S1E9 transcript

009 - "Not Me" Did It

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Season 1, Episode 9
Series: Journey Through the Old Testament
Length: 23:25



The moment Adam and Eve eat the fruit, something fundamental changes and how they see themselves and each other, but it’s skewed. It’s off center. Something’s wrong with it. And they seek to hide themselves from both God and from one another.  

Then God comes along and asks 3 questions in sequence here in this section. And I think we can appreciate that God in his all-knowing is not asking the questions here out of ignorance. In other words, God doesn’t need Adam and Eve to explain to him and give them the answers that he doesn’t know. These questions serve to highlight and to illustrate the significance and the ramifications of what Adam and Eve’s acts and decisions here did to God created order. 


And so the first question: where are you? This is a relational question. Adam and Eve are hiding. They first hid behind leaves to cover up themselves and put a barrier between themselves and each other. And now they’re physically trying to hide from God himself, where they can’t be seen. There’s this deep feeling of shame and guilt in the desire to not be seen and not be in the presence of God.  

Well, of course God knows exactly where they are physically. But it’s a question for their sake and ours. 

And as a reminder here, this concept of nakedness that we talked about earlier is not just a reference to their physical condition or lack of clothing and covering. But it also includes this broader concept of innocence. Of purity of transparency. That what you see on the outside is the same as what’s on the inside. 

You see, before Adam and Eve ate in the fruit, this relationship between them and between them and God were transparent through and through it was open, free flowing, two-way, trusting completely. And now that has radically gone the other direction. 

So, Adam and Eve seek to conceal themselves both physically and relationally. So God says to them, where are you? There’s a gap. There’s a distance something has come between Adam and Eve. Something has come between them and God. 


Question number two: God says, who told you that you were naked? You see earlier in the text, Adam and Eve were already aware of this. And God asked him the question here reveals that he doesn’t have to tell them what happened. He didn’t come along and impose this guilt and shame on them, but rather it’s the inevitable natural byproduct. God is saying to them, nobody had to bring this to your attention that you felt this way. It just naturally happened. 

And so just with these two questions — where are you, who told you that you were naked? — we see the most basic and devastating pattern of sin’s consequences: the guilt, the shame, the hiding. And that’s what sin has done here. 

It’s taken Adam and Eve, the pinnacle of God’s creation, who themselves are beautiful and good in this great relationship between each of them, the openness, the transparency, the lack of concealment, the trust at beautiful, good relationship between them and their creator. And it’s warped it and twisted it so that it has now become something of shame.  

Adam and Eve’s nature here has undergone some kind of transformation in the wrong direction. And now what we see is the need to hide, to conceal our true selves from others. Because deep down we’re ashamed of who we are. We don’t want others to see what’s really inside. We’re afraid of what others think. Right? We want to present, we want to present that outside as if it’s good when we know the truth is altogether something different. And so, we have that need to conceal, to project a different image. Paradoxically, we still want to control. We have that need to control. We want others to to look at us better than we really find ourselves to be. But something now has been radically ripped apart here in God’s design at the very center of the very heart of the relationship between man and woman and God. 


And then here comes a third question. God says to Adam and Eve: Did you take and eat of that tree? What is it you have done? And both Adam and Eve, respond by blaming somebody else. Adam says, “Hey, it’s her fault! She did it. She gave it to me. Don’t look at me, it’s not my fault.”  

Eve does the same thing. She says, “Well, it was a serpent. He tricked me. It’s his fault. Don’t look at me!” 

And so with these three questions, we can really see the pattern and the consequence of what sin produces. 

Where are you? We’re cut off we’re hiding away from God. Who told you that you were naked? There’s shame and separation from others. There’s now there’s now barriers between us. What is it that you have done? And we refuse to take accountability. We want to deflect and blame at somebody else’s fault. 

And at this point in the story, we can go back to our triangle, this picture of God’s good creation. God’s presence and God’s people dwelling in God’s place and all that was meant with that. And we lay it right in here at this point in the story. And what we find is that man is now cut off and at odds with all three of those fundamental relationships. There’s separation from God. There is separation and barriers between man and woman. The blame, the shame, the guilt, the hiding, the concealing. 

And we’ll also see when we get when we look at the curses here at the end of the chapter and then moving forward especially, that man is also at odds with his place in the physical world. 


Right here is often the place where the question of the origin of evil gets asked frequently. What we call theodicy, where did evil come from? And there’s a number of things that all tie together here that we want to stop and just consider for a minute. 

