Whereas the first two chapters of Genesis have God as the primary subject, the third chapter focuses on Adam and Eve’s attempt at creation. They sow fig leaves together and struggle to create robes that cover their unrighteous nakedness. Unsuccessful in covering their bareness, Adam remarks, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Gen. 3:10). When God replaced their self-made aprons with coats of skins, Genesis emphasizes that He made them for the couple (Gen. 3:21).
When God created Adam and Eve, they naturally surrendered themselves to God because they trusted His wisdom, power, and love. And because they knew He was infinitely wiser, more powerful, and all-loving, trusting Him was unsurprisingly effortless. It is important to note that what makes God unique from us is His monopoly on these three distinctive virtues: wisdom, power, and love. Furthermore, upon these three qualities rests the stability of the entire universe. If God were to lack even an ounce of the power, wisdom, or love required, the repercussions in the universe would be incomprehensible.
Prior to Adam and Eve’s first sin, they lived happily in harmony with God. This harmony was dependent on their complete obedience to God on the basis of the three infinite qualities. The unity between the human and divine was so pronounced that when Adam was asked to choose names for the created animals, God fully approved of each of his choices (Gen. 2:20). In Adam and Eve’s worldview, God was perfect, and His infinite perfection was the basis of unity, happiness, and trust.
In Genesis 3, however, we see Satan introducing a new and conflicting interpretation of reality. Whereas God said of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17), Satan now said, “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). If God was wrong even in the slightest way, He would have been forever undependable. Thus, at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the stakes were high.
Satan was not merely accusing God of being wrong. He was accusing God of being evil: “God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). Satan asserted to Eve that God was deliberately preventing her from achieving three things: (1) having open eyes, (2) being her own sort of god, and (3) knowing both good and evil. The implication of Satan was that Adam and Eve had (1) heretofore been deceived, (2) been prevented from reaching their highest potential, and (3) lacked complete knowledge.
When Eve swallowed the seeds of doubt that Satan scattered regarding the character of God, she shifted the entire worldview of humanity. The time came when she “saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make her wise” (Gen. 3:6). Humanity today lives under that same reality of judging by sight. We have the tendency to make sense of the world around us by our senses instead of God’s Word because we naturally trust ourselves more than we trust God’s character. This is the most catastrophic blow to education!
Nonetheless, God is not caught off guard by Satan’s fierce attack on communion between Him and His children. He gives Adam and Eve, in their fallen state, the tremendous gift of Jesus Christ (Gen. 3:15; John 3:16). In God’s own Son, we have the gift of faith that provides an answer to humanity’s sinful condition and a solution for God’s purpose in education.