The Mentality of Faith: Failure and Fault

(Jessica) If you were here last time, then you should know how this works. If not, or you forgot, I’ll catch you up to speed. We’re on a journey through the minds of the people of the Bible. Each time we’ll meet someone, or come back to them while they face something new, and try to get inside their minds. What were they thinking? What fueled their choices? How can we relate to them? And the important realization that we always try to come back to, this is real.


So, we’ve seen God’s perfect creation now. We’ve seen the many special traits given to mankind: creativity, the ability to think, special need for relationships, and, initially, a peaceful mind. Well, that only takes us through Genesis chapter 2. We’re very aware of the fact that perfection doesn’t last forever.  So, enter Genesis chapter 3. Can I just say, that was fast!

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

Here I like to believe Eve is using her beautiful mind that was given to her. She knows the truth. She understands exactly what God has said. She has this knowledge stored in her memory, ingrained within her. Like many of us, she knows the simple truth. In this moment, that’s all she needs.



image
Page 22 of The Action Bible

 

While Eve seems firm, the serpent knows how to weaken that. He starts with this simple statement she can respond to, then he changes it. He tells her, basically, “You’re not going to die! God doesn’t want you touching it because He knows it will make you like Him!” The serpent takes a mixture of truth and lies throughout this entire exchange and uses them to inspire or manipulate Eve. Here the Bible doesn’t say much about what she thought, it gives us just a tiny piece of information. I want to be careful here with what I have to say about what’s going through her mind. We only know so much and have little more than guesswork for the rest. But I do want to give it a try.



So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.

That’s it! That’s all we’re given for her motivation, reasoning, or logic! The first of it we know is justification. Hello, we’ve all been there before. The tree is good for food! The tree is beautiful! These are facts! But they are irrelevant! Every tree of the garden fulfilled these qualifications. The fact that she went to these thoughts makes me believe that really, within her she still completely knew this was wrong. She wasn’t tricked beyond repair, this is very much a conscious choice. Realistically, how often do you give these explanations or justifications to things you do when you know they’re right? Compared to when you know it’s wrong, practically never. But what, then, was the real motivation behind her choice? What made her use these justifications to do what she knew to be wrong?



“A tree desirable to make one wise.” What was so important about wisdom that she would be disobedient? That she would risk death that was promised to her? Maybe it’s power. Maybe she wanted to be like God because she wanted to be in charge of more. Maybe it’s more pure than that. Maybe she wanted to be like God, not because of power, but because of the connection she wanted to have with Him. As Christians, we strive to be like Christ. It is a good thing for us to be like Him! She could have just wanted to be like God in a similar way.

We don’t get to see Eve struggle with the thought. The Bible makes it feel as though the decision was instantaneous. Did she struggle with it at all? Was this a decision she made after one conversation with a serpent and it just sounded good? Life doesn’t usually work that way. Of course there are times when we do rush headlong into something but usually it’s a process. Something, or someone, comes along and takes something we know, it gets warped, we wrestle with it, and we make a choice.


You know why I think the Bible doesn’t give us all of this information about Eve here, the reason the choice appears so instant? I think, it’s because it doesn’t matter. The number of times she shut the serpent down, the amount of thought she put into it, even the motivation for why wisdom was so appealing. We get none of it. Nothing. She eats it and shares it. Adam takes it. Again, it seems instant. What was his motivation? Surely he knew what fruit that was. Regardless, he goes along with it. We are shown nothing that implies Adam tried to stop it. What matters is that they had a command, a simple command, and they disobeyed.

image
Page 23 of The Action Bible

 



Here comes God walking through the garden. They run and hide in their shame. God calls out to them, like He’s giving them opportunity. I mean God knows everything, surely He knows what they’ve done. Instead of hiding, I believe they could have come forward and admitted the problem right then. We don’t know what God’s response would have been, it could be that nothing would differ at all. Since we are made in His image though, I imagine we have a bit of it within us. If this were me and my children, mercy would spread much farther with an admission than it would with an “interrogation.”


But they wait. In verse 9 God calls out “Where are you?” Knowing they must face Him they step out. Adam explains, well partly. God gives Him an opportunity again. He asks basically “Did you do it?” There was only one thing that could make Adam ashamed and to hide, God knew.