First of all, evil is not a creative thing that creeps into the garden and somehow infects man. I often hear that idea that evil is a thing. It’s a part of nature. It was outside and the serpent brought it in. And because the serpent introduced it somehow, that gets into Adam and Eve, and that’s what causes them to disobey. OK, except that’s not that’s not scriptural. That’s not the picture that the Bible gives us. Evil is not a created thing. It’s not a part of the material world. 

Rather, I think we can best understand evil as the condition that comes about in the absence of the goodness in the right ordering of God’s design. The absence of the goodness in the right ordering of God’s design and that is caused specifically by human choice. Was there a temptation from this other character, the serpent? No question. But he didn’t make them do it. 

And again, I want to stress this. I think is connected to the principle of dominion that we have talked about several times. Central to God’s purposes and design for humanity, as his image bearers is the fact that he gave mankind great authority over his creation. And the expectation — in fact, the command — to do something with that to use it to subdue it, to bring it under his control in order to expand and grow and make it more prosperous. So great authority and the freedom, broad freedom to exercise that authority in many, many, many ways.  

But what happens when that gets abused? What happens when we give that up? What happens when we want to trade that authority for something else? I think one thing we can see here is the most basic of nature’s laws are violated. And there are natural consequences to all this, because that’s how God, as its creator made it. 

And so, when Adam and Eve refuse to live out their purpose is a way God designed with all of that authority and freedom, something goes terribly wrong in that designed order, in the way that world works. It will no longer function the way God intended because Adam and Eve, as its image bearers, as a representation of God’s authority in that world have given that up. They violated, they abused it. And so evil is the resulting condition that comes about with that. And its effects are significant. And deep. And long lasting. 


Another way that we can really understand and appreciate that evil is not an outside force that comes in and acts upon Adam and Eve is who God holds accountable here in this story. These are the curses at the end of Chapter 3. So God certainly holds the serpent accountable, and there’s all kinds of really interesting analysis and even disagreement among many different people as to what is going on in verse 14 and 15. That’s really kind of beyond the scope of this episode. 

At least on the surface, you have the imagery of a serpent who is now crawling on the ground. I think there’s something else going on. I think that is symbolic language, not biological language. But whatever it is, the curse for the serpent is that at some point in the future the offspring of the woman is going to crush the head of the serpent, of this being. Meaning defeat, destruction, bringing that being low.  

And, of course, this is a very clear foreshadowing when we look back from the end of the Bible. A very clear foreshadowing of not only Revelation, but even the central work of Jesus as a human being as the offspring, a descendant of Adam and Eve, in his death and his resurrection having final victory over evil. But, also evil agents and evil beings, the devil and other spiritual actors that would oppose God and his Kingdom in the world. 

So the serpent is clearly held accountable. But the Serpent’s not the primary one held accountable. You see, God holds Adam and Eve accountable as well. They don’t get off the hook. Nowhere in Scripture can we make the case that it’s the devil’s fault for sin. And what we do? There may be influence. There may be temptation. There is unquestionably something called a sin nature that we will wrestle with as we move ahead. But nowhere does the Bible let us get away with making the claim that it’s not our fault, that we’re not the ones to be held accountable. And in fact, that’s exactly Adam and Eve’s response here in Genesis 3: Don’t blame me, I didn’t do it! And God says, I’m holding you responsible. 

And, so there’s a curse that comes to both Adam and Eve. The curse, the consequence that God is communicating and highlighting affects each person, Adam and Eve, uniquely based on how their role in God’s design is set up. I think this is interesting to look at. You see, for Eve that consequence is that her unique role in the subduing and filling of the earth childbirth — that work will continue, but now it’s going to be painful. There’s going to be suffering and conflict in that. Pains in childbirth, conflict between her and her husband in marriage, who is going to be in charge. That’s now just a part of the order of how the world is going to work. 

And to Adam, his primary, unique role is to be the primary leader in the cultivation of the physical world, at least in the Genesis construct. That role, that responsibility still continues, but now there’s going to be suffering and conflict involved in that. That the earth is not going to cooperate with Adam, it’s going to fight back, whether it be drought or famine or weeds or thorns come up to choke out what he’s trying to grow.  

And these are these are the curses that affect each of them uniquely. That God’s perfect good design, in which Adam and Eve as complementary partners each bring something unique to the table that fits together and allows them to live out their design as the rulers over God’s creation. And to fill that earth and to grow and to make it more prosperous and to expand it, and to fill it for the glory of God and their enjoyment. That intention doesn’t go away. It’s not erased. But now it’s badly damaged and suffering and conflict and violence are going to be woven into how this life will work.  


