4 Jan. Genesis 3:1-23

4 January. Adam and Eve disobey God and end their idyllic life

"Now the snake was the most clever of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day the snake said to the woman, 'Did God really say that you must not eat fruit from any tree in the garden?'"

"The woman answered the snake, 'We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden. But God told us, "You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden. You must not even touch it, or you will die."'"

"But the snake said to the woman, 'You will not die. God knows that if you eat the fruit from that tree, you will learn about good and evil and you will be like God!'"

"The woman saw that the tree was beautiful, that its fruit was good to eat, and that it would make her wise. So she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some of the fruit to her husband, and he ate it."

"Then, it was as if their eyes were opened. They realised they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made something to cover themselves."

"Then they heard the Lord God walking in the garden during the cool part of the day, and the man and his wife hid from the Lord God among the trees in the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said, 'Where are you?'"

"The man answered, 'I heard you walking in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.' God asked, 'Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat fruit from the tree which I commanded you not to eat?'"

"The man said, 'You gave this woman to me and she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it.' Then the Lord God said to the woman, 'How could you have done such a thing?' She answered, 'The snake tricked me, so I ate the fruit.'..."

"Then God said to the man, 'You listened to what your wife said, and you ate fruit from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat. So I will put a curse on the ground, and you will have to work very hard for your food. In pain you will eat its food all the days of your life... You will sweat and work hard for your food.'"

"Later you will return to the ground, because you were taken from it. You are dust, and when you die, you will return to the dust... So the Lord God forced the man out of the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken."

          (Genesis 3:1-23)


 

Adam and Eve lived an ideal existence in an earthly paradise until they disobeyed God.

They were tricked by a serpent (a symbolic creature representing the deceiver or the 'satan') (see Revelation 12:9) into eating the ‘forbidden fruit’ and were banished from the garden to the land east of Eden as a punishment for going against God’s commands.

Life would never be so idyllic again as their first momentous journey began and they left behind the earthly paradise of Eden. 

The depiction of trees in the garden of Eden carries with it an abundance of religious significance. Genesis 2:9 tells us, “In the middle of the garden, God put the tree that gives life and also the tree that gives the knowledge of good and evil.”

The concept of the ‘Tree of Life’ as the source of all life was widespread across ancient religions. In Egyptian mythology, for example, the gods Isis and Osiris were said to have sprung to life from the acacia tree of Iusaaset. A ‘tree of life’ was depicted on Assyrian stone panels at Nimrud, while in ancient Persian mythology, the sacred hauma tree was regarded as the source of life.

In contrast, the ‘Tree of Life’ in the Garden of Eden has traditionally been regarded by Christians as a prefiguration of the Cross of Jesus – the source of eternal life which mankind could not partake of until the death and resurrection of Jesus (see Revelation 2:7 & 22:1-3).

The type of tree bearing the knowledge of good and evil – whose fruit Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat – is not specified in the Bible. In the Western world, it has often been regarded as an apple tree, but earlier readers in the Middle East would probably have identified it as a date palm or sycamore fig tree. Adam and Eve were told not to eat the fruit because, “you will learn about good and evil and you will be like God!” (Genesis 3:5)

In the Middle Eastern world of early Old Testament times, sacred trees were common in contemporary Egyptian and Mesopotamian religions, and the deity was often thought to dwell in the tree. The Egyptian sky-goddess Nut was often depicted as a sycamore fig tree, while the goddess Hathor was known as ‘Nebetnehat’ – ‘Lady of the sycamore tree’. The Sumerian god Ningishzida (or Ningizzida), often depicted as a serpent, was thought to live within the tree itself. So to eat the fruit of such a tree would be to partake of the life of the god himself – literally, to become like God.

The photo (by Yhabbouche) shows cedar trees in the Barouk Forest of Lebanon.

You can read more about the garden of Eden @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/23-the-journeys-of-adam-enoch-noah-abraham/adams-journey-from-the-garden-of-eden


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