Something has gone wrong. Yet….
Something has gone wrong.
We, as human beings, were made from God’s love and we were made to live into God’s love. We were designed to find fulfillment and satisfaction in God’s love.
But love cannot be forced upon us. By the nature of love, love must be a choice. In his book A Grace Disguised, Jerry Sittser explains, “More than anything, God covets our love. But real love can never be forced. Freedom is what makes love possible in the first place. That is why God will never coerce us into a relationship. Faith allows us to chooses God in freedom.”
Sadly, Genesis 3 reveals what happens in us when we turn our backs on the love we were designed for, when we pursue satisfaction or fulfillment void of God.
Oswald Chambers remarks, “The root of all sin is the suspicion that God is not very good.” That’s what Eve and Adam struggled with in Genesis 3. Was God holding back from them the chance to have their eyes opened and to be like God? Larry Crabb puts it this way: “The serpent suggests that there is a goodness that God hasn’t made available to Eve. She reaches for that supposed goodness.”
Out of that suspicion that God was not entirely good to them, Eve and Adam chose the route of disobedience rather than obedience. They chose to pursue happiness apart from and away from God.
Did they end up with satisfaction and fulfillment?
No, they ended up falling into a cesspool of problems.
Suddenly shame became the driving force of their lives. Out of shame, they sewed fig leaves together to cover up their nakedness. Charles Darwin claims, “Shame is what distinguishes us most markedly from the animal world.” Kahlil Gibran states, “Should we all confess our sins to one another we would all laugh at one another for our lack of originality.” Gibran recognizes that all of us struggle with the same sins, but we don’t admit them to each other because we are all driven by shame.
And fear hijacked their hearts. Adam and Eve hid from God because they were afraid. Larry Crabb comments, “Fear is…the first and strongest emotion felt after Adam and Eve took it on themselves to arrange for their maximum enjoyment of life.” Ever since then all of us struggle with fear.
They fell short of the good God intended for them. Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend write, “In trying to become God, they became less of themselves.” In Romans 3:23, Paul summarizes, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
And they adopted habits of inadequate cover-ups (fig leaves are worthless as clothing, but that is what Adam and Eve use to try to cover up their shame, and we have been trying inadequate cover-ups ever since) and of blame (Adam is quick to blame Eve for giving him the fruit, and Eve is quick to blame the serpent, and we are quick to blame as well).
Yet the God who made Adam and Eve out of love and for love, still reached out to them out of love and for love. Despite their rebellion against God, and despite how desperately they try to hide from God, He still comes looking for them. Rather than walking away from them, God walks into the garden asking, “Where are you?”
No matter how much we rebel against God and try to hide from Him, God still pursues us because His love for us is permanent. In his journal, which turned into the book The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom, Henri Nouwen writes, “Your love, insofar as it is from God, is permanent. You can claim the permanence of your love as a gift from God. And you can give that permanent love to others.”
Something has gone wrong in us, but God’s love carries on!