Adam and Eve’s story of trading their friendship with God for worldly knowledge is the greatest tragedy in human history. The consequences of their mistake altered a perfect reality far different from what we see around us. Find out how their story affects your life today.
(This story is based upon true events, though the names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.)
Chrystal and Amber had been best friends for over three years. They did almost everything together, and they shared almost everything too. That is except for one tightly kept secret known only by Amber. Perhaps it was innocent naïveté at first then shame later on followed by fears of everyone “knowing your dirty laundry,” but she never dared broach the issue – not even with Chrystal. Until one night while on a Club Beyond/Malachi service project in the Czech Republic. Written in a letter to her leader she confessed in blue cursive ink, “My dad is molesting me.” Courage finally overcame fear. Light triumphed over darkness; truth overpowered lies. Chrystal was bewildered; Amber was relieved. They embraced each other in mutual support as never before.
Do you know anyone like Amber? Maybe you know her story all too well. Have you ever wished you could “replace” your dad with someone else? In seven years of direct work with military teens, I wish I could say that this was the only case of abuse I heard about among teens. The night I learned of the abuse, I wondered, “Why now on a trip like this?” Then I remembered a testimony given by Amber’s small group leader weeks earlier at a Club meeting. She shared with the group the story of her own rape experience and the long process of healing that followed. It was a tearful, heavy night. But unknown to anyone else, the leader’s story deeply connected with Amber’s. Looking back with hindsight I firmly believe it was her leader’s open transparency that gave Amber the courage to tell somebody. Nor do I believe it to be coincidental that Amber opened up to this particular leader.
Friends, your story matters! Nothing ever happens in isolation; everything is connected. Even events that happened long ago can have a lasting impact even to today. We are now about to learn about a tragedy that had lasting consequences;-- it was the day Adam and Eve and the rest of the whole human race rejected their first daddy and got a second daddy in His place.
In another study, we examined how God created the world and Adam and Eve as his special representatives on earth. They were to reflect, or image, their Father and Creator. In other words, their identity was totally and completely wrapped around God. The world at that time was blissful. Everything existed in perfect harmony – no pain, suffering, evil, or fear were ever known or felt in Genesis 1 and 2. Wow! It literally was heaven on earth. Can you imagine such a place!? And check this out: just as God ruled the universe, Adam and Eve were given responsibility to rule all creation on earth. Seems unreal doesn’t it? What dignity, meaning, and value God instilled upon humanity! Yet, as Amber’s story illustrates and as you (military teens who know the horrible consequences of war) know all too well, our world looks altogether different from what is described in the Bible’s opening chapters. With that as the preface, read Adam and Eve’s story in Genesis 3. Their story, which happened thousands of years ago, is inextricably connected to ours. I challenge you to connect the dots!
God’s? Does it appear to be working for them? Why or why not?
Lord, I confess to you that I never fully realized how tragic Adam and Eve’s decision was for the whole human race. For the first time, I am now finally beginning to see that Adam and Eve could not represent, or image, both you and Satan at the same time. Will you help me understand where I get my identity? Help me to make right choices. Amen.
“Daddy” – Remember, when we use this term we are not referring to this as an actual, physical person (father), but rather as an expression of who (or what) controls our sense of self; our identities.
Snake – Some translations use the term “serpent.” Either term actually refers to Satan himself. True to his character he appears to Adam and Eve in this disguise in order to lead them away from their first daddy.
“Her offspring will crush your head, and you will bite her offspring's heel.” – This sentence, found in Genesis 3:15, is considered to be the Bible’s first reference to God’s intended plan to right the wrong of the fall. One of Eve’s offspring will crush the head of Satan (i.e. kill him), but not before Satan will injure this individual. Do you want to take a guess at who God is referring to here? Award yourself 10,000 bonus points if you answered Jesus Christ!
Resiliency – the ability to bounce back after tragedy or set back.
A personal survey
I admit. Figuring out your identity can be pretty tricky. In high school, I had no clue who I was. I tried to be everything to everybody. I acted and spoke in a way that I thought would please others. Popularity was what I wanted. I wanted other people to know who I was. But somehow I missed the irony in my logic. “I wanted other people to know who I was, but I didn’t even know myself!” Yeah, right!
Mention the name Lebron James. What do you think of? Basketball. Can you imagine Lebron James without basketball? Or, for that matter, can you imagine basketball without Lebron James? We wouldn’t know who this guy is if it weren’t for his skills on the court. Where do you think “The King” gets his identity? What might happen to Lebron if suddenly basketball were taken away from him?
I want to share a story with you about a man named Kirby Puckett. Puckett was one of baseball’s best all-time centerfielders. He played his entire eleven-year career with the Minnesota Twins where he helped lead them to two World Series Championships (1987, 1991). But on September 25, 1995, a wild pitch by Dennis Martinez struck Puckett in the jaw, shattering it to pieces and ending his Hall of Fame career. Six months later on the morning of March 28, 1996, Puckett woke up blind in his right eye. Despite several surgeries to correct the glaucoma, doctors were not able to reverse his condition. He never played ball again. After his forced retirement from the sport he loved, Puckett’s health and personality changed considerably. He gained weight, got in trouble with the law, and eventually died of a stroke on March 7, 2006. This sad story of a legendary athlete illustrates well the dangers of wrapping our identity around athletics. Kirby couldn’t live without baseball. He lost his identity the moment he lost his vision. He was not resilient. And you know the saddest part of the whole story? You probably didn’t even know who Kirby Puckett was until a few minutes ago. He gave his life and wrapped his identity around a sport that few even remember.
Psalm 39:5-6 – a picture of a person’s identity
Ephesians 2:1-3 – a summary of our way of life apart of knowing God through Jesus Christ; notice also who Paul references as our “daddy.”
Romans 6:23 – a statement regarding the consequences of our sin
Romans 5:12– Paul’s summary of Genesis 3 in one verse
Romans 3:23– a statement made about all humankind
In the beginning, the world, and humanity in particular, reflected the image of its Creator. In what ways has the world retained that image? In what ways has the world lost that original glow? After giving some thought to those questions, now answer them concerning yourself! In what ways do you resemble, or reflect, your Creator. In what ways do you not image him?
Pretty funny for a scary looking spider!