There is no such thing as a perfect family. In fact, each family unit has some level of dysfunction. Dysfunction is not new. We see it throughout Biblical families, and it begins in the very beginning with Adam and Eve.
Genesis 3:1-13 in the NKJV says,
“1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God has made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows. That is the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” 12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” 13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’”
I believe that no matter how dysfunctional your relationships or circumstances are, God has the capacity and ability to bring His healing restoration to your family. In this passage of scripture, we read about Adam, Eve, and the serpent. We learn that their choices and actions created a problem for them and have even impacted us! As we consider this scripture, let’s explore the choices Adam and Eve made that were detrimental to their family dynamic and how we can learn from them.
5 Problematic Decisions That Adam and Eve Made in the Garden
- Ungodly Outside Influences (Genesis 3:1-5)
Adam and Eve allowed the voices outside of their family and the will of God to impact their choices. The serpent distorts God’s instruction by cunningly asking Eve a question that ultimately leads her to doubt the principles of what He said.
“Did God really say….”
Eve had a conversation with someone she shouldn’t have been conversing with. Furthermore, she took counsel from outside of her family’s boundaries of God and her husband. I would propose that much like Eve was swayed by this outside voice in the garden, we also run the risk of being swayed by the outside voices surrounding us. We will find ourselves in trouble, including within the boundaries of marriage and family, if we start listening to the people who don’t represent our values.
Sadly, in today’s culture, everybody outside of our families matters more than those inside. With opinions, unhealthy emotions, social injustices, and selfish pride everywhere we turn, we must be aware and guarded to the misleading questions of the enemy. As we consider the influences around us, let us be a people who go to the Word of God first.
- Disobedience to God’s Command (Genesis 3:6)
We can find God’s command to not eat of the Tree of Eternal Life in Genesis 2:16-17, NKJV;
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”
Not much time had passed from when God gave the command to when the devil came to tempt Eve. In Genesis 3:6, we see that Eve saw that the tree was good and pleasant to the eyes. And as we consider temptations in our own lives, it almost always involves the devil trying to put something in our line of sight. While the devil ultimately swayed Eve, she still decided to take of its fruit and share it with her husband. Even more so, it may be easy to blame Eve on the surface, but Adam also had a part in this disobedience.
As we consider the command given, we can see that it was given to the man, Adam. He was standing with her, and as the leader of his family, he should have stopped her. Choosing to disobey is just the beginning of their challenges, troubles, and issues and is now the beginning of humanity’s. I wonder how many Christians today are listening to the wrong voice and are disobeying the commands of God?
- Attempted Cover-Up (Genesis 3:7)
Adam and Eve now felt shame and, in their humanness, made coverings for themselves with a few fig leaves. How often do we think we can cover our mistakes and God won’t notice? No covering will ever suffice to hide our mistakes from God. “He who covers his sin will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”
Proverbs 28:13, NKJV
God’s word is clear that we won’t prosper if we try to cover our sins. However, if we confess and repent of our actions, the Lord will have mercy on us.
- Hide and Seek (Genesis 3:8-9)
God asked Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” It wasn’t because He didn’t know where they were; He is all-knowing, after all. He was essentially asking them if they knew they were trying to escape His presence. We cannot hide our actions, words, attitudes, feelings, and motives from God. He sees us and knows us inside out, and we must recognize this wherever we go.
- The Blame Game (Genesis 3:9-13)
In Genesis 3, we see blame from both Adam and Eve. Eve blamed the serpent, but then Adam tried to pin the blame on Eve. And while he didn’t necessarily take the fruit from the tree, he still was just as guilty. Not only did God give Adam the command, but He also gave him the responsibility of leading his home, taking care of his wife, future children, and the resources God provided while being the spiritual leader. Adam blamed Eve, but then he blamed God for the woman He provided. (We can see that sin really impacted this joker!)
Responsibility for Our Choices
We live in a culture where everyone tries to blame everyone else for their choices. And quite often, when the outcome is not what we expected it to be, we place responsibility on everyone but ourselves. We blame our parents, our siblings, our boss, our friends. We must learn to stop blaming others for our bad choices, pain, and setbacks and take ownership of our own decisions. We must repent for the things that have caused us and others pain and make a different, better choice.
God’s Restoration Plan
Every one of our choices has a consequence, good or bad. Genesis 3 continues to read that God relocated Adam and Eve outside the garden. Not only that, God put certain protections and boundaries in place around the garden so that Adam and Eve wouldn’t eat of the Tree of Eternal Life again. In God’s goodness and love, He did this so that they wouldn’t perpetuate themselves in a forever state of sin. You see, God had a plan long before we even needed one. He planned for our breakthrough, miracle, healing, salvation, and deliverance well before the garden.
He also knew that we would make that choice – drugs, cheating, choosing our own will, and He made a plan for us to be redeemed and for our sins to be washed white as snow.
He made a plan for us to be whole by sending Jesus to die on the cross for the punishment that we should have endured. He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. He shed His blood so that you and I would be forgiven. It doesn’t matter what you have done or how lowly you have fallen; He made plans. Be encouraged, we are forgiven, and we can have life abundantly, regardless of the dysfunction we have created within ourselves and in our family.
Pastor John K. Jenkins Sr.