Up to this point in our series on the fall of man, we have looked at all of the dialogue that happens between the serpent and the humans before they take the fruit. The serpent speaks first, then the woman speaks, and the serpent responds. We will now pick up in verse six of Genesis chapter three to find out a little more information on the thought process of Adam and Eve and how we think much the same way today. Let’s begin.
Genesis 3:6 says this, “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Let’s break down the first sentence in the verse. “When the woman saw that the fruit was good for food and pleasing to the eye”, let’s stop right there. The first thing that should be noted is that Eve saw the fruit. Sight is a very important aspect of our lives and in this case it is detrimental. She saw that the fruit was good for food. This is false alarm number one. The tree of knowing good and bad was not meant to be eaten and this was a command from God Himself. This is not to say that it probably did indeed look like good fruit to eat (hence the “pleasing to the eye” phrase), however, the command was clear. Also, in this new light that the serpent just presented on how it would elevate the humans’ status, it would look all the more better. The fruit was also “desirable for gaining wisdom”. This is false alarm number two. The serpent just finished making the case of how eating this fruit would open their eyes and they would be like God and they would know good and bad. Eve was not wrong to conclude that the fruit was desirable for gaining wisdom. The wisdom that would be gained would not be God’s wisdom but rather her own wisdom. The temptation to define good and bad for herself and to rule with her own wisdom got the best of her. She decided that the fruit would gain her wisdom instead of trusting in God’s wisdom.
We then see that Eve “took some and ate it”. This is where the separation between God and man happens, right here in his moment. The moment she ate of the fruit, the world becomes broken and the serpent has his first victory. Not only did she eat it but she also hands some to her husband, Adam.
Adam, the only silent character through this whole dialogue. He has not said a word to his wife or to the serpent but has remained silent. The story even makes a point to say that he has been here the whole time. He was with her when the serpent was talking to her. He was with her when she was contemplating the decision to take the fruit. He was right there when she took the fruit and ate it, yet he remained silent. Not only has he not said a word, but when the fruit is handed to him he eats it as well. They both give in, and they both have sinned.
The next verse is profound as well. Genesis 6:7 says, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” The phrase “their eyes were opened” is a phrase of sorrow and despair as used in this case. Their eyes have been opened to the wisdom of the world and of their own minds. It is a wisdom that causes separation and shame as we will see. The fact that they realized they were naked should make a link to a phrase in Genesis chapter 2. The last statement right before this story begins is “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” They had no shame before. Now that they are choosing to live by their own wisdom, they feel that nakedness is a shame and so they make coverings for themselves. This shows that they were already starting to separate themselves from each other. The first sin causes separation immediately between them and God and between each other. They feel shame and vulnerability by being naked in front of each other so they have to find some way to hide their shame and hide from each other and it only spirals down from here.
The next event that spirals this story further and further down the road to disaster is verses 8-10. “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Adam and Eve hear God as He is walking in the garden and they repeat the same mistake they made to each other, they decide to hide from God. Not only have they hid from themselves but now they have hid from God. Now separation from God is made clear in the narrative. Adam then responds to God’s calling by making an excuse as to why he was hiding. Adam says that he was afraid because he was naked. Adam now uses the one vulnerability he has, nakedness, to use as an excuse to hide from God.
Adam says that he was “afraid because I was naked”. Let’s recall the command for a moment that God gave to the man. The command from God was that the day they ate of the tree, they would die. That was the command. The serpent then tries to twist that command as if God never said those words. Perhaps, Adam is now afraid because He remembers the command from God and think his life is now over. It is interesting to speculate that perhaps Adam wasn’t afraid because he was naked, but rather he was afraid because he realized he was naked and realized the consequences of his actions. Separation from God and each other was and still is the first colossal, detrimental effect of ruling by our own wisdom.