10.16.08, Genesis 3

PP: While I wait to hear where we go next for QT’s, I’m going to do something very different for today’s devotional.  Having different translations is an important part of Bible study, and here is the account of Genesis 3 for a very unique (and little!) audience:

The Terrible Lie

Adam and Eve lived happily together in their beautiful new home.  And everything was perfect – for a while.

Until the day when everything went wrong.

God had a horrible enemy.  His name was Satan.  Satan had once been the most beautiful angel, but he didn’t want to be just an angel – he wanted to be God.  He grew proud and evil and full of hate, and God had to send him out of heaven.  Satan was seething with anger and looking for a way to hurt God.  He wanted to stop Gods plan, stop this love story, right there.  So he disguised himself as a snake and waited in the garden.

Now, God had given Adam and Eve only one rule: “Don’t eat the fruit on that tree,” God told them.  “Because if you do, you’ll think you know everything.  You’ll stop trusting me.  And then death and sadness and tears will come.”  (You see, God knew if they ate the fruit, they would think they didn’t need him.  And they would try to make themselves happy without him.  But God knew there was no such thing as happiness without him, and life without him wouldn’t be life at all.)

As soon as the snake saw his chance, he slithered silently up to Eve. “Does God really love you?” the serpent whispered.  “If he does, why won’t he let you eat the nice, juicy, delicious fruit?  Poor you, perhaps God doesn’t want you to be happy.”

The snake’s words hissed into he ears and sunk deep into her heart, like poison. Does God love me?  Eve wondered.  Suddenly she didn’t know anymore.

“Just trust me,” the serpent whispered.  “You don’t need God.  One small taste, that’s all, and you’ll be happier than you could ever dream…”  Eve picked the fruit and ate some.  And Adam ate some too.  And a terrible lie came into the world.  It would never leave.  It would live on in every human heart, whispering to every one of God’s children:

“God doesn’t love me.”

And it wasn’t a dream.  It was a nightmare.  A dove flew from Adam’s hand.  A deer darted in a thicket.  It was as if they were frightened by something.  A chill was in the air.  Something strange was happening.  They had always been naked – but now they felt naked, and wrong, and they didn’t want anyone to see them.  So they hid.

Later that evening, as God was taking his walk, he called to them.  “Children?”  Usually Adam and Eve loved to hear God’s voice and would run to him.  But this time, they ran away from him and hid in the shadows.

“Where are you?” God called.

“Hiding,” Adam said.  “We’re afraid of you.”

“Did you eat the fruit I told you not to eat?”  God asked them.

Adam said, “Eve made me do it!”

“What have you done?” God asked.

Eve said, “The serpent made me do it!”

And terrible pain came into God’s heart.  His children hadn’t just broken the one rule; they had broken God’s heart.  They had broken their wonderful relationship with him.  And now he knew everything else would break.  God’s creation would start to unravel, and come undone, and go wrong.  From now on everything would die – even though it was all supposed to last forever.

You see, sin had come into God’s perfect world.  And it would never leave.  God’s children would always be running away from him and hiding in the dark.  Their hearts would break now, and never work properly again.  God couldn’t let his children live forever, not in such pain, not without him.  There was only one way to protect them.

“You will leave the garden now,” God told his children, his eyes filling with tears.  “This is no longer your true home, it’s not the place for you anymore.”

But before they left the garden, God made clothes for his children, to cover them.  He gently clothed them and then he sent them away on a long, long journey – out of the garden out of their home.

Well, in another story, it would all be over and that would have been…the End.

But not in this Story.

God loved his children too much to let the story end there.  Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan – a magnificent dream.  One day, he would get his children back.  One day, he would make the world their perfect home again.  And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes.

You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children – with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.  And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God’s children would miss him always, and long for him – lost children yearning for their home.

Before they left the garden, God whispered a promised to Adam and Eve: “It will not always be so!  I will come to rescue you!  And when I do, I’m going to do battle against the snake.  I’ll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here.  I’m coming back for you!”

And he would.  One day, God himself would come.

Questions:

This passage is from the Jesus Storybook Bible for children.  It of course takes a lot of liberties with the text so that children can understand it (and so is not a literal Bible), but actually reminds us of several important points about the Fall:

1. The Fall is interpreted here as trying to make ourselves happy without God, not knowing that there is no true happiness outside of him.  Has this ever happened in your life, where you tried to find happiness apart from God and found pain instead?

2. The passage alludes to several upcoming events – Jesus’ incarnation, and his final coming at judgment.  How do these two events reshape your understanding of the Fall?

3. The temptation of the serpent comes in the form of this question: “Does God love you?”  Why is this question so especially damaging to us?  What are its consequences?  Have you ever felt that way?

4. The serpent also wraps another question into this – “if God loves you, why doesn’t he allow you to eat that fruit?”  Has there ever been a situation where you asked yourself the same question, why God wouldn’t allow something to happen in your life?  Why do you think he did so?

