This week’s study takes us to Genesis 3, the most tragic chapter in all of Scripture. The man and the woman have now been placed in the beautiful paradise of Eden. Every lush garden acre belonged to them; every joy and delightful fruit was theirs for the taking! There was only one condition. “But the Lord God warned him, ‘You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die’” (Gen. 2:16-17).
The fateful day finally came. Eve wandered over to the forbidden tree. Perhaps she was curious at the sight of a talking serpent in the tree! As the cunning serpent lured Eve into a dialogue with him, his first task was to get Eve to question God’s clearly-stated directions: “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” Once the woman was enticed into a conversation, the serpent then began to plant seeds of distrust in Eve’s mind about the pure, unselfish love of God: “’You won’t die!’ the serpent replied to the woman. ‘God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.’” In other words: “God lied to you. He wants to restrict you. He doesn’t really love you – or else he would have let you enjoy this fruit. He’s holding out on you!” The woman was convinced. And the rest of the story is tragic history.
As a result of their choice, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden and forced to confront the consequences of their sin. From that point on, they would have to face a cruel world where sin and death reigned. Before they left, however, God provided the couple with something to clothe themselves. I find this point incredibly interesting. We read earlier Adam and Eve had sewn fig leaves together to cover themselves. Fig leaves in the Bible represent our works – our attempts to achieve our own righteousness and hide our own guilt. But in Genesis 3:21, we see God taking these fig leaves away and instead providing skins of sacrificed animals, representing His robe of righteousness over us! This also means that God would have had to kill an animal to make the skins from. God, therefore, performed the very first sacrifice for sin in the Garden – a sacrifice which pointed forward to Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for us! Revelation 13:8 identifies Christ as “The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.” What does that mean exactly? It means, friends, that God made a decision before the world was ever created. He made the decision that, in the case of our fall, He Himself would die in our place…
Yes, Genesis 3 definitely leaves us wondering if God’s plan was irreparably ruined for good. But here’s the awesome news: God still had a plan! A plan more tragic and, yet, magnificent than anyone could ever have imagined.