This post is part of the series Seeing the Story of the Scriptures outlining the four basic plot moves in the Bible, God’s story for the world.
The first plot move in God’s story for the world is creation, which reveals that a good King created a good world.
But in plot move 2, something is going to happen in the story to change all that.
In Gen. 2:16-17, we are told that there was a law in the kingdom.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 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.”
The author is making an important point: God alone knows what is good for man and what is not good for him.[i] What is best for him and what will be disastrous. The good King who created this good world knows what is good for his subjects.
Some might wonder why God gave this law in the first place. If the Garden was such a great place, why was a law needed? Is God some cosmic-kill joy?
Gen. 2:16-17 gives us the answer: the law of the kingdom is set up to enable man to stay in the kingdom and enjoy and serve the King.
A little further in the story, we have what history calls the Fall – the moment when sin and evil entered into God’s good world. This is the second plot move in God’s story; Adam and Eve choose to break the King’s law.
Gen. 3:6 summarizes what happened: “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….”
There’s that word “good” again. The author is pulling our attention to the goodness of creation.
Only, instead of God defining what is “good,” now we see Eve is determining the “good” on her own.
Eve put herself in God’s position when she ate the forbidden fruit, acting as the judge of what is “good” and how she would enjoy that “good” apart from the King’s provision. And as the King’s sub-regent, this is the mightiest act of rebellion. The sub-regent is casting off the authority of the King and acting in her own name instead.[ii]
Ironically, the first couple’s quest to determine what constituted both good and evil apart from their King left them unable to enjoy the ‘good’ at all!
CONSEQUENCES OF the Fall
In the rest of Gen. 3, we see some major consequences of sin. Spiritually, all of the King’s warnings come true. The first couple experiences a death in all the major areas of their lives.
Adam and Eve’s sin means they are exiled from the kingdom. Not only are they driven from the land, but they are also driven from God’s presence. This separation from God is a spiritual death.
Gen. 3:23-24 says: “Therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
Evil entered the world through Adam and Eve. The result? God’s sub-regents are no longer able to dwell in this good kingdom and dwell in the presence of their King.
WHAT THE FALL MEANS FOR MY STORY
Sin tarnishes every area of our life. It makes it impossible to love God perfectly, love each other perfectly, and love and serve God’s kingdom perfectly.
It’s why terrible things happen around us despite our attempts to “be” good or “do” good. It’s why betrayal exists in our marriages, family relationships are broken, and our world is full of hurting people.
So, what does the fall mean for my story? Our Good King designed us to enjoy the good gifts He provides by mirroring His goodness in our daily lives. Internally, however, sin corrupts the image of God in us. And although we still bear it and are still tasked with being God’s sub-regents, this corrupted image within us now makes it impossible to obey God perfectly and reflect His goodness to the rest of creation.
We all can, in some sense, identify with Eve who wanted to discern the good in life apart from her Good Provider. As Christian women, we must be careful to ensure that our hearts affections center solely on the King and not the good gifts He gives. We must dwell with the reminder that because He is our Good Creator, He alone knows what is best for us, including how God’s good gifts are best enjoyed.
But thankfully, sin is not the end of our story – or of God’s story. Because in the next plot move, we’ll see that our Good Creator has an answer to the evil that has corrupted His creation.
[i] John Sailhamer, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), 45.
[ii] Ibid., 51.