God placed the man and woman in the beautiful garden, Eden. They enjoyed harmony with each other and with God and though they were physically and emotionally naked, they experienced no shame.
Now, within the Garden of Eden, among all the variety of trees God had made, were two trees of special note. One was the Tree of Life, and the other, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God had given Adam and Eve vast freedom to explore and experience all he created but he had told them that from this second tree they should not eat. “If you eat the fruit of this tree,” God said, “you will certainly die.”
Satan was there. He had watched as God took great pleasure in relating with the humans. He was moved to hate God with every aspect of creation God made, but he was particularly incensed by the love God had poured into the man and his wife. “These creatures are less impressive in their abilities than the average angel and certainly do not attain to my former beauty as the angel, Lucifer. Certainly, in themselves they lack glory and beauty but God is covering them with his love nonetheless.”
Satan considered how he might drive a wedge into this most perfect of relationships and when he saw Eve in the garden, he came to her and said, “Did God really say you can’t eat from any of the trees in this garden?”
Eve was more than a little taken aback by Satan’s accusation against the Creator. He had cunningly goaded her into considering God from a perspective that she hadn’t before. Perhaps she began to think, Is he a God that restricts my freedom?
And then she said, “No. He didn’t say we couldn’t eat from any tree. He said we couldn’t eat from this one tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil…” and then, strangely, she tossed in something God had not said, she added, “and he said that we should not even touch it.” She continued, “If we do, he says we will certainly die.”
Satan quickly undercut all of Eve’s trust in God saying, “You will not certainly die. The truth is, God knows when you eat from that tree, your eyes will be wide open and you will understand good and evil, wise and unwise. You will be able to choose your own way, plot your own course, and design your own destiny. God doesn’t want that. He doesn’t want you to be the person you can be, to live the life you want to live, to carve out your own destiny.”
Suddenly, with what seemed like new information, the fruit God had said not to eat began to look really good to Eve. She thought, “Eating this fruit is a sure path to being wise like God.”
She took the fruit and ate some and gave some of it to Adam and he also ate some.
Prior to eating of the fruit they had only thought about each other and God, but as soon as they ate the fruit, they were filled with a sudden awareness of self. In fact, it seemed they could only see themselves. And now, fully aware of themselves, they were filled with utter shame as they stood physically and emotionally naked before one another. Overwhelmed with fear and shame, they ran to hide from one another and even more so from the watchful presence of God. Surely God would reject them, banish them, destroy them. They ran deep into the trees of the garden. They ran to a fig tree, a tree with leaves large enough to cover their entire bodies and the used the leaves to cover their nakedness. There, alone in the shadows, they hid themselves from each other and their Maker, their God.
Some time later they heard God walking, as he often did, in the garden. He called out to the man, “Adam? Where are you?” Adam answered, “I heard you coming and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” Adam had forgot his role of protector of his wife. He completely ignored her and thought only of himself.
God knowingly asked, “Who told you you were naked and that you should fear me? Did you eat the fruit I told you not to eat?”
Ashamed and not wanting to accept the blame or responsibility that God was placing on him, Adam fiercely turned on his wife. He said, “It was that woman you gave me. She gave me the fruit.”
As Adam turned on Eve, God looked to her and asked, “How did this happen?”
She could not, or would not, accept blame either. She focused all the attention on Satan. “It was Satan – he came into the garden and tricked me into eating the fruit,” she explained.
God’s heart was broken as he observed how humanity had already begun to self-destruct. The man and woman had been filled with trust and adoration for each other but now were attacking each other and casting blame. They were the same man and woman who had communed with God every day, but now they cowered before him, their eyes turned down and away from him.
God trained his fierce emotion on Satan. As the man and woman watched, God guaranteed Satan’s eventual destruction, saying, “You will be the enemy of this woman and her offspring forever. You will spend all your days nipping at his heel, but one day, he will rise up and crush your head.”
Then God turned back to the man and woman. To pay for their betrayal, God took the life of an animal and covered their nakedness with its skin. Adam and Eve would always remember they were covered by a blood sacrifice, that something innocent needed to die for their actions.
After clothing them, he said to Eve, “You and all women after you will bare children in great pain. Your life will be about serving the man. You will crave his position and you will struggle to find contentment in his care.”
To Adam he said, “The ground will be cursed because of you. You will continue to eat the produce of the ground but it will only come with great toil and hardship. All of life will be filled with thistles and thorns and your work for the rest of your days will be difficult. And so it will be for all men after you.”
God considered the complex consequences of the man and woman remaining in the garden. He said to himself, “We must not allow the man and woman to remain in our presence in the garden or they will eat from the Tree of Life and live eternally.”
Though it caused him pain, he recognized what he must do. God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden, away from his presence and his immediate care. At the entrance of the garden he placed fierce angels as guards. Anyone who sought to enter the presence of God would be cut down. From then on, relating with God became impossible without blood sacrifice and humanity from that day forward began to die.
This Story is a paraphrase. Details & references found in Genesis 1-3; Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 45-49; John 8:44