Which Came First?
Adam and Eve were placed in the garden created for them, each of the crafted to live in communion with their Creator. From that relationship, the man and the woman would get their sense of self – their purpose and value in the world.
Connection with God was the foundation of their identity. In the garden there was rest and no shame.
In the punishment that was dealt to the man and woman, God mentions toil, pain, and longing. Rest was gone and shame continually made its presence felt.
So, what was the sin that brought on this consequence from the Creator?
Often when we talk about this story, we say that the sin was that they partook in the fruit that was forbidden. But, decisions and behavior are a symptom of something more fundamental. What came first?
As you read the narrative in Genesis chapter 2, you notice that the tempter first got Eve to break her communion with God. She questioned his goodness, wondered if He was withholding, and became distrustful. Being tempted is not a sin, but taking your eyes off of God is.
In the absence of relational connection with God, Eve looked upon the fruit, and did what was right in her own eyes. She needed to satisfy her desire for wholeness apart from God – a false sense of self, and she looked to the fruit that was forbidden to provide it.
Her sin, and the sin of her husband, was that they turned away from God. As evidence, the first question the Creator asked in his next appearance was “Where are you?”
Ours is the same battle. The old nature, that cunning false self, tries to seek wholeness apart from God. It is tempted to look to relationship, roles, possessions, church size, body image, sexuality, or innumerable other things as a way to cover the feelings of worthlessness.
The sin we must face and beat back is the sin of disconnection. Breaking communion, available to us now in Christ.
Otherwise, out of our pride – self-centeredness – as we seek a wholeness apart from the One who created us, we will continually be doing what is right in our own eyes, and be subject to toil, pain, and longing.
Behaviors that are damaging, decisions that are disobedient, are the fruit (pardon the pun) of a root that is being nourished from somewhere other than the Living Waters.
How do you nurture connection with the Creator? What decisions and behaviors are symptoms of disconnection in your life?
Do you compartmentalize communion or make it part of your roles and relationships? How?
I work with pastors and the people they lead to energize discipleship and improve leadership development. I am a certified coach specializing in pastoral leadership, relationships, life transitions, and Christian identity. Also, I am the author of the forthcoming book Discovering Your Root: Developing Your Identity in Christ.
Services I offer are one-on-one coaching, group/staff coaching, speaking at organizations/churches, leadership workshops, and church retreats. For more info, click here to contact me.