So, he tells the truth right? “Yes God I did it! I shouldn’t have! I’m sorry! Forgive me!”

Wait, that’s not it? You mean, God strips the conversation down to the bare minimum, where only one answer is really possible and that’s not what happens?

“It’s her fault.”

Wow! So, let’s try this again “Eve, what have you done?”

“The serpent tricked me!”

Again?! Really?! Neither of you can just admit your fault and stop talking? Blame, blame, and oh so much more blame.



I must say, I’ve never blamed anyone for anything! Oh, wait. Yes, I have. You have too. How often do we admit our flaws only under the declaration that the fault really lies elsewhere? Sometimes we do it just as boldly as these two. Sometimes we kind of cover it up in real life problems and issues we’re dealing with. No matter what though, it’s the same. Why didn’t they, and why don’t we, just admit to the wrong? Because it’s hard, because it hurts, because of pride.

In the end, we must all face the consequences of our actions though. God didn’t say “That rotten serpent! How dare he! Serpent be cursed and leave my precious people alone!” No, God punished all three. The serpent first because he achieved his goal of leading them astray. Eve next because she allowed the trickery. And Adam last because he listened. It doesn’t just stop there though. We are still suffering from this sin. We are still dealing with the consequences. It didn’t stop with them, and your choices often won’t stop with you.



The more we read the Bible, the more we will see of God’s great mercy and love, His forgiveness, and all the good He has to offer us. But sometimes we have to stop and consider the failures. Sometimes we need to stop, admit the truth, and move on in grace. The world didn’t end the moment Adam and Eve sinned, nor any other person in history. Your sin is not the end of the world or your story. Sometimes, it is still just the beginning. We are just getting started. More is coming. More trials and triumphs, more failure and grace, just more. If you will hold on, admit your sins, seek God, and receive what He has for you, then this is just your beginning too.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “The Mentality of Faith: Failure and Fault

  1. While it is possible (probable) I am focusing on objects more than subjects, I have a question. To preface the question; aside from “lest ye die” were there other negative consequences to eating the fruit given by God? How could Eve have known the consequences of her actions when neither she nor Adam had any context for what the consequence would be? Neither, based on the passage, had ever known hardship. I understand they disobeyed God, but being in a perfect world means that there was never anything that could allow them to imagine the punishment that awaited their disobedience, thus they couldn’t understand what they were doing. You could posit that they did not even understand the concept of death. The stove metaphor would probably be apt for this situation. You can tell a young child not to touch a stove because it will burn them, but if they don’t know that being burned hurts, why not do it? After all humans are curious, even to a fault, as this story does show.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am no Bible scholar or theologian of any sort so I may not be equipped to answer this but I’ll share what I think.
      The first thing is that if they don’t understand death or hardship then how did she understand wisdom? How did she understand at all that this was something to desire? I understand your point but once it’s made it opens up so many potential other problems.
      Personally, I just believe God gave them this knowledge within them in some way. When He created them He made them with working bodies and minds. They weren’t just lumps of clay or limp noodles. I know that doesn’t really say a lot, I just believe that somehow this was all covered.
      As I pointed out in the post I believe the Bible includes and excludes certain things for a reason. To us, though we may be curious and want to know things, their understanding of consequence and death isn’t what matters to the story. We understand these concepts and the written record is meant to minister to us, not Adam and Eve. We are meant to learn from the mistakes of those before us in a way that prepares us to deal with them our own mistakes.
      (Any one else with thoughts and opinions on this matter please feel free to chime in!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hermeneutics is my favorite subject!

    I love the art and science of understanding how to understand the Bible. In this, I think it’s important to note that we are only given what we need to know and the point of the story (to me) is all about order. God had a specific order of how man should care for woman and they together should care for the earth. But instead the man obeyed the woman and the woman obeyed the creature and man and woman together were tempted by creation. The curse directly reflects this with what the three were cursed with and the order in which they were cursed.

    Looking at the subject here, we see the point being about order and sin. I like the point made in the article about how we all have sinned and need to own our own mistakes and move on.

    Romans 5 says a lot about how we are all born of sin but can choose to stop living in sin and live in Christ instead. That’s ultimately the point of the whole Bible which in many ways comes back to how we understand this chapter in Genesis.

    Great post and awesome discussion guys!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s