THE PROMISES TO ADAM AND EVE
The first recipients and keepers of God’s Promises were Adam and Eve. God, we are told, carved out a garden for them and their family. He put the man in charge; but the man allowed the woman and a snake to rob him and his family of their opportunity to capitalize on God’s Promises. Ever since that fatal act of disobedience, Adam’s descendants have sought alternate ways to recapture the Promises. Unfortunately, there are no alternate routes outside the Conditions that retain and secure the Promises of God. The period of history that stretches between Adam and Noah is called antediluvian. According to the Bible, this is when time began and when man appeared at the hands of Elohim. Man is depicted as Elohim’s special project and represented the crown of creation. More than that, man was to be the link between creation and Elohim or The Us. His physical components were of the earth and his breath of life from The Us (Gen. 2:7). In the Hebrew text, “adam” means “red” and “adama” “earth.” Hence, the word “adam” is not a name, but a term for the human species.
Man did not appear in this world by mere accident or by some propulsion of nature, but by special divine design. He was planned by Elohim or The Us and created to glorify the highest and most noble intelligence in the universe. The Biblical account states: “Then Elohim said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in our own likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'” And again: “So Elohim created man in his own image, in the image of Elohim he created him; male and female he created him” (Gen. 1::26-27). The Hebrew God was a multi – being and not a single deity like the pagan god “El.” The Christian Trinity is as close as one can come to defining Elohim.
Elohim’s first order of business was to place man in charge of the world, bless him and his labors and have him multiply. Man was to manage and enjoy all of creation except for one area. He even had access to a paradise, described as a beautiful garden where God frequented in an invisible form. Man’s perception was such that he could hear and understand God. It was after he had been expelled from the garden or the presence of God that he no longer could make out clearly the message of his Maker (Gen. 3 8-10). The area in question was the knowledge of good and evil. It was marked as an edible tree and represented as a forbidden fruit. Eating of this tree would lead man into an endless life of dangerous explorations of the unknown. His hunger for the knowledge of good and evil would become a bottomless pit. Man would never be satisfied until death frees him of his quest for either good or evil. The Mandate was: “You are free to eat from every tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:16-17).
Adam already lived in a state of the Promises. He had everything. He had the world, a companion, a perfect environment, the presence of God and eternal life. He enjoyed all the blessings and knew nothing about curses. Now, why would a rational being crave for the one thing that would cause him to lose everything? He had the choice of being content with what he already had. Still, Adam and Eve had this urge to play with the forbidden fruit. They did not hesitate when the opportunity came, but disobeyed and ate willingly of it. Instantly, they lost their innocence and became like gods (like the Us) in knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:22). Man was no longer just an image of God; but he began to act as if he were a god.
Before man violated God’s Mandate, he allowed bad company to enter his life and thoughts. Preceding the first human violation, we find the woman in the company of a serpent rather than her husband’s or God’s. In ancient lore, the serpent was a symbol of temptation. The tempter was capable of embodying other beings including man. Throughout human history, the tempter’s function was to question the legality of God’s orders. He also approached those among mankind who were more susceptible to his misinterpretations.
The interpretation itself was never an outright denial of a divine command. Rather, it was to cast a shadow of doubt on what God had intended. Did man really understand what God intended? It was a camouflaged question: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from the tree in the garden'” (Gen. 3:1)? When Eve insisted that He did, the tempter injected cunningly a lie, “You will not surely die.” Then the tempter put the icing on the cake with a true statement, one that every believer in God will agree with, namely: “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5).
Eve must have been horrified when she felt that she was being transformed from a state of innocence to a state of guilt. Instead of telling her husband what had happened to her, she still gave him the fruit to eat. We can only assume that Adam’s love for his wife urged him to eat what was forbidden. This too would become a by-law of the Mandate that a man shall leave father and mother to cleave to his wife (Gen. 2:24). Both became instant believers that God meant what He conditioned. Their eyes were opened; but it was not God whom they were seeing, rather their own nakedness and shame. Suddenly, man hid from his Maker and experienced hostility, pain, sexual drives and banishment. In short, his disobedience cost him the Promises and all the blessings that came with it. To top it off, man’s days were now numbered and everything was cursed because of his disobedience (Gen. 3:7-19). Yes, he became like a god, but he lost the image that allowed him to live like one. Now, whom will the couple blame for their irresponsible acts?
Immediately after Adam was called upon to answer for his sin, he blamed God for giving him “that women.” The Lord turned to the woman and she put the blame on the serpent and the serpent had no one to blame (Ge. 3:10-14). Their punishment was to remove them from a fairytale life to a life of harsh servitude. The serpent would crawl on its belly and eat dirt, the man would sweat to make a living, the woman would bear children in pain, helplessly desire her man and be subject to him and the ground would also be cursed and swallow their bodies (Gen. 3:14-19). Their disobedience and refusal to accept responsibility did not stop with them but was copied by their offspring. Sin began to perpetuate. The knowledge of good and evil had come to stay and truth about God’s Promises became obliterated.
The first realization of the first couple was that sin and God could not exist side by side. Sin is a cancerous and infectious disease that is fatal to human life. Physical death is its only deliverance, even for those that have turned their lives around mentally. The second thing Adam and Eve became aware of was the serpent’s deception. “The ancient serpent called the devil or Satan” was not interested in their wellbeing but in their disobedience to God (Rev. 12:9). It is his purpose to make sin appear glamorous and enticing. He created the impression that God was keeping from them the truth of what they could experience. Disobeying God is not really disobeying when your benefits of opening your eyes to the desire of taste introduce you to some physical satisfaction. The third thing, Satan did not and never will disclose the consequences of “Thou shalt not!” Hereinafter, everything Adam and Eve did affected their lives. All of these led to cause and effect – a principle at work in every human life, including our own. What we sow, we also reap. Satan had succeeded in leading man to mistrust God but failed to stop goodness from influencing mankind. He could not gain control over the human spirit or soul because it was part of the breath of God and protected by God’s Predestination before the world was created. That is why the Apostle Paul could chime, “I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become servants of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life,” (Ro. 7:21-25; 6:22).