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4 thoughts on “10.16.08, Genesis 3

  1. This question has to do with different translations of the bible.
    People have told me they don’t like the new living translation because it paraphrases. Since we all can’t read hebrew and greek isn’t it possible for things to get lost in translation?

  2. the question has to do with what is called inerrancy, the belief that in its original form, the bible is completely without error. this is what most evangelical Christians believe, although some people espouse what is also called infallibility, which is different but similar.

    ANYWAY. a big part of inerrancy has to do with the original form, that the closer we can get to those, the closer we get to the truth. so although things can get lost in any translations, some translations are way better than others because they try to remain faithful to both the spirit and letter of the hebrew and greek. the modern translations are very good, NIV, NRSV especially. but all of them are very good translations of the oldest greek and hebrew texts we have, and are probably very close to what the authors intended.

    so, how about the new living translation, which is further from the original text – does that mean it’s bad? no, just that it tries to get the SPIRIT of the text, and is less concerned with the LETTER. but for certain contexts (for non believers or young Christians), this is a great way to get started. but as you get older in your faith, staying true to both spirit and letter of the original texts is a suggested…

  3. I guess another question along the same line as #4 is “If God loves you, then why does he allow bad things to happen to you or anyone else?” I remember that being a popular question after the events of 9/11 and the tsunami in South East Asia. What’s a good response to that?

  4. there is a complex but convincing argument for the existence of pain and evil in the world, but without getting too involved:

    so many of the bad things that we experience in our lives are a consequence of the bad things that we have done! so to expect God to eliminate those consequences is selfish, and ultimately, not a form of love. after all, we know parents who spoil children by always paying for their mistakes, and we know that those parents are not really doing their children any favors.

    also, romans 8:28, that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. bad things happen, but we serve a God who always transforms these bad things into blessings for us.

    and believe it or not, this question is partially addressed by this passage:

    And terrible pain came into God’s heart. His children hadn’t just broken the one rule; they had broken God’s heart. They had broken their wonderful relationship with him. And now he knew everything else would break. God’s creation would start to unravel, and come undone, and go wrong. From now on everything would die – even though it was all supposed to last forever.

    You see, sin had come into God’s perfect world. And it would never leave. God’s children would always be running away from him and hiding in the dark. Their hearts would break now, and never work properly again. God couldn’t let his children live forever, not in such pain, not without him. There was only one way to protect them.

    9/11 is a product of sin. tsunamis are a product of that sin, a broken creation. but God didn’t leave the situation the way it was, but sent his Son to begin, and eventually complete the process of fixing things to how they should be.

Comments are closed.

10.16.08, Genesis 3

PP: While I wait to hear where we go next for QT’s, I’m going to do something very different for today’s devotional.  Having different translations is an important part of Bible study, and here is the account of Genesis 3 for a very unique (and little!) audience:

The Terrible Lie

Adam and Eve lived happily together in their beautiful new home.  And everything was perfect – for a while.

Until the day when everything went wrong.

God had a horrible enemy.  His name was Satan.  Satan had once been the most beautiful angel, but he didn’t want to be just an angel – he wanted to be God.  He grew proud and evil and full of hate, and God had to send him out of heaven.  Satan was seething with anger and looking for a way to hurt God.  He wanted to stop Gods plan, stop this love story, right there.  So he disguised himself as a snake and waited in the garden.

Now, God had given Adam and Eve only one rule: “Don’t eat the fruit on that tree,” God told them.  “Because if you do, you’ll think you know everything.  You’ll stop trusting me.  And then death and sadness and tears will come.”  (You see, God knew if they ate the fruit, they would think they didn’t need him.  And they would try to make themselves happy without him.  But God knew there was no such thing as happiness without him, and life without him wouldn’t be life at all.)

As soon as the snake saw his chance, he slithered silently up to Eve. “Does God really love you?” the serpent whispered.  “If he does, why won’t he let you eat the nice, juicy, delicious fruit?  Poor you, perhaps God doesn’t want you to be happy.”

The snake’s words hissed into he ears and sunk deep into her heart, like poison. Does God love me?  Eve wondered.  Suddenly she didn’t know anymore.

“Just trust me,” the serpent whispered.  “You don’t need God.  One small taste, that’s all, and you’ll be happier than you could ever dream…”  Eve picked the fruit and ate some.  And Adam ate some too.  And a terrible lie came into the world.  It would never leave.  It would live on in every human heart, whispering to every one of God’s children:

“God doesn’t love me.”

And it wasn’t a dream.  It was a nightmare.  A dove flew from Adam’s hand.  A deer darted in a thicket.  It was as if they were frightened by something.  A chill was in the air.  Something strange was happening.  They had always been naked – but now they felt naked, and wrong, and they didn’t want anyone to see them.  So they hid.

Later that evening, as God was taking his walk, he called to them.  “Children?”  Usually Adam and Eve loved to hear God’s voice and would run to him.  But this time, they ran away from him and hid in the shadows.

“Where are you?” God called.

“Hiding,” Adam said.  “We’re afraid of you.”

