I truly believe that we have all witnessed the effects of a fallen world, not just second-hand, but for ourselves. The mundane routines in our lives give testament to the inability of the world to give us perpetual joy; the hurt we suppress translates into the defence mechanisms we raise up so that we will never have to feel this way again; the fragmented parts of our lives we can’t piece together remind us of our inability to fix ourselves.
We can go about labelling and troubleshooting the root causes of multiple problems. However, I think there is an umbrella diagnosis that sums up the fallen state of this world: mankind’s rebellion towards its Creator. I was surprised whilst reading through Genesis 3 during Bible study at how accurately it described the current state of our world today. Whether we take it literally or figuratively, there are interesting things that were born out of Genesis 3. I will endeavour to gloss over them.
A confused identity was formed.
Genesis 3 illustrates how the serpent approached Eve with the temptation of “being like God” if she eats the fruit which God commanded not to be eaten. Eve was duly impressed. The irony here is that both Adam and Eve were already “created in the image of God” (Gen 1:27). God formed them in His likeness. All it took was a snide, taunting remark by the serpent to plant seeds of doubt and distrust towards her identity (established by God Himself).
As much as we might not want to admit it, our sense of security may also be as easy to shake up as Eve’s. It takes one rude comment for us to lose our cool; for us to retaliate and insist upon asserting our worth. Are our identities based on our jobs, religion or deeds? Are any of them solid enough to endure taunt and time? When all else fails, who do we turn to for assurance and security?
The blame-game was invented.
What started off as perfect union between man and woman was thwarted into disharmony and dysfunction. An interesting note is that although Eve was the first person to eat of the fruit, God sought after Adam to answer for her actions. (Gen 3:11-12) Was this a miscalculation on God’s part? No. God held Adam accountable for the actions of Eve because Adam was meant to show headship over their union. (Gen 2:18) He was meant to care, lead and protect Eve in his God-given role. Adam evidently failed because he too took of the fruit (Gen 3:6). Rather than acknowledging it, they shifted the blame like a hot potato. How often do we see this in everyday life? Imagine the hurt and strife that must have gone on in the Garden. Does it remind us of the brokenness we see in our schools, families and churches today?
Shame, guilt and sorrow enter into the picture.
After realising they have disobeyed the one instruction given to them, Adam and Eve tried to hide themselves by running away from God. This is guilt- when we try to get rid of a nagging feeling that we have done something wrong. Sounds familiar? We cover ourselves up with flimsy excuses and justifications (I’m not that bad). In the case of Adam and Eve, they covered themselves up with fig leaves (Gen 3:7). When we do something wrong or mess up really badly, do we feel our conscience gnawing away at us? This is not new, it was depicted and explained as early as in Genesis 3.
God enacts His redemptive plan.
All seems hopeless. Adam and Eve have relegated themselves as Gods because they have eaten from the tree that grants them knowledge of good and evil. The created has claimed it wants a stake in the Creator’s pie. God knows that the order of creation has been subverted because of Adam and Eve’s actions. They cannot live in the Garden of Eden anymore. God, being one of justice, has to banish them. However, he did so after first clothing them in sturdy garments (Gen 3:21), displaying that He still cares for them. Genesis 3 also tells of the coming of a Redeemer who will redeem Adam and Eve from their actions (Gen 3:15). We later understand this Redeemer to be Jesus Christ. How he fits into this picture is a different mind-blowing story. However, what we do know is that as early as within this chapter, God has already promised that one creation order will be restored. We as Christians cling on to that promise.
This is just a brief overview of the depths of Genesis 3. I did not expect to be so greatly enriched by such a tragic story. Two chapters ago, God created the world and said it was good. Whether you believe in or struggle to accept the literal accuracy of this chapter, I encourage you to reflect upon what you see in the world around you today, and see if it runs parallel with the contents of Genesis chapter 3. You may be surprised at how similar they end up looking. The world post-Genesis 3 is the one we live in today. I urge you to read on, it only gets more exciting.