Theme of the Week: Reconciliation
Bible Verse: “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.’” Genesis 3:8-10
Scripture Reading: Genesis 3:1-24
Of the many places in the Bible where I wish there was a little more detail (and there are many) the gap between Genesis 2 and 3 sits pretty high on the list. How long was it before the serpent spoke to Eve? How often did God walk with humanity in the garden? Exactly how long did humanity enjoy the good and untainted creation before sin entered the world?
My cynical side whispers that we screw things up pretty quickly and that the serpent was probably smart enough to know that; he was craftier than every other wild animal (Genesis 3:1). But there’s a hopeful side of me that yearns for that period before things fell apart to be long and utterly enjoyable. The Bible says that Adam and Eve heard the sound of God walking in the garden (Genesis 3:8), and some scholars and theologians take that to mean that he recognized the sound, that it was familiar to him because it was not the first time God had walked in the garden He made for the humans.
Alas, we simply do not know. What we do know, what Scripture says is important is that when the serpent deceived Eve and she ate, and Adam too, everything changed.
As a consequence of the humans’ deceived disobedience, three fundamental relationships were broken:
- The first, and primary relationship that was broken was humanity to God. The sound of God walking in the garden did not bring Adam and Eve running to Him (I like to imagine that it did prior to this moment). Rather, it brought fear and hiding. The man and woman distanced themselves from God. The knowledge of their disobedience caused them to run away rather than toward.
- Second, humans’ relationship with each other was fractured. We read then when Adam, though he “was with her [Eve]” (see Genesis 3:12) places the blame squarely on Eve. This is the first throwing under the bus in history. This fracture is compounded when God’s curse upon the woman is uttered. In this new broken reality, Eve’s desire (and not in a good way) will be for her husband, and he will rule over her. Rather than the two ruling over creation together, in this new sin-wounded world, the man will rule over the woman (the Hebrew word translated “rule” in Genesis 1:28 and Genesis 3:16 is not the same word – the word in 3:16 is the same root as used in 1:18 for the sun governing the day).
- Third, humans to the good world God created. Instead of accepting the gift “given” to them of food from every plant and tree, now the soil would only produce food by the sweat of Adam’s labor. Work was not labor; it was toil. The good and balanced earth that God created would not function as it was intended… just like the relationship between God and humans, just like the relationship of humans to each other.
Everything was broken. Everything needed reconciliation. Thankfully that’s merely the beginning of the story, a dark beginning, but just a beginning.
Prayer: Creator, thank you for giving us so much good in this world. Thank you for the relationships we have and the provisions that sustain us. Forgive me for the times when I have allowed sin to corrupt what you have intended for good. Help me to see what is broken so that you can work through me to reconcile.
Reflection: Where do you most experience the need for reconciliation? How do you work toward it?
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