Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bad Girls of the Bible: Eve

*Material taken from Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs

Bad Girls of the Bible: Eve
Genesis 2:15-3:13

Bad Girls:      Bad to the Bone- Not a single kind word was ever spoken about them in scripture; a pattern of sinning; no evidence of remorse, repentance, or a desire to change; they sinned with gusto. Made in the image of God, so not truly bad to the core—they just behaved that way.
                        Bad for a Moment- Women who made one huge, colossal, life changing blooper that was recorded in scripture to teach everyone else a lesson. Seem to be believers in the one true God at the start but when forced to make a decision, chose disastrously.
                        Bad for a Season, but not Forever- Sins in their past, but were willing to change and be changed.

Intro: Today we are going to be studying Eve, and the fall of man. Adam and Eve were called to work the land in the Garden of Eden. Some people believe that work entered the world after the fall as a result of sin. In actuality, hard work and toil entered into the world after the fall. Before sin, gardening was a cushy job. There was no rain, weeds, thistles, stickers, wascally wabbits, or unproducing crops. There were no irrigation trenches to be dug, because God watered the garden like the misters in the produce section at the grocery store.
            Adam worked the garden and named the animals as they walked by. “Squirrel, kangaroo, giraffe, skunk.” That was his life until God wanted to give him a suitable partner. God put him in a deep sleep, removed his rib and created woman. Imagine what Adam must have felt like when he woke up and saw Eve in all her beauty. He named her right away—“Whoa, man!” Man was made out of dust, but the woman was made out of finer material. Why did God use the rib? Skeletally speaking, the rib is not a load bearing wall, and secondly it was close to Adam’s heart. When Adam woke up he said, “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” He had finally found a suitable partner.    
            Let’s think about Eve for a minute. One of the more interesting things to think about Adam and Eve is that neither one of them had a belly button. Neither one of them were born and thus had no umbilical cord. But let’s dig deeper. They were both made as fully functioning human adults. Little boys and little girls are not attracted to each other, in fact they don’t like each other for a phase in their life, and then all of a sudden they notice, and enjoy the subtle differences between the sexes. Adam and Eve skipped all of that. Adam woke up from his nap, and said, “Forget this naming the animals business and was immediately enamored with his new partner.
            Eve was beautiful, perfect, and innocent. She didn’t go through puberty, so she didn’t have an awkward self-image of herself. She didn’t have zits, or pock marks from chicken pocks. No scars from falling off her bike as a kid. No blemishes. She was the first woman, the head of the genetic line, so she had no weird genetic mutations. She didn’t inherit her grandma’s weird nose, or her mom’s big ears. She was the essence of perfection. On top of that she was the only woman. She had no competition. She didn’t have to compare herself to super models, centerfolds, or the women on the magazines at the checkout line at the grocery store. No one was taller, thinner, younger, or more beautiful than her.
            So how could a woman who had all of this going for her, throw it all away? Women do it every day. Men do it, too. We throw away perfectly wonderful lives because our foolish sinful appetites takes us places we should not go. Sin over promises and under delivers.

Scripture: Genesis 2:15-3:13
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat[a] of it you shall surely die.”
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for[b] him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed[c] every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam[d] there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made[e] into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”[
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
The Fall
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[g] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 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,[h] 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.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool[i] of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”[j] 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Analysis of the Sin The serpent entered the scene and said to the woman (Eve had not been named by then), “Did God really say you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
            A lot of questions come to mind. Why didn’t Eve freak out that the snake was talking when none of the other animals could talk? Why did he go after Eve and not Adam? Was Eve at the wrong place at the wrong time? Did satan go looking for her? “When the devil comes a-tempting, he seldom goes for group conversions. He waits until we’re alone, then he spins his web of deceit.”
            Eve didn’t make one colossal mistake. She made a series of bad mistakes.
1) Don’t Talk to Strangers: Or strange animals. She got into a debate with satan. What she should have done was high tailed it to the other side of the garden. There’s no reason to discuss or reason with the devil.
            Satan begins by deliberately misquoting scripture, even putting words in the Lord’s mouth. Secondly, he twists God’s words to make Him sound unfair, unloving, and cruel.

2) She Corrected Satan: Eve meant well by correcting satan when he got the word of the Lord wrong, but again she should have been beating feet out of there.

3) She Added a Misquotation of Her Own: She corrected the serpent that it was only the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that they were not to eat from. But then she added that they weren’t supposed to touch it either. God didn’t say that. She was exaggerating. Exaggerate literally means to enlarge beyond the truth. “When we exaggerate we plant seeds of doubts in the minds of others—Did God really say that other thing?—and in our own mind—Maybe God’s words need my help.” Satan didn’t draw attention to her own misquotation because she was already down the path of deceiving herself.

