What was it like in Eden? To walk with God, like literally walk with him? My feeble mind cannot even fathom. I used to get near angry when I would think about how they could screw up something so perfect and peaceful. I used to wonder why God would let them screw up. I used to wonder why Eve would converse with a serpent in the first place. Why listen to something so wrong, and ugly over good and God?
I’ve been a bit distraught, a bit fixated, a bit taken down by suicide and drugs. No matter how well things are going in my life, these thoughts are always there lingering in my mind. I know it’s because the last couple years I’ve lost two family members and an old friend to these evils. All three of these people were smart…actually really smart people. If you know me and my lifestyle, you would see why I cannot stop thinking about it. It isn’t something I am used to. Two of these people became lost in their addictions––to the point you wouldn’t know how beautiful and smart they were at one time. The other was just tired of all the pain. Why, why, why has been stomping around my mind for way too long now. I finally see. I finally understand. I still don’t like it, but I see and understand.
Last Sunday during bible study, all my settled questions that had nestled comfortably in my mind were escorted out by a retired pastor who was subbing for the day. I guess I never even thought to go to the beginning to find my answers. The beginning, as in Genesis 3: The Fall of Man.
How many times have I heard this? My goodness, I know he was a crafty serpent. I truly didn’t think I would get much out of the study until he pointed out things I always brushed right past. He then, in a mockingly tone, repeated the words of the serpent, “Did God really say?” He said it over and over again and I pictured myself standing amongst a group of teens. I pictured the ‘popular’ leader of the pack. She rolled her eyes, mocking her friend who was repeating her parents rules. “Did your parents really mean? Will your parents ever even find out if you do this just once with us? Come on, everyone’s doing it…”
He then asked us what we thought the serpent looked like. Oh, the looks on our faces as we pondered this. Hmm. No where in Genesis 3 does it even hint Eve was scared of this serpent. We don’t know for sure what the serpent even looked like. In my limited mind, I always pictured the serpent as scary. I always picture evil as ugly. But, as we all know, evil is many times wrapped in beauty. Our eyes deceive us, our minds fall prey to believing because we want to feel cool and capable and free. Think about Eden the best you can and then ask if Eve would have been scared of the serpent. I know it is hard, for we are sinners from birth. Eve existed for some time before the fall. Peace exuded all around her. She wasn’t exposed to what we’ve been exposed to. She still chose wrong!
It will always hurt when I think about the ones who lost their lives in horrific ways. My questions are gone though. Again, I don’t like it, but I now understand. It’s really quite simple. If the serpent could tempt Eve who lived in Eden, he surely can tempt others in this broken world. The crafty serpent came to them and wrapped the drugs and suicide in an idea that didn’t scare them, but instead preyed on their weaknesses. It is what he does!