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)