            Satan turned the relationship of sin and death upside down in 3:4 when he said, “You will not surely die,” making God out to be less than an all loving God. In verse 5 he shifts the focus from what “God said” to what “God knows.” How could the serpent know what God was thinking? He couldn’t have. He then offers two reasons why this unloving God would withhold something good from them: 1) It will open their eyes; 2) They will be like God knowing good from evil. Eve probably didn’t hear that part because she didn’t know what evil was. She was already tempted by the eye opening and being like God.

4) She Took Her Focus off of God and onto Herself: She stopped thinking about what God had commanded her, (and remember there was only one commandment) and focused on how the fruit of that tree would be beneficial to her—open eyes, and being like God. Notice satan completely takes himself out of the picture, like there is nothing for him to gain by her act of rebellion. In her eyes, he’s just a friendly neighbor offering advice. He’s like a sleazy used car salesman, selling you something you don’t want and can’t afford because he wants a commission check. He doesn’t care about you. All he wants is what he can get from you. The advice he’s giving is breaking down the trust between woman and her God—an institution. As you live your lives people will come to you, seemingly offering you friendly advice, but in reality they are tearing down trust between you and your parents, you and your wife or husband, you and your friends. What do they have to gain?
            The first benefit satan offers Eve is that her eyes will be open. Many parents home school their children to protect them from what’s going on in the world. They want to control what parts of their child’s world their eyes are opened to. You don’t really know what’s out there in the world until your eyes have been opened to it. But once your eyes have been opened you can never go back to what you were like before. Now that I’ve been in a third world country, I’ll never forget what it is like to see so much waste and garbage. There is a whole other world for drug users, but once they are introduced to it, they are addicted, their lives are ruined, and they can never go back. Do you think the people who are addicted to crystal meth are thankful to the person who opened their eyes to that drug? No, their lives are ruined. Crystal meth is one of the most powerfully addictive substances in the world. People who use it once are addicted. It changes your brain patterns forever, and shrinks your blood vessels. Your body then gets deficient in blood in certain areas and it does irreparable harm. Don’t believe me? Google “Meth Mouth.”
            Your eyes being open is not always a good thing.
            The second benefit is being like God. Who wouldn’t want to be like God? How many of you would like to live in a world where I was God?

3:6 Saw the fruit was good: We don’t know how long she was in the garden before she ate the forbidden fruit but the tree was there the whole time. It wasn’t until Satan brought up the fruit that she was tempted by it and noticed that it looked good to eat. Ever noticed how badly you want something you can’t have? You probably could care less about something until you’re told you can’t have it. Four things happened to Eve as a result of the conversation with the serpent:
                        1) She stopped looking to God for truth.
                        2) She stopped looking to her husband for shared counsel.
                        3) She stopped looking at the blessing all around and available to her.
                        4) She even stopped looking to the serpent for direction. He never says another word after that. The seeds of deception had been planted in fertile ground. The fruit was good for food, pleasing to the eye, and desirable for gaining knowledge. “With rationalization, and justification the woman was in rebellion with God.”
            The Bible says that God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden. He was a physical presence, not just a spiritual presence, in their lives. They saw Him, talked with Him, and knew Him. How could she have forsaken His one command? Some say she was courageous (sinning for the first time ever), ambitious, and curious. These are good traits if you exploring a new land, but bad traits if you are rebelling against God. “I’d enjoy the taste, I like the look of it, I’ll be like God.”
            3:6 She Took Some and Ate It: The entire history of mankind balanced on the axis of six words, “She took some and ate it.” Three words in Hebrew.
            Eve had no one to blame but herself. She didn’t have a rough up-bringing, no dysfunctional family, not a wayward husband, not abject hunger, not poverty or need of any kind.
            The serpent didn’t offer up an “attagirl” He didn’t say anything. Did he stick around and celebrate? Were there demons there celebrating? We don’t know. There was no one there, and then Adam showed up. She gave the fruit to Adam, who in the Hebrew language was standing right with her, and he ate of it to. We don’t know when he showed up. Did he hear the whole conversation? Did he show up mid bite? Did he show up after everything went down? We don’t know.  We do know that when Eve gave Adam its fruit he offered up no word of protest. He ate the fruit. Tom Turman says this is proof that a naked woman can get you to eat anything.
            How does it end? God shows up. Man blames the woman and in turn blames God for putting her with him, and the woman blames the serpent.
            Eve doesn’t fit into the three categories of “bad” we talked about earlier: Bad to the Bone, Bad for a Moment, Bad for a Season but not forever. She is in a class all by herself—a one of a kind bad girl. She was the first woman ever created: Perfect, beautiful, innocent, and naïve and, subsequently, completely unrelatable to anyone. She was tempted by her flesh, humbled by her sin, and redeemed by her God. Now she is relatable to everyone.      


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