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Genesis 3:1-13

Lesson Focus: God has provided boundaries for us that help us to mature in our faith and in Christlikeness.  Every day we are bombarded by voices that challenge the goodness of God’s boundaries.   

Catch up on the story: If we were to go back and read the first two chapters of Genesis we would encounter two parallel stories of creation.  What we know is that in the beginning there was only God.  God, out of a desire to invite others into the relationship that the Trinity already enjoys with itself, begins to create.  God does not need to create; rather God chooses to create so that God might enjoy a relationship with that which he has created.  Slowly, the building blocks of life come together.  First, light and darkness are separated.  Then, solid ground and water are created and fixed in their place.  Next, all kinds of things to populate this new earth are created.  Vegetation begins to grow.  The moon and stars come next, then all kinds of creatures both living on land and in the sea.  God is almost done creating when God says, “Let us make humankind in our own image, according to our likeness…” (1:26). 

So, the first inhabitants of the earth are created. Later on, God gives them names, Adam and Eve. This Adam and Eve are created in the image of God. What does it mean to be created in the image of God? Since God is an immaterial or spiritual being, we do not resemble God in a physical form. Our resemblance of God is more spiritual and intellectual than physical. It stands to reason that if you want to be in relationship with someone there needs to be some commonality between the two parties. At very the least, there needs to be the ability to communicate with the other party. The important thing is that we were created in such a way as to be naturally able to enter into and sustain a significant relationship with the one who created us.

God creates Adam and Eve in his image and places them in paradise. Their every need is taken care of. They are not devoid of responsibility, however. Adam and Eve are given specific tasks. They are called to tend the garden and care for the animals. It looks like work is an important part of humanity’s existence in the beginning. Adam and Eve are also told they can eat of everything in the garden except for the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” If they do so they will die. Adam and Eve’s charge to take care of the garden and to abstain from eating the fruit of that one tree amounts to a set of boundaries. If Adam and Eve stay within the boundaries that God has set for them, then everything will be ok. They will have the chance to grow and mature and develop in their relationship with the one who has made them. Boundaries were there to protect and enable them to grow, not to keep them from having fun.

The Text: Our text begins with the declaration that the serpent was craftier than any other wild animal that God had made.  Perhaps that accounts for his ability to talk!  Or, perhaps the ability to talk was not just property of the human race in the beginning.  Regardless of why the snake can talk, he strikes up a conversation with Eve.  There is no sense that Eve is doing anything she is not supposed to be doing.  Rathe