I really enjoy putting myself into Bible stories. I believe that so much can be gleaned about who we are and who God is when we put ourselves into a particular scene and watch it play out. If we understand what these people might have been thinking or feeling or imagine how we might have reacted in that situation, I think we can learn a lot.
The other day, I was reading through Genesis again and was amazed by Adam and Eve. These two have gotten a horrible rap over the years and rightfully so. Their mistake led to sin entering the world and separation between humanity and God. On the screw-up scale, this one ranks the highest.
After that mistake, which took them out of the garden, they didn’t wallow in self-pity. They also didn’t ditch each other, opting for a life of solitude instead of a constant reminder of their mistakes. These two didn’t have a death wish but desired to continue to live and follow God’s original instruction.
Obedience After a Mistake
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:28 (NIV)
In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve create separation between them and God and are kicked out of paradise. Genesis 4 opens with Adam and Eve having their two children, Cain and Abel. Think about the courage and faith it took for these two to follow God’s instruction and bring kids into the world.
Before the fall, they were naked and unashamed. But after the fall, shame was in full force on the earth. Imagine the shame they felt, knowing they were the ones who caused their dreadful fate. The guilt over their disobedience could’ve been crippling. And their relationship likely suffered mightily as a result. What once had been a peaceful and perfect relationship was now contained arguments, possibly anger, and probably a longing for time apart.
And after their children came into the world, can you imagine how their shame may have increased?
Adam and Eve had experienced perfection and walked intimately with the Lord, something their children and future generations would never experience in quite that way. Imagine the stories of the perfect, glorious, and mysterious garden that Adam told his boys while playing with them. Or how Eve comforted them when something went wrong, knowing their pain was caused because she had been tricked by the serpent.
Yet, despite the shame, guilt, and condemnation they may have felt, they continued to follow God after the fall. And they taught their children to do the same.
Passing Obedience Along
I wonder how the stories and reactions of their parents influenced Cain and Abel’s relationships with God. Genesis 4 tells us that both of these men knew God, but each one responded to God’s word differently. Abel regarded what God said, holding it dear. Cain decided to go another way.
I wonder if Abel heard stories from his parents and saw God as a loving father who created beautiful things. Or did he see God as a disciplinarian who needed to be followed? On the other hand, did Cain resent God? Did he sense a sadness in his parents for being banished from perfection and internalized that into anger?
I will never know the answer to some of these questions, but I am grateful that we can learn from the stories of these men and women. Adam and Eve’s perseverance after the most epic screw-up of all time, reminds me that I can repent and choose obedience again, even after a moment of weakness. I can continue to serve God faithfully and obey his instructions even after a failure. And I can share about the goodness of God with others, even though I am so far from perfect.
Last but not least, Adam and Eye’s story reminds me that God is good, faithful, and loving. He made a way for us to have a relationship with him, even though sin and disobedience are baked into our DNA. What an incredible God we serve!
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Sarah is an entrepreneur and published author, currently living in Dallas, Texas. Her dreams include founding businesses, giving strategically, and sharing art with the world. And her life motto is: Every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story is worthy of being shared.
You can find more of her writing on her blog or connect with her on social media.