FAME, SHAME, AND BLAME IS THE NAME OF THE GAME IN THE GARDEN
“First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.”
Proverbs 16:18, The Message
All was perfect in The Garden where God placed his created man and woman to live and manage his creation. Their relationship was sweet. The work was easy, the burdens light. The land gave them all they needed until someone told them they didn’t have enough. The serpent was clever, sly as a fox, and decided that all of them should be more than “like God” but BE God”. Hence, the first sin, prompted by an oversized ego is realized—wanting to be God, controlling all, knowing all so that they could rule themselves even though they had no real power to do so—because they are NOT God. But, we’re not like that, are we?
“Full of the devil”—the fallen angel who was kicked out of heaven for trying to be God”, a creature uses God’s own creation, as a way in to mess with the perfect peace of perfection in the Garden of Eden. He uses cleverly devised lies to lure first the woman, then the man. Pride enters the ones who were first made “in the image of God” and discontent and desire breeds dissatisfaction thinking they aren’t enough and don’t have enough. We think, how could they fall for the lies? We’re not like that…are we?
FAME TO SHAME
The serpent also points out that God is their enemy alluding that God is lying to them! Ooh, so clever. But that’s how the devil works, turning Truth upside and backwards until we think evil’s lies are right and true for us. Yeah, why shouldn’t we eat anything we want! I know we have more than we need, life is perfect the way God created, but I want more. Self-importance and arrogance now enter the garden and destroys the peace even more. Their relationship with God turns from love and adoration to fear and shame. They hide from God knowing they have gone against what God specifically told them not to do.
SHAME TO BLAME
More and more sins pile up from the disobedience. I love how the paraphrase states the obvious, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid.” In other words, I have done exactly what you told me not to do. Shame now turns to the first BLAME GAME:
“The Man said, ‘The Woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree, and, yes, I ate it.’” Adam not only blames Eve, he blames God! “You gave me this woman, so what was I to do?” he seems to be saying.
So, what does Eve do? She reacts with blaming the serpent. “The serpent seduced me,” she said, “and I ate.”
As I former first grade teacher, I can hear the sigh of God. This is truly childish behavior you see on any playground daily…or in any home with immature children. Sin has a progression to repentance. I’ve seen in in children. When I approached misbehaving children, they would always respond in the following stages within seconds of standing in front of me:
“I didn’t do anything.”
“They did it first.”
“Everyone’s doing it.”
“I did it, I’m sorry.”
I learned that if I waited long enough while looking at them with the “teacher look”, the final phase of admitting their “sin” would lead to, “I’m sorry”. Nakedness exposed. Fame to Shame to Blame is a human trait that began with The Fall of Adam and Eve.
But God knew. After the punishment, a plan for redemption was already in the works. It would go through stages of sacrifice until the Ultimate Sacrifice would rid the sins of the world once and for all. Notice the pronoun “us” used as God banishes Adam and Eve from the Garden of Perfection, “God said, “The Man has become like one of us, capable of knowing everything, ranging from good to evil.” Jesus is with God because He is part of God and His Spirit—the Holy Trinity!
Realize this truth as we continue to learn more as we journey through the Bible starting at the Beginning. Mankind is now in a fallen state, but God is patient and longsuffering. After the punishment we see the compassion of God as he creates clothing for his beloved man and woman and dresses them before kicking them out of the Garden where all is perfect to another part of the world where they will work hard, bear children with extreme pain, (thanks, Eve) with a fractured relationship with their Father, God of Creation.
Genesis 3, The Message
The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?”
2-3 The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’”
4-5 The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”
6 When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.
7 Immediately the two of them did “see what’s really going on”—saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves.
8 When they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God.
9 God called to the Man: “Where are you?”
10 He said, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid.”
11 God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?”
12 The Man said, “The Woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree, and, yes, I ate it.”
God said to the Woman, “What is this that you’ve done?”
13 “The serpent seduced me,” she said, “and I ate.”
14-15 God told the serpent:
“Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed,
cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals,
Cursed to slink on your belly
and eat dirt all your life.
I’m declaring war between you and the Woman,
between your offspring and hers.
He’ll wound your head,
you’ll wound his heel.”
16 He told the Woman:
“I’ll multiply your pains in childbirth;
you’ll give birth to your babies in pain.
You’ll want to please your husband,
but he’ll lord it over you.”
17-19 He told the Man:
“Because you listened to your wife
and ate from the tree
That I commanded you not to eat from,
‘Don’t eat from this tree,’
The very ground is cursed because of you;
getting food from the ground
Will be as painful as having babies is for your wife;
you’ll be working in pain all your life long.
The ground will sprout thorns and weeds,
you’ll get your food the hard way,
Planting and tilling and harvesting,
sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk,
Until you return to that ground yourself, dead and buried;
you started out as dirt, you’ll end up dirt.”
20 The Man, known as Adam, named his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living.
21 God made leather clothing for Adam and his wife and dressed them.
22 God said, “The Man has become like one of us, capable of knowing everything, ranging from good to evil. What if he now should reach out and take fruit from the Tree-of-Life and eat, and live forever? Never—this cannot happen!”
23-24 So God expelled them from the Garden of Eden and sent them to work the ground, the same dirt out of which they’d been made. He threw them out of the garden and stationed angel-cherubim and a revolving sword of fire east of it, guarding the path to the Tree-of-Life.
We are exactly like your first humans with choice to fall even though you made us in your image. You knew from the beginning what we would need to be redeemed from the fall, our own fall. You provided The Way to make it happen through Your Son. You brought us from death forever to be saved for eternal life.
Thank you, Jesus, for saving our souls, restoring our relationship with God, the Father while constantly renewing your Spirit’s power working inside us to grow and mature in your character. You surprise us in this transformation process with maturity of your Spiritual Gifts that bloom from the inside out in any given situation that challenges us. We are not perfect, but perfectly forgiven. We yield to you, and you cause us to grow. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
In Jesus Name, Amen