Well, of course there’s one final consequence that takes place. And that is God dismisses Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. They’re kicked out and excluded. Now this one is a little more interesting to try to wrestle with what’s going on. And you go and you study different interpretations and explanations, it’s really fascinating the variety. 

And I think the most common version goes something like this. God had to kick Adam and Eve out because of their sin, and now they’re separated from God, because if he didn’t, they, in the garden, they would eat continue eating from that tree of life, which was the source of their immortality. 

And as long as they could eat from the tree of life, meaning biologically physically eat of the fruit, there’s something in that fruit that allows them to live forever. And God did not want them to live forever while they were, they were separated from him. 

Well, I’ve addressed this earlier, but I think there’s any number of problems with this view, not the least of which is that it makes the fruit somehow magically the source of their sustained life of immortality. I don’t think that’s I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s God himself who is doing that. And you go back and listen to previous episodes in which I make my arguments about, I think, the symbolic message of these very real trees. I do think the trees are real. I do think the Garden of Eden is real. I think all of this is real stuff. I just think it’s meaning is more symbolic and instructive. 

Let me try to unpack this just briefly. Genesis 3:22: “God says the man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil, he must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever.” I think what the language here in God’s words is addressing is not the biological reality of how life is sustained. But the psychological belief that Adam and Eve now have, as evidenced by what they did with the tree of knowledge of good and evil in their mind, they are now the source of life. Their work, their effort, is now what sustains and creates. 

This goes back to the point I’ve made originally about the two trees. And I said it like this: the Tree of Life as a representation of all other trees in the Garden of Eden — all of them were for food, all of them were for life: this is God’s gift, God’s abundance. All of the pleasure and the joy and the prosperity and the provision, everything Adam and Eve needed in order to make the most out of what God had given them. 

And the point of the two trees was the free access to one — the full life of immortality and joy that God had designed — is entirely dependent upon obedience to the other, the tree of knowledge representing God alone is the king. He is the source of what is good. He is the source of life, not the fruit. 

But Adam and Eve, of course, flip that around. See, Adam and Eve, as we said, were — to kind of use the more Hebraic concept here of image bears — were the “little governors” over the world. This is a special place of power and status, but they gave it up. They traded it for what belonged only to God. 

John Wesley spoke of Adam’s actions like this. Here’s what Wesley said, “By these acts, the man and the woman flagrantly declared that they would no longer have God as their ruler. They would be governed by their own wills, not the will of God who created them. They would not seek happiness in God, but in the world in the works of their own hands.” 

And I think that’s what this language here of Genesis 3:22 is getting at. That Adam and Eve will continue if nothing happens. If there’s no consequence that really brings all of this down, Adam and Eve will continue to live with the belief with the mistaken belief and the conviction that they are, in fact, the ruler of everything, not under God’s rule and power. And so God had to give them a very real consequence to illustrate and drive home just how destructive this was. 

And I think this is where the expulsion from the Garden of Eden comes into play. Because this is the fundamental rule in God’s world: If you will not live under his rule, you cannot live in his place. Nor can you experience the fullness of the life for which he has made you. And because they lose their privilege, and because they’ve abdicated their position as God’s image bearers, they lose access to the place. 

So why drive them out of the garden? I think this is what God is communicating to them and to us. You cannot think like this and coexist with God. God is the source of life. God is the source of truth. God is the king. And if you want the world to work the way it was intended, you have to honor that. This goes back to the central fourth purpose of worship. So, if you’re if you’re not going to do that, you can’t think this way and coexist with God and solitude and separation are the only option. And the expulsion from the garden is a very tangible real, concrete and physical way of communicating to Adam and Eve that truth. 

In the next episode, we will finish up our look here at Act 2 and The Fall. Is there still one more question that God asks and the consequences that we’ll see across the scope of human life and the world itself as a result of sin. 

But before we get to that, let me wrap up with this great quote from Dr. Ligon Duncan, I love what he says here. In the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden, Dr. Duncan says this, “God is shutting the door on the possibility of our ever re-entering into that communion on our terms. If there’s to be a reestablishment of that communion, he is going to have to do it. And that is precisely what the remainder of the chapters through the Bible tell us about. In the first three chapters, we learn of the world that God had made and the mess that we made. And the rest of the Bible is about how God is going to clean that up for his own glory and our good.” 

I love that quote. But that’s the point. You can’t reject God as king, put yourself in his place, want to be the one who makes the rules and decide what is good and true, and still expect to have the world work the way you want. And still expect to experience what God had designed. But the good news is God has a plan and a remedy to deal with that.