At Bethany during our adult education hour on Sundays we are diving into our next educational series – Journeying into Genesis. This is the second of our five weeks looking into the book of Genesis, asking questions, and like Jacob, wrestling with our faith.
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
For this Sunday (February 26th) we will be continuing on this journey into Genesis, focusing on the next two chapters – chapters 3 & 4. The question that we will use to help shape our conversations as we tackle this week’s text: “Adam and Eve and What’s next?”
I have often struggled with the Adam and Eve story. I think part of it is that Eve’s willingness to follow temptation has been used throughout history in icky ways towards women. But more than that, I think that my frustration tends to come from the fact that it really is the beginning of the Law as we know it, and Law doesn’t always feel good.
In fact, it feels pretty terrible, especially when we look at the Law that Adam and Eve were told to follow – don’t eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge.
What’s sort of funny is we never actually see God tell this to Adam and Eve before the serpent makes his way into the story – we hear from Eve that God has commanded this. But the point is – there is a lot of freedom in the garden, but just one rule.
I wonder how long Adam and Eve were in the garden before the serpent showed up? I wonder how long it took them to fall short of God’s command?
In the 1960’s and 70’s there were a series of studies called the “Stanford marshmallow experiment” about delayed gratification and temptation. This experiment gave children a marshmallow, and if they waited to eat the marshmallow until the time was up, they would get two marshmallows. In the last couple of years the experiment has been repeated on youtube, with exactly the results you would expect (and it’s hilarious and totally worth the watch).
Which makes me wonder, how could God not know that Adam and Eve were going to eat that fruit? I mean God made them right?
Had it been years that they walked in the garden with God? Or had it been minutes?
Has original sin (the temptation to trust in oneself above God) been part of us since our creation?
Is this narrative maybe a way to explain the ways in which humanity tends to aim towards ourselves and our own abilities (our own seeking of knowledge) rather than relationship with God?
We will be talking about these and more questions this Sunday (sorry I can’t give away the whole lesson now!), join us for good conversations as we ask these questions, wrestle with Scripture, and try to figure out how this Living Word is talking to us today.