We left Eve in a perfect garden with a perfect body in communion with a perfect God. Things were - well - perfect!
How long were Adam and Eve in the garden before paradise was interrupted by sin? I have no idea. This is one time when I wish I could have been a fly on the tree trunk to see what their lives were like during this time. On a side note though, it's interesting to note that Adam didn't name Eve until Gen. 3:20. He called her woman, just like he gave a name to all the animals, but he didn't give her a personal name until after the fall. I'm sure there is some deep theological reason why that is, but I have no idea what it that is. I just found it interesting.
Anyway, no matter how long it was in actual time, the snake makes his appearance in Genesis 3. That chapter starts out with, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field..." It's kind of a sinister version of "Once upon a time..." isn't it?
Since one of the curses on the snake was that it had to crawl on its belly, it would not be out of the realm of possibility that the snake was upright or had legs or somehow got around differently than it does now.
It's also interesting to note that Eve did not seem in any way startled that this snake is chatting with her. Maybe in the Garden of Eden, the animals talked. I know, as an animal lover and one who often wonders what is going on in my dog's head, this would be my idea of paradise. :)
The serpent starts by asking a question: "Indeed, has God said, You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?" Eve (who through this entire chapter up to verse 20 is referred to as "the woman") answers him in the affirmative. You'll note she adds to the command God gave Adam - she says not only has God has told them not to eat the fruit but they also could not touch it or they would die.
This sounds to me like Eve perhaps had her eye on this tree for a while. Maybe her daily walks seemed to always take her by this tree; maybe she would pause and look at its fruit longingly; maybe she added to God's command to keep her from reaching out and touching the forbidden fruit. Again, since we don't really know how long it's been between chapters 2 and 3, it's hard to know what was going on in Eve's mind before this encounter.
Then the serpent disputes what God says and plants a seed of doubt buried in some twisted truth. "You won't die. No, God knows you'll become as wise as He is and that's why you can't eat the fruit." (paraphrasing here)
We can point fingers at Eve all we want, but how many times do I chafe at some restriction God has placed on me, even if it IS for my own good? All of God's commands are for our good, not just to make sure we don't have fun or to somehow make our lives miserable.
The serpent tells part of the truth - it is true that Eve won't die physically at that very moment, and it is true her "eyes will be open," but she will die spiritually and eventually physically AND while she will have more knowledge, it will be a heavy burden, not a blessing.
So, Eve looks at the fruit. She sees it is good for food; that it is beautiful to look at and on top of this, it will make her wise. So, she eats it.
Then, she hands it to her husband Adam. When I was growing up, the story was always told that Eve went looking for Adam to give him the fruit, but if you'll notice in
verse 6, it says, "and she gave also to her husband with her." So, Adam apparently was an observer of all that went down between Eve and the serpent. You have to wonder why he didn't speak up at any point, but he not only didn't, but went ahead and ate the fruit, too.
So, what happened here? I mean, had God shown Himself not to be good? There weren't even any disturbing newscasts to throw a bad light on God's goodness in this perfect paradise. Disease, famine, death, tragedy - none of that had even happened yet. So, why did Eve allow the serpent to plant the seeds of doubt in her mind? What made her doubt God's goodness in a perfect environment?
I believe there is a two part answer to that question. First, she thought God was holding out on her - that He was keeping something good from her for some reason. Second, she based her decision on her experiences and limited perspective.
Let's look at these one at a time. While it is pretty hard to convince someone over the long haul that there is no God at all (most people at least acknowledge a "greater being"), it is much easier to cast doubt on God's goodness.
Why? The answer lies in our limited perception of reality - called our experience. It is completely natural to base our future decisions on our past experiences. All the fruit Eve had eaten up until this point had not harmed her. Why would this fruit be any different? In fact, according to the serpent, this fruit had the added benefit of making her "wise." Knowledge is always a good thing isn't it?
This sort of reminds me of the verses in 2 Tim. 3:6,7 that says, "For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
The serpent spoke the truth when he said Eve's eyes would be open, but instead of being a good thing, it turned out to be an awful thing. You'll notice at the end of chapter 2, it says that the man and woman were naked and were not ashamed. Suddenly, after eating the fruit, shame enters the picture. They "know" enough to be ashamed of their nakedness. Where once they lived in freedom without guilt and shame, now they were aware of it and it pressed down on them causing them to hide themselves, not only from each other, but from God too when He came looking for them. Sin still does that - it causes us to withdraw and hide from each other and from God.
Despite what the snake said or how he twisted the truth, Adam and Eve both knew what God had said -they just chose to disregard it in favor of something that seemed to make more sense and was more appealing.
Truth is truth, though, no matter how we feel or how it seems to not line up with our experiences. I have had times in my life where I felt God leading me in a certain direction that did not make any sense at all to me, based on my perception of reality. Anytime I've ignored that voice, it's been to my own detriment because I had a limited view of what was really going on while God had a bird's eye view of not just the present, but the past and the future.
What can we learn from Eve, then? We can learn that God is good no matter how our feelings might be trying to tell us otherwise. We can also learn that what appears to make sense based on what we know/experience is not always the true reality as seen from God's viewpoint.
~ Blessings, Bronte