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“God [asked Adam], ‘Who told you that you were naked?
Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’” [1]
The first question God asked of the man was, “Where are you” [GENESIS 3:9]?
The man’s response was the first indication that things had changed for the first couple.
Adam said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” [GENESIS 3:10].
This elicited the further question, “Who told you that you were naked” [GENESIS 3:11]?
It would be easy to dismiss the question as merely casual, or as something expected in the normal course of conversation under the circumstances.
However, there is so much more underlying the query of our first father.
I invite you to join me in exploring the ramifications of the question, applying what we learn in our own lives.
In doing this, I contend that we will equip ourselves to serve the Master more effectively, honouring Him through the service we render to Him and to the praise of His glory.
HOW DID WE GET WHERE WE ARE? — Let’s recall what has occurred to this point in the narrative.
The LORD God created a man who He named Adam.
Adam was placed in a beautiful garden and charged to guard the garden, watching over it, tending to the plants growing in the garden, ensuring that all was well in the garden.
God then enabled the man to recognise his distinctive position in all creation; none of the animals could truly be his partner.
So, God made from the man’s side a woman; she would complement the man.
The man received the woman as the one who would ensure that his life was complete.
It is obvious that the LORD God did a good thing, for when He presented the woman to the man, the man’s response was ecstatic joy.
“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.”
[GENESIS 2:23]
It is at this point that we encounter what is, to our minds, an enigmatic statement—enigmatic because we really cannot understand what is being said.
The divine commentary on the presentation of God’s complement for the man is, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” [GENESIS 2:24, 25].
Because God Himself instituted marriage—the union of one man to one woman, we may be certain that marriage flows from creation.
Moreover, marriage is good because it was instituted by God and given for the benefit of mankind.
Finally, marriage is designed to complement both man and woman before God.
I am certain that even in this age replete with fallen ideas and ideals we comprehend that truth, though many are obviously intent on imputing a novel meaning to what is stated as divine truth.
However, it is the second part of the divine commentary that we cannot truly understand.
The LORD God says, “The man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
Shame, uneasiness, is part of our lives when we are stripped of all coverings and all masks.
That is one of the dreadful transformations resulting from the entrance of sin into creation.
How long the first couple continued in this idyllic setting is not known.
However, behind the scenes a dreadful event had taken place.
An angel, Day Star by name, created to be the covering angel, rebelled and drew over one-third of the holy angels with him in his insurgency.
These rebels were cast out of heaven and to the earth.
Day Star was transformed into the enemy of all that God had created, for he sought to displace God.
Thus, this angel, presenting himself in the form of a serpent, approached our first mother and endeavoured to lead her into rebellion against the stated will of the Creator.
The account of that temptation and the consequences are outlined quite simply in the verses preceding our text this day.
“[The serpent] said to the woman, ‘Did God actually say, “You 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, 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” [GENESIS 3:1-7].
Thus, Eve was deceived.
Adam, however, plunged into sin with his eyes open.
He willingly chose rebellion over intimacy with God.
We cannot know the rationalisation he employed.
We do know, however, that he chose to join his wife in rebellion.
God had warned, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” [GENESIS 2:16, 17].
There are those who argue that the first couple did not die, and therefore, the account that we are given is allegorical.
However, consider the fact that “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” [ROMANS 5:12].
No, paradise was lost to mankind.
The couple would be expelled from the Garden, and death would contaminate all that was created.
Man was instantly estranged from God, who is life.
His soul was condemned to eternal separation.
Henceforth, the body of all people would age, being susceptible to disease and the ravages of time.
Before the Fall, there was no ageing process—the debilitation that attends growing old was unknown.
There was no failing eyesight, no loss of hearing, no muscular aches and the pains that come with arthritic degeneration; man was ageless and without the sorrow of death.
It was all thrown away in one impulsive moment.
Forever after, creation was transformed.
“The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” [ROMANS 8:20-23].
THE CORE OF SIN — There is such a plethora of doctrinal truth presented in this chapter, and assuredly implied in this verse, that it is impossible to fully explore all that could be said, and perhaps all that should be said, in the time allotted for this message.
However, some dreadful truths stand out and demand that we take note of them.
One truth stands out above all others—self is at the heart of sin.
The tempter did not command Mother Eve to eat some of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; rather, he understood the art of seduction.
He created desire.
Eve “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” [GENESIS 3:6].
Much later in the history of the race, the Apostle of Love, looking back on this event will present us with an instructive statement.
“All that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world” [1 JOHN 2:16].
Eve saw that the tree was good for food (the desires of the flesh).
She also saw that it was a delight to the eyes (the desires of the eyes).
At last, she saw that the tree was to be desired to make one wise (the pride of life).
Our first parents were instantly transformed as result of their rebellion.
On the surface, it must have appeared that God had lied and Satan told the truth.
Their eyes were opened!
They did know good from evil!
However, the serpent had spoken half-truths; they knew what was evil, but they were powerless to turn from evil.
They knew what was good; but they were incapable of doing what is good.
Long after their rebellion a man would compile a number of statements that describe the new condition that they experienced and which has passed to all mankind.
This is what is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
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