin in not being in a state of grace where you are clothed by the esteem of ones Heavenly Father.
11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
God is not at a loss on what happened. Confession is good for the soul and here is another, not the first, opportunity for Adam to be real. Instead he displaces to someone else.
12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.”
He is being sneaky and also connecting to a divisiveness that causes a self-righteousness. He is noting her different designation as a qualifier on how bad she is and to qualify himself as not responsible. Adam’s “gift” to the world is using a scapegoat and here in misogyny.
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”
The devil made me do it excuse here is actually original but not the last time it would be used in this world. Fallen people love to give the devil way too much credit so they don’t have to take responsibility. We need a structured code by which we can be real now and with it the forgiveness and healing we need.
14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you among all animals
and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
But still the devil gets his due. “And dust you shall eat” is a way of saying that the days of him being able to partake of the spiritual things are over.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. This is a powerful statement that prefigures the great contrast between spiritual light and spiritual darkness. We see this in John “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world [Jesus Christ], and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). Eventually light overcomes darkness but not any from the power of mortals. It has to take much more than that.
But the woman is not off the hook as God works backwards from the passing the buck game.
16 To the woman he said,
“I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children,
yet your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”
This is not a pronouncement of inferiority of all women as much as people would like to use this verse to hit Christendom over the head with the woman-hating label. This is introducing to the physical ecosystem that the law of sin and death they were warned about would apply. Before the fall and after the ultimate redemption when Christ comes there is no more mourning, sickness or death. The inevitable thing to happen for the human race to continue would be for her to not be a nun but to be a mom and lots of times. The paradox is that she is going to have a desire for her husband though the desire conceives babies and babies cause pain.
17 And to the man he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife,
and have eaten of the tree
about which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread
until you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
Notice that God is actually harder on the man with a much longer, dire announcement. Notice also that God is telling Adam his part of suffering pain in the fallen ecosystem.
20 The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
It is after the fall that there is an individual name for her. Before this, they shared the common identity of the dirt that started them albeit for her indirectly. Before, they had diversity. Now they have diversity and division with a dash of adversity. Sin tends to do that with a community of two or a billion.
But still there are seeds of hope. The “seed of the woman” prefigures Christ coming through what Greek speaking Christians would call the “Theotokos”—the God Carrier. Also known as the Virgin Mary. Or in my book, the original Warrior Princess. Further, God gives them skins of animals in place of their fig leaves.
21 And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.
In Jeremiah we read how “All our righteousness is as filthy rags”. The animals skins could come through the animals’ deaths. Their deaths speak of atonement through sacrifice. And sacrifice through God points to the redemption through Jesus who made His sacrifice once and for all.
What people miss in stories like this is that God is a grace fanatic. Satan gives us the easy way out of God’s will and the hard scenario for the way back. God gives us His presence that is constance before and after our sin if we will open our eyes to Him in humility.
22 Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.
he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever
But in Christ, we can through the understanding and partaking of the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist.
As a new Catholic and long-time Christian, I can’t help reflecting on what Pope John Paul called the New Evangelization that in the coming years there will be a re-presentation of the good news of Jesus as Eucharistic in that people in full communion with Jesus and His Church can indeed receive Jesus in “body, blood, soul and divinity”. Again, God is a grace fanatic.