Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Gardener is Naked!

The Fall of Adam has always been of great interest to me, so I hope you'll indulge me in another post about the story.
It seems obvious to me in reading the accounts of the Fall in both Moses and Genesis that significant elements of the story are missing. Now, I know that no story can be exhaustive, and that some details just aren't important, but it's what's missing in Genesis that really intrigues me. Go ahead, call me weird.

For instance, there's a clear pattern (a chiasm, almost) created when God appears on the scene after the fruit has been eaten. He asks each party to account for their actions, then assigns them a punishment (or consequence, if you prefer) as a result of their deeds:
A. God asks Adam, "Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" (Genesis 3:11)
A.1. Adam gives the reason he partook--the woman. (v. 12--and a topic for another post).
B. God asks Eve, "And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast
done?" (v. 13)
B.1. Eve gives her reason--she was beguiled by the serpent (v. 13)
C. God asks the serpent to explain himself C.1. The serpent explains himself
C. God punishes the serpent (v. 14-15)
B. God punishes Eve (v. 16)
A. God punishes Adam (v. 17-19)

Notice what's missing from the account? We never get to hear God ask the serpent why he lied to Eve, and we never get to hear the serpent's reply. Personally, I can't wait to find out.

Here's another interesting thing: A few verses earlier (v. 9-12), God appears and asks Adam three questions:
1. Where art thou? (or, in Moses's account, "Where goest thou?") (v. 9)
2. Who told thee that thou wast naked? (v. 11)
3. Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? (v. 11)

Adam answers the first and last questions--
1. "And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." This gave rise to the second question.
3. In answer to the last question, Adam said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." (v. 12)

Notice that he doesn't answer the second question: Who told you that you were naked? Since the answer has been lost, let's answer the question for ourselves. Who told Adam and Eve that they were naked? At the moment, there were four beings in the Garden--Adam, Eve, God, and the serpent/Satan. It wasn't any of the first three, so my money's on the serpent.
That has interesting implications, and shows us a bit of Satan's modus operandi.
Satan had just convinced them to do something that the Lord had forbidden them to do. Now, in true double-crossing fashion, he would have made them ashamed of what they had done. Instead of encouraging them to go out and meet their Lord, he would have hissed--"Run! Hide! You don't want God to see you naked!"
Either Satan has a limited bag of tricks, or perhaps he finds this one particularly effective. In either case, he keeps using it. Whenever we do something wrong, he tries to convince us to hide it from God, as if that were even possible. Instead of running to the Lord, who is merciful and mighty to save, he convinces us that our condition is so shameful that we need to hide from his presence.

In keeping with that theme, God's first question to Adam is interesting*: "Where goest thou?" It's like he was saying, "Look, Adam, where are you going to go? I'm omniscient and omnipotent. I know what you did, and where you're going to go. I know you're naked. Now exactly what did you think hiding from me was going to accomplish?"

I think it's the same way with us. I bet the Lord is up there saying, "Look, Amy, what did you think you were going to accomplish by not telling me what you're up to? Why are you giving me the silent treatment? Did you think I wouldn't notice?" And I've got to hang my head and say, "You're right, God, that was pretty silly of me. But I've got this serpent telling me to run and hide." And I can imagine God answering, "Look, Amy. Satan is a liar. Why on earth would you listen to him?"

*Thanks to Chris for the spark that led to this understanding.

1 comment:

  1. Hadn't thought of it that way, Amy. Satan is the author of the bait and switch tactic. Politicians are of the devil.