“Did you eat the fruit I told you not to eat?”  God asked them.

Adam said, “Eve made me do it!”

“What have you done?” God asked.

Eve said, “The serpent made me do it!”

And terrible pain came into God’s heart.  His children hadn’t just broken the one rule; they had broken God’s heart.  They had broken their wonderful relationship with him.  And now he knew everything else would break.  God’s creation would start to unravel, and come undone, and go wrong.  From now on everything would die – even though it was all supposed to last forever.

You see, sin had come into God’s perfect world.  And it would never leave.  God’s children would always be running away from him and hiding in the dark.  Their hearts would break now, and never work properly again.  God couldn’t let his children live forever, not in such pain, not without him.  There was only one way to protect them.

“You will leave the garden now,” God told his children, his eyes filling with tears.  “This is no longer your true home, it’s not the place for you anymore.”

But before they left the garden, God made clothes for his children, to cover them.  He gently clothed them and then he sent them away on a long, long journey – out of the garden out of their home.

Well, in another story, it would all be over and that would have been…the End.

But not in this Story.

God loved his children too much to let the story end there.  Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan – a magnificent dream.  One day, he would get his children back.  One day, he would make the world their perfect home again.  And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes.

You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children – with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.  And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God’s children would miss him always, and long for him – lost children yearning for their home.

Before they left the garden, God whispered a promised to Adam and Eve: “It will not always be so!  I will come to rescue you!  And when I do, I’m going to do battle against the snake.  I’ll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here.  I’m coming back for you!”

And he would.  One day, God himself would come.

Questions:

This passage is from the Jesus Storybook Bible for children.  It of course takes a lot of liberties with the text so that children can understand it (and so is not a literal Bible), but actually reminds us of several important points about the Fall:

1. The Fall is interpreted here as trying to make ourselves happy without God, not knowing that there is no true happiness outside of him.  Has this ever happened in your life, where you tried to find happiness apart from God and found pain instead?

2. The passage alludes to several upcoming events – Jesus’ incarnation, and his final coming at judgment.  How do these two events reshape your understanding of the Fall?

3. The temptation of the serpent comes in the form of this question: “Does God love you?”  Why is this question so especially damaging to us?  What are its consequences?  Have you ever felt that way?

4. The serpent also wraps another question into this – “if God loves you, why doesn’t he allow you to eat that fruit?”  Has there ever been a situation where you asked yourself the same question, why God wouldn’t allow something to happen in your life?  Why do you think he did so?

4 thoughts on “10.16.08, Genesis 3

  1. This question has to do with different translations of the bible.
    People have told me they don’t like the new living translation because it paraphrases. Since we all can’t read hebrew and greek isn’t it possible for things to get lost in translation?

  2. the question has to do with what is called inerrancy, the belief that in its original form, the bible is completely without error. this is what most evangelical Christians believe, although some people espouse what is also called infallibility, which is different but similar.

    ANYWAY. a big part of inerrancy has to do with the original form, that the closer we can get to those, the closer we get to the truth. so although things can get lost in any translations, some translations are way better than others because they try to remain faithful to both the spirit and letter of the hebrew and greek. the modern translations are very good, NIV, NRSV especially. but all of them are very good translations of the oldest greek and hebrew texts we have, and are probably very close to what the authors intended.

    so, how about the new living translation, which is further from the original text – does that mean it’s bad? no, just that it tries to get the SPIRIT of the text, and is less concerned with the LETTER. but for certain contexts (for non believers or young Christians), this is a great way to get started. but as you get older in your faith, staying true to both spirit and letter of the original texts is a suggested…

  3. I guess another question along the same line as #4 is “If God loves you, then why does he allow bad things to happen to you or anyone else?” I remember that being a popular question after the events of 9/11 and the tsunami in South East Asia. What’s a good response to that?

  4. there is a complex but convincing argument for the existence of pain and evil in the world, but without getting too involved:

    so many of the bad things that we experience in our lives are a consequence of the bad things that we have done! so to expect God to eliminate those consequences is selfish, and ultimately, not a form of love. after all, we know parents who spoil children by always paying for their mistakes, and we know that those parents are not really doing their children any favors.

    also, romans 8:28, that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. bad things happen, but we serve a God who always transforms these bad things into blessings for us.

    and believe it or not, this question is partially addressed by this passage:

    And terrible pain came into God’s heart. His children hadn’t just broken the one rule; they had broken God’s heart. They had broken their wonderful relationship with him. And now he knew everything else would break. God’s creation would start to unravel, and come undone, and go wrong. From now on everything would die – even though it was all supposed to last forever.

    You see, sin had come into God’s perfect world. And it would never leave. God’s children would always be running away from him and hiding in the dark. Their hearts would break now, and never work properly again. God couldn’t let his children live forever, not in such pain, not without him. There was only one way to protect them.

    9/11 is a product of sin. tsunamis are a product of that sin, a broken creation. but God didn’t leave the situation the way it was, but sent his Son to begin, and eventually complete the process of fixing things to how they should be.

Comments are closed.