28 September 2017

Genesis 3:1-21

"Then the eyes of both were opened and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loin cloths for themselves." (v. 7)

Psalm: Psalm 91


When we read the book of Genesis we need to remind ourselves of an obvious yet significant fact - namely that no human being was present at the beginning. So these stories (like much early Middle Eastern folklore) seek to explain why things are as they are. Chapter 3 echoes a theme already introduced in Genesis 1, namely that the humans created by God were not readily inclined to live in a way God intended. Human nature showed its colours very early!

Interestingly the story in today's passage shows the snake reversing the relationship in creation. Instead of humankind exercising a benign stewardship over creation, here we have a creature exercising a malign influence over people!

An old adage says, 'the difference between God and us is that God never thinks he is us". Adam and Eve were naïve more than evil. They succumbed to the wiles of the snake, ate the forbidden fruit and their eyes were opened (verse 6). Yes, they gained knowledge of deciding between good and evil but this gives them neither happiness nor wisdom. Yet they do realise that they have exposed themselves so they seek to hide, both their nakedness and themselves among the trees (verse 7).

Their fig leaves did a pretty poor job - as fig leaves usually do. The relationship between human beings and God and between humans and the natural world had bad been messed up.

To Ponder

  • How far do you think this story is unfair to Eve and has contributed to difficult gender relations down the years?
  • Can you think of a modern equivalent of where increasing knowledge has led to anything but wisdom in dealing with a problem or issue? What is it?

Bible notes author

The Revd Jennifer Potter

The Revd Jennifer Potter is a Methodist minister at Wesley's Chapel, City Road, London. Prior to being appointed to serve there she worked in the Connexional Team from 1996-2002 as the secretary for international affairs.