66 Gospels | Genesis
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.
The LORD God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field; on 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 her offspring;
he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain 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,
till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”
So, I don’t know about you but I love Christmas. I remember on so many occasions, waking up really early and rushing downstairs just to see a ton of gifts wrapped underneath the Christmas tree. It was a wonderful day to spend time with my family and yes, get gifts that I wanted. I loved it! I loved when it would snow outside because it completed the picture for me. A day to spend inside, in a warm house, with my family. We would laugh together, open gifts, and then we would enjoy a big meal together. I’ll tell you, there are times i miss those days.
For all those memories of Christmas time, one stands out above the rest. It’s the one Christmas which all others are judged against. It was the first Christmas we had in which my family traveled from our little home in New Hampshire and drove in a beat up car, all the way down to Florida where my cousins lived. This was an incredible experience for us. While we all loved snow, we had already seen enough of it; so this was a pleasant change. We saw sun light and enjoyed 75-80 degree temperature outside. We spent time at Walt Disney World and we saw family, whom we didn’t normally see.
Now, let’s get to those gifts. That’s what Christmas is about, right? The gifts we get? Well, one particular gift I opened, which was my favorite gift this particular Christmas was an action figure of Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid franchise. I loved it! I was so happy to receive this gift because it went perfectly with my collection. I had a few other figures but I had never been able to get this one. Now, it was given to me as a gift. I smiled, thanked my parents and then continued to open my other gifts. When we were done, I remember my cousin coming over to me and asking if I was going to open up and play with my Mr. Miyagi figure. With excitement, I picked up the box and opened up the box, only to watch in complete horror as the action figure fell out of the box with a broken leg and it crashed onto the floor. I knelt down next to the figure crying out, “No!!” My mother came over and motioned to my dad and they did their best to console me. I was, of course, inconsolable. No words would ever heal the pain that resided in my heart. A little dramatic I know, I was a kid.
We ended our vacation and returned to New Hampshire. Prior to going to our house though, we stopped at Jesse’s Market, a small convince store close to us. My dad said he needed to grab something important before we went home. He left our sights, entered the store and returned a little while later. When he got into the car, he turned to my brother, my sister and myself and said, “When we get home, Mike gets to go in first. Is that understood?” I love when your dad says things like that cause it is like you becoming king of the hill. My siblings could snicker and argue and pout all they wanted but I got to go in first. So, we drove off and turned onto School St and then we went down our dive way. My dad shut off the car and handed me the keys and said, “Remember, Mike goes in first.”
I ran up to the door, put the key in and turned the lock and opened the door. There lying on the floor was a Mr. Miyagi figure, exactly like the one in Florida. This one, however, wasn’t broken. It wasn’t in a box either. My parents walked in stunned, as if they had no idea how it got there, other than maybe Santa had heard my figure had broken and he made a special trip, just for me.
When I think about the text of Genesis 3, I wonder what went through God’s mind when he created us, out of the dust and breathed life into us. I wonder specifically what was going through his mind when he was walking in the garden, calling out for Adam and Eve. They were, of course, in hiding. They were hiding in shame and fear; as that is what sin does. Sin drives us from love and mercy and grace chase after us. Fear and shame creates this idea that we cannot possibly become vulnerable under any circumstances. Fear and shame leads us to believe that we cannot be loved because we did something wrong. Fear and shame leads us to walk away from love because we are underserving.
God himself walked into our mess; what he found was his creation standing before him, broken. Much like the Mr. Miyagi toy that was broken when I opened the package. You see, the action figure brought me great joy and it looked perfect inside the box it came in. However, when I opened it so I could interact with is and get close to it, I found it was broken. Same thing happens here. God fellowshipped with man. God came to us, in the cool of the evening.
God himself, walks into our mess. He finds us hiding from him. He finds us in our fear, covering our shame. He finds us broken, ashamed and lost. God’s beautiful masterpiece, came crashing down and breaks into a million pieces.
Both Adam and Eve knew they had done wrong. They became aware of their own nakedness, something which wasn’t previously known. As this transgression conspired, they became afraid when they heard the voice of God calling out their names. That is precisely what sin causes in us; hostility towards God. We are far from him, when we fall short of what he has called us to be.
Sin bears consequence. When God confronted Adam and Eve regarding their sin of disobedience, punishment was just and right. Adam placed the blame on Eve because she handed him the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Eve placed the blame on the serpent who tempted her. Regardless of who said what and who did what, the blame fell on both Adam and Eve. They knew the command of God to not touch the fruit and they willingly and intentionally ate the fruit.
In dealing with our sin, the first priority God places in our midst, is the Gospel. Without the fall of man, there is no need for the Gospel. Without the fall, there is no need for grace. However, as we live in the aftermath of the fall, we can now clearly see our need for forgiveness. We don’t need to be trained to be bad; we are so naturally.
God speaks first to the serpent. This doesn’t suggest the serpent is the one who is to blame solely for sin entering our world. Mankind is responsible for that. Genesis 3:15 is called the proto-evangel, the first gospel. “I [God] 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.”
God pronounces a solemn judgement upon the serpent. First he is cursed because there is no redemption for him. He was given life from God and he wanted it for himself. He was a given a position before God and yet he desired to be above God. In the serpent there was no good, no hope, no honor and no love.
God also gives the serpent animosity towards the woman’s offspring. It is because we are created in the image of God that the serpent hates us all. We are image bearers and the serpent only holds hostility towards us because of that.
In a surprising move, God also provides the serpent with freedom. He is given a unique opportunity to strike the heel of the offspring which will bring about the serpent demise. It almost seems as if God is giving the serpent an idea that there will be a battle and the serpent will get in a shot. The serpent will strike the heel and cause certain injury to the offspring.
It is his heel because the serpent can do nothing but crawl and is underneath the offspring. The offspring strikes the head of the serpent first and then serpent strikes the heel second. This is not to suggest that God in Christ throws the first strike and the serpent the second strike. No, God is giving a clear indication of where the victory lies. It is with the offspring. The victory is with Christ.
The gospel is victorious.
Jesus was victorious in life for he lived without no sin.
Jesus was victorious in death for he submitted to God.
Jesus was victory in the grave for he rose up again.
This is good news. God is victorious.
In the chaos of life, we can easily find ourselves broken. We can find ourselves in a mess, wishing and hoping for something more or something better. In life we find triumph and joy mixed with sorrow and defeat. We can rise and we can fall. The great news is that in Christ, we have victory. In Christ we overcome. In Christ, we can find true peace and true joy. In Christ, we can find life everlasting, life the way God intended for us. Sometimes life can be like that broken Mr. Miyagi toy. We are heart broken and displaced. God in Christ pursues us and restores us to who we were always meant to be. The gospel brings victory.
Written by | Michael Monica