I was alive! I inhaled deeply and smelled the myriad of fragrances in the air. Brilliant colors surrounded me – plants, trees, sky, water, animals. My senses were inundated by the magnificence of my surroundings! I looked around in wondrous amazement, my mind drinking in every detail.
I felt a hand on my shoulder, and turned.
“I am Adam,” he said. “And you are Eve.”
All at once, awareness invaded my being. I knew that we were the Almighty God’s first human creation. I perceived that we had been charged to care for this beautiful place. I understood that I had been created to be Adam’s helpmate. All of this I comprehended, instantaneously. Mere words cannot describe this feeling, this oneness with the earth, the animals, the man. And yes, with God.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:28-30 ESV)
We were complete, flawless. The Garden of Eden, as God named it, was perfect. We spent our time caring for the animals and the plants, and each other. The trees bore the most luscious fruit! We were never hungry. We experienced utter joy each day. God walked with us each evening. Oh, He loved us so very much! We looked forward to His visits, like a child looks forward to seeing his daddy.
But I digress. When God put us in the Garden of Eden, He told Adam that we could eat of any tree except for the tree that grew in the center of the garden – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That tree grew taller and more sublime than any of the other trees. It was simply magnificent.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:15-17 ESV)
On that fateful day, I was walking in the garden, gathering berries to eat. A serpent appeared and we began talking. Now I realize that may seem far-fetched, but you must understand that our world was very different than yours. We conversed with all of the animals. The serpent saw that I was gathering berries from various trees. Suddenly, he pointed to the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
“Look at the fruit on that one!” he said, pointing to the tree. “Have you ever seen such perfect fruit? Why, I know for a fact that this tree has the most mouth-watering fruit in the garden!”
“Oh no!” I gasped, backing away. “We are not allowed to touch or eat of the fruit of that tree. That is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam if we ate that fruit, we would die!”
I trembled, just thinking about it. Why would the serpent encourage me to take that fruit? We lived in perfection, why would I want to ruin that? I didn’t!
But the serpent wouldn’t go away. He continued talking about “the tree.”
“Did God really say that?” he asked. “I’m sure Adam misunderstood. After all, you weren’t there to hear the exact words, were you?”
“Well no,” I murmured. “But…”
“He didn’t mean that you would literally die,” the serpent interrupted. “Why would God create anything that would harm you?”
“Why indeed?” I thought to myself. “The God that walks and talks with me every evening would not create anything that was not good for me.”
I turned to the serpent. He looked at me expectantly. In retrospect, I wish I had noticed that crafty gleam in his eyes. The tree was the bait, I was the fish, and the serpent was about to reel me in.
Sensing that I was wavering, the serpent spoke again.
“I know the real reason,” he stated smugly. “God MIGHT have told Adam not to touch or eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but not because you will die.”
Curious, I asked, “Then for what reason ?”
The serpent replied, “Because if you eat of that fruit, you will become like God. You will know good and evil!”
Become like God?? Oh, I loved God! And I could become like God, just by eating that fruit? I could know the difference between good and evil? The temptation was too much to bear!
The serpent slithered around the tree. “You won’t even have to touch the tree,” he announced. “I will get the fruit for you.”
Before I could respond, the most exquisite and succulent piece of fruit fell into my hands. Its fragrance was unlike any I had ever experienced. My whole being craved a taste of this forbidden fruit; my hands tingled as I cradled it gently.
I turned as I heard footsteps. It was Adam.
“Look at this fruit!” I exclaimed. “It’s from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The serpent says that you misunderstood God, and that we won’t die. Instead, we will be wise, like God Himself!”
Adam glanced from the serpent to the fruit in my hands.
“Do what you want,” he pronounced.
The serpent looked at me expectantly. For one long moment, I wavered. I gazed longingly at the fruit. I turned my head back to the serpent. He gave me an encouraging nod.
Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath. My mouth opened as my hands pushed the fruit upward. There would be no turning back. Quickly, I sank my teeth into it. Juice ran down my arms.
“Here, you take a bite too,” I said to Adam. “Then we will both be as wise as God.”
He grabbed the fruit from my hands, and took a bite. Suddenly I felt a change. I opened my eyes. Everything look different. I felt emotions for which I had no name. I looked at the serpent. A tremor began in my fingers and consumed my body. EVIL – I was staring at it, in all its ugliness and deceit.
“What have we done?” I cried. “Why did you tempt me?”
“Don’t blame me,” the serpent responded with a sneer. “I didn’t force you to do anything. You had a choice, you weak woman!”
Sick, I turned to Adam. The same look of hopelessness was in his eyes. Glancing down, my mind perceived that we were naked. I felt another emotion – shame. We quickly made coverings for ourselves from fig leaves.
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. Genesis 3:6-7 (ESV)
You know the rest of the story. We attempted to hide from God, an impossibility. He found us. He knew what we had done. And he called it sin.
I had a choice. That’s how God made me. I was faced with temptation, and I made the wrong choice. The serpent made the sin look enticing. But I could have resisted. I could have turned and fled. Instead, I continued my conversation. I flirted with evil. That’s where my sin originated. It wasn’t in the actual act of eating the forbidden fruit, but rather in my thoughts, and in my heart.
Why did I tell my story, you may wonder? I told it with the longing that you will understand that God isn’t the author of evil. God made all of you with free will; the ability to make choices. When the wrong choices are made, sin is the result. The serpent (whom I now know as Satan) didn’t force me to sin. What he did was make sin look good. He made sin seem irresistible. And he minimized the consequences…
Where was God? He was there, wanting me to make the right choice, desiring for me to remain in communion with Him. However, as much as He loved me, He would not prevent my freedom to choose.
God loves you. You have a choice. He has made a way for you to come to Him, through faith in His son Jesus Christ.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:16-18 (ESV)