Were Adam and Eve Set up to Fail?

Were Adam and Eve Set up to Fail?

I can’t let go of Genesis 3.  It is such a consuming, pressing story that it squeezes more out of me.

Two lessons were highlighted last week from the story of Adam and Eve: 1) We need to be aware of deception and 2) we must carefully consider the consequences before we sin.

Did God set up Adam and Eve for failure by making enticing forbidden fruit available?”

However, I can’t help but ask, “Why was that awful fruit available anyway?  Why did God plant—in the Garden of Eden—two trees whose fruit were not to be eaten?  Did God set up Adam and Eve for failure by making enticing forbidden fruit available?”

Sexual desire can seem like that as well.  Why would God allow all these strong, often misdirected urges in me?   Wouldn’t I be better off without such a strong sexual drive?  Couldn’t I better serve Him if I was asexual?  Has He set me—all of us— up for failure?

To get our head straight about this, we need to understand that the two forbidden trees in the garden—of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and of Life—were both great and intended for man.  God placed them in the garden and intended for Adam and Eve to eat their fruit—at the right time.

Adam and Eve sinned when they jumped the gun.  They rushed in and ate the fruit at a time it was forbidden for them to do so.  Their disobedience complicated God’s plan for mankind and set in motion a whole series of earthshaking events—as the Bible thoroughly chronicles.

Sexual sin happens when we jump the gun as well.  We refuse to wait.

It is not that God is setting us up for failure.  Instead, He has wondrously and mysteriously designed us to enjoy sexual pleasure in a way that is deeply satisfying to us and pleasing to Him.

The sexual buzz felt as the first phase of sexual intimacy is a mysterious psychobiological phenomenon.  God designed it to be pleasurable by itself and as the entrance into deeper pleasure.

When we do not wait and foolishly misuse the sexual buzz—committing adultery in our hearts—we bring death into our lives.  Just like eating from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil instantly brought death into the lives of Adam and Eve.   We bring death into our marriage.  We bring death into our witness.

Our joy dies.  Our fellowship with the Father dies.  Our sin separates us from God, just like the sin of Adam and Eve separated them from God.

God did set up Eve.  He set us up as well.  Not for failure, but for success.  Recoiling from and overcoming lust is His intention for us.

Praise Him who provides a way of escape from the death that Adam and Eve brought into the world—who provides an escape from the tyranny of sin and separation from Him.

By the way, the Tree of Life did not go away.   It is still meant for you and for me—“To him who overcomes, I will give to eat from the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of Paradise” (Revelation 2:7)

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  • These articles are so very good, thoughtfully written with revelatory insights. Love it. And they speak right to a dire need in many lives, how to overcome in the arena of lust. One statement in the latest blog on Adam and Eve is still bouncing around my brain though. It was the one that said their sin “complicated God’s plan for mankind.” While it has almost nothing to do with the main topic, it is still a compelling thought, raising questions of sovereignty, foreknowledge and God’s eternal purposes. So, as I ponder, thanks for the great insights.

    • JVanderSpek

      Thank you for your encouraging comment, Steve. When I started this, I feared that I would have trouble putting out posts, but so far they come when needed.

      The “complication” idea comes out of my observing that all of Satan’s actions are designed to nullify or complicate God’s plans and that the most frustrating thing for Satan most certainly is seeing God creatively using his perverted plans and incorporating them into His greater plan. The result is ever greater glory to God. Paul speaks directly to this in I Corinthians 2:8.

  • C A Ford

    Excellent comments on this issue. For me learning the difference between lust and sexual desire was very helpful. Lust was only interested in my pleasure and my “needs”. Lust always wanted more and more self-gratification. Lust was never satisfied. Lust was a choice to put my pleasure and “needs” first; refusing to wait.

    I believe that what we all want is not just sexual gratification, but true intimacy; and true
    intimacy is only found in God’s plan for marriage and sex. Lust is a choice: to choose yourself first and gives you only a feeling of intimacy, or a false intimacy.

    God’s plan for marriage and sex is that sex is the result of intimacy and is a picture of the intimacy Christ wants with His Church.

    Some Scriptures that really helped me are:

    (1 Cor. 6:13-19) “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit
    who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? “

    (1 Cor. 7:4) “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”

    (Heb 13:4-5) “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators
    and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.”

    As God sees it, we are not our own, our bodies belong first to the Lord and then to our spouse, before we have any right to use it for our own self-gratification.

    So now when I have sexual desire or excitement, I thank God for my sexuality, think of my spouse (or future spouse), and use the opportunity to pray the Lord that I may only use my sexuality to glorify Him.