The Bible’s story takes a terrible turn for the worse. Adam, the one bearing God’s image who has benefited so magnificently from God’s kindness and generosity, decides that he knows better than the maker of all things. Adam evidently managed to persuade himself that though God had promised a severe sanction were he to eat the forbidden fruit (“You will surely die” 2:17), God would not actually follow through on this. This betrays his fundamental distrust of God’s word, and his complete misunderstanding of God’s person and character.
His wilful disobedience earns him a stiff rebuke, and his wonderful relationship with his creator is irrevocably damaged. Not only that, his relationship with his wife is marred, and his authority over the rest of the created order is undermined; both of these act as permanent consequences and perpetual reminders of his selfishness and arrogance.
At one level it would be easy to look at Adam in shock and disbelief that he should selfishly and carelessly forfeit so much, yet as we read his story, do we not see our own story mirrored? Can we really be so bold as to claim we have never wilfully chosen to do what we know is out of keeping with the character of the God whose image we bear? Have we truly never doubted God’s willingness or ability to hold us to account?
- To what extent do you feel Adam's punishment fitted his crime?
- What does this answer reveal about your own understanding of the person and character of God?
- Adam is immediately banished from the Garden of Eden so he cannot eat from the tree of life, but he doesn't physically die until chapter 5. What does this indicate about the Bible's understanding of life and death? What might it teach us about God?