How many times have I cursed Adam and Eve. How could they be so stupid and selfish to ruin it for the rest of us? I like to think I would have been better. I would have resisted the temptation. If I were in the Garden of Eden with all of the goodness around me, where everything was easy and happy, I would never have been so stupid and so ungrateful. I would have been satisfied with what I had. I like to think that… But I probably prove daily that I too would have fallen, indeed I do fall.
Today, I re-read the story we all know so well, and what struck me is Adam and Eve’s response to God and God’s response to Adam and Eve:
When they heard the sound of the LORD God walking about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. The LORD God then called to the man and asked him: Where are you? He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.” Then God asked: Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat? The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it.” The LORD God then asked the woman: What is this you have done? The woman answered, “The snake tricked me, so I ate it.”
Wow! Not only do they disobey God, but then they blame others for it. Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the snake. They almost sound like 5 year olds. “It wasn’t my fault.” “She made me do it.” Our shame often makes us blame others for our actions. Society seems to encourage us to ignore individual responsibility. We fill the courts with lawsuits blaming someone else for things that “happen” to us. It’s the gun manufacturer’s fault, the bartender’s fault, the drug manufacturer’s fault. Social media, video games, movies and TV all cause us to do things we know are wrong. Its hard to correct our behavior when we refuse to accept that we make the choices that lead to evil. There are plenty of snakes out there, plenty of temptations, but we make choices. And as much as I want to blame Adam and Eve for all of the misfortunes in the world, or blame politicians or media or others, I make choices everyday. I cannot hide from my actions.
I do not want to be like Adam and Eve blaming others. When we blame others, it is easy to become victims and feel helpless. I cannot control others, but I can control my choices. I need to open my eyes to my choices. I need to take responsibility, and seek God’s forgiveness, for my actions.
We often focus on the man and the woman in the story, Adam and Eve. But the best part of the story is God. God knows His children have sinned, have disobeyed Him, have not trusted His goodness, but He does not turn His back on them. He searches for them. He calls for them. Just as He calls us back to Him. We think of this as the greatest sin, the original one, the one that started it all. But look at what God does. Adam and Eve have turned from Him, but God doesn’t give up on them, or us. He comes down to earth to meet Adam and Eve. He meets us where we are. They are hiding in the darkness of the trees and God calls for them. God calls us out of the darkness. He questions them about what they have done. He helps us recognize our sin because He wants us to do better. God does all of this for Adam and Eve, and He does the same for us. We chose to know evil, and God keeps calling us back to know good.
You show me again and again how great you are. Your plans for us are good. You know better than us what we need and what we don’t. Forgive me for the times I have turned away, for the times I have thought I have known better, for the times I have blamed others. I want to know good. I want to know you. I don’t need anything other than you and your plan for me.