Read Genesis 3:14-19
Yesterday, I described Adam and Eve’s life – before they ate the fruit – as a dance. God was the singer, life was the song, and they were the dance: a glad and beautiful response to the music.
It was easy to be that way. Food was everywhere. It hung off the trees: sweet, juicy, and ready to eat. All creation sparkled, fresh. Their marriage was a thing of wonder and joy, and God loved being with them.
But then they listened to the serpent. Without realizing what they were doing, they actually joined sides with him – against God. That’s why everything changed for them. They went from being ‘in’ God, where the dance was, to being ‘against’ him – outside the dance.
Now, God judges them and hands down a sentence.
Notice that no-one questions his right to do this.
He is the creator, the owner. He has absolute right to judge his creation. If you make something, you have the right to decide – to judge – whether or not it is what you wanted. If it is, you judge it ‘good’. If it isn’t, you judge it ‘wrong’, ‘bad’, or a ‘disappointment’. Only you have that right. Only you have the right to destroy it if it doesn’t turn out how you wanted, or to change it, or to hide it in a corner.
You can do what you want with what you make.
So can God.
He curses the serpent (v. 14), and the earth (v. 17), but not the man and woman: to them, he gives difficulty. She’ll have difficulty giving birth and he’ll have difficulty growing food. They’ll have difficulty with each other, too, and fight for power between themselves.
Everything is changed.
What was good is now cursed; what was joyful is now a power struggle; and what was abundant provision is now hard work. These changes are profound. They will affect all humans and all creation for all time.
But this is a story, and every story needs a problem, otherwise it’s boring. To be truly great, a story needs a great villain and a great weakness to be overcome.
In this story the villain is the serpent. Like a dragon he has shrieked in, darkening the sky with his huge, leathery, wings and wrecking all the good things.
He’s found our weakness.
Now, we